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9 People Reveal The Last Time They Saw Their Ex & It's Heartbreaking

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Have you ever run into your ex in a place you would have never expected? Once, just a couple weeks after a devastating breakup, I saw my ex at a Mexican restaurant and quite literally ducked under the table to avoid him noticing me. It wasn’t that I was terrified to talk to him — we ended things on moderately good terms — but I was just so surprised to see his face that I didn’t know what else to do. If the last time you saw your ex didn’t go according to plan, I’m sure you can relate to this panicked feeling.

Depending on how things ended, you and your ex might have struck up a conversation… or maybe you made eye contact and then pretended to be perfect strangers. Navigating interactions with former partners can be awkward, to say the least. Some people learn to be friends again, while others never manage to get back on speaking terms. Regardless of the situation, seeing an ex can bring back a flood of memories about your relationship and how it ended.

To understand just how varied these types of interactions are, I asked people to share stories about the last time they saw their ex. Some are cringe-worthy, some are sweet, and some are just downright uncomfortable. Read on and prepare to laugh and cry at the same time.

Hidden Agenda

Serious black girl arguing with Caucasian boyfriend outdoors. Mix raced couple standing at European apartment building, drinking takeaway coffee and talking. Millennials concept

We broke up at the end of my freshman year of college after dating for four and a half years. I was devastated, and we broke off contact so I could move on. Two years later, I got this text from him asking to talk. I met him at his work that night — he was a bartender at a pizza place and was closing the place down — and he was playing all our songs over the intercom at the restaurant. We went to a gazebo in a park, and he apologized and said he wanted to get back together. We hooked up in the gazebo and stayed up for hours talking. Then, we texted all the next day, and he said he wanted to be with me… but then said out of the blue that he had a girlfriend, which he had failed to mention when we were together the night before. I’ve cut off contact since then, but he’ll still reach out every once in a while to try to see me. Oh, and he and the girlfriend? They recently bought a house together.

— Maddie*, 26

Working It Out
We live in the same building, so last week, we worked out like four feet from each other for an hour and did not acknowledge the other person’s existence. I went to our building’s gym at 10 p.m., thinking he wouldn’t be there so late … so when he walked in at 10, I lost my mind. He worked out directly behind the elliptical I was on for a full hour, and we’d both glance up at each other (me through the reflection of the window in front of me) and quickly stare at our phones so as to avoid acknowledging the fact that we were the only two people in the gym.

— Mary*, 26

Whirlwind Reunion

couple hugging and holding hands

We dated for two years (one year was long distance), and he cheated on me and broke my heart. [Later], he was flying from California to Baltimore, where I was living at the time, for a college day thing. But he assumed that he was staying with me, not his friends. Keep in mind, he was and is still dating the girl he cheated on me with. So, he came to Baltimore to basically spend the weekend with me, and this was the first time I saw him since the breakup … so you could imagine all the feelings I was going through. We cried, laughed, fought, and made up all in three days, and it was one of the craziest emotional roller coasters I have ever been on.

— Bari, 26

Grand Gestures
I was with my ex for four years in the south before I got a job in New York and moved back last year. We broke up because I met someone else, but also because he kissed another girl as soon as I got the new job as retaliation for me 'leaving him.' My grandpa passed away in May, and I hadn’t seen my ex for seven months. He showed up to my grandpa’s funeral all dressed up, prepared for me to be dazzled … but I was totally put off by how not into him I was after all those years together. Especially since I’m now with my future husband, who is my soulmate. [My ex] hugged me awkwardly when we saw one another, and the hug reminded me of all the things I didn’t like about our relationship. I felt 100% at ease knowing that I wished him no ill will and was truly over the relationship.

— Cortne, 26

Reverting To Old Habits

Close up portrait of surprised young woman using smart phone.

I saw my ex back in March after a pretty lengthy text he sent me about how sorry he was, and how much he missed me. That was very out of his element, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt to see if anything changed. [We] met up for dinner three times to ‘reconnect,’ and as much as I wanted a spark, I felt nothing. I was honest, and he totally flipped his lid and was back to his old childish and selfish ways! It was nice to have the reassurance that I broke up with him for a reason, and I’ve never been happier!

— Jordan, 23

Redemption Story
When I was 23, I dated this guy for five months. We saw each other three nights a week and went on vacation, but he refused to call me his girlfriend, which really stung because I wanted more from him. I always felt like he had the upper hand in the relationship. The silver lining of the breakup, though, is that it was exactly the motivation I needed to change a lot of aspects of my life that I was unhappy with. Two years later, I had met the love of my life and we were moving in together, I had my dream job, I had published my first novel, and I felt truly happy. One night, I was with my boyfriend at a charity fundraiser when I spotted my ex from across the room. It wasn't hard... he was wearing a top hat (no one else was — why?!), so he stood out. I wasn't interested in speaking to my ex, but he eventually approached me and my boyfriend. Over the course of our very short, very awkward conversation, my ex admitted that he was at the event specifically to try to meet women (and not having much luck) and that nothing in his life had really changed. Maybe it's petty, but I loved that he saw me happily committed, successful, and confident — and in an amazing dress and blowout — when he was just hitting on random women in a top hat.

— Hannah, 26

Still Super Close

Pretty young Hispanic couple hugging each other and laughing together while on a date in a restaurant

We dated for five years, and it was such a happy relationship. We were such great friends. It ended when I wanted to move back home to New York, and his life was established in Canada. We both knew we weren’t each other’s forever person, so we amicably split and went our separate ways. Still to this day, we are good friends, and the last time I saw him was at my college graduation. He went since my parents couldn’t attend.

— Giuliana, 22

Same Taste In Music
[I saw him at] my favorite band's concert, and he was there with his new girlfriend ... I saw him a few rows of people back from me. I glanced a few times to see if I would make eye contact, but he ended up moving away from that area. I don't know if I wanted to make eye contact with him, but I for sure wanted him to see that I was having a fun time.

— Anne, 25

Moving On

African American waiter taking order from beautiful mixed race woman sitting at restaurant table and holding menu

I was visiting home with my current boyfriend for vacation, and we went out to dinner. Our waiter was my ex from a few years ago. It was a shock seeing him after how horrible we ended. My current boyfriend found it funny, which strangely gave me the courage to get through dinner without the fear I once had toward the ex.

— Kierstin, 26

Whether your ex encounter made you feel sad, amused, validated, or relieved, it can definitely bring back a flood of memories. No matter your situation, know that other people can relate, and be proud of yourself for the strides you have made in healing and moving on from that relationship. Thank u, next.

*Names have been changed.

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