By Dan Teano and Amanda Gabriel
Elm Staff Writers
This week Dan and Amanda are discussing how to deal with an ex on our small Washington College campus. Whether you see them on the way to class or in the dining hall, it is inevitable that you will run into them, so how do you overcome this uncomfortable situation? Check out what Dan and Amanda have to say.
Dan says… ‘There’s always more fish in the sea’ as the old adage goes. As much as that might be true, that phrase does not apply to our little pond in Chestertown. From the tables outside the library, to the upstairs area of Hodson, you can almost expect the faces you’ll see. You can count on catching your favorite professor having lunch at Toll, and your ex waiting for an omelette at 9:20 a.m. sharp. Though familiarity can lead to new friendships, in some circumstances, it can create a miserable reoccurrence of awkwardness.
Break-ups are not easy conversations to have, and they provide an experience that is even more difficult to handle. Clichés such as “life goes on,” or “I deserved better, anyway,” are decent reminders, but these quotes do not help someone face their now estranged ex. It is inevitable that you will see your ex at WC. So, avoidance is impractical, immature, and unnecessary. When seeing your ex on campus, there are a particular set of guidelines outlining the do’s and don’ts during that dreaded encounter.
Firstly, greet them and wish them a good day. Though you two might have ended on a spiteful note, it would be even more cold-hearted for you to act like your ex does not exist. A simple greeting, genuine smile, and friendly wave are all that’s needed to bid farewell to awkward tension. No, saying “good afternoon,” or “enjoy your weekend,” is not the same as “I’m slowly deteriorating without you.” If anything, your kindhearted gesture will reassure them that you are okay in spite of the many late night fights you had to endure.
Secondly, you should not ask about their love life. Once upon a time, their love life was your responsibility. Don’t go down that rabbit hole of obsessing over your ex’s newest crush. On a weekend when your suitemates are at the bar, you will be home on Facebook stalking your ex’s new fling and tweeting your petty anger, and nobody wants that.
Thirdly, you must resist the urge to put on a façade of lies. At the end of a break up, typically both parties feel like they are in competition to prove that they are much better off single. Someone may subtly boast only to make his or her ex feel worse without him or her. Take off the mask of lies and be yourself. If anyone knows who you really are, it’s your ex who you used to constantly send “good morning” and “good night” texts to.
Lastly, and most importantly, be thankful. In this life, it is hard to think of something lasting forever. Many things come and go, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be grateful for them. Being thankful for the time you enjoyed in a relationship is the only true remedy for awkward encounters, especially at WC, where our biggest advantage is being small.
Amanda says… It’s another Tuesday. You slowly roll out of bed and look in the mirror to assess how much effort you have to put into getting ready. You decide on leggings and a sweatshirt and push your hair back into a bun because you don’t want people to notice how dirty it actually is. Now you have just enough time to grab a quick breakfast before class. You walk out of your dorm and make your way to the dining hall and notice the pathways are mostly empty at this hour. However, in the distance, you begin to notice a guy walking towards you. As he gets closer, you realize it’s your ex. “Oh no,” you tell yourself. “He looks so cute in his Under Armour, and I literally just crawled out of bed. I look like I belong on the set of ‘Walking Dead.’ How could this be happening to me? The plan was to get him to regret dumping me, not confirm his decision.”
Whether you’d like to admit it or not, we all have had those days where all we want to do is lay in bed and binge-watch Netflix, but somehow we manage to get up and carry on. Of course, it is on those days that you run into your ex. If you’re looking for ways to avoid that awkward encounter, I have a few suggestions.
First, change up your route around campus. Instead of taking that same path to get around campus, get up a little earlier to take a different way to class, especially if you know that they will be somewhere at a specific time. You might even meet new people and find yourself a new partner. Second, surround yourself with friends and activities that you’ve never tried before. Definitely avoid activities that you know they will be attending or specific places they enjoy hanging out. If you stay busy and engage with other people and new activities, chances are you will not even notice if your ex is nearby.
Another way to avoid your ex is to find someone new to spend time with. A rebound will take your mind right off of them, and if you do find yourself walking past your ex on campus, just focus on your new love interest and avoid eye contact. Make sure to avoid his friend circle as well. This may be hard to do if you share mutual friends, but text them ahead of time and ask if your ex will be there.
In all honesty, even though avoiding your ex on a small campus sounds difficult, it doesn’t have to be. If possible, try to leave on a good note so that way things aren’t uncomfortable, but if that’s not the case, changing up your routine such as your routes to class and your activities should help you avoid running into them. However, there is the possibility that they are in the same class as you. In this case, these tactics will not help you in any way. So, for the poor souls who have to awkwardly see their exes every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, here is the advice I have for you: drop the class, drop your major, and abandon all hope.