How Do I Act When I Run Into My Boyfriend’s Ex? Dear Betch…

Dear Betch,

This is probably THE most trivial question you'll have ever received but my friends have given me different opinions and I want a betchy answer… Anyway.

I’ve been going out with this guy now for a few months and everything is great, we’d been friends for ages beforehand as we’re in our last year at the same University. So he has this ex who used to come and visit him loads and hang out with our group, so as a result I got to know her – she’s actually pretty cool and we got on well. Obviously after they broke up (he dumped her) she hasn’t been back to visit and I haven’t really been in contact with her apart from the occasional passive-aggressive like on Instagram. Fast forward a few months and I’m now going out with her ex, and I’m 100% sure I’m gonna bump into her at some point as she is in my wider circle of friends…. And I’ve seen her name on the guest list for a couple of events I’m going to in the next few weeks.

My question is; how do I act when I see her? Some of my friends have said to say hi and act like nothing’s changed, or to face up to the situation and talk about it/apologise. Others have suggested I just ignore her because she probably fucking hates me. Problem is I do feel slightly bad but at the same time I don’t want to come over all Nice Girl because I haven’t reaaalllly done anything technically wrong as I was only friends with her through him.

I would normally go for the ice-cold approach with a boyfriend’s ex but as we have so many mutual friends I don’t want to give her too much ammunition to talk shit behind my back. On the other hand I don’t want to be too friendly in case she thinks I want to be mates and we end up in a bizarre Ally/Martha Notebook situation where I end up cooking her dinner.

I have no fucking idea why I even care about this.

Best wishes from across the Pond

Ello guvnah,

Def not the most trivial question I’ve ever received, do you read the shit people submit to this column?

Now, onto your question. You’re putting a little too much thought into the feelings of a girl you don't know well, let alone were not even friends with. So your first piece of advice is to stop giving a fuck. You got the guy while she’s stuck with passive-aggressively Instagramming, you’re clearly winning in this scenario and everything else is just gravy.

I need you to re-read this until you believe it: you have nothing to “fess up to” or apologize for. Doing so implies you’re doing something wrong, which you aren’t. Like, what would you even say? “Sorry I’m dating your ex even though you and I were never friends to begin with so it’s not like I broke the rules of feminism?” “Sorry you’re bitter and on the track to dying alone under a mountain of pizza boxes?” Like…no.

As for when you run into her, you don’t want to be overly friendly because that will come across as fake, but if you ignore her completely it will make you look like you give too many fucks.  Think about it: you have to REALLY feel some type of way about someone in order to ignore them TO THEIR FACE. So here’s how you cultivate the perfect image of “not giving a fuck but not being a bitch.” Engage, but don’t initiate. If she asks you how you’re doing, you can have a quick stop-and-chat, but don’t like, find her from across the club to catch up. But if you do that thing where you’re crossing paths walking in opposite directions, don’t avoid eye contact and pretend like you don’t see her two feet in front of you. That’s just cowardly. You don’t need to pull her into a hug, but a simple nod or “I acknowledge you” look will do just fine.

After that, take a bunch of shots and get blackout. You earned it.

Congrats on the win,

The Betches

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