How To Avoid Awkwardness With Your Ex When You Return To School For Homecoming

Going back to your alma mater for homecoming can be a surprisingly emotional experience. You're revisiting the place where you learned so much about yourself. Seeing your ex at homecoming is an added stressor that you might be worried about this year. Whether you ended things on bad terms or you've become old friends, homecoming has a sneaky tendency to drum up nostalgia where you least expect it. If you're nervous about what to do when you see your ex at homecoming, try not to stress too much. I asked dating coach Erika Ettin and breakup expert Kate Galt about what someone should do in this situation, and their answers were seriously helpful.

Homecoming is about celebrating your old school and, by extension, your old life. Amid the weekend of festivities, there's time to reflect on the person you were when you were a student and the person you are now. Consider how much you have grown since college, and especially since your breakup. There are likely so many great things about the life you lead now, and focusing on those can help dial down the anxiety you might feel about facing your ex again.

Plan Ahead Now

No matter the scenario, it's common to feel uneasy about seeing an ex, Ettin explains. The good thing about homecoming is that you have anticipation on your side. If you know that your ex is going to be there, you can emotionally plan ahead by practicing mindfulness and focusing on the good things about the weekend. You don't have to interact with your ex if you don't want to. If they're in your friend group, you can maintain a cordial demeanor with them but you don't have to spend any one-on-one time together.

Another thing you can do when planning the weekend is let a friend or two in on your stress about the situation. They can make sure to keep an eye out for you and any awkwardness that may occur.

Send A Brief Message Before The Game

You can do even more to prepare before you arrive on campus. For instance, Ettin says that you could even message your ex about the coming weekend and explain that you'll be there and you don't want anything to be awkward. It depends, though, on how things ended, Ettin specifies. If you ended things mutually, a brief message about how you don't have any hard feelings and want the weekend to be fun could suffice. If it ended badly and there is still a soreness in your heart, consider saying that you'll be there and you want to have a good time, so you need some space from them.

Don't Skip It Simply Because Of Your Ex

Ettin's main suggestion when it comes to what not to do is simply that you shouldn't skip the weekend because you want to avoid your ex. You can definitely have a great time at homecoming, even if your ex is there too. Even if seeing your ex causes negative emotions momentarily, they don't have to ruin the entire experience for you. Remember that healing isn't linear; if you feel fine one moment, but later need to cry in the bathroom about your ex for a second, that's OK.

College is a time when you make formative decisions and it can be really emotional to revisit the physical place where everything happened. Remember it's not a failure to to feel your feelings, even if your breakup was a long time ago. There's always room to grow and reflect; if you get upset take some time time to recollect yourself. Then, take some deep breaths, splash cool water on your face and get back out to the people celebrating.

If You Want To Hook Up...

If you and your ex are on good terms and you find yourself wanting to hook up during homecoming weekend, Ettin encourages people to first consider if their ex is single. There's no shame in hooking up with an ex if that's what you want, but Galt recommends that you consider the effects of doing so very carefully. It's important to note, Galt explains, that you reflect on whether or not you will regret this later. If you don't feel like it will be detrimental to your heart later on, hooking up is a totally valid option. And, hey, the weekend is about having fun and revisiting your past.

Focus On The Silver Lining

Focus on the differences that exist now, Ettin explains. Something that could even be a positive about seeing your ex at homecoming is that you could realize a lot about the people you've become. It can be liberating, according to Ettin, to consider the positive changes in your life and realize that you wouldn't want to date this person today if you were given the option.

Homecoming is a time to celebrate with old friends and enjoy the nostalgia of college for a short, school spirit filled time. Try not to let an ex cloud an otherwise fun-filled moment with friends. You might even find that your relationship being in the past is a reason to celebrate. You and your ex may even end up commemorating old times together.

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