How To Deal When You Run Into Your Past

“We may be through with the past, but the past ain’t through with us.” – Magnolia, 1999.

In a city of eight million or so people, you’d think it would actually be difficult to run into someone from your past. Although almost every street corner is a reminder of something, there’s also the human past that’s the most trying of it all to escape and with which to deal. Even if I haven’t been spotted in return, I have, on a fairly regular basis, seen someone I’d rather not see. The sight leads to nausea, breaking out into hives, instantaneous sweating and sometimes me running to the curb so I can vomit. It’s not pretty.

In recent months, I have made an effort to steer clear of any possible Swede type hang outs. I have bowed out of particular venues where my favorite bands were playing because I knew he’d be there, and I’ve given up on my favorite sushi joint in the five boroughs, Momo, because it’s right off the L train’s Morgan stop and is his favorite as well — not to mention just a few blocks from his place. And have I already covered the fact that of all the office buildings in all of New York, his is across the street from the The Gloss‘? It’s like Casablanca but with less piano and far more cocktails.

However, after seeing him on his bike last week, which resulted in me walking into a lamp post then dry heaving into a garbage can, I have decided that this can no longer be. Why should I have to go without seeing my favorite bands playing live and Momo’s killer Mexican Bomb roll because he’s an asshole? I shouldn’t.

So as someone who is on the brink of recovery (said the girl whose BFF is denial), I have figured out how I should handle running into him if it happens. Of course, it’s bound to happen. In a city of this many people, how could it not happen? [Insert eye roll here.]

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    • Lindsay Cross

      I sing “Smile” to my daughter every night when she’s falling asleep. That and the Goodnight Song from Lawrence Welk Show.

    • Scarelett

      Your advice is wonderful and thank you. I am making a cake for a friend who is graduating nursing school, and I’m 99% sure this will be the first time I will run into a ex of mine. If i can remember the “Be polite and classy” stuff my life will be perfect. I’m over the alcoholic jerk, I want to be the lady and remain the lady if gets drunk. BTW Nurses rock!

    • Lindsey

      I live near Momo. I dated a Swede once too! For a long time after I broke up with him I felt the same way when I’d run into him. It just takes time.

      • Amanda Chatel

        So I’m assuming you’ve been to Momo and can see why this is detrimental to my stomach (and heart?)

    • Ellen W.

      I once wandered off in the middle of a conversation with an ex because I had just remembered that he was an asshole. It was pretty funny.

    • Lindsey Case

      Oh yes. Momo is fantastic.

    • Maggie

      Running into an ex sucks, no matter what scenario it’s in. Some advice my Mom gave me that I try to stick with is “Let them see how amazing your life is without them.” So laugh, smile, and even if seeing them is killing you, act like your life is fucking fantastic and make them feel like they’re missing out. And you’re totally right Amanda, why should you give up things/places you like just because of some asshole ex? You shouldn’t. Do what makes you happy!