By Tara O' Malley

Well, you had your cry. You allowed yourself the day or two of “ugly”.

You went to the closest bodega, or Target, in pajamas or yoga pants, and bought a ton of comfort food, and ate it.

You laid in bed for a day, and then your girl friends came over with wine and you dished.

You are now at the stage where you have splashed some water on your face, some de-puffing cream on those under eye shadows, and you’ve re-entered the world.

Is your head held high? It better be.

Did you pull together a good outfit? You better have.

Hair on point? You better believe it, sister.

Good. Because the beginning of this entire prescription is to ensure you feel great, and when you look great, you feel great. Never underestimate this as a woman in life. The more often you follow this principle, the more often you will project maximum confidence.

Now, there are several different scenarios which could have led to your Ex Boyfriend dumping you, and I will address each of them in turn. But, there is one, over-arching dictate which applies universally to these scenarios, and it is:

You Treat Him As If He Is Very Insignificant To Your Life At This Point In Time

So you got dumped. Are you going to let that break you? Heck naw.

Be merciless.

Be dominant.

Be a fighter.

Go listen to the Christina Aguilera song “Fighter” a bunch of times. You know that song? It has some great lyrics, including a rousing chorus:

“I want to say thank you
Cause it
Makes me that much stronger
Makes me work a little bit harder
It makes me that much wiser
So thanks for making me a fighter
Made me learn a little bit faster
Made my skin a little bit thicker
Makes me that much smarter
So thanks for making me, a fighter”

It’s a fantastic anthem for those of us who triumph, and ensure this breakup is making you better, not breaking you.

In general, whenever you need a boost before you decide how to treat your Ex boyfriend, I encourage you to either listen to that song, or at least hear it in your head.

So, what’s your next move?

Hopefully, you have familiarized yourself with the concept of the No Contact Rule and you are committed to implementing it successfully. It’s the absolute cornerstone of getting your Ex back.

If, however, you are going to run into your Ex, either during No Contact, or after, you need to have a game plan. As they say, failing to plan is planning to fail.

So, I’m going to lay out a very simple process for you to follow. It’s foolproof, easy to execute, and effective. Before you read it though, I’ll explain why this is so effective. Pop some popcorn and pull up a chair. I’ll start with a little story about boys, girls, and happily ever after (ha!).

“The Ick”

Let me tell you about something I call “The Ick.” The Ick was coined by one of my college girlfriends, Peg, and refers to that feeling you get for a guy that you were interested in, but at some point, you just . . . . aren’t anymore. You are dating this guy in some form or fashion, whether casually or seriously. And, you don’t hate him, at least not at first. But, you begin to enjoy his company less, for some reason or another.

Maybe you are put off by his housekeeping habits, or personal hygiene habits.

Or perhaps, although he’s really hot, he’s really not very intellectual, and he bores the stuffing out of you and might embarrass you in group settings.

Maybe he doesn’t get your jokes.

Maybe he makes too many jokes.

Maybe he’s always late.

For me, once, my boyfriend of nine months repeatedly spoke disparagingly about his own sister, and this left a bad taste in my mouth that I stopped being able to overlook.

So, you start noticing other guys and comparing him to them, unconsciously, or consciously.

Then, you don’t want him to put his arm around you, or kiss you.
Or sit next to you. Or open your door. Or call you.

You have the Ick.

It’s like a Seinfeld skit…

His transgression might be less of a transgression than just a characteristic, and often is nothing we could blame him for! Nevertheless, you are less interested, and once you have the Ick, it taints things.

And so, what do you do? You call him less, or return his calls less frequently.

Now, ask yourself, what is the WORST thing this man could do, at any stage of the Ick?

You got it – be clingy, needy, come around more, give you MORE of his presence, MORE examples of whatever ickiness was putting you off in the first place. Let’s illustrate:

  • You feel the initial Ick but can’t quite put your finger on why. He senses something is wrong so he overcompensates by coming on stronger. This causes you to pull back more.
  • You are noticing other men and comparing them to him. He’s right there, being his annoying self, presenting himself for the unfair comparison you are surely mentally making, and unable to defend himself.
  • You don’t want his physical affection, so he seeks out more. You are now getting repulsed by his touch. Your positive memories of intimacy with him are being replaced by repulsive ones.
  • You pull back and stop calling or hanging out as much, so he texts and calls more, blowing up your phone. This causes you to see him as a nuisance that needs to be eliminated as soon as possible.
  • You breakup with him.
  • What was his best move? The opposite of all of that.

Why did I go through this example? I know you are smart enough to answer that on your own, but I’ll spell it out.

Men and women are verrrryyy different, but not when it comes to the Ick.

The only thing that can cure it is for the Ick-carrier to remove him or herself from your presence. At any stage of the process above, if the Icky guy had disappeared for awhile, you might have missed him and realized he had a lot of good qualities. Instead, you got sicker and sicker of him, like when you eat too many donuts.

In order to “disappear” after the breakup, we prescribe the No Contact Rule. If Ick was a factor in your breakup, as it is in many, the No Contact period helps remove the taint. That’s why it is so important that you stick to it religiously, otherwise, little tendrils of the Ick can creep back in.

Now, as I said, the Ick isn’t the reason for every breakup. However – no matter why a particular breakup occurred, if you are forced to have contact with your ex in a way that you cannot control (due to work or social settings), the risk for Ick to develop after the breakup still exists! You could regain some power through the No Contact Rule, only to squander it by not acting appropriately when you run into him in person.

How To Treat Your Ex When You Run Into Him

Therefore, let’s get to the meat of this article, which is how to treat your ex when you run into him after the breakup.

Now, as I mentioned, there are several scenarios you could be suffering through as you read this, and I’m going to address them individually.

  • He Dumped You For Another Girl
  • He Wants To Stay Friends
  • He Dumped You By Text, or Didn’t Give Any Reason
  • He Keeps Texting You Like Nothing Has Changed
  • He Says He Still Loves You

There may be even more than this, but these are the main ones we will delve into today.

So, as I mentioned before, the first order of business is to ensure that you look great and feel great. We will assume that you have to continue running into him on a regular basis. (Isn’t that the worst?)

There are a few universal rules to follow here, no matter what your specific situation is. Ready?

1. Look Amazing

Yes, girl! Let him drool over what he is missing out on! This is your time to shine!

Let’s face it, being in a relationship takes up time and resources that you can now redirect to yourself. Here are some ideas:

Give yourself permission to take extra time in the bathroom for beauty routines.

Buy a couple magazines and invite a girlfriend over to try new hairstyles.

Paint your nails regularly -it saves money at the salon and it’s fun!

Use those teeth whitening strips.

Give yourself facials. Exfoliate in the shower! Moisturize!

Do those squats and crunches in the morning and while you watch tv at night.

Spend some time browsing fashion blogs and revamping your closet to mix and match new outfits, and do a clothing swap with friends.

You know you didn’t have time for all of this when you were hanging with him all the time, so indulge yourself – you deserve it, and the results will be fabulous.

2. Always Be Classy

You will never regret taking the high road and holding your tongue, so when in doubt, smile and be classy. If you want to retain even the slightest possibility of maintaining a positive relationship with your Ex, and potentially getting him back, then you should be nice in your interactions with him. Ideally, you should be positive and show him that you are happy and enjoying life. Don’t be fake, or insincerely happy, but project as much confidence as you can. If you can’t be confident or happy, at least just be nice. That means no snarky comments, no sour facial expressions, and no obvious or veiled jabs at him.

What If… He Dumped You For Another Girl?

If your Ex dumped you for another girl, and you run into him, the way you act depends on whether you are still doing No Contact, or not. Definitely do No Contact, in case he had the Ick and you need to purge it!

If you are in No Contact, speak to him briefly and nicely, smile, then move along.

Go mingle and allow him to see you having fun, even if you are not.

If No Contact is over, you should talk to him, try to share a laugh together, and allow him to see what he’s missing, but always leave him wanting more. Naturally, you act like the entire situation doesn’t bother you whatsoever. Leave him thinking “Wow- I can’t believe she’s over me so quickly- did I make a mistake?”

As for the other woman? Never acknowledge the other woman’s existence unless she is literally standing there. If she is not there with him, do not bring her up or ask questions about her.

This is your mantra: She is really inconsequential or insignificant to you, because you have wasted no time moving on with your amazing life.

If she is in front of you, kindly greet her as you greet other amazing and strong women- quietly and warmly, look her in the eye, and smile. Then move on. You and her aren’t going to be friends, but you don’t need to be enemies. She should be intimidated by you, and wonder why on earth he broke up with you to be with her.

What If… He Wants to Stay Friends?

If your ex “wants to stay friends,” you should still enact a No Contact period and move into texting phase.

Do your best not to see him during No Contact, but if you do, follow the two universal rules: Looking Amazing, and Being Classy. That’s about as friendly as you need to be during No Contact.

If your long-term goal is to get your Ex back, then you definitely don’t want to be “friend-zoned.”
Resist his attempts to make you his buddy. Instead, you should impose a “flirty/friend-zone” technique on him. This involves being flirtatious on some occasions, then switching it up and treating him as you would any of your girlfriends on other occasions.

For instance, when you want to flirt, maybe mention that you are hopping in the shower from time to time. Guys can’t help but have the image of you undressing when you mention this. Then, when it’s time to friend-zone him, ask him his opinion on your outfit when you are going out with other people. Then go out without him!

You could also ask him for his help moving furniture or something similar, and when he shows up, have someone else there to assist as well. This shows him he’s not that special, and makes him want to work harder to be a priority in your life.

What If… He Dumped You By Text, or Didn’t Give a Reason?

If your Ex dumped you by text, or didn’t even give you a reason, perhaps he had the Ick. You’ll need to purge that. You can either give him the courtesy of a brief response, or you can move immediately into No Contact. The brief response should look as close to the following as possible:

“Thanks for letting me know how you feel. I wish you all the best. You can pick up your priceless records between 2-4 tomorrow when Megan is here.”

If he doesn’t have anything important at your place, leave that sentence out, obviously.

Your text, or verbal response, should be as emotionless as possible. Don’t bother asking for any of your stuff back unless you absolutely can’t live without it. You can go get it after No Contact period is over.

Then, proceed to ignore him for the period of No Contact.

Alternatively, you can just begin the No Contact, without responding to him.
Either way, when you run into him, be friendly, smile, and keep the contact brief.

Don’t pretend like you don’t see him.

Don’t try to engage him in a long conversation.

Just let him see you being happy and having fun, even if you aren’t.

After No Contact is over, when you do run into him, you can talk to him for slightly longer periods of time. You should reference the Ex Boyfriend Recovery Pro Book to find out exactly how to do that the right way. Ask him questions about what he has been up to, and take the opportunity to nonchalantly share with him what has changed about you that might surprise him.

You want him to leave these encounters thinking

“I forgot all these great things about her, and . . . she’s different, too . . . I totally messed up! I want her back!”

Free On Demand Coaching
Yes, please

What If… He Keeps Texting You Like Nothing Has Changed

If your ex keeps texting you like nothing has changed, the No Contact period will reset the situation between the two of you. Things did change when he broke up with you, and they changed drastically. You need to focus on yourself after a breakup, as laid out above.

If you allow him to keep texting you, and respond back like you always do, or even perhaps a little more coldly, you are showing that you accept this behavior from him.

Do not accept it.

Take control.

Be a “Fighter.”

You are the star in your own life story.

Don’t be letting him write it for you.

When you run into him, be sure to demonstrate that you have changed. Naturally, you will Look Amazing and Be Classy. Let him know about the new hobbies you are involved in, or the plans you have coming up. You know, the ones where you are meeting all sorts of cool people… where he isn’t invited.

Trust me, he’ll start wanting that invitation!

What If… He Says He Still Loves You

If you have one of these Exes who continues to profess his love for you after the breakup, do yourself a favor and disregard his words. You don’t want his profession of love, you want a committed relationship with him, right?

That requires action.

So… until you see action to follow up the profession, don’t get too excited.

Men are perfectly capable of springing into action when they are properly motivated. But, most humans take any excuse to conserve energy. It’s a survival skill. Your Ex will conserve his energy, and feed you words, like “I love you,” to keep you around and interested, while lazily declining to make an actual commitment to you.

There are various reasons a guy might do this:

  • He wants to continue using you as an emotional crutch but doesn’t want to put in the effort to be a good boyfriend
  • He likes the things you do for him, but doesn’t want to have to live up to your expectations.
  • He’s too depressed or lazy or immature to be in a relationship
  • He wants to date around but still keep you as an option while still keeping his bachelor staus

In any case, the right move is to make sure and pay attention to when his actions don’t match up with words.

When they do though… that’s when you reward it with your own effort and commitment.

In the meantime until that happens, don’t say “I Love You” back to him. Don’t call him pet names like “babe” or “honey.”

Don’t give him girlfriend benefits just because he is saying he loves you. When he finally decides that he’s ready to get back together and make it real, then you can do all of those things together.

So, to review, the first day of your breakup, you are allowed to indulge yourself in grief.

But, then, when you re-emerge from No Contact, you will have a solid game plan. Really spend time focused on bettering yourself and figuring out what you want to personally accomplish going forward.

Immediately implement the No Contact Rule. And, when you run into your Ex, always make sure you Look Amazing and Be Classy, and purge any possible Ick by showing off your best self.

When in doubt, listen to your theme song, and keep your eye on the prize!

Now that you are fully equipped with how to handle each situation, let’s talk about your particular situation. In the comments below, tell me about your situation and what you have done so far. Then, our team of experts will help you figure out what you need to do as your next step in order to get your ex back.