My friend recently lost her guy friend because of his jerky behavior during their on-again off-again romance. Because they have mutual friends, she's done her best to avoid him by skipping certain social engagements. But she just told me her New Year's resolution was:
suck it up and realize that she was going to see this guy from time to time.
If the wounds are still fresh, running into your ex is traumatic. Even if you know in advance you'll see them, there's time to build anxiety. If you run into your ex randomly, it's equally traumatic because you had no time to prepare.
These tips will help you manage the situation next time you see your ex:
Make the First Move
The more time you spend avoiding each other, the more awkward it gets. So, cut to the chase and approach your ex and make a little small talk. Don't go in there to yell at them for all the bad things they did. Just ask how they've been doing, and be polite. You'll look like the mature, confident one in the process. Every time an ex has approached me, while I was being immature and avoiding her, I've felt impressed, relieved, and angry at myself that I lacked the courage to approach her first.
Don't Bring Up the Past
Don't try to solve things you couldn't solve while you were together. Don't try to "patch things up." The best remedy to solve these big issues is time apart. Rehashing the past usually awakens bitter feelings.
Accept That It's Going to Be Awkward
Of course these meetings are always awkward. Don't pressure yourself to make it go smoothly, and don't question why things seem weird: it's natural for it to seem weird. Everyone goes through it at some point in their lives.
Don't Get Too Drunk