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Awesome Etiquette: Meeting An Ex's New Partner

Bumping into an ex with their new partner can be incredibly uncomfortable, even years after a breakup. But what about when you are both invited to the same important event? How do you gracefully interact with your ex and their new partner to avoid making the event uncomfortable for everyone?

Hi Lizzie and Dan,

I've been invited to my friend's wedding. I'm super excited and cannot wait to celebrate this wonderful day with her and her soon-to-be husband. However, I'm not too excited about running into her cousin, my ex-boyfriend. It will have been two years since we separated. We just weren't the right fit for each other things happen. I have moved on with my life with chocolate and so has he — with his new girlfriend.

I have known his family for years and have a very close bond with certain members of his immediate and extended family. That being said, I know the moment will come where his new girlfriend may see me interacting with these people and there will undoubtedly be a moment when the two of us cross paths. I have no ill will against this girl and do not want to make her upset or make her feel uncomfortable. I'm trying to put myself in her shoes and be sensitive to the fact that she may be just as nervous about this potential interaction as I am.

My question is what do I do?


Ex-tenuating Circumstances

The answer:

Behave as you normally would. Hug the people you would and don't hug harder and bigger and louder. Don't also all of a sudden act weird. There's just no reason not to do these things. It's fine to be yourself. Be friendly and warm when you meet her clearly. She is not a threat to you and clearly you're not interested in getting back together with him.

Don't crack any inside jokes about your relationship with your ex and try not to tell her something about him. You should also be really careful about doing too much reminiscing with him and also with her family. With the family members that you know it's ok to talk about great times you guys have had, but just be careful not to overdo it in front of the new girlfriend.

Hope that helps Ex-tenuating Circumstances and have a fabulous time at this wedding!

Liam is Vermont Public’s public safety reporter, focusing on law enforcement, courts and the prison system.
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