You probably know it's not the healthiest use of your time to dive deep on your partner's ex's Instagram. But what if you can’t help it? What if you bump into the person who came before you totally by accident? Running into your partner's ex out in public can be seriously uncomfortable, and you can't avoid the situation by suddenly shuttering your browser tabs. If you happen to run in the same social circles as your partner's ex, you know just how awkward this can be.
But if you aren't friends with your partner's ex, and you're wondering how you'd handle a potential run-in, well, I've got you covered. I spoke with Doctor of Psychology and licensed clinical social worker Danielle Forshee to figure out how best to handle the awkward situation.
Her first piece of advice? Forshee recommends you follow the tone or guidance of your partner if they're present. If it's the first time you're meeting their ex, be calm and see how your partner reacts and follow suit.
What's also important to weigh in the situation is how your partner and their ex ended things. If the relationship ended amicably, it's more likely your partner will introduce you to their ex if you see them in public. But if it didn't end well, your partner may just offer them a nod, smile, or wave. Pay attention to how your partner reacts, and if they engage with their ex, be courteous and friendly.
"Even if you don’t know this person, it is important to maintain your own integrity and respect the other individual and allow for a proper introduction," Forshee tells Elite Daily. "You can only control yourself; you cannot control others."
She says that making small talk is fine, and exchanging pleasantries is OK as well. Treat this introduction like you would any other person your partner introduces you to – when it comes to their ex, you're not the one with the history. The slate is clean with you and their ex, so keep it polite. Even if things ended poorly between your partner and their ex, you still want to be respectful.
"The fact [that] the relationship ended badly has nothing to do with you and therefore is not your responsibility," Forshee says.
If you run into your partner's ex and your ex isn't present, keep the interaction to a minimum, Forshee says. If you catch their eye, offer a friendly smile or wave, she recommends. And if they come up to you, keep conversation brief and don't talk about your current relationship with their ex.
Remain calm, be friendly, and treat them with respect — just like you learned back in kindergarten. Sounds simple enough, right? Don't sweat, you got this!
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