What NOT to do when running into your ex

How do you react when you come face to face with the man that broke your heart?

No one can really explain the reasoning behind life's awkward moments. Whether it’s enduring the humiliation of getting your first period in front of an assembly full of bitchy seniors or that dreadful salient five minutes into a date that clearly indicates the end of all interesting conversation.

We all fall victim to the universe's twisted sense of humour at some point in our lives: non-reciprocated high-fives and unsavoury, not to mention, accidental skype messages to your fifty-five year old boss are one thing, but how do you begin to survive the mother of them all; that awkward moment when you bump into your ex and his hatefully delightful, gorgeous new girlfriend? 

It's a known fact that most romantic encounters that don't make it to the finish line usually end up in tears, flames or broken pieces of everything he ever gave you.

History, no matter how good or bad, makes any connection impossible to forget, and even in instances where the two of you miraculously end up staying "good friends", seeing a significant lover with another can bring out all sorts of outrageous emotions.

Jealousy, rage, happiness, a road-runner meep meep in the opposite direction. What was it about that discomforting moment that makes us so irrational?

"Oh my God! Hi! I almost didn't see you! Is this?! Oh my God, hi! I've heard so much about you!" Unless you've died or have been shipped off to the island where Tupac and Mother Theresa are being held hostage, you are going to run into your ex and yes, nine out of ten times, he will most likely be with someone fabulous.

Sure, he broke your heart and you secretly hate him for it even though you've publicly admitted on countless occasions that you've forgiven him and wish nothing but the best from him and his wifey, but to see the rumours of his happiness in black and white can be just as alarming as a girl's first trip to the fanny mechanic.

Talking in exclamation marks was my first mistake. Correction. My first mistake was leaving the house in sweat pants and high tops without a stitch of make-up on and a hair-don't that looked like I was entering a troll doll look-a-like competition.

Hot nerves rushed through my body as the anxiety kicked in forcing me to speak without thinking, simultaneously breaking every rule in the "What not to do" section of "Meeting your Ex's new Girlfriend: A Handguide to Mental Stability".

I was being overly nice to the point of being obnoxious, my body language was all over the place and to make matters worse, I automatically started comparing myself to this woman.

Was she prettier and younger than me? Could she do tricks in bed that I couldn't? What did she have that I didn't have?

"This is Katy." Of course it was, I thought as I reached out to shake her perfectly manicured hand.

"Katy", I repeatedly mocked in my head whilst maintaining the prozac smile that had instinctively appeared upon my face.

You could have easily scraped the plastic off with a spatula as I engaged in small talk about how they met and how long they'd been dating even though I already knew the answer thanks to a good old Facebook stalk.

"Mwahaha!," I fake laughed as I glanced for signs of a premature wedding proposal which would have infuriated me considering that the reason we broke up in the first place was because of his commitment issues.

And then I recognised a familiar look on her face. It was the same one I had all those years ago when we were happy and in love. She was radiant, basking in the early stages of relationship glory.

He had charmed his way into her life the same way he charmed me and now, everything he did or said was clearly placed upon a pedestal. He could do no wrong.

A part of me wanted to knock him down by blurting out his flaws and telling her about that dirty night in Bangkok, but sabotage would've made an already awkward moment even more discomforting.  

"I must rush to my spin class now! We should all get together and have a coffee sometime! It was lovely to meet you (gulp) Katy....really it was!" Off they went into the sunset. God only knows what she was laughing about as they walked away.

There they were...happy, in love and everything I should have been, and even though I had yet to meet someone special at the time, nothing could have prepared me for the excruciating experience of running into the man that broke my heart and, now, this woman who made me feel so insecure and utterly insignificant.

When it comes to meeting your ex's new lover, how do we turn awkward into amicable without the aid of alcohol? 

*For more, visit Manni Bradshaw’s blog and Facebook pages.

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