General Question

wundayatta's avatar

What's it like for you when you see your ex around all the time after you separate?

Asked by wundayatta (58612points) October 21st, 2008

Whether you were the one to break off the relationship, or your partner broke it off, how does it feel when you see them? School, work, community, online—does it make a difference? Does constant contact make the pain worse than only occasional or no contact at all? Or does it help you get used to it?

I would guess that constant contact would make it worse. The reasons why you were together haven’t gone away (for those spurned), and for the spurners, it reminds you of your failure. What do you think?

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30 Answers

La_chica_gomela's avatar

freaking annoying

jtvoar16's avatar

It makes me feel like there is a hell inside me, one that the devil has forsaken and all that remains are the souls of the dead, lost to love.
That hell grows with every good memory and infects more of my life with every painful memory. There is no escaping it, there is no way out of it. All you can do is hope that, in time, the hellfire will cool and the souls will settle, leaving you cold and isolated inside, feeling nothing. That is the only way out for me.

So, that is how I feel, personally, whenever I am forced to love. Damn brain.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Depend on who it is, one i avoid like the plague, the other im still good friends with.

squirbel's avatar

It’s very important to avoid them [regardless of how it ended] for about 3 months to a year [depending on the length of the relationship].

Once you can face them and feel nothing toward them – awkward or hostile – you are in the safe place and you can be around them with little effort or discomfort.

It takes a lot of mental and emotional healing to reach that point – but it is possible.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

Squirbel, I see where you’re coming from, but I feel like in real life, it’s a lot more complicated than that.

For example, I was dating a guy for a couple years, we broke up amicably. Everything was fine. I didn’t mind seeing him at all. I considered him a friend. A year later, I found out that he had cheated on me. Now I hate him, and I never want to see him again. That doesn’t fall into your simple model at all.

I think there are a lot more factors than the length of the relationship, and while I agree with the spirit of what you’re saying, I would cation against making sweeping generalizations.

squirbel's avatar

I understand chica. The thing is – your story confuses me.

You dated the guy – you guys broke up amicably, and then he cheated on you? Or is the story out of sync?

I described what has worked for me. I have not made any sweeping generalizations. When I break up with a guy, I refuse to see him. I change my routines to avoid him. I change my interests and hobbies to avoid him. I go all out to avoid him.

After I have healed, I venture back into the circles/arenas where I know I may run into him. If, when I see him, I still have memories flying back at me and feel pain in my heart, I leave and ignore him some more.

The point is – I currently have no animosity toward any of my ex-boyfriends. I don’t know how they feel toward me – but we can go out and have lunch and actually enjoy ourselves.

I’m not making it up, and I’m not making any generalizations.

All of my boyfriends were cheaters. And two of them met their wife after going with me. That’s hard. Very, very hard.

Emilyy's avatar

I think la chica meant that after an amicable break up, she found out a year later that he had cheated on her while they were together (meaning it wasn’t as amicable as she thought). I think that’s how it reads.

@squirbel: Sorry you’ve dated such weasels. Sounds like you’ve got a good system that works for you, though. I honestly prefer your way of dealing with things——I always try to break it off cleanly and only go back to friendship or something like it once all the healing has passed. Unfortunately, the only time I succeeded in doing that was when I was out of the country when I got dumped. If I’m in close proximity to my ex at all, I have the hardest time staying away.

Mexicanamerican's avatar

@jtovar16… Couldn’t agree with you more! If I know my ex is near by I find it difficult to stay away and even more difficult to not think about her..

La_chica_gomela's avatar

Squirbel, I understand now that you were talking about yourself, but you didn’t say “I” you said “you” which led to my misinterpretation. I amend my recommendation to asking you to please say what you mean, and then I’ll understand next time.

EmilyNathan got it right. He had cheated on me while we were together.

forestGeek's avatar

My first two break-ups I got dumped, and I was very hurt. I was very difficult to see them, and I actually worked with them in both cases. It was the hardest thing I had ever had to deal with. I think because of those experiences, I try to be very sympathetic when I am the one to break things off, and I make a point of staying away from places and situations I thing my ex may be.

I am currently going through the most difficult break-up I’ve ever been through. Though it ended on good terms, it ended pre-maturely for me which is why it’s difficult. My ex hasn’t ever felt heartbreak, or even been on the receiving end of a breakup, so I feel she doesn’t understand how it feels. We have a common social scene and are somewhat connected still from a professional perspective, and for her it’s business as usual. I have explained to her that I need to not have her in my life or even contact me, and that it’s nothing personal, just what I need for myself. She still doesn’t understand how difficult it is to see, hear from or even hear about her.

I think it’s the most difficult to see exes in a social situation because to see someone out-and-about, having a good time, says they’ve moved on and that always hurts!

susanc's avatar

When dumped – it only happened once in such an obvious way that I couldn’t convert it into “I really was done with him first” – my strategy is to laugh, the way Obama laughs when McCain tells a lie.
This is all very much theatre, because internally I’m wrecked. But I don’t cede any territory. No, no.
When taking this kind of offensive position, it’s important to show up everywhere you were already showing up, whether Mr Stupid is there or not – in fact, it’s better if he is,
so you can make fun of his stupid-ass self.

loser's avatar

I know that if I just wait it out, the homicidal feelings eventually pass. No biggie…

Sloane2024's avatar

I’ve only had one ex, for I choose who I have relationships with extremely carefully, but after we first broke up, it was immensely difficult to see him, for I still loved him very much. It took me 2 years to completely let everything we had go, for I was incessantly forced to be around him in awkward situations because of our families’ closeness; however, now, we are just very good friends. He actually called me today to see how I was adjusting to my new residential high school’s environment and difficulty and invited me to come visit him at Vanderbilt sometime. It completely depends on the personalities of those involved, how clean the break was, and the condition of the relationship during its existence.

beccalynnx's avatar

i don’t really mind it. the only reason we really got together was because he was just one massively sexy beast. incredibly cute. and he still is. there’s not mental connection between us, so it doesn’t bother me. plus, he’s hilarious in class.

though sometimes i do wonder how he feels about it. i bet he doesn’t think much about it.

Celeste00's avatar

It depends on how long it’s been, of course, and how many times you’ve dated them (on again off again). If you have unresolved feelings, then it really bugs you. Once you’ve gotten over them, it’s more like “hey, there’s that person I knew”, but no more than that. I manage to stay friends with exes after a while of not having contact with them, but it’s usually gonna be a casual friendship.

augustlan's avatar

I can’t believe no one has mentioned divorce with children. I have been through that, and naturally this requires much more “togetherness” than your average dating break-up. The decision to divorce, though sad and painful, was actually a mutual one, and fairly amicable. The initial seperation itself was hellish. We fought – in ways we never had while together – nearly every time we spoke or saw one another. I think it was just a very rough adjustment period. After that settled down, we are friends. My ex-husband even spends Easter with myself, my husband, and all of our children. We all get along very well.

scamp's avatar

I was married to my wasband for 22 years. It was awkward at first, but now I have no problem being around him at all. We have kept the friendship part of our relationship active. I moved back into the house to be “roomies” with him for a few months a couple of years ago, and it wasn’t the least bit awkward. It probably isn’t like this for everyone, but for us, it worls.

chicadelplaya's avatar

I split up with someone about 3 weeks ago, and it’s been really rough on the both of us. We have only talked once since then. I’m pretty nervous about possibly seeing him at mutual social gatherings, which I’m sure I will, especially since the holidays are around the corner. I’m trying to be head strong about it so I don’t fall apart in front of him or seem too distant. It’s hard and it sucks, but I also don’t want to avoid having a great time with some of my other friends. With other past relationships, if it was not too long after the breakup, it was always heart wrenching. Though if a few years had past, it would usually turn out to be no big deal. Being friends with someone I loved right after a break up has always been impossible for me. I don’t know how some people do it.

forestGeek's avatar

@chicadelplaya – I know what you mean! I have avoided a few situations where all my friends have been but I also know she would be there. It’s really hard, but I decided that it was best for me to avoid it for my own sanity. It’s too hard for me to go to a party and pretend that it doesn’t bother me to see her and/or pretend that I’m having fun. Plus you also have to answer that question “is it hard to see her here tonight?” over and over. It’s easier to just not go.

Instead, I’ve been spending my time with our mutual friends, more individually instead. Frankly, it’s brought me closer to these friends since it’s m ore one-on-one!

chicadelplaya's avatar

@forestgeek- I’m going to bet your way of handling it is probably best. I’m sure after the first time it happens I’ll be like, yeah, ummm, I don’t think I want or need to do that anymore (with plenty of tears). It’s almost like having to start the “getting over it” process all over again. But it also feels really weird to have to ask my friend ” Is he going to be there?” and in turn she will ask her roommate (his friend) “Hey T, is he going to be there?” and then it kind of gets a little embarrassing. Almost like a no-win situation, but I guess there is really no way around it. It’s just something we have to get through. And in time, like my best friend tells me, “honey, he will only be a blink in your entire life time”. I hope he’s right. I think we’re both going to get through this, somehow. Chin up, my friend. ;-)

Zen's avatar

It hasn’t been easy at times, and the wounds took longer to heal, but it was worth it; the kids had their mom close by (they’ve been with me since they were very young).

ronski's avatar

It’s different for everyone and it seems to depend on the relationship you had with the specific person. I see two of my exes around, and it’s cool and casual. One of them still wants to be my friend and hang out, but he turned out to be awful, so I don’t see him unless it is necessary (wow, he has endless excuses to meet up). The other one had to watch me fall in love with my now boyfriend (just a coincidence), which I think was painful for him (even though he was married at the time), and I think he would rather not see me, but it certainly doesn’t bother me to see him.

For me, at first it is far too difficult to see the other person, but as time goes by, it turns out to be okay. I have kept in touch, but I wouldn’t say I’m still friends with any of them. Though, one of my best friends keeps her exes as good friends, for what seems like life. I think that if my current boyfriend and I were to break it off, that we would remain very good friends, but at first it would be too hard to hang out. Time heals everything.

There is one ex I would like to be friends with, but he is a drifter, so we’ve lost complete touch. Anyways, in my fantasies we could be friends, but in reality it would probably suck ass.

punkrockworld's avatar

I get very uncomfortable when I see my ex around because we seperated in a really agressive way and never really talked out our differences.
I also think it’s too late to open that book again.. we both kind of moved on but it’s not easy. We loved each other for the time being but we hurt one another too much to ever really be friends ever again. Some things are better left alone.

arturodiaz's avatar

I think it is if you were really in love with that person.

ram201pa's avatar

Well stated, punkrockworld, well stated.

lady4life's avatar

If i broke it off..I hope when they see me I am with a attractive hunk and make them jealous..If they broke it off with me..and I see them with another attractive woman..I want to slap that person {not literally} I don’t agree with violence..but the thoughts are there

Lonestarwildman's avatar

I was so glad she found someone more compatible with her as I had found someone more compatible with me.That is what dating is all about.Finding out if that other person fits with you and you with them.Once you or the other person see a problem that can not be resolved then it is time to MOVE ON.All that other guilt trips and accusations are a demonstration of imaturity and unwillingness to take responsability for your own actions or misjudgements.MOVE ON and LET IT BE.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Once divorced, my ex spouse and I continued to be “best friends.” We continued to work at the same company, we and our new partners socialized together and though it was a little rough in the first few months, the friendship was such we were able to work out the kinks. We maintain mutual friendships and even goof off online in some of the same places, we are fortunate and definitely the exception.

Shamone_Styles's avatar

I have learned to not let it get to me. then again when you think about it -what if the other person feels the same way always seeing you? If this bothers you then this either means your just sick and tired of seeing them period – but the problem with this is you and you know who is stll friends. Now if you really don’t want to see them anymore then well when you broke up you should have let the other person know how uncomfortable they made you feel.

Now on the other hand if it is not that your tired of seeing them around – maybe it’s you. Maybe you can’t get them out of your mind, maybe you want to get back together with this person. Me personally I have to see a girl I used to date every day – because we work together – but it does not bother me anymore. I moved on and so did she and well- yeah we say hello and talk once in a blue – but we both know there is no spark there anymore.

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