If you and your ex-spouse live in the same town or neighborhood, it’s only a matter of time before you run into each other in public. If your ex is with a new partner, that moment can be both awkward and painful. How do you react graciously?
Don’t make a scene
No matter how volatile your relationship with your ex might be at the time, any kind of emotional flare-up in public will only end up looking bad on you. Ground yourself to avoid doing something you might regret. Remain calm, and save the emotional response for a private setting.
Don’t take aim at the new partner
Whatever your feelings for your ex, make it a point not to take those feelings out on the new partner. This person is a newcomer to your family dynamic and should not become a target. Even if this new person had something to do with your divorce, avoid confronting him or her in public as this will only backfire on you.
Be gracious without overdoing it
By this statement, I mean don’t try to put on an “act.” Behaving in an overly friendly manner toward your ex and his partner will likely come across as fake, making an awkward situation even worse. Show respect, be kind and smile during the introductions, but don’t pour on the charm beyond what is appropriate to the moment.
Keep it short
If emotions are heightened between you and your ex, it’s fine to keep the encounter brief. Say hello, engage in a moment or two of small talk, then feel free to excuse yourself if necessary. Nothing more is expected of you socially, especially if the encounter was unexpected.
Keep it in perspective
No matter how difficult it might be to see your ex with someone else, remember that this moment is inevitable for both of you (remember, it could just as easily have happened the other way around). By relaxing your expectations and choosing not to make a big deal of the encounter, you help diffuse a potentially awkward situation, making it easier for everyone involved to move on.