After a breakup it’s entirely possible that you’ll bump into your ex-girlfriend while you’re out and about. Maybe you already bumped into her, and now you’re here doing your research, wanting to know what to do when you see your ex by chance like that.
It’s a completely valid thing to be thinking about (how to react to seeing an ex after a breakup), because how you react to seeing her by chance in the street or in a bar or something, could change the trajectory of what happens between you guys next. It will either make things worse, OR it may assist you greatly in your efforts to get her back.
Which one of those two possibilities any chance meet you have with her will turn out to reflect, will depend on HOW you react.
In this article I’m going to talk you through how you should react when you see your ex. I’ll even show you how to react if you see her with someone else (i.e. another guy). If you follow my guidance here, you’ll be able to make the most out of any ‘chance meet’ that may happen between you and this ex of yours.
How you should react when bumping into your ex depends in particular on 1 thing – whether or not you are currently running the no contact phase. In short, if you ARE in no contact, you’ll need to be a little quieter and more standoffish when you see your ex-girlfriend in public (but also friendly and non-bitter at the same time) than you would’ve needed to be if you’d already finished no contact.
On the other hand, if no contact is already over, then you’d be best served by being more proactive in engaging her in conversation, and taking the interaction as far as you can get it to go.
So that’s the short version of what to do if you bump into your ex-wife or girlfriend. Read on though and I’ll show you exactly how to react to this scenario for your particular set of circumstances. Then, last of all, I’ll show you what to do if you see your ex with someone else.
Okay so if you ARE in a period of no contact right now, click here to go further down the page and read my tips for what you should do when you bump into your ex. And if you’re not currently doing no contact, continue on just below and we will get right into what you should do if you run into your ex!
How to react when you see your ex (if you’re NOT currently in the No Contact Phase)
When you bump into your ex after no contact is already done, you can think of it as an opportunity – one that you wouldn’t have otherwise had. Because sure, you could always reach out to her by text and get in touch that way, but in doing that you’d effectively be starting to chase her. Chasing always puts you at a disadvantage.
But if you bump into your ex in public, nobody can be perceived to be chasing – it was purely a coincidence that you ran into each other.
So that’s a big advantage that comes from running into your ex by chance – you get to interact with her without a chasing dynamic being set… Which is a dynamic that usually causes women to lose interest when the guy is the one doing the chasing (it needs to be the other way around…if she finds HERSELF chasing a guy, her interest in him will actually rise further as a result of that).
Thus you can see it’s a GOOD thing if by chance, you run into your ex, and a conversation happens.
But what if you’ve seen your ex in public and she hasn’t spotted you yet? Should you go over and talk, or should you wait for her to approach? Or should you just leave it and carry on with your day?
Go over and start a conversation. The coincidence of being in the same place at the same time by chance is enough such that she won’t see your approach as chasing. You already finished no contact, so there’s no benefit to pretending you never saw her – go over and have a chat.
Once you guys are talking, you’ll want to use this opportunity (seeing your ex by coincidence) as a chance to show her that you’re quite content as a single guy, and doing well in spite of being separated from her.
But what does that involve doing? How exactly should you react?
It means greeting her with a calm and collected smile (without seeming overjoyed or relieved to see her, but more.. calmly upbeat), and having a lighthearted conversation about how you’re both doing, throwing the odd playful or teasing comment or joke in here and there.
Okay so that’s how you should react if you see her, but WHY is that the way to play it?
Well firstly, it’ll hammer her Dating Market Value (DMV) back down compared to yours. She did break up with you right, so I know that she came to see her own DMV as higher than yours (if she hadn’t then she wouldn’t have ended it). That discrepancy that she saw between your DMV and hers had become a problem to her.
But when she sees you by chance, and you seem fairly happy and okay about the breakup, this will push her ego down a bit because she can see that your loss of her hasn’t had the emotional impact (on you) that she may have thought it would have. She can see that there isn’t the sense of loss she’d hope to see in someone she broke up with, and this drops her value in comparison to yours. That’s because it makes her think, “if he’s this unaffected by the breakup, am I such a great catch after all?”
If she’s asking herself questions like THAT, then her DMV is dropping in comparison to yours, and this is a good thing if you want her back (Click the following link to learn how to get an ex-girlfriend back).
Of course, you and I both know that you ARE hurting as a result of losing her. Otherwise you wouldn’t be here on this website reading about this stuff. I’m just pointing out that seeming relatively unaffected by the breakup will work far more to your advantage than showing her how much you’re hurting would.
In fact showing her how much you’re hurting would make things worse, because it’d make her believe that you don’t really have any other options on her level in the dating market.
The second reason to react positively, warmly, calmly and even playfully when you see your former girlfriend in public, is because by seeming upbeat and fairly content and happy, she’ll consider that you may have found a replacement for her already. A HUGE part of how a woman judges a man’s value as a mate is whether or not he is “preselected” – do other women want him or not?
By reacting so calmly and positively to seeing your ex after a breakup, this will convey to her that you may possibly (or possibly not – she isn’t sure) have met someone else – because if you hadn’t, then why would you seem so content? And if she thinks you *may* have met and attracted someone new, that will increase your value in her mind. It may make her feel kinda jealous too.
Most guys believe that if their ex thinks they have someone new, that ex will lose interest. It makes sense logically doesn’t it: “He has someone new, so there’s no point in me staying interested in him”.
In practicality, that just isn’t how it works. The law of preselection dictates that if other women want you, SHE will want you too. She sees other women’s interest as like a sign of high value – “if they want him then he must be higher value – therefore I want him too.” Pretty amusing how the female mind works!
Something worth noting is that coming across calm, collected, lighthearted and playful to your ex when you see her in public is a lot more about your BODY LANGUAGE than your words. Women are great at reading people, and if your body language doesn’t match up with what you’re saying, she’ll see the incongruence clear as day. And if that happens, this chance meet would fail to work to your advantage in terms of getting her back.
What should your body language be like when you see your ex?
Confident, calm, strong and dominant. That means you should:
– Hold your head back
Most people lean their neck/head forwards, and it looks weak and unattractive to women. Make an effort to hold your head a little further back than feels natural. This maximizes your height and improves your level of conveyed confidence. Doesn’t matter if your confidence is shot – fake it til you make it. And you WILL make it, because when you stand, walk or sit with your head back, you’ll notice that it naturally makes you FEEL more confident. It’s hard to explain why, but just try it and you’ll see what I mean.
– Hold your shoulders down and back
Similar thing again here – most guys hunch their shoulders up and forwards, and it looks terribly weak and nervous. Simply holding your head and your shoulders back can improve your conveyed confidence (and thus your attractiveness level) by a lot more than such a simple change should be able to. You wouldn’t believe how much women read into this stuff. It has the power to get your ex showing signs her interest is returning.
– Smile with your eyes more than your mouth
A calm, composed and confident smile (read: sexy and masculine smile) comes from having a closed mouth, smiling eyes and raised cheekbones. When YOU smile, is your mouth usually wide open, showing off those pirly whites? That may come across as cute or sweet to women, but it won’t come across as attractive. Improve your smile as specified.
– Hands casually by your side or up to 80% in your pockets
Hands fully in pockets? No thank you. Not unless you’ll leave your thumbs outside the pockets (4 fingers i.e. 80% of hand inside, thumbs outside). Having your hands completely in your pockets conveys low confidence, like you’re trying to hide something. Keep your hands in a casual, relaxed position, and definitely don’t fold your arms – that comes across super defensive, which is never good.
What to say when you see your ex in public
So overall you’ll want to have an upbeat, lighthearted and playful conversation about how you’re both doing, and about any other lighthearted and fun topics that the conversation naturally flows into. Keep your body language on point too, and your ex will be sure to continue thinking about you after she gets home that day.
Actually, if the interaction goes well and she seems to be enjoying talking to you (but only if), and also if the time and place of the bumping-into is convenient, you should invite her to go grab a coffee or something. An insta-date. This way you’ll be able to capitalize on your chance meeting as much as possible, and rebuild the attraction between you in a comfortable neutral setting.
And if it goes REALLY well, and again if the time and place allows, you can even suggest you guys go home together, watch a movie or something, and maybe take things more intimate from there. This has been and can be done in these situations, and you should do it if the chance comes.
BUT we are getting a little ahead of ourselves…
What NOT to Do When You See Your Ex-Girlfriend
We now need to look at what NOT to do when you bump into your ex (if it happens after no contact). There are some big NoNo’s, and I think they’ll be easier for you to take onboard if I list them and then let you know WHY each one is something to avoid doing.
– Talk about the relationship/breakup, or try to talk her into getting back together.
If you bring up the relationship or breakup, that is instantly going to confirm (to your ex) your intent to try to get back with her.
Her getting firm confirmation of your intent like that would be a bad thing, because when she sees that you’re so fixated on having HER in particular as your partner, it conveys that you don’t really have any other options in the dating market who are on her attractiveness level. That’s the part which (in her mind) lowers your DMV. As a result she then feels less attracted to you, and while she herself couldn’t explain WHY she feels less attracted to you (because this stuff all happens subconsciously), what I just explained is the reason why.
If you try to talk her into getting back together when you see her, that’s going to come across needy and desperate. As you can imagine, that ain’t attractive either.
Instead of trying to talk or convince her back, you need to ENTICE and TEMPT her to come back of her own accord. Put out high DMV bait, and then let her come to you on her own.
Unfortunately it can’t and won’t work any other way. Trust me, I’ve been studying this stuff for many years – you can’t persuade a woman to come back (at least not for long), but you can TEMPT her into WANTing to come back to you. How? Please go ahead and take my chances of getting your ex back quiz. Once you have your results, tailored advice will be waiting for you.
Continuing on. When you see your ex, do not:
– Admit that you have been miserable lately, or be at all negative or hostile.
Negativity, either in speech or in body language, is ALWAYS an attraction killer. Always.
And when it comes to exes, negativity (bitterness, anger etc) just shows your ex how badly affected you are by the breakup. This raises her value compared to yours (she feels she must be very high value compared to you if she was able to affect you so badly and get you to lose control of your emotions like that).
And I know it’s only natural to feel some frustration about your ex after a breakup, but what I’m saying is, go ahead and express those feelings during the 23 hours and 50 minutes of the day in which you DIDN’T bump into her. Because like I said before, you’ll need to be positive in words and demeanor if you want this chance meet with your ex to work to your advantage. You only have to hold out until the interaction is over.
– (Do not) Give a clear answer as to the current state of your dating life
If your ex asks if you’ve got anything going on dating-wise, give an answer that doesn’t really allow her to conclude anything. The state of your dating life is something you want her to be guessing and wondering about, because this will put you on her mind more. And the more you’re on her mind, the more keen on you she’ll become.
So when she asks if you’re seeing anyone, one option you’ll have is to turn it into a joke. With a smirk: “Seven girls, one for each day of the week”.
The worst thing you can do is give a sincere and straight answer that tells her exactly how things are, especially if your answer is, “I’m not seeing anyone”. Like I said, it is much better for you if she’s left UNCERTAIN of how your dating life is right now.
Some guys get tempted into telling their ex that they’re not seeing anyone, because they want to prove to her their commitment and availability. The problem with this is that all you achieve when you show her that you’re committed and available to her, is the death of any healthy sense of CHALLENGE she may have seen in you. And the death of that challenge makes her bored of you – women NEED to see that challenge in order to stay excited about you!
I know it makes sense logically that showing your ex that you’re there for her and available to her would be a good idea, but in practice, given how attraction works in women, it’s a total disaster to do that.
You’re far better off NOT giving her the latest on your dating life, so that she can then wonder about it, and thereby increase her own level of excitement that she feels about you. That’s what you need her to feel about you – excitement – if you want to get your girlfriend back.
Telling her exactly what you’ve got going on dating-wise would kill the excitement and create boredom. It’s obvious what kind of an effect that has. Not a very good one!
Alright so if you bump into your ex AFTER having already done no contact, above in this article you have all the information you may need to make sure it goes as well as possible.
If, however, you still currently ARE in no contact, below you can learn what to do when you see your ex during no contact.
What To Do When You See Your Ex In Public DURING No Contact
If you’ve clocked your ex but she hasn’t seen you yet, just pretend you didn’t see her and carry on with what you were already doing, to minimize the chance that you have to interact with her. I advise doing this because during no contact, you’ll get far more value and progress (in terms of improving your chances of getting her back) from maintaining no contact, than you would from going over to her and starting a conversation.
So just carry on with whatever you were doing. This way 1 of 2 things will happen: she’ll either pass you by from not seeing you (or from pretending she didn’t), OR she’ll approach you. More on what to do if she approaches you in just a second.
But what if she’s so close by that it would have been impossible for you to NOT see her? Isn’t her knowing that you’re ignoring her a problem?
Yes, it’s a problem because it comes across bitter, angry and just generally negative if she can clearly see that you’re ignoring her. So if she’s pretty much in your line of sight and it’d be impossible for you not to see her, then acknowledge her with a smile and a nod, and then carry on doing what you were doing.
No need to approach her or say more than “hi”, just a casual and upbeat smile with a nod, and then carry on doing what you were doing. This way she’ll either go away (thus letting you continue no contact – which is good), or she’ll approach you and make conversation.
You would indeed be better off if she didn’t approach you, but if she does, the fact that SHE approached means that she is at least kinda chasing you, and this gives you some hand in the situation. It’s much better that way (she approaches) than if YOU had been the one to approach her, especially during no contact.
So if she does approach you, your priority will be to keep the conversation as short as possible, and to not come across as bitter or resentful at the same time. That means you should try to keep your demeanor upbeat and positive, and only answer her questions kinda vaguely. Most importantly though, you must FAIL to prolong the interaction any longer than she makes it go, by NOT asking her any questions in return.
If she really pushes the interaction as long as she can and asks you all sorts of questions, see my guidance above on what NOT to do if you see your ex. That way you’ll be able to avoid falling into any traps she may set, such as if she were to ask, “so are you dating anyone at the moment?” It’s useful to know how to answer that question and other similar questions, so I do recommend reading what not to do as linked just above, and overall reading this article in full, to make sure you’re absolutely prepared if you bump into her by chance.
Okay so by reacting as above when you see your ex during no contact, you’ll be able to resume the no contact period as quickly as possible – only without the downside of coming across in a negative light (which of course would harm your chances of getting her back).
Like I said before, during no contact you’ll get far more value and progress from resuming no contact ASAP, than you would from engaging your ex in a long conversation.
How is she likely to react to that?
So if you go ahead and react like as I just specified when you see your ex-girlfriend during no contact, what can you expect to happen? How is she likely to react?
Well, your reluctance to engage her in conversation will come across completely non-needy, which will convey preselection and high DMV. Your ex knows that if you weren’t preselected (in demand by other women) then you’d be trying harder to resurrect her interest.
That conveyed preselection and high DMV (that results from not really engaging her) makes it more likely that she’ll find herself becoming more interested in you again, and starting to chase you. And of course, that plays right into your hands!
If she continues to try to prolong the conversation herself after you failed to engage her in conversation, that is how you’ll know she’s starting to chase.
So as you can see, what I just described is absolutely what to do in these random bumping into’s with exes. Follow it to a tee if you do happen to see your ex, then watch your standing with her improve in the days after that!
What To Do When You See Your Ex With Someone Else
If you see your ex with another guy or a new boyfriend or some other kind of “replacement”, you would be best off pretending you never saw them, if possible. Just say to yourself, “there goes my old girlfriend”, and continue with what you were doing as if you never noticed them.
Because think about it, how much progress of any kind can you make with your ex, with him standing there?
You can’t – not at THAT moment – so she’s best avoided if that’s the scenario.
But if she gets so near to you that there’s not a chance that you wouldn’t have seen her, then you’d be best off acknowledging her with a smile and a nod, and then carrying on with what you were already doing. Because if she knows that you’ve seen her, and she sees that you completely blanked her, that will come across bitter and jealous, which obviously is bad.
So, if she’s come into your line of sight and is looking your way, it’s much better to give her a smile and a nod, and then carry on with what you were doing.
And if she insists on talking to you even with this other guy there, just react in the same way as I described for how to react when you see your ex during no contact. Give her short, unclear answers to her questions, fail to prolong or engage her in conversation (so, don’t ask her any questions), and keep your body language upbeat, strong and confident.
That’s really all you can do, because like I said before, how much progress can you really make with her when this new boyfriend is there? With him there, you gotta go into damage limitation mode, and that means playing it like I just said if you see your ex downgrade – be upbeat, strong, confident, but not very talkative.
What to do if you see your ex on Tinder, Bumble or any other dating apps
Obviously it’s not going to be very pleasant to see that your ex has put herself back into the mix in the dating market, especially online. There’s nothing you can directly do about it without coming across needy and desperate, unfortunately.
That said, doing nothing IS doing something. By not reacting to it (at least not in a way that she can see), she’ll pick up on your calm and non-needy attitude with regards to her being on dating apps. Because obviously if the app showed her to you, then it can just as easily show you to her too, right. So she’ll know that you’ve seen that she’s on there, and given that you won’t have reacted to that with jealousy, she’ll think you’re laid back about it.
That’s what you want her to think (that you don’t have a problem with it), because if she thinks you’re okay with her dating other guys, she’ll assume YOU have other options in the dating market too. If you didn’t, you’d have complained about her being on these dating apps.
Like all women, she likes men who have options. Perceived options conveys high value.
Should you contact your ex on a dating app? In short, no. I imagine there’s other channels of communication open between you from your past relationship, so use those. And if she’s blocked other forms of communication, it’s better to lay low for a while and do some no contact, than to resort to contacting her on tinder or some other dating app. When she’s feeling more open to communicating with you, she’ll unblock the other channels of communication.
You Now Know What To Do When You See Your Ex, BUT. How Do You Get Her Back After That?
You’re now prepared and ready in case you run into your ex. The guidance I’ve just given you applies to unexpected, surprise meetings in ALL public areas and places – work, in the street, coffee shops, etc etc. You can use my advice from this article pretty much anywhere that you might run into her, and you can even use it if/when you see your ex after a long time.
But after you’ve made any chance meet with your ex go as well as possible, how do you then capitalize on that progress, and make sure it leads to you getting her back? And moreover, if you DON’T happen to see your ex by chance at all, how are you supposed to get her back then?
Until I know your specific situation better, it’s hard to say. Please go ahead and complete my chances of getting your ex back quiz (takes 3-5 minutes). Once your results are in, there’ll be specific advice for you on the results page.