13 Healthy Ways to Handle Your Ex

Exes are like mosquitoes. They show up when you least want to see them, bite you in the butt, and leave an itching, burning mark that doesn’t go away for weeks.

Okay, not literally. But just seeing them buzz back into your life when you’re not expecting them to be around anymore does leave a little mark on your heart that can hurt for a while. Even when you’re engaged (and especially when it’s your fiancé’s ex you’re running into). But, between social media and real life, running into them is simply unavoidable. Here’s how to deal.

1. Don’t write crazy things about them on the Internet

Once it’s out there, you can never take it back. Before you post something, ask yourself: how would I feel if someone said this about me/posted this intimate picture of me? Am I still Facebook friends with their niece? Will this traumatize her? Does posting this make me look crazy? (Like my mom always says, “Consider the source.” If you’re saying something bad about someone, you’re the one who probably looks bad.)

2. Don’t destroy their belongings

Don’t give the shoe collection they’ve forgotten in your garage to Goodwill. Okay, maybe you can give it to Goodwill if they were a real jerk, but just know things will not be cordial next time you see them.

3. Take the high road

Spread the gospel of Taylor Swift! If your ex-person brings his or her new person to an event, shake it off. Don’t make a scene. Don’t yell. Don’t cry. I have never once heard of an instance where tears and yelling made a person realize they were still in love with said screaming, sobbing girl. (*Please comment below if you have. I’d be fascinated to know how you pulled it off.)

4. Remove their number from your phone

Let’s be honest, you know their number by heart anyway if you ever really need it. But the only time you’ll want to call is after you’ve been drinking, and hopefully that’s also when you’ll have trouble remembering and save yourself a lot of grief.

5. Don’t date their friends

No good can come from this.

6. Don’t date their brother/sister/mom/dad

See above. For real, I’ve seen this happen and it’s no good for anybody.

7. Follow your own path

Maybe they’re ready to move on and start dating before you. Fine. Let yourself keep grieving until you’re ready, too. It’s not a competition of who’s over who first, and it will not heal your heart to out-Tinder them.

8. Stay off their Facebook

And Instagram. And Twitter. And Tumblr. And. . . You get it. Hide them from your timeline, so you don’t have to scroll past how awesome they’re doing. Don’t taunt yourself, and don’t tempt yourself. You will be so bummed when you accidentally “Like” that picture of them with their new girlfriend, and look like a stalker.

9. Hammer out a custody arrangement over the dog/cat/hamster/fish

For couples who don’t have babies, pets are their babies. Don’t steal their baby; if it were a human baby, that would be illegal.

10. Take that cooking/ballet/Tae Kwon Do class you’ve always wanted to take.

When you’re feeling confident, whole and happy, it’s a lot easier to behave sanely if you unexpectedly run into an old flame.

11. Let it go

The past is the past, and what’s done is done. The good thing is you’re not still with that person, so even if they hurt you before, they can’t anymore. You’ll have so much more room in your heart for a new love if you’re not holding onto old grudges.

12. Wish for all their dreams to come true

When you’re putting that kind of energy into the universe, it tends to come back to you.

13. Above all, remember the Golden Rule

Treat others the way you want to be treated. If they want to be nasty or stoop low, that’s on them. You will never regret choosing kindness.

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