How to handle running into an ex who dumped you: 15 practical tips

There are few things more painful (and humiliating) than being dumped.

Not only do you lose the person you love, your self-esteem and sense of pride are also crushed to pieces.

Many can move on from this, but some just can’t, especially if they consider their relationship truly special.

If you still have feelings for your ex who dumped you, here are some practical tips when the fateful day comes that you run into them:

1) Don’t feel small.

As difficult as it may be, don’t feel too bad about what happened. Yep, even if you think you’re the cause of the break up.

Hold your chin up. You can’t keep feeling guilty for your mistakes or sorry for yourself forever.

Yes, it feels awful when someone loses interest in us or gives up on us—how can we not feel like we’re the most uninteresting, most unlovable person there is?—but keep in mind that while you may feel that way, it simply isn’t true.

And even if you are indeed such a horrible person as to deserve what you get, then here’s a silver lining: by acknowledging that you were indeed horrible, you’ve already taken the first step into becoming a better person.

Most importantly, the two of you are just human. You both have your imperfections and your hopes. Perhaps things seemed good at the start, but the many little differences that cropped up later on proved you wrong. And that’s okay.

But it is what it is. People change, and life goes on. So don’t feel small. It’s not your fault. In fact, they should be the one who should feel bad for leaving you.

2) Don’t feel ashamed of the things you did to move on.

Unless you made a big mess that utterly ruined their life, you have nothing to be ashamed of.

You may have been a little pathetic, but isn’t that what we become when we’re deeply hurt by someone we love? You just did what most broken-hearted people do!

Don’t be ashamed of having loved them and trying to make things work. To beg them to stay, or to stalk them and to wallow in jealousy… especially if they found someone else.

Don’t be ashamed of writing down all the bad things they have done for you and exaggerating them in your diary, just to make sure you hate them through and through. We all have our ways of coping.

Yeah, you might have not been the classiest person on the block, but who cares?

I encourage you that instead of feeling shame, feel proud of yourself. You hurt deeply because you loved deeply…and that’s something not many people can do.

3) Psych yourself that it wasn’t a big deal.

Of course your breakup was a big deal for you—still is—but you have to condition yourself that it isn’t.


Because that can help you become more calm and graceful when you bump into your ex.

When this happened to me, what worked was I tried to look at the big picture. I zoomed out and told myself that our relationship was just a small chapter of my chapterful life…that I still have a lot of things to do, people to meet, goals to accomplish.

It’s hard to convince yourself of this when you’re on the floor, bawling at 3am while you’re looking at your old photos, but you have to. It makes moving on easier, and you really don’t have much choice.

When I finally met my ex, I was cool as a cucumber and thought “Geez, why did I cry buckets over this person?”

And you know what’s great? I actually believed the script I was telling myself and got busy with my life. That’s the effect of choosing the right mindset.

Listen. You still have your whole life ahead of you. This is true. It’s just hard to believe this when you’re still in love.

4) There’s no need to impress your ex.

There’s no need for you to get defensive about your life right now, or to describe to them just how you’ve begun to manage your life a lot better than before.

And let’s say you became successful and you’re waiting for this day to come to show them how great you are. I know it’s tempting to update them about your milestones and achievements so they’ll regret leaving you, but hold your tongue.

You don’t have to prove your worth, and neither should you brag.

Let them discover it on their own. It’s more impactful that way.

Besides, your own self-worth should not be tied around making this person approve of who you are—it should be determined by how you see yourself and your accomplishments.

Besides, they’re the one who left you. So it is they who should work harder to get to know you again.

If you just have a chit-chat at a party and you use your fifteen minutes of fame to talk about how good your life is and just how many achievements you’ve earned, you’ll turn them off.

Think about it—from another person’s point of view, you might be seen as either desperate or a braggart.

Of course, if they ask you about your life and they’re insistent, share away. Otherwise, just keep your achievements to yourself for now.

5) Keep the convo light.

Even if you still have feelings for your ex, stay away from serious topics like “Why did we really break up?” or “Do you still love me?”

You’re not crazy or desperate. Keep your dignity intact.

They’re the one who dumped you. They should be the one initiating these kinds of talk if they really want to.

Even if you’re naturally a direct and upfront person, stop yourself. The ball is not in your hands. What you have to do is be cool and composed instead.

You want to be approachable so if they still have feelings for you, they won’t be intimidated. But try with all your might not to initiate.

Talk about the latest news, about each other’s hobbies, about the weather…whatever else. But keep it light.

6) Be the one to leave this time.

The first meeting will be awkward, especially if it happens by accident.

You might be walking your dog in your PJs and you see them walking your way with their date. You might be in a rush to pay for your groceries and they’re the one in front of you.

Don’t wait for the silence to get awkward. Instead, when the convo is about to die down, prepare to be the first one to say bye.

But let’s say you’re at a party and you can’t just exit.  When they ask a polite “How are you?”, don’t go on and on and on. Just keep it short and sweet. Not as short as “I’m good, thanks” but not as long as a diary entry either. Ask them back, say it’s good catching up, then head to the salad bar.

Keeping things short will make you more attractive to them. It’s a psychological fact.

If you seem not too eager and you’re the one who has to say goodbye, they will be curious about you. And if they still have interest in you, they might desire you more and start chasing you.

7) Re-spark their interest (but do it with class!)

Let’s be real. Whether we still like them or not, we want our ex to desire us again especially if they’re the one who dumped us.

So how can you do this exactly?

Easy as pie! Re-spark their romantic interest in you.

You might think it’s impossible because they broke up with you for a reason. Besides, you’re now so unattractive to him after all the things you said during the break-up, right?

You can turn it all around.

There are psychological tricks to make your ex desire you again as if it’s the first time you met each other.

I learned about this from Brad Browning, who has helped thousands of men and women get their exes back. He goes by the moniker of “the relationship geek”, for good reason.

In this free video, he’ll show you exactly what you can do to make your ex want you again.

No matter what your situation is — or how badly you’ve messed up since the two of you broke up — he’ll give you a number of useful tips that you can apply immediately.

Here’s a link to his free video again. If you really want your ex back, this video will help you do this.

8) Be graceful especially if they’re with someone new.

Even if I was already over my ex, it was still a punch in the gut when I saw them with someone new.

It can even make you want to vomit.

What you have to do is be graceful and if it’s hard for you, you have to fake it. If you love yourself, you have to keep it together.

You don’t want them to laugh about you, don’t you? You want your ex to think of you fondly until the next day.

So try to smile even if you feel like punching a wall. Pretend that you’re not at all affected. Don’t worry, these encounters only last for a few minutes so you won’t be faking it for a long time.

Be careful not to overdo it, though. Don’t be overly-friendly with their new beau. That’s uncomfortable for everyone.

9) For the love of all that is holy, don’t flirt!

So let’s say you met each other in a bar. They’re with their friends, you’re with yours.

Don’t start winking at them after your third drink!

You have to remember that they broke up with you. To clarify: They broke your heart!

You owe it to yourself to save a little something for your self-worth. You’re a catch and the best way to show this to your dumper is to show them that you’re not readily available.

Sure, talk to your ex when they approach you but don’t do any footsie, don’t touch their arm in a cutesy way.

Not only will this make them think you’re “easy”, they might just easily leave you if you decide to get back together because they didn’t exert much effort even after they dumped you.

They have to win you back. Period.

They have to know the consequences of their actions, and they won’t learn if you’re just readily throwing yourself at them.

10) If you’re still into them, drop hints that you’re happy to reconnect.

Maybe they regret leaving you but they’re too shy to reconnect with you because they’ve hurt you.

Rather than waiting for them to have the courage to approach you again, why not take things into your own hands and find a way to get through to your ex?

It will encourage him to get back together with you. And sometimes, that’s all you both need.

I mentioned Brad Browning earlier – he’s an expert in relationships and reconciliation.

His practical tips have helped thousands of men and women not only reconnect with their exes but to rebuild the love and commitment they once shared.

If you’d like to do the same, check out his excellent free video here.

11) Don’t give them the cold shoulder.

It’s hard not to feel bitter over being dumped, especially if it hasn’t been that long since your break-up and  if they meant the world to you.

So it can be hard to resist giving them the cold shoulder when you bump into them in the streets—to pretend you don’t know them, or that they don’t exist in the first place.

Maybe it won’t even be a conscious choice. You might be so overwhelmed by emotions that you are unsure how to act, and end up snobbing them by accident.

That’s why you must be prepared for the chance that you might bump into them randomly in public, and train yourself to avoid freezing up so that you can be civil towards them. Friendly, even.

This has the upside of showing them that you’re a more mature person than most. That you’re willing to tolerate them despite them leaving you behind, instead of completely erasing them from your life.

Maturity is sexy, so show him just how sexy you can be.

12) Remove them from the pedestal.

It’s natural to imagine that your ex is better than they actually are, especially if they left while you were still madly in love with them. And it’s also easy to obsess over the idea of “getting them back.”

Try to look beyond that.

Take the time to sit down and ponder their flaws. Think about the reasons why they might have left, and even the many little things they’ve done to hurt you. Think of the times when they’ve made you angry or sad, but have forgiven simply because you love them.

Don’t be alarmed if thinking like this makes them look less attractive in your eyes. That’s the point!

Think of it as a defense. A way for you to come to terms with their departure and to temper your expectations of them.

This way, the next time you meet on the street—or hang out together, if it comes to that—you won’t be so heartbroken or disappointed.

13) Don’t romanticize the encounter.

It’s easy to think of an encounter with an ex that you haven’t quite gotten over as a miraculous event—a meeting ordained by the very heavens themselves.

But think about it. Is it really the case?

Assess if you really want to be with them again. Think back on the reasons why they broke up with you, and how. Do you think you two are truly meant to be together again, given what happened? Are you willing to get hurt all over again, just to be with them?

Sometimes there’s just no deeper meaning behind you bumping into your ex.

No “my ex planned this” or “this was the will of the universe”—sometimes the two of you just so happen to be in the same place at the same time.

14) Don’t ask for closure if you’ve already moved on.

Closure is overrated. In fact, most of the time it’s just an excuse for one or both of you to get back together.

What is closure for, anyways? If you’ve already moved on, you have nothing to gain from letting them know. And if they’re the one who dumped you, they have probably gotten you out of their mind for a while now.

In the end, asking for closure at that point is like asking for a bucket of seawater in the middle of the ocean —it’s redundant and pointless.

That’s not to say you should be cold towards them, or that you should avoid being friends with them again. But don’t think it’s necessary to bring up the past for discussion as ‘closure’.

15) Rewrite how they see you.

Let’s face it. Your ex leaving you behind most likely means that they’re convinced that you won’t work out. That there’s something about how they see you that brought them to that conclusion.

Maybe you have a hunch what that ‘something’ is, and try to logic your way into convincing them otherwise. But no matter how hard you try, they somehow end up arguing with you or asking you to shut up about it.

When someone tries to convince you of something, it’s human nature to always come up with a counterargument.

Focus instead on changing the way they feel.

To do this, simply change the emotions they associate with you and make him picture a whole new relationship with you.

In his excellent short video, James Bauer gives you a step-by-step method for changing the way your ex feels about you. He reveals the texts you can send and things you can say that will trigger something deep inside them.

Because once you paint a new picture about what your life together could be like, his emotional walls won’t stand a chance.

Watch his excellent free video here.

16) Just be yourself.

One of the most powerful things you can do is to simply be yourself.

Don’t try hiding who you are just to make them regret leaving you, or pretend to be someone you’re not just so that they’ll miss you.

Let’s say that you once used to fight over pets. Let’s say that you loved cats and hated dogs, whereas they in turn loathed cats and loved dogs.

Well, there’s no need to hide that t-shirt of yours that proudly says “I love cats!” or making a big deal about how you suddenly love dogs now.

You can’t keep a mask up forever, and pretense will only leave the two of you disappointed should you hit it off somehow. Fake it ‘till you make it might be a thing, but it’s best avoided in relationships of any kind.

Besides, if the two of you are meant to be, then surely they’ll surely find a way to appreciate you for who you are.


It can be tough to deal with bumping into an ex who had dumped you. In all likelihood you’ll have a lot of emotional baggage to unpack and settle.

With some practice, you can wrestle that mess into submission and manage being friends with your ex. Maybe win them back little by little, or prove that their preconceptions about you were wrong.

But if you really want to get your ex back, you’re going to need a bit of help.

And again, the best person to turn to is Brad Browning.

No matter how ugly the breakup was, how hurtful the arguments were, he’s developed a couple of unique techniques to not only get your ex back but to keep them for good.

So, if you’re tired of missing your ex and want to start afresh with them, I’d highly recommend checking out his incredible advice.

Here’s the link to his free video once again.


Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash has years of experience writing relationship articles for single females looking for love. After being single for years with no hope of meeting Mr. Right, she finally managed to get married to the love of her life. Now that she’s settled down and happier than she’s ever been in her life, she's passionate about sharing all the wisdom she's learned over the journey. Pearl is also an accredited astrologer and publishes Hack Spirit's daily horoscope.

“My husband is in love with another woman but wants to stay with me” – 10 tips if this is you

What to do when you’re dating a woman with no ambition