Please Advise: I’m going to see my ex for the first time. How do I take the high road?

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One reader moves back to the small town where her ex — and his new girlfriend — live. Nerve readers weigh in. 


Wise readers,  

Each week, the inbox of our venerable advice columnist, Miss Information, is flooded with queries. And although she makes a valiant effort, she cannot answer them all. To deal with the surplus, we've decided to turn to you. So, don your spectacles and help this woman out. You can give her advice in the comments below, or, if you'd like to share what you wrote with your friends, on our Facebook page


Dear Nerve,  

At the beginning of the year I had a very messy affair with a coworker in a city I've been living in part-time. He was cheating with me on his partner of ten years, and he was an emotionally abusive guy. I was in a "rock-bottom" phase of my life for a variety of reasons, and like so many people, rather than breaking it off, I kept going back for more. Our relationship ended abruptly when his partner broke up with him and, less than twenty-four hours later, he very happily announced to me that he was trading me in for someone else and I watched them go home together. I cut off all communication with him and left town to get distance, heal, and rebuild my completely destroyed emotional and mental state.  

I've made a lot of progress really quickly and I am "over it" in the more immediate visceral sense, but I know the deep scars won't go away for a while. The problem is that, in a few weeks, I am going to move back to the city where my abusive ex lives, and the reality of running into him (and his new girlfriend) is creeping up. As strong as I feel and even with the confidence I've built, I am not sure how I should deal with the situation when it arises. It's not like running into any other ex — very few people knew we were having an affair, and I haven't talked to anyone other than my therapist about it.  

I really want nothing to do with him, but it's a small town and we know a lot of the same people. Run-ins are inevitable. I want to continue to take the high road, but I am not sure how to even be civil to this person who did and said the most hurtful things I've ever experienced. How should I comport myself?  

— Disturbed Behavior  

Help her out in the comments below. Got a question of your own? Email