Life is pretty funny, especially when you’re hoping not to run into someone in particular. It gets funnier when that person is someone you slept with and never talked to again. Your decision to engage in a one night stand was fraught with possible consequences. Luckily for you, you managed to get past the more serious ones like STDs, unplanned pregnancies, and crazy serial killers.
Unfortunately for you, there’s one consequence that will possibly creep up on you when you least expect it: running into your ex one night stand.
What’s wrong with running into an ex one night stand?
If you’re one of the very few people who are totally okay with running into an ex one night stand, good for you! But for most of us, it’s an awkward situation that we would rather not face for many reasons. Those reasons include, but are not limited to:
#1 You might be with your current significant other. Whether you admitted your sexual history to your partner or not, having them in the same room with a stranger you slept with is problematic. Your partner might be uncomfortable or agitated by their presence. If your partner is oblivious, your negative reaction to your ex one-nighter might be so obvious that your partner will see that something is definitely wrong.
#2 You never told your friends you slept with that person. It was one of those shameful moments that you’d like to forget, but fate decided to get a few kicks out of you. If your friends are with you when you encounter Mr. or Ms. Never-Called-You-Back, you’re stuck between telling them the truth or getting stuck in a conversation where said ex-partner will blow your cover.
#3 The person might make a scene. You have no idea what this person is capable of, because you never got the chance to know them. Who knows what they could blurt out in public, and if they’re even capable of tactfulness and subtlety?
#4 You might have parted on bad terms. No matter who left who, someone’s probably pissed off. You guys might have moved on, but feelings are a funny thing. They pop up when you least expect it–particularly in the most inopportune moments.
#5 You might be connected through work. This is possibly the most problematic reason why you can’t afford to run into past sexual partners. Not only can it affect how you perform at work, but this person might not be as discreet as you’d hoped. If you end up in the same professional circles, it can be a huge problem if they have a big mouth.
#6 It just feels so damn awkward! This person was inside you or you were inside them. Their hoo-hah was likely in your mouth at some point. Your sweat recognizes their sweat. Shall I go on? Nothing says awkward like seeing each other butt-naked or feeling each other butt-naked *in case the lights were off* and never seeing one another again… until you randomly run into each other, that is.
[Read: 10 most common one night stand mistakes]
What should you do when you run into them?
The best course of action is to suck it up and smile through the encounter. If the gesture seems too hard to sell, here are a few tips you can use to make this serendipitous turn of events more bearable.
If they approach you…
#1 Be civil. You ran into someone you know. It does not have to mean anything more than that. Just be polite, and don’t let the fact that you had sex with this person bother you.
#2 Keep it as brief as possible. Don’t let the conversation run longer than is necessary. You just need to stay for the pleasantries. Excuse yourself after a few minutes, but only if the person speaking in your group is done talking.
#3 Don’t mention the past unless it’s necessary. The only reason why you should bring up the past is if you left important documents at their place or if you bore a child together.
If they bring up the past…
#1 Excuse yourself and your ex one-nighter and ask them to keep quiet about what happened. Any sensible person would be willing to acquiesce to a basic request like that. Sex is a very personal topic, and it shouldn’t be discussed with anyone, unless the two people involved both allow it.
#2 Discuss the incident politely. Tell them where you stand and that you’ve moved on. You don’t need to talk about it, but you’re willing to start over as friends, acquaintances, or even colleagues *if that’s the case*.
#3 Be honest if you have something on your mind. If they are bringing it up just to see if there’s a repeat performance, it’s up to you to decide whether you agree to it or not. Just make sure you’re doing it because it makes you feel good, not because you have something to prove.
[Read: 10 worst people you can have a one night stand with]
If they ignore you…
#1 Don’t give a f***. If they don’t, why should you? Don’t dwell on it all night, because this is the perfect situation. You won’t have to worry about talking to them or avoiding them, because they’re doing it for you. Don’t let your ego get the best of you. Do not engage them just because you feel rejected or ignored. You’re better off without someone like that in your life.
Sex is complicated, especially when you do it with someone you hardly know. Yes, it feels good, but you have to be prepared for every eventuality, including running into past flings. It’s okay if you’ve known each other for a while, but some strangers don’t have the same level of discretion and subtlety that you possess and require.
[Read: 14 things to keep in mind when you bump into your ex]
When you run into an ex one night stand, you have no idea what’s going to happen. The good thing is that you can always bounce back from an awkward encounter and never speak of it again.
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