How do I deal with my ex?

Some background, some drama

Everyone knows breaking up is hard to do. But staying in contact with your ex following a breakup? That’s where things get really tricky. By remaining in each other’s lives, you run the risk of a post-breakup rendezvous, holding onto feelings for your ex and in general delaying your ability to heal and move on quickly (and without additional heartache).

Do’s and Don’ts

Every person deals with a break-up in his/her own way. Of course, there are no golden rules established. The “How Do I" series tries to list down a few Do’s and don’ts to guide you and help you in dealing with your ex.


  • Creating new boundaries is your best defence after a breakup. Thus, no phone calls, no e-mails, no texting and definitely no late-night visits however painful it may be initially. Both of you need time to heal and move on.
  • You loved, you lost and now you are in mourning. Avoid being each other’s crutch and seeking comfort in each other. Instead seek a support system from your inner circle of friends. To heal and move on, you are going to need help. Shut the door on all opportunities to help each other heal following the breakup.
  • There is usually uncomfortable fallout from most relationships. Be patient and give your ex (and yourself) a little space to make appropriate adjustments.
  • As long as your behaviour is appropriate and you don't favour your ex over current partner, being friends with an ex can be a good thing.
  • Make sure you set proper boundaries with your ex and are open with your new partner about how you want to deal with your previous relationship. Having everyone on the same page will prevent destructive events from occurring.
  • Handle the dreaded run-in with your ex with class. Even though the pain may still persist, it’s important to maintain dignity and be polite. Do not use the run-in as an excuse to reconnect.
  • After a breakup, the best rule of thumb is to avoid all contact with your ex for at least six months. Take this time to heal and move on.


  • Don't flaunt your new partner. If you have found someone new keep them out of reach with your ex. This kind of interaction can be painful for both the old and the new partner and make your life more difficult if either feels insecure or angry.
  • Don't put down your ex in front of others. If you speak in a derogatory fashion about someone you once loved, it reflects badly on you.
  • Don't talk business at family gatherings. If you see your ex at a family event, be polite, but don't try to talk about "relationship business" issues. These discussions are best kept private and between the two of you.
  • Don't threaten, name call or belittle. Having a mature and respectful relationship with your ex is healthy for you, for them and for your current relationship. If you are not in a place where you can be emotionally stable around your ex, communicate via e-mail or through a third party until you both have calmed down.
  • Don’t indulge in Online Ex-Bashing after a breakup. It’s natural to feel some residual anger, resentment, bitterness, etc. after the break-up and go online and spew in front of millions of readers/viewers. Don’t do it!

Last words

Letting uncomfortable feelings about a past relationship rule your life is such a waste of energy. Your ex still has a few good qualities so keep those in mind when you communicate. Usually if someone is treated with respect he or she will return the favour. Learn your lessons and focus on the good that's yet to come. Holding on to anger and resentment will only serve to bring everyone down.

Sources and citations