There are a few universal truths that apply to unexpectedly seeing an ex in a public place. The first truth is that it will happen when you least expect it. The second truth is that you have no possible way of knowing how you'll react in the moment until it actually happens. Here are 12 feelings you can 100 percent relate to because they will happen when you see your ex in some random place when you thought they'd never be, because yes, that is how it always happens.
1. Silent panic because even though you thought you were totally over it and it was all fine, it's absolutely not fine.
Any chill you thought you had is now gone. Running into your ex when you least expect it is the ultimate gut-check on how truly over it you are, and nothing is worse — nothing — than having to face the fact that you aren't as cool and good as thought you were.
2. Floods of gratitude and a momentary belief in fate when you realize you look incredibly hot in this moment.
You can't spend the rest of your GD life looking like a perfect angel just in case each day is the day you run into an ex, but nothing beats the satisfaction of having one of those unexpected run-ins on a day when you were already looking very slick for a big meeting, or better yet, a date.
3. Immense fear of having to face someone you were potentially not super nice to.
If you're the person who dumped him, or *whispers* ghosted him, a run-in could mean having to have a closure discussion that TBH you know you're trying to avoid. Maybe wear camouflage or a disguise everywhere you go for a few weeks, just to be safe.
4. Satisfied AF because he looks like the trash pile that he is and you do not regret this decision even a tiny bit.
Give yourself a high-five, or do something equally lame but triumphant, and celebrate having one less bad man in your life.
5. Panic that his suggestion to "catch up sometime soon" is going to become real and all your hard work getting over him will be undone.
WHAT KIND OF MIND GAME IS HE PLAYING WITH THIS COMMENT?! You have every single permission to just block his number and pretend he doesn't exist.
6. Extreme anxiety about holding your emotions together because the only thing worse than not being over him would be him knowing you're not over him.
Like, your friends might have to deal with your crying mess every other night and that's fine, but that doesnot mean he is allowed to know you still sleep in his old T-shirt (only sometimes) (when you're really sad).
7. Real sadness because you just realized you don't know who this person is anymore.
This is someone you once essentially shared a life with, but not anymore, and you often don't realize how out of touch you two became until you see your ex, and they have a new haircut or a new pair of shoes you don't recognize or something. It's hard to deal with the fact that the person you were once closest with is now basically a stranger.
8. Relief that your communication with this person can end with a nod and a wave, and you don't have to entertain his bullshit anymore.
Remember all those parties he dragged you to with his dumb friends you never really liked anyway, or the stupid way his laugh sounded like a cartoon character laugh? These are no longer your problems, rejoice!
9. Physical sickness followed by disappointment because honestly how dare this person still make you feel this way?!
Not only is it bad enough that seeing your ex feels like a punch in the stomach, but realizing it feels like a punch in the stomach usually results in getting mad at yourself. Try not to sweat it — moving on doesn't follow a schedule.
10. Bittersweet happiness when you realize, yeah, they're actually doing fine without you.
The end of a relationship is such a weird feeling of sadness and relief, especially if you know you're ending things for the right reasons, but that doesn't mean coming face to face with your ex and seeing that they really are happier now won't sting a little.
11. Butterflies, because you maybe secretly hope that this could lead to getting back together.
Maybe it's just all those very cute romantic comedies you've been watching, or maybe it truly does feel like fate intervening, but running into an ex can be fun and flirty and exciting if the romance isn't totally dead.
12. A sense of peace that you don't hate or love this person anymore.
This really just means you're totally ~over it~ and have survived yet another breakup. Congratulations, please celebrate this feeling accordingly (by texting your group chat that you ran into your ex and felt the satisfying pang of nothingness, and it was the best feeling in the world).
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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.