How to behave around your ex
December 5, 2012 2:41 AM   Subscribe

What should I wear and how should I behave at a dinner, where my ex will be with his new gf?

Hi all, I have already posted about my ex and our relationship which only really ended a month ago. I was overwhelmed by the support from the metafilter community and realised quickly that I had been treated very badly.

In my previous question I mentioned the dinner which is with a political party that we are both involved in. My ex is bringing his new 19 year old gf (he is 27), his parents and his friends. (euggh).

There were mixed responses about whether I should go but I think I'm ready to face it now and am taking a male friend. I may regret this...

Are there any tips, however, on how I behave, what I wear? I want to look good but not like i'm trying to look 19 (Im 26). I plan to ignore him or should I make a point of saying hello? Should I ignore his parents - we get on sooo well....

Any help would be really appreciated. Everyone here really helped me with my previous question, when I have a low point I still read those answers.

posted by artystar to Human Relations (58 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
What would you wear if they weren't going to be there?
posted by John Cohen at 2:44 AM on December 5, 2012 [24 favorites]

Act calm and confident, focus your attention on the positive forces around you. Dress well and elegantly.

Definitely acknowledge his parents and be pleasant and polite towards them. It'd be easier to speak to them when he's not nearby if at all possible. Treat them as individual people separate to him. That being said don't stay in a conversation with them for too long.

It's upto you if you acknowledge him or not. If you do just make it a nod of the head and leave it at that. Just remember that you do have power in the situation and give yourself that power.

(Also watch you don't drink too much)!
posted by Under the Sea at 2:52 AM on December 5, 2012 [15 favorites]

Wear something you won't fidget in, something you don't have to worry about too much.

Also, waterproof mascara in case you cry.
posted by spunweb at 2:55 AM on December 5, 2012 [5 favorites]

Best answer: My suggestion for these types of situations is always: be classy as Fuck.
(with the 'as Fuck' part invisible to the outside world)

Seriously though, hold your cards close. Don't be overly in their sightlines, but don't hide either. Wear something super tasteful and pretty, but show no skin (think sleek, elegant, a package that only someone really special can open). Put all your energy into being the partygoer that belongs at parties, at that to converse without being too personal or too deep, or too shallow and superficial. Ask questions about the things people seem to want to talk about, smile and laugh, offer to get people drinks, introduce people to other people, stand with people over here or over there or in a queue. Don't be loud and don't be sad. Fake it all the way if you have to. I find it helpful to write a few words on my phone so that if I get stuck, or sad, or self-conscious, I can look at it. Like I'm receiving an important text from an important person. My message to myself is usually "Classy as Fuck, babe." Which makes it true. And me smile.

Make a pact to be your own ally through the night, don't fight yourself. That can come later when you're exhausted and analyzing it all to death.
posted by iamkimiam at 3:09 AM on December 5, 2012 [89 favorites]

You have some really great advise here! This occasion screams classic "little black dress" maybe with some type of jacket - even a colored one. Be gracious to his parents - don't drink too much - this cannot be overstated! Remember, you are the adult - imagine how nervous a 19 year old must be (we were that age once)!

As far as ignoring him - that seems shallow. How hard will it be to say "hello, I hope you're doing well" and then move on. When it's over - they both will have nothing to talk about other than how you conducted yourself with grace.
posted by pamspanda at 3:39 AM on December 5, 2012

Response by poster: There is some really good advice here- thanks! Should I go up to his parents if they are on the same table as him and not on there own at any point, which I imagin si what will happen? Iamkimiam- I love this! I will definitely be writing myself a message like that. 'Classy as fuck babe'

pamspanda- I know it seems shallow but honestly I'm not sure I can being myself to that yet. I haven't put the whole story on here, but it is in my previous question. I honestly felt completely broken. This year has been horrendous, I've only just started feeling a little normal again and I used to be such a strong person. So I know its not mature but I'm not sure if I could manage it without tears :s I will of course respond if he talks to me and politely acknowledge him but not going to go out of my way.
posted by artystar at 3:54 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

artystar, you don't owe this guy anything. Remember this. You don't have to talk to him or even look at him if you don't want to. I would not approach his parents if they are on the same table as him (if you find yourself unable to speak to him it might look rude), but if you catch their eye you could give them a smile and a nod.

Be there as the classy, strong, independent woman you are. Breathe that feeling in and let it flow out of you. If you can't picture that for yourself, pick an awesome female character that you like and imagine you are her. On more than one occasion I've walked through parties thinking to myself, "what would Wonder Woman be doing right now?". The answer is usually: enjoying herself and not giving a fuck. You can do it.
posted by fight or flight at 4:04 AM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

He is now an acquaintance, and so are his parents; just some other human beings whom you happen to know. Acknowledge them like you would for any other acquaintances. That is part of being classy is all about.
posted by aroberge at 4:44 AM on December 5, 2012 [5 favorites]

You might cry?

Done deal - absolutely do not attend. Nothing will unravel your poise and planning than that. It will set you back in your recovery - don't make this an unnecessary test.
posted by Kruger5 at 4:44 AM on December 5, 2012 [11 favorites]

I just read your first post about this ... it may help if you go to this event thinking more about the new girlfriend and the parents than the ex. The ex sounds like a nightmare, be done with him, period. If your attitude is one of warmth for the parents and compassion for the new girl, behaving gracefully and with detachment will come easier. A smile and wave from across the room if you catch the parents' eye is enough, no need to go out of your way. Your ex has likely not changed since you were together, and that poor girl has quite a rollercoaster ride ahead of her. Just think privately "good luck, dear" and mean it. Compassion becomes you.
posted by headnsouth at 4:46 AM on December 5, 2012 [18 favorites]

Should I go up to his parents if they are on the same table as him and not on there own at any point, which I imagin si what will happen?

I wouldn't, although certainly nodding and smiling at them would be understandable. Why risk getting into a discussion with him? If you really don't think you're up to seeing him, I would either a) not go, b) have my seat moved to one out-of-line-of-sight if possible, or c) have an escape plan that lets you leave as soon as you need to.

Will you be able to bring a friend at all, or are you closer to anyone at the dinner? Having someone run interference for you can be a blessing, especially if they can quietly spread the word to mutual acquaintances to not bring the subject up.

Be classy is definitely the best advice. Something classic, something that you can be absolutely comfortable in, something with probably some structure to it (I would say a jacket rather than a pashmina, for example, just because the temptation to rearrange and rearrange and fiddle with it is nearly irresistible to me...)
posted by jetlagaddict at 4:47 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Might it help, if you see him, to think how incredibly fortunate you are to not be involved with a dismal human being? Bloody hell, what a punk..... The perfect person is not out there, but someone about 80 million times better than this jackass sure is.

In the context of the soiree, I'd ignore someone like that and if they tried to speak to me, quietly say something like, "Please leave me alone," and walk away.

No guess how close you were to his friends and parents, but to the extent that they wanna talk and you don't, there's absolutely nothing wrong with politely shutting 'em down.
posted by ambient2 at 4:53 AM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

If you're going to drink alcohol, have one drink then switch to non-alcohol for the next TWO drinks before having another alcoholic beverage. You'll have your male friend there to occupy you and support you, too. You'll do fine!
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 5:38 AM on December 5, 2012

Best answer: If his parents say hi to you, acknowledge them politely, but chances are you'll both want to avoid meeting.

Go to the party with the goal to mix and mingle with the other guests. Your ex may want to flaunt his new girl in front of you. I once had something similar happen. The guy, an acquaintance, came up to me and pretty much paraded his date in front of me and said, "What do you think?" I said, "Well, she's absolutely nailed the evening gown portion, but I'll wait for talent and swimsuit before making a decision." I mean, what are we? TWELVE?

Make some easy to achieve goals for the evening:

1. Meet someone born outside of the country.
2. Work the word "milkshake" into a conversation.
3. Compliment someone
4. Talk about cats in some way with everyone you meet.
5. The secret word of the evening is "Parameter" do a Pee Wee Herman if you hear it.

Whatever makes sense to you, but make it fun. This way you're focused on other folks, getting to know them, and not on your ex and whatever his deal is.

Oh, and have a bitchin' theme song in your head, something that makes you feel empowered, strong and beautiful. When you feel weird, or small, or like crying, have this soundtrack pounding. Listen to it on repeat on the way to the party. I'm sure there's one that resonates with you, but here are some examples.

1. Milkshake-Kelis
2. Beyonce-Crazy in Love
3. I Will Survive-Gloria Gaynor

Don't get so worked up about this. He's not your problem anymore and as I've said before, Fuck him if he can't take a joke.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:39 AM on December 5, 2012 [30 favorites]


I know it seems shallow but honestly I'm not sure I can [bring] myself to that yet. I haven't put the whole story on here, but it is in my previous question. I honestly felt completely broken. This year has been horrendous, I've only just started feeling a little normal again and I used to be such a strong person

I wouldn't call ignoring him "shallow", but it definitely is a reaction one normally only reserves for the very worst kind of people (heck, I've even found myself in situations where I acted normal when meeting someone I had, in my dreams, totally planned to ignore. Ignoring is hard work). If you feel that this is what's needed in order to control the situation, I (personally, in your place) would not attend. And even if you feel that you'd like to ignore him in order to make a statement, don't go.

If you go, iamkimiam is your guide.
posted by Namlit at 5:44 AM on December 5, 2012 [3 favorites]

Acknowledge the parents with a smile if your eyes meet across the room. You have then invited them to come over and say hi to you; especially if their son is anywhere near them, you should stay our of their corner of the room, and they'll know that. Show them a friendly face, but leave it to their discretion as to whether they'd like to come to you and initiate a conversation.
If they do, you tell them you're very glad to see them and how nice of them it was to come over and say hi. You do not mention the ex, or that you're avoiding him; you do not mention that you're sad, or try to pretend your life is perfect now that he's gone. Your answer to "how are things?" is "really pretty good, thanks!" followed by a 1-sentance story about something cheerful in your life (e.g. just finished a major work project, can't wait to see your nieces at Christmas, neighbor just got the cutest puppy, been really busy crocheting tea cozies for your aunties' christmas presents, etc)
posted by aimedwander at 6:00 AM on December 5, 2012 [5 favorites]

You should wear whatever you would normally wear to an event like this. It's better for you, I think, to make decisions which aren't part of a performance for your ex.

That said, reading your post and updates, it is painfully clear to me that you're not ready for this. Why are you planning to go? You're going to cause yourself unnecessary pain and it won't help you heal.
posted by J. Wilson at 6:01 AM on December 5, 2012 [5 favorites]

I would act like he's an acquaintance that you juuuuuuuuuust barely remember but you're not entirely sure why you remember them. Polite, but distant and as if you have very little relationship. "Oh, hi, yeah, good to see you! Merry Christmas! If you'll excuse me, I just saw Joe and I was on my way to talk to him ..."

If anyone says anything to you about him or your break-up or relationship say, in the most innocuous, neutral voice possible, as if it's already stopped mattering to you, "Oh, it didn't work out, but he looks happy!"

DON'T make a point of going up to him or talking to him, OR of ignoring him. DON'T point out his new girlfriend -- teenagers dating 27-year-olds are self-pointing-out. The whole time, he's a distant acquaintance, someone you used to know. If the sweep of the party brings you into contact, say hello, and move on. (Ditto with his parents. I know they're great, but the party isn't the moment -- say hello, and move on.) It sounds like he's doing a pretty good job of making himself ridiculous, so just be as classy as you can. But, yeah, I'd stay on the other side of the party so it has less chance of bringing me near him.

If he starts to bring any kind of drama at all, just act distant and slightly puzzled, as if you can't imagine why this person is acting like you guys have some kind of personal relationship.

Personally I'd power-dress just a little bit, just a little more tailored and dressy than I would otherwise. And, yeah, aim for "professional and classy and tasteful" rather than "young and hot."
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:29 AM on December 5, 2012 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks guys this is very helpful. Ok I know I don't sound completely ready but I feel a little like I should face this. I feel quite strong in my resolve. I say I may cry but im actually not sure... i think I can be in control of this situation. There is big part of me doesn't want him to scare me away from an event that is helpful to my political career, my friends will be there and and its the sort of thing I normally really enjoy. I feel if I don't go he will feel like he has won (know its not a game) to be honest im not sure why hes bringing so many people, including his gf who doesn't care about this sort of thing!

I just hope others don't choose to bring the whole thing up. Luckily/unluckily most people there will know we were an item so hopefully will be sensitive to that- although that's not always the case.... I hope they can respect that.

Im thinking of wearing a below the knee black dress which is figure hugging but not too tight with a jacket. My other option was shorter and tighter but saving that for a girls night out instead!
posted by artystar at 6:48 AM on December 5, 2012 [5 favorites]

If he treated you poorly enough to warrant an AskMe pileon, and is already dating a teenager, it's probably pretty obvious to a lot of other people that this guy is kind of sketchy. Even (especially!) his parents; I'll never forget the time I said, "Your son is being a dick," and his mom replied, "That's our Billy!"

Seriously, you're already ahead even before you arrive.

It's the old Ivana Trump line, dahling: "Living well is the best revenge." (And she should know. Have you SEEN that hair?)
posted by Madamina at 6:49 AM on December 5, 2012 [7 favorites]

That said, reading your post and updates, it is painfully clear to me that you're not ready for this.

I tend to agree with this. I am genuinely sorry that you were treated badly in your prior relationship and I'm glad that you ended that condition, but you should probably not worry about things like "Should I approach his parents and say hi?" until you have reached a point where you aren't concerned with things that are none of your business like his current girlfriend's age and you aren't making wardrobe decisions based on his presence.
posted by cribcage at 6:54 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Show no skin, wear pearls! You are Kate Middleton! You are Coco Chanel! You just won a Nobel Prize! Everybody is at the event honoring you! (The presentation with your award is coming right up...)
iamkimiam is your guru here for the attitude to have.

Another pointer: if you have to talk to the exbf, don't ask him any questions. E.g., don't say, "How are you?" If he comes to talk to you, let him start up with "Hi, how are you?" then you can respond, "I'm doing well." Let him do the talking. All you have to do is respond, and wait until it's over. Don't say "How do you like the party?" "Did you try the quiche?" Repeat to yourself: no questions. That will make the encounter pass by as quickly and painlessly as possible.

100x yes to this:
1. Meet someone born outside of the country.
2. Work the word "milkshake" into a conversation.
3. Compliment someone
4. Talk about cats in some way with everyone you meet.
5. The secret word of the evening is "Parameter" do a Pee Wee Herman if you hear it.

Especially #4!!
posted by kellybird at 6:54 AM on December 5, 2012 [7 favorites]

Only attend the event if you would attend independent of his presence (don't go only because he and his crew are going to be there). If you can think "he may or may not be there, meh, no big deal either way" then you are probably ok.

Only one drink.

And I second the "be classy as fuck" advice. Perfect.

If it were me, I'd probably skip it and go do something crazy-fun with your male companion.
posted by retrofitted at 6:55 AM on December 5, 2012

I would guess that the GF is asking herself, and maybe her friends, the exact same question. Keeping this in mind should help you -- a lot.

Dress like a grown-up, high-class, sophisticated 26-year-old. A nod, maybe with a small smile, to the parents is all you need.
posted by Dolley at 6:56 AM on December 5, 2012

Also, you should totally go. If the ex is influencing where and when you show up to things, then he's already won. It's better if your actions are uninfluenced by him (even if your feelings still are). Act like he is not affecting your choices - including going to this event - and your feelings will catch up.
posted by kellybird at 6:57 AM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: haha retrofitted that sounds so much more fun!!

No this is absolutely the sort of thing I would go to regardless of his presence. In fact people expect me to go as I chair a committee that involves this.

Think it might not be too fun for him either, he cheated on me with a women 20 years his senior; she is coming to the event too! She didnt know about me and we have since managed a professional relationship. But I don't think it will be much fun for them either...
posted by artystar at 7:03 AM on December 5, 2012

I'd tread carefully with the parents, and make a cautious approach (I agree that doing so when the ex- is away is good). For all your good relations with the parents, they've had a month to get only his side of your breakup, so heaven knows what he told them, and how much of it they believe (since they know him as only parents can).

I admit it's probably, since the parents weren't jerks when you knew them before, they're likely to not be jerks now, but they may have the wrong idea, and it seems that this party is neither the time nor place to clear up any misunderstandings. Invite an approach, and if they decline, well, that's that; your willingness to be friendly to them may just not be anything they can return right now.

On the other hand, if his new gf is 19, sheesh, they'll probably be relieved to talk to you.
posted by Sunburnt at 7:11 AM on December 5, 2012

Think it might not be too fun for him either, he cheated on me with a women 20 years his senior; she is coming to the event too! She didnt know about me and we have since managed a professional relationship. But I don't think it will be much fun for them either...

So what, who cares, ancient history, leave it at the door. This is a professional event, not a party. It will involve cocktails and mingling but with the exception of the man on your arm, none of these people are in your personal life. These are nothing but professional connections, do not give them space in your head beyond that.
posted by headnsouth at 7:12 AM on December 5, 2012

Make sure your companion is clear on his job (if he's not already), which is not to let you get ambushed or trapped with him and his companions, invent reasons to remove you from a conversation if its getting not fun, and generally support the perception that you are poised and graceful. Don't be afraid to lean on him. If you need to have an emotional moment, tell him and he can help you do so discreetly.

Re parents...don't interject yourself among the four of them. But if you cross paths with them alone while circulating around the room, definitely say hello.
posted by dry white toast at 7:22 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you go, you should wear something stylish and classy. Don't try to tart up. Sport a cardigan. Be measured in every way, because you are going to have to make allowances for a part of you that is not feeling measured right now.

When you see his parents, smile in a warm, friendly way and wave as you go by. If they like you and they're cool people, they'll understand that things are a little weird right now, a little awkward.

If you see him, I personally would suggest a sort of tight-lipped smile and half-nod upon making eye contact, maybe sort of half-mouthing the word "Hi," like you would do when walking past a coworker you've never really talked to and whose name you don't even know. No more than that.

Having said that, I don't really know that you should go. I say this because - in my own meandering experience, and your mileage may of course vary - generally speaking, if you are preparing to do something as a way of proving to yourself (or maybe someone else too, let's be honest here) that you are Over It, then you are almost definitely not as Over It as you think you are, and it's kind of crappy to realize that in a public place at a big event with a lot of eyes on you.

But that's just my opinion and I've been wrong before. There's a lot of good advice in this thread if you go decide to go.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 7:36 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

I am not normally a fan of medication but this occasion pretty much calls out for something to take the edge off. Try it well before the night to see how you function on it - you want the high anxiety to be tempered, not zombified, and stay away from alcohol (which, as a depressant may not be helpful if you go sober).
posted by saucysault at 7:38 AM on December 5, 2012

I like Ruthless Bunny's suggestion of a To Do List, but I'd make it more practical. You've got a political career that should be your priority. Who are the people that you need to speak to? (Hint: Make a list.) What are the topics you care most about? Have those ready to go if you meet a stranger who wants to chat. (Hint: That's a wonderful opportunity for YOU!) Which allies will you have there? How much can you reasonably depend on your companion? (Hint: Not as much as you might think.) What if someone wants to talk about all of this dramarama? (Hint: It's a trap! DO NOT ENGAGE.)

And okay, I don't want to beat you up about this, and I don't think you should beat yourself up about it, but you are really going to have to get beyond some of the judging of your ex. It's just not a healthy place to dwell (for you). The whole eyerolling about his 19 year old girlfriend who isn't even into this stuff, and how he's bringing his family and how he cheated on you with a cougar and and... let it go. You really need to let it go, and you clearly haven't because you keep bringing it up in this thread as if it is germane. (Hint: It really isn't.) It isn't your job to police his decisions or judge him when they're questionable. His decisions do *not* reflect on you. You have cut that connection, and as someone involved in politics you have to know that the only appropriate way to handle that is to wish him all the best, and forget about him as immediately as possible. You have a whole life to live ahead of you, and living it in response to his questionable decisions is great for an episode of Gossip Girl, but not great for your life.

You should wear something appropriate to the function. Dress one half-notch above what you think is appropriate. I don't know your wardrobe, nor do I know your political affiliation, but generally speaking political functions tend to be more on the conservative side of fashion - and political dinners even more so. Be classy.

In summation:

1. Who are the people that you need to speak with in order to promote yourself and network effectively? Make that list and stick to it.
2. What are the issues that you need to discuss with people? What are your successes and where do you have room to grow and change? What are your plans for your political involvement? Any time you find your mind wandering toward your breakup, your ex, his girlfriend, his parents, his cougar, his poor treatment of you - REFOCUS. ONLY ON THESE SUBJECTS. THIS IS BUSINESS.
3. Be kind to your companion. This is a person, not a crutch. You cannot hide behind them all night, and you cannot get upset with them if they grow weary of playing Human Shield for you (or fail to do so altogether). If you need a bodyguard or babysitter, that's someone you hire, not someone you invite along.
4. If anyone tries to engage you in drama-mongering, refer back to Number 2. Go back to your talking points. If they insist on engaging you in conversation about your ex, say only positive things. You are allowed to be vaguely positive. You are not allowed to be negative, or it will only reflect poorly on you.
5. Wear something appropriate. Dress slightly above what you think is appropriate.
posted by jph at 7:47 AM on December 5, 2012 [7 favorites]

He's a loser POS for bringing an effing entourage.

Here's the thing, though....

It's too much Dramaz at this event, and you should not go. This event is too much about him and you can't win. Take away the dramaz by not showing up to participate. If you go, you will still be dancing to his tune.

26 year old me would have been sucked in by the "something to prove" challenge he's presenting. 42 year old me knows missing one party won't ruin my career, and that I can better spend the night of the party, and really the whole weekend, out of town and doing something entirely fabulous - something that features novelty and adventure - skiing, hot springs, a spa resort, horseback riding dude ranch, etc.. You get the idea. Maybe someone you know has a house on the beach somewhere fun? Novelty. Adventure. Create something new and positive to savor, don't go to this soul sucking event and spend weeks picking over every gesture and word said. Ugh! Just don't.

If you got to this event, you'll be adding energy to his story and drama. If you go out of town and do something awesome, you'll be adding energy and memories to your story.

Invest in yourself. Skip this dramafest and do something special.

This is the wise advice I'd give myself if I could go back in time.
posted by jbenben at 8:02 AM on December 5, 2012 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Good advice jph, with a harsh but fair dose of reality. You are right none of that matters any more, I need to worry about my future and what I want to do next. I will defintiely devise a plan.

Wish I didnt care, but I guess the heart and emotions are a bit of bugger sometimes. I've got to learn to be in control of them.
posted by artystar at 8:04 AM on December 5, 2012

Let the heart and emotions be pains in the ass. Control the action! Keep your feet at home that night!!! Fantasize that everything went your way and then forget about it. This is allll about him still. He's manipulative and you're still tangled up in him, probably because (from the sounds of it) he's a PhD in manipulation. Get tangled up in your pajamas and a good movie that night instead.
posted by Katine at 8:10 AM on December 5, 2012

Response by poster: Ahhh thing is guys its too late for me to drop out now, dinner is in 3 hours.... I kind of have to go now...
posted by artystar at 8:20 AM on December 5, 2012

Just went back and brushed up on your previous question. In a follow-up you wrote:

"Yes I have let him manipulate me and I am naive but how do I move on?"

You move on by stopping the dance. You move on by disengaging. You move on by doing something really fun that weekend and taking your attention entirely off of this mentally ill sociopath who is fucking with you.

Going to this party is falling for further manipulation. Decide now to be done. Stop taking the bait!

(Cutting himself for attention? Really?? I remember that play, the guy who did that shit with me be turned into a stalker a few years later. It's called Narcissistic Personality Disorder - look it up! Wait. Sorry for the rant. It's just, damn! This is NOT a normal ex situation. You are playing with fire. If you want to win, you need to change the game and the playing field. Step # one is disengaging for the time being, and putting energy back into yourself. Really. *end rant*)

I recommend everyone go back and read the OP's first question and follow ups before advising here.

In a game of baseball or tennis, this party is the ball you let fly foul and don't swing at.
posted by jbenben at 8:24 AM on December 5, 2012 [4 favorites]

The party is in 3 hours? Great!

Dinner at a fancy restaurant and a movie. Leave your cell phone (electronic leash in this case) at home.

Do notify a few key people something urgent came up at the last minute and you won't be able to attend - make it sound like something fun and mysterious. Because it is, actually! You're on a mission to have a much better time tonight than you would have previously!!

You are an ADULT. This means you get to choose how and where you spend your time, attention, and energy.

Go out to dinner. See that movie or band you've been meaning to catch. Have a great time!

Leave your cell phone at home. Have a friend delete annoying voicemails or texts before you look at it when you get home:))

Good luck!
posted by jbenben at 8:30 AM on December 5, 2012 [4 favorites]

Ok I know I don't sound completely ready but I feel a little like I should face this

I guess I agree that it's good to get emotional closure, but I have no idea why you would want to do it in a room full of professional acquaintances. Why take the risk?
posted by Think_Long at 8:37 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you go, maybe pack some Visine just in case. Also whatever you would need to touch up your makeup. If you can locate a nearby public bathroom -- so you can gather yourself without needing to worry about the other party attendees -- so much the better.

And you can go if you want to. You can do whatever you want. You're a free woman.
posted by amtho at 8:39 AM on December 5, 2012

Please do update!
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:55 AM on December 5, 2012

Have a "bug out" signal with your friend. *He* can become suddenly "ill" if *you* have got to go.

Try to keep a sense of compassion for the new girlfriend. She is not "the one". She is not better than you in any way. What she is is a very young woman who will be even more vulnerable to his manipulative games. She's pretty? Maybe. But 150% guaranteed, he's gone on to her because you weren't easy *enough* to manipulate. She will believe that all his games are all her fault, that if she were a better person, a better lover, a better girlfriend, he wouldn't be depressed, he wouldn't cheat on her, he wouldn't pull this shit.

She's not competition; she's his next victim. He didn't treat you like shit because you deserved it; he treated you like shit because he's shittastic. And he'll be shittastic to her, too.

Poor kid. At least you're out of it.
posted by endless_forms at 9:01 AM on December 5, 2012 [9 favorites]

I suggest that you walk right up to him as soon as you can. Smile, shake hands, and say hello. Tell the girlfriend it's nice to meet her, and then excuse yourself. That'll take a large part of the awkwardness away for the rest of the event. I know it'll be hard to make this move, but at least you can be ready and control the interaction. The parents and the girlfriend will be relieved -- they may be worrying about things being uncomfortable. After that, you won't have to talk with the ex at all, and everyone will be thinking that you're very gracious.
posted by wryly at 9:30 AM on December 5, 2012

This dinner is about YOU not about him. This dinner is about YOU connecting and networking with people who share your political views and goals.

He's just an annoying obstacle you might have to navigate gracefully on your way to where you want to get.

Learning how to treat people you're angry with civilly is a really important part of any politician's or political operative's skill set.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:48 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

I actually posted a similar question not too long ago, wondering how I should interact with a recent ex at an event. I actually got quite a bit of flak for even going and how I planned to behave, so I'm happy you're getting so much support here.

I'm writing because I want to warn you that going and seeing him will 100 PERCENT set you back on your path to healing. The wound is too fresh, too raw. It prolonged my recovery by a few weeks. That being said, if you ask if I would still go to the event knowing this now, my answer is yes (albeit a very weak yes), because of what the event meant to me. But your risk/reward scale is different than mine. I urge you to weigh the pros and cons carefully and prepare for some serious emotional setbacks and recovery work after the fact.

Good luck and be good to your heart.
posted by feastorfamine at 10:05 AM on December 5, 2012

Honestly, it sounds like this loser is only going to the dinner because he wants to hurt you.... and he's dragging his teeny-bopper girlfriend along to help him do just that. Okay, the answer to that is, don't let him...... if he speaks to you, keep it bland and short: "Oh. Hello. Excuse me, I need to go speak to x". If he DOESN'T speak to you, all the better! Go, enjoy yourself, and drop this fool out of your life like the waste of time and space that he is.

Behave with class, dress elegantly, stay dignified --- you CAN do this!
posted by easily confused at 10:08 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you get introduced to the 19-year-old, give her a little hug, whisper in her ear, "You poor thing." Give her a knowing smile, then move on.
posted by trinity8-director at 10:27 AM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you get introduced to the 19-year-old, give her a little hug, whisper in her ear, "You poor thing." Give her a knowing smile, then move on.

Please don't do that. Leave the new girlfriend alone, leave your ex alone, and be awesome. Don't be petty.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 10:48 AM on December 5, 2012 [11 favorites]

If you get introduced to the 19-year-old, give her a little hug, whisper in her ear, "You poor thing." Give her a knowing smile, then move on.

That's the opposite of classy as fuck.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 3:38 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

to be honest im not sure why hes bringing so many people, including his gf who doesn't care about this sort of thing!

Because he can't stand on his own. Because he's ashamed of the way he conducted himself in his relationship with you, and that makes him a little bit afraid of you.

I hope you went to the party, as you mentioned it's good for your career. It probably wasn't nearly as stressful as you imagined, and I think we'd all love an update!
posted by zarah at 4:54 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Hi all

So firstly thanks for the all the comments you have been absolutely amazing and I really appreciate the support, everything people said helped me tackled the night.

So as promised an update! The night went really wel!!!! I think I sort of went into auto pilot, but when I got there I felt confident and happy. I chatted to my friends got lots of compliments and had a great time. Lots of people told me I looked great.

When i arrived my ex gave me an odd look, I caught him doing that a few times it wasn't pleasant but not nasty either. He looked at my male companion in an strange way too. He gave me an odd look when i walked in, clearly didnt feel happy with me there. He did completely blank me. His new gf also did not speak to me, which is is of course what I expected, it was weird as I built her up to be some stunning supermodel. She was attractive with a nice body but ultimately she looked like a young girl and nothing too special. I know none of it matters but it helped give me some perspective. I could not have felt LESS attracted to my ex all I could think was 'god you look fat' sorry know that's mean. He had to make a speech at the event, given his position, and it reminded of how different we are on a mental level too. I was always supporting him with his career etc.

Although I was a little reluctant I decide to take the job of organising the raffle. So glad I did! Meant I could go round chatting to people and look confident and happy. At first I wasn't going to do their table but I decide 'f**K it....' I was pleasant and asked everyone if they wanted tickets. Him and his gf didn't even look at me, but it was great I felt in control. Although my legs were shaking lol!

I managed to speak to his parent, they were sitting elsewhere, they were lovely said they missed me! His dad asked me how I was, I said I was doing very well thanks and had just been on holiday. Weirdly he said ' good, no point crying over split milk, it might be poison!' I thought that was a very odd thing to say about his son!

Everyone told me I didn't a great job helping out and my male friend said I had looked super confident and if I hadn't told him who my ex was he would never had guessed, as I barely looked at him. To be honest for the first time I felt less bothered by my ex and his gf.

The woman he had an affair me said ' this is what I hate about you, you always look great!' I got a couple of texts later from others saying I had done a great job and looked great too.

In the aftermath I feel a little sad. I care less wbout what happens between him and his gf now, its none of my business if they last or not. They seemed happy and she seems mature so maybe. If he has changed great, given what he put me through, if he hasn't I feel more sorry for her than anything

. I feel sad that this is what it is now like between the man I once loved with my whole heart (a small part of me always will) but I know I a destined for/ deserve bigger and better things. This Dinner reminded me of that, I'm glad I went in the end.

I hope that this is now it for us, I can draw a line in the sand and do the things I want to do in life; with or without a man. Hopefully I'll never hear from my ex again.

Thanks again all who commented- what do think of how the night went? Would be interested to know.
posted by artystar at 12:13 AM on December 6, 2012 [15 favorites]

What do I think? I think you kicked ass.
posted by ambient2 at 2:52 AM on December 6, 2012 [5 favorites]

Wow, artystar, you're my new role model and hero, sounds like you did an amazing job. You should be extremely proud.
posted by hazyjane at 4:14 AM on December 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Oh thanks hazyjane! Not sure im a hero, just had to do things that way
posted by artystar at 4:56 AM on December 6, 2012

So glad that your evening was dominated by you doing things that you enjoy doing and meeting and greeting with lots of neat folks.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:57 AM on December 6, 2012

Response by poster: Have to admit I did a naughty thing today looked at his twitter- he mentioned about a month ago 'how much she has changed him in a month and how he is #smitten'

I'm so pleased I got through last night in one piece haha.
posted by artystar at 6:43 AM on December 6, 2012

Have to admit I did a naughty thing today looked at his twitter

You need to not do that anymore. Stop picking at your scabs. You did good, you grew, you gathered strength, you impressed yourself, you have some serious inner awesomeness going on right now. Stop inviting this guy in to detract from that. Move on, look forward not backward.
posted by headnsouth at 6:59 AM on December 6, 2012 [7 favorites]

"He did completely blank me."

Wow! So rude of him!

"His new gf also did not speak to me, which is is of course what I expected"

Possibly not allowed to, but also, she's 19, so it's not the same as him blanking you. I doubt she was so much trying to be rude as following his lead plus having the sense to say nothing, rather than something stupid.

"all I could think was 'god you look fat' sorry know that's mean."

He probably did though.

"I was pleasant and asked everyone if they wanted tickets. Him and his gf didn't even look at me, but it was great I felt in control."

Afraid to come over to your side of the playground LOL

"Weirdly he said ' good, no point crying over split milk, it might be poison!' I thought that was a very odd thing to say about his son!"

Woah, that's a bad sign. It's correct to think highly of your children, so much so that I wouldn't think less of a parent that was blind to their son's faults in a situation like this. If his dad is saying bad things about him it kinda reflects badly on both of them. But I think, maybe, his dad was trying to be apologetic to you since his son unfortunately wasn't going to. Apologizing on the family's behalf, as it were.

"The woman he had an affair me said ' this is what I hate about you, you always look great!'" Wasn't that nice of her? "We're mortal enemies but I really admire you!" So sweet. Genuinely big of her to say a thing like this.

"Have to admit I did a naughty thing today looked at his twitter" DON'T

"I'm so pleased I got through last night in one piece haha" You are made of win.
posted by tel3path at 6:59 AM on December 6, 2012 [4 favorites]

« Older Quick turnaround photolab with scans in central...   |   Fingerfood dessert recipe using frozen... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.