I'm in my late 30's. I've been dating since I was 16. The number of ex-boyfriends I've accumulated over the years is quite impressive. Or alarming. Or disheartening. Or unfortunate. Or distressing.
Yeah, I'm gonna stick with impressive.
I live in Salt Lake City which, ya know, tries so very hard to be a real city, but just doesn't quite pull it off. It's the kind of city that just barely got a Dunkin Donuts and is still working out the kinks in our public transportation system so we'll stop killing pedestrians approximately once a week.
It's the kind of city that simply isn't big enough to hold me and my plethora of ex's. Which is why, for those of you who were kind enough to move out of state, I sincerely thank you for that.
For those of you who stubbornly insist on not uprooting your lives and continue to dwell in Zion at the cost of my personal comfort and overall contentment, well, that's just plain selfish. It's no wonder it never worked out.
I'm not sure what kind of trickery the universe is using to mess with me, but it seems I've been running into ex boyfriends with disturbing regularity. The most recent, I haven't seen for 15 years or so. Years which have not been kind.
I was leaving my grocery store. Yes. MINE. He was walking in. We made eye contact while passing each other. The eyes looked familiar but more recognizable was the cowlick in his hair that still refuses to be tamed.
I turned around to get a better look and he had done the same. That's when it clicked. I won't get into the other reasons why I had a hard time identifying this person. That would just be mean and every so often I have days where I'm not a huge asshole. Today I'm just a medium sized asshole.
We hugged hello and caught up on each others lives. Turns out he works directly across the street from MY grocery store. Unacceptable and certainly inconvenient.
It's not that I hate all my ex's and would rather scoop my eyes out with a melon baller rather than ever have to see them again. It's just so awkward. Especially when you run into another one of them while they're with their new significant other they've recently married. The same significant other they dumped you for while you were out of state serving a mission. What? I'm totally over it.
How to Avoid Running Into Your Ex
Breaking up is hard. Breaking up in a small town, well that can just be downright miserable. You have all of the heartache, emptiness, emotional eating and drinking with the heightened chance of frequently running into your ex.
Running into your ex is something you imagine doing months down the line when you're looking fabulous, in an outfit that says, "I'm effortlessly amazing," and you've got some sweet man candy on your arm. But you don't want to run into them in the beginning, on a regular basis and especially not when they are with another girl. It makes cutting the emotional ties that much harder and can just be annoying, so how do you avoid them, especially when the town you live in is rather tiny?
Avoid going to all your old haunts--
Yeah, that spot you like be the lake is pretty, the restaurant with the fancy bread is delicious, the bar with the skeeball machine is a lot of fun and the Adam & Eve toy store brought you a lot of fun, but they are also places that the two of you went to all the time. Going there will just bring up old memories and liken your chances of seeing your ex. No need to make this like a divorce case by dividing your favorite locations. Just give them all a break, find new restaurants and come back after you feel like you've given them the proper time off they needed.
Let go of their friends--
This can be a hard one. A relationship naturally leads to the blending on friendships. His friends love you, your friends love him, that's just the way it is. In a perfect world, we could all continue hanging out and there'd be nothing but butterflies and sunshine, But it's not a perfect world. Severing the friendship is a surefire way to avoid your ex as well as avoiding feelings of resentment and jealousy from your ex.
Blocking all of their social channels--
These days, you don't have to go to the mall to run into your ex, you can run into them on the internet and suddenly, with one click, your whole world can come crashing down. Removing them from your life is important, so take the time to do one of two things: delete them from your Facebook, Twitter feed, and Instagram, or change all of their settings to hidden and limit their access to you. This will give you the ability to have a late night stalking session when you're PMSing, but keep them from invading your life daily. You also won't have to see their check-ins or photo uploads of where they've been.
Avoid areas they live and work in--
At this point, you have become accustomed to hanging around and driving through the areas your ex lives and works in, but being accustomed to it doesn't mean you have to go there. Find new routes to run your errands and get around town. Don't drive by their house just because that way is faster. You'll look crazy and undoubtedly see them. At first, you'll like it, but then you'll see them getting into their car with a girl and all that sneaky happiness will go right out the window. So skip their street and office park and discover new, ex-free roads.
Pick up new hobbies--
You guys built a life together and in turn, picked up new hobbies together. Visiting wine vineyards and going to yoga was fun, but consider trying new activities for awhile. This will help you meet new people, maybe even a new dude, give you new interests and most of all, help you avoid your ex.
Running into your ex is inevitable. It's going to happen at the most inopportune time--you know, when you're hair is a hot mess, you're holding a giant Slurpee and you've just lost your job. That doesn't mean try to be your most excellent self at all times, waiting for that moment. Just live your life like you usually would and implement some of the steps above to avoid your ex as much as possible.