Skip the gift. Show your love with meaningful gestures. Read More...

“This would be a much better world if more married couples were as deeply in love as they are in debt.”
– Earl Wilson

Fortunately, you don’t have to choose between crippling debt and true love.

You can have more love and you can have more money. The best way to have more love is to love more. The best way to have more money is to save more. Below are my favorite ways to show love without buying a gift.

Spend quality time with your love.

When couples get together, they often can’t spend enough time with each other. Eventually, the daily routine of life takes over and they spend less time together. Soon, spending time together is no longer special. It’s not bad or boring, it’s just not as special.

Make it special.

Spend quality time with your S.O. Turn off the television and laptops. Put down the phone. Talk to each other. Go for a walk around your neighborhood or a picturesque park. Ride bikes to your favorite part of town. Play chess or a card game.

Find a quiet space and be completely immersed in the experience. Don’t share the time with Facebook.

Read to them.

For many, the memory of a parent reading to them at night is a reminder of a special kind of love. Enhance that memory with your S.O. and read to them. Read to them in bed. Read to them in your living room. Read to them in the park.

Share with them a great story and let their mind’s eye be the movie screen. This is a great way to show love without buying a gift.

My husband once read Winnie the Pooh to me while I fell asleep in bed. I pictured the story clearly in my head until I dozed. The story and the good night’s sleep were wonderful gifts that cost nothing.

Cook for bae.

Cooking feeds the soul.

What better way to say, “I love you” than to fuel the soul?

With the craziness of modern life, cooking has become more of a chore than an experience. Eliminate the chore and make for a memorable experience with your S.O. by cooking their favorite meal for them. Cooking for someone else, putting in the thought, time, and effort is a more personal way to show your love than to take them out to dinner.

This isn’t completely free, but you need to eat anyway. You might as well make it a great experience and show love without buying a gift.

Watch their favorite show or movie with them.

Everyone has a favorite show or movie that their partner doesn’t enjoy. I love It’s a Wonderful Life and can watch it every holiday season. Every. Holiday. Season.

My husband doesn’t like it, and I don’t enjoy it as much when I’m stuck watching it alone. When he’s watching it with me, it means more.

What television show or movie does your partner like that you don’t? Get it, and watch it with them. Show them that spending time with them doing something they enjoy is more important than spending time apart because you don’t have the same exact tastes.

Do for them what they usually do for themselves.

Can your partner wash their car? Pack their lunch? Clean their home? Pick up the dry cleaning? Yes, of course, they can.

Doing for someone what they can do for themselves shows a special kind of love. It makes their day just a little easier. It saves them from a daily chore. It shows that you’re there to make their life better in big and small ways.

Make a carousel of old photos from a trip or experience.

Photos are so ubiquitous today that they’ve lost value. We take a picture. Post it on Instagram. Get a bunch of likes. Forget about it when we take the next picture.

Rinse and repeat.

Dig into the archive of pictures on your phone, an older phone, your computer, or those older CDs you still have. Find special moments or an exciting trip, and put them into a single file or add them to your Flickr account.

Create a carousel of these photos to return your S.O. to a time and place you both cherish. The love you had for each other in that moment will come back. It’s a beautiful way to show love without buying a gift. And it can cement your relationship.

Give them your favorite book with a personal inscription.

Reading a hardcover or paperback book is an organic experience lost in the digital age.

A meaningful book with a personalized inscription is an organic and meaningful way to say to your S.O., “I love you.”

Whether it’s a good story, an educational or inspirational read, giving someone a book says that you want to treat them to something out of the ordinary. The more appropriate the book and heartfelt the inscription, the more the gift says you care.

Say “I love you” at an unexpected time.

It’s special to hear “I love you” from your S.O.

It’s even more special when it’s said at unexpected times.

We become conditioned to hearing it when leaving or returning from work. It’s expected before bed.

It’s not expected when you’re standing in the aisle at the grocery store or in the middle of a phone call. It’s a surprise and means more when it’s said first thing in the morning and in a text during the middle of the day.

As you can see, you don’t have to go deeply into debt to show your S.O. how much you love them.

There are countless free ways to say those three little words — and they mean more than any mere bought gift could.



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An office fling can be fun, but what if you want it to last? In order for things to work out, here are some things you’ll need to consider. Read More...

Common sense says that office romances are a bad idea. Most of the time they fail, leading to an awkward dynamic and uncomfortable interactions. When they do succeed, there’s still a danger that the situation could put your career in jeopardy.

So why are they so common?

The fact is, people are willing to set aside common sense when they feel a genuine spark with a coworker. And even though it’s a risky affair, office romances can work – if approached in the right way. It’s a high-risk, high-reward gamble, and it’s up to you to decide if the payoff is worth it.

If you think you’ve found love on the clock, here’s how to do it the right way.

Check the Employee Handbook.

Every office has their own rules about employee dating. Some prohibit it entirely, while others simply ask that you to report it to HR. Look carefully through the employee handbook and see what your company’s regulations are.

If the handbook doesn’t explicitly prohibit office relationships, you should be alright to continue dating. However, if you’re dating someone with whom you have a supervisor-subordinate relationship, things could get tricky. A 2013 report from the Society for Human Resource Management found that 99% of organizations said a relationship between a supervisor and direct employee would not be tolerated.

If word spreads about your relationship, another coworker might file a complaint with HR. Even if your partner isn’t treating you differently, there’s almost no way to prove you’re not getting any favoritism.

It is completely legal for a company to fire you or your partner for having an office romance. If your relationship keeps progressing, you might want to consider finding a new job where you won’t have to hide your significant other.

Avoid office PDA.

Even if you’re allowed to date your co-worker, it’s still a good idea to avoid being affectionate at work. No one wants to see a couple making out on the copier, flirting in the break room or calling each other pet names during a staff meeting.

No matter how tempting it might be, try not to show your love either physically and verbally. Not only can doing so get you both fired, but it might make your coworkers uncomfortable. There’s nothing shameful about an office romance, as long as you continue to act like professionals at the office.

Tell no one.

When you’re in love, you just want to shout it from the rooftops. You want to tell everyone you know, from the cashier at the grocery store to your first cousin twice removed.

But the best policy is to not tell anyone associated with your job, unless you’re required to disclose the relationship to HR. It’s okay to share it with a couple close friends, but it’s easy for secrets to spill out and rumors to spread – especially if mutual friends from work are involved.

When I briefly dated a coworker of mine, we kept it private and didn’t tell anyone. Once, a friend who had suspected we were dating watched us leave the office together. When he saw we weren’t holding hands, he concluded he was wrong. I later felt so proud that we kept our relationship a secret.

Avoid talking about work.

When you’re dating a coworker, bitching about the receptionist or management can be an easy topic of conversation to fall back on. But if your relationship is only built on work, it will crumble easily.

I know this from personal experience. When I was 18, I dated one of my managers at Pac-Sun. He was my first boyfriend and I really liked hanging out with him. We decided to keep dating while I went off to college, but I quickly realized we had nothing in common.

While working together it was easy to find stuff talk to about, but the distance made it obvious we weren’t compatible. If you and your partner are always talking about work, you won’t get the chance to find out if you’re truly in sync on a deeper level.

Take the time to explore each other’s hobbies, meet your non-work friends, and enjoy life outside of the office. It will strengthen your bond and prove you have something more in common.

Consider looking for outside jobs.

It’s definitely possible to sustain an office relationship, it’s usually easier if one person ends up finding a new job. While this isn’t necessary per se, it can simplify some of the issues that will inevitably crop up if your relationship becomes more serious – or if you break up.

Discuss it with your partner and make a thoughtful, forward-thinking decision. It might seem extreme to uproot your career for romance, especially if you both love your jobs, but it could save your relationship. For many people, that’s more than enough reason.

Have you experienced an office romance? Did it last or fail? Tell us about it in the #Adulting Facebook community

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A friendship not fitting quite as snuggly as it used to? You don’t have to give up on it. Here’s how to work through the changes. Read More...

Getting older is always tough, but nothing about adult life seems quite as harsh as losing friendships. Even if you were once closer with someone than you’ve ever been with another person, that relationship can dissolve within a matter of years – sometimes even months. Usually, it happens because you end up on different life paths.

As I settle into my late 20s, I’m starting to realize just how difficult it can be to stay connected with a friend whose life is completely divergent from my own. As I’ve learned from talking to older friends and family, those rifts only continue to grow wider if you let them. The key, I’ve found, is to be proactive in preserving the relationship.

If you feel yourself growing apart from a friend whose life has become very different from your own, here are some things you can do to bridge the gap.

Understand their decisions.

Many of my closest friends are on a different path than I am. They dream of kids, a house in the suburbs and a minivan to go with it. Even though I don’t want any of those things, I still need to support their decisions.

I might look at a house in the suburbs with disdain, but I have to consider it from their point of view. Those neighborhoods usually have better school districts, and more space available for less money. If I’ve learned one thing from having older friends with kids, good schools are everything when you have children.

Friends only start to drift apart when one or both parties stop trying to understand the other. If my friend can make an effort to understand why I don’t want kids, then I should try to appreciate why she does.

Keep Your opinions to yourself.

I’m a very opinionated and judgmental person. I always think I’m right, but lately I’ve learned that’s not the most endearing quality to my friends.

When you’re on a different life path from your friends, you have to keep some opinions to yourself. I don’t agree with being a stay-at-home mom, but I won’t tell my friends not to do that. I don’t agree with spending lots of money on a new car, but I won’t shame a friend for splurging on a new Lexus.

Even if your friend is doing something objectively bad, like having an affair or running up their credit card bill, you can’t tell them what to do. You’re not responsible for their decisions and you won’t have to personally deal with the aftermath, so let it go.

Create new memories.

I had an intensely close group of girlfriends in college. We lived in the same dorm our freshman and sophomore years and continued to hang out our junior and senior years.

After graduation, we all moved away. We’d see each other at Christmas and text occasionally, but we weren’t as close as when we were 18. I knew we missed each other, and one day I got the idea that we should all go on a trip. Thankfully, they all agreed and we planned a vacation to Asheville, North Carolina.

The trip was amazing. While we spent a large portion of the time reminiscing about our college days, we created new memories in the process. I’ll never forget the hours we spent playing Taboo or watching for license plates from faraway states while driving. Even though we’ve known each other for a decade, my friends and I shared stories we had never heard before.

Now we text each other every few days, updating the others about our job interviews, our house searches and our boy troubles. Even though we’re all on different paths and live hundreds of miles apart, our friendships feel as strong as they were when lived in the same dorm.

Don’t let jealousy get in the way.

Recently, I asked my parents how they’ve managed to stay friends with people who earn more than they do. Don’t they get jealous of what their friends can afford to do? Isn’t it awkward if someone shows up to a party in a new Mercedes while they’re driving a Toyota?

But my parents are wise. They never feel envious of a friend whose life is going really well. “You’re always doing better or worse than someone you know, so just be grateful for what you do have.”

As my friends and I get older, I’m sure salary discrepancies will come up more than once. As I’ve observed from my parent’s example, money only becomes a factor if you let it. Yes, some of my friends will drive nicer cars or have bigger houses – but I can’t let my jealousy divide us. Neither should you.

The same is true if you’re single and all your friends are married, or if you can’t have kids but all your friends are moms. Yes, it’s easy to feel envious looking at Instagram photos, but harboring those feelings will make it harder to remember why you’re friends in the first place.

Do you have tips for maintaining diverging friendships? Let us know over in the #Adulting Facebook community.

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Don’t let your trust issues get in the way of your relationship. Read More...

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Relationships can be tricky, especially today when so much is in flux. Whether you are in a long-distance relationship, or whether you live with your S.O., trust issues can come up.

This sort of insecurity in your relationship can be toxic. You don’t want your own insecurities to get in the way of a great thing. At the same time, you do need to navigate the situation if trust issues are reasonable.

In this episode, we talk about how you can get beyond relationship insecurity and feel good about your relationship.


  • Signs of relationship insecurity.
  • Indications that you’re going overboard trying to verify your partner’s activities.
  • Questions you should be asking yourself about your relationship and where you stand.
  • Problems that can lead to trust issues.
  • Tips for getting beyond relationship insecurity.
  • Ideas for feeling confident in yourself.
  • How to handle rejection without letting it impact your next relationship.

Our DO NOWs this week are all about focusing on your relationship and reminding yourself of what you like about it. It’s important to acknowledge what you like about your relationship — as well as learning to stop comparing your relationship to others’.

This week’s listener question tackles the difficult situation of overcoming trust issues when your partner has cheated on you.

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Move beyond relationship insecurity

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Is there really hope in the friend zone?

You feel something. They don’t. You want something. They don’t. You try, you show up, you’re available, and they say, “Let’s just be friends.” Ugh!

The “friend zone” has thwarted many a would-be lover.

The friend zone can become the danger-zone if it’s not treated with caution. For the would-be lover, every glance, slightest nicety, and hint of attraction (valid or otherwise) are always seen as prospects for a hopeful future.

All too often, unfortunately, such hopes are dashed and hearts crushed when the would-be lover’s prospect finds prospects elsewhere.

Five areas within the friend zone can make it the danger-zone.

Proceed with caution.

Friends in the friend zone aren’t friends with benefits.

One of the benefits of being single for many is the opportunity to mingle sexually. In today’s more sexually open culture, people choose to be single for longer and enjoy the benefits of having friends with benefits.

Two adults who don’t want a relationship but are sexually active can be a match made in heaven. That is, as long as both sexual partners stay on the same relationships/sexual plain. For someone stuck against their will in the friend zone, a night of benefits can be too confusing to let the friendship last.

Don’t merge the friend zone with benefits.

Friends in the friend zone don’t expect a free dinner.

We’re still ironing out gender norms. For that reason, deciding who pays for what is a little more confusing today than it used to be.

To each their own, of course, but it’s not fair to expect a would-be lover stuck in the friend zone to pay for nights. The occasional treat may be okay, but when it starts to feel like a relationship, act like a relationship, and look like a relationship, then the friend zone is disrupted. It becomes a one-sided relationship.

Friends in the friend zone should be sure to keep the friendship equitable to not confuse the would-be lover. You need to pay as much as you let the other person pay.

Friends in the friend zone aren’t rebounds.

Having a would-be lover in the friend zone is nice. It boosts confidence and can fuel the ego. It’s a safe space. It can also feel like a place of refuge when your relationship with your significant other goes south. When one relationship repels you, you’re often attracted to the relationship of least resistance.

Unfortunately, a one-night stand for you can confuse for a friend stuck in the friend zone. Therefore, find your rebounds and one-night stands in other zones. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself with more than one strained relationship and make repairing either too hard.

Friends in the friend zone don’t replace partners.

Having the advantage of a friendship doesn’t mean you can take advantage of your friends, especially those in the friend zone.

If you start to feel like your friend in the friend zone is becoming your go-to friend, a BFF of sorts, they may start to interpret your friendship as more — or begin to resent whatever relationship there is.

When one person wants more than another, lines can become easily blurred. It’s up to the one who established the lines not to cross them.

Friends in the friend zone aren’t like other friends.

Friends in the friend zone are special friends who can quickly be taken advantage of and feel taken advantage of by the would-be love. We all have who would bury a body for us if we needed and who wouldn’t expect anything in return – well, except maybe a good bottle of whiskey.

Friends in the friend zone aren’t that kind of friend because they may feel deserving of more than a bottle of whiskey.

Should they expect anything in return for small favors? No, but people in the friend zone can easily see what’s not there because they want to see what they want to see.

Every relationship and every kind of relationship has its own boundaries. Staying within those boundaries, especially when you’re put contrary to your desires, can be hard. When you’re the one who sets those boundaries, it’s important to not cross them.

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Being a single mom doesn’t have to be depressing. Here’s how to love it. Read More...

Once in a while, we present LIVE! Subscribe on YouTube to hear about future events, and share your questions about or suggestions for our next discussions!

Show Notes

Emma Johnson, author of The Kickass Single Mom: Be Financially Independent, Discover Your Sexiest Self, and Raise Fabulous, Happy Children and blogger-owner of joins Harlan and Miranda today to share tips about living a great life while being the single parent of children.

We talk about dating, money, and how you can feel empowered and love being a single mom without hating men. We also look at taking charge of your finances and rebuilding your life on your own terms.

Emma Johnson is the author of THE KICKASS SINGLE MOM: Be Financially Independent, Discover Your Sexiest Self, and Raise Fabulous, Happy Children, creator of the immensely popular blog,, and host of the podcast, “Like a Mother,” where she explores issues facing professional moms like herself. She is a writer, journalist, entrepreneur, former small-town Midwesterner, and current New Yorker. Since launching her blog four years ago, she has become the leading voice of single motherhood in the popular media and has been quoted in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News and World Report, Women’s Day, and NPR, among others.

Twitter: @JohnsonEmma

Watch the video above or listen to the audio podcast below.

Hosted byHarlan L. Landes and Miranda Marquit
Edited and mixed bySteve Stewart

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Bad news. Your relationship is probably already over. You just don’t realize it yet. Read More...

You get home from an emergency TP run. That’s when you realize the cashier tied the handles in a double knot. You need to go — and it’s practically impossible to get that knot untied.

The scary thing is that sometimes it’s easier to untie a tight knot in a plastic bag than it is to notice when your relationship is over.

If you’re experiencing any of the potentially unnoticeable experiences below, don’t just let the knot sit there because you don’t want to tackle it. Make the effort to untie the knot, and run far, far away.

1. If you prefer to spend time with anyone or anything other than your partner.

It’s time to end your relationship if you’d rather spend more time in unnecessary work meetings or driving behind a person going five miles an hour under the speed limit than with your partner, spouse, or significant other.

If watching paint dry or waiting for water to boil feels more productive than spending another minute with than your other half, your relationship is over.

2. If residents in a nursing home have a bigger future than your relationship.

If, in your heart of hearts, deep down inside your soul, you know your relationship isn’t going anywhere fast, medium, or slow, end it before it goes any further. Rose’s heart in Titanic will forever go on and on for Jack, but your love is dead in the water. That’s a sign you need to pull the plug on your relationship faster than you hit the “skip” button when that Celine Dion song sneaks onto your playlist.

3. If you’re on again and off again and then on again.

It’s off. It really, truly is off, and one or both of you just can’t seem to stay off. The only thing worse than a returning ex is recurring herpes — especially if the returning ex is the person who gave you those recurring herpes.

It may have been fun in high school to have the drama of the on-again-off-again relationship, but adulting isn’t high school, and high school relationships aren’t an example of mature adulthood.

4. Visions of breaking up have replaced your meditation ritual.

Stress is only useful in pressure cookers, and “stressed” is only good if you’re reading it in a mirror. (Hint: stressed backward = desserts.) If you’re significant other causes you more stress than a work deadline or that recurring dream in which you forgot to study for the big exam, it’s time to end the stress and stop being stressed.

A healthy relationship is a partnership of equal helping each other to become better people, not a partnership that requires daily doses of Celexa.

5. You’re already sleeping with other people.

If you’re in a relationship that doesn’t allow you to sleep with other people and you’re sleeping with other people, you’re no longer in a relationship. The sooner you tell your ex that they’re now your ex, the sooner you’ll eliminate the risk that Clark Gable III (of Cheaters fame) will show up at your doorstep. Besides, it’s better if you and your ex both can move onto healthier relationships.

6. You fight more often and longer than Mayweather and McGregor.

If you’re relationship consist of more fights than dinners, it’s a sign you should end the fighting by ending the relationship. Healthy relationships don’t consist of fight after fight (or fights that last all night).

End this relationship and find one with a better chance at including a diamond ring instead of a boxing ring.

7. If You’re not Paula Abdul and M.C. Kat.

They say that opposites attract, but you’re not a magnet nor a pop star. Relationships are interesting and exciting when you each have unique characteristics and interests. But, if you have less in common than James Carville and Mary Matalin, you might not have a future.

If you disagree with every word your partner makes and cringe at every breath your partner takes, you have no synchronicity and the relationship is over.

8. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it’s a duck.

If you feel like friends, talk like friends, and live like friends, you’re friends. We never want to hurt our friends, so we often don’t want the “relationship” to end. Even though it sounds cliché to say, “Let’s stay friends,” sometimes that works.

I mean, look at Will & Grace.

9. You have more fun with yourself than with your partner.

If you’d rather be alone than spend more time when your partner than don’t waste another minute with your partner. There’s nothing wrong with wanting the occasional alone time, but if you want alone time more than you want together time, don’t try to stay together forever.

9.5 You have more fun with yourself than with your partner.

If you’d rather polish the pearl or clean the pipe more than lie with your other, it may be time to go solo in life and bed. This isn’t to say that going solo when you’re having relations is bad, it’s just that healthy relations include a healthy amount of copulation.

It’s probably true that if your relationship is over you already know it. It’s just a matter of saying “it’s over.” Stein’s Law states that things that can’t go on forever won’t. If the end of your relationship is inevitable, then don’t avoid it.

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There are joys and horrors — but mostly horrors — of Tinder dating. Maybe it can be better. Read More...

Once in a while, we present LIVE! Subscribe on YouTube to hear about future events, and share your questions about or suggestions for our next discussions!

Show Notes

We don’t have a video, but we do have an amazing conversation about Tinder dating with Gwen from Fiery Millennials. Gwen shares some dating horror stories with some help from Miranda and how you can increase your chances of weeding out the losers from your dating pool.

Find Gwen on Twitter and on Facebook.

Listen to the audio podcast above.

Hosted byHarlan L. Landes and Miranda Marquit
Edited and mixed bySteve Stewart

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Take your romance skills to the next level.

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Romance is important to a lot of people. But what happens when you’re not romantic at all?

Harlan and Miranda are both firmly in the non-romantic camp — and it’s caused problems in their relationships.

If you want to light a spark and help your partner feel appreciated, you need to figure out how to put a little romance into your relationship. Join Miranda and Harlan on a journey of learning as they explore ways they can be more romantic. And maybe you’ll learn something, too!


  • What is romance? It means different things to different people.
  • A discussion of the five love languages.
  • How to focus on your partner’s style of love.
  • Romance isn’t the only thing in a strong relationship.
  • Tips for building a lasting relationship, even without an excess of romance.
  • What constitutes quality time together?
  • Ideas for sparking romance in your relationship.

We encourage you and your partner to take the free love language quiz this week as the first DO NOW. Other DO NOWs include using the information about your partner’s love language to do one thing for them this week and planning a date with your partner — one that’s out of the ordinary.

This week’s listener question addresses what you can do if your partner isn’t into romance or flirty fun the same way you are.

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Running into an ex sucks, but often it can’t be avoided. Even though everything isn’t in your control, there’s some prep work you can do to handle it well. Read More...

Breaking up sucks – especially when you get an unexpected reminder of the trauma. There’s nothing like running into a former flame to rip open wounds you thought were healed.

But an unanticipated rendezvous with your ex doesn’t have to be the end of the world. In fact, it doesn’t have to be anything more than a casual conversation with an old acquaintance.

The difference is in how you approach the situation, and how prepared you are for the buried emotions that might come rushing to the surface.If you’re worried about the potential of running into your ex, here are some ways to prepare.

Practice beforehand.

Facing an awkward situation is always scary, whether it’s a presentation at work or a run-in with your former partner. If you’re anxious about the idea of seeing your ex again, try practicing what you’d say if you ran into them. Ask a friend to role-play as your ex and run through a few possible scenarios.

Practicing beforehand can help you see the truth – there’s nothing to worry about. The real thing will feel different, but facing your fear and acknowledging it will make you less anxious. Think of the situation like a job interview.

Doing a run-through won’t take away all the nervousness, but it will make you feel more prepared.

Keep it real.

Running into a recent ex is especially difficult if they were the one to end things. You want to pretend that you’re doing great, that your life hasn’t been affected at all by them leaving. You don’t want to admit how much you think about them.

But acting fake and pretending everything is good won’t convince your ex, unless you’re a fantastic liar. In fact, making it seem like you’re on top of the world will only make you look more desperate and pathetic. If you have to insist on how well you’re doing, they’re probably not going to buy it.

Instead, try keeping it real. Don’t pretend to be aloof or uncaring. Be polite, respectful, and a little friendly. You’re not going to escape any difficult feelings the interaction brings up, so you might as well leave with your dignity intact.

Take the high road.

If the relationship ended badly, you might be tempted to say something biting and sarcastic upon seeing your ex again. How often have you fantasized about the shade you’d throw in that situation? Have you memorized the comebacks you’d throw out if they tried to apologize?

But being petty won’t make you feel better, even if it does make your ex feel worse. Even if you get a brief high from speaking your mind, being spiteful will only leave you feeling worse once the adrenaline has faded.

As hard as it might seem, taking the high road is better for both of you. There’s a famous saying that goes, “Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for for the other person to die.” Of course it’s easy to stay mad at an ex, especially if they cheated on you, but taking the low road won’t make you happier.

Keep it brief.

Unless you’re on great terms with your ex, you don’t have to discuss everything that’s gone on since you two broke up. Keep the conversation light and simple, make a joke or two and then find a reason to leave.

If you have an extended conversation, it could make them think you’re still interested. That can lead to even more awkwardness, with them preemptively rejecting you or trying to win you back. A five-minute chat leaves no room for interpretation.

Ignore them.

If you feel like you’re still too emotional and won’t be able to hold it together, it’s ok to ignore them. You might feel a little awkward just turning and walking away, but it’s better than bursting into tears as soon as they say, “Hi.”

You don’t owe anyone your attention. After a tough breakup, all you need to worry about is taking care of you.

Don’t obsess over it.

If you’re in college or live near your ex, the possibility of running into them is very likely. When I was dumped in college, I still had to see my ex every day. I dreaded walking into the journalism building and seeing his face.

Over time, I realized that my dread wasn’t making me feel more prepared. It was just extending the pain. Plus, spending all my of my free time obsessing about the next time I’d see him was pretty annoying for my friends. They made that very, very clear.

Yes, you might run into someone who hurt you – but you don’t have to let them continue to make you feel bad. Focus on your work, your hobbies, and whatever else you have going for you. Eventually, the thought of running into your ex won’t even cross your mind.

Have you ran into an ex and not handled it well? If you rocked it like a pro, what tips can you give. Tell us all about it in the #Adulting Facebook community.

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