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Ask any relationship expert and they’ll tell you that after a breakup, one of the most important things to make sure you have plenty of is space. But what do you do when your ex is still around and it’s beyond your control? It’s not uncommon. Recent studies have shown that more than 10 million couples work together.

A survey by American Greetings found that more couples meet through friends than via any other avenue. Work and social obligations may force you to maintain contact with your ex – even when it’s the last thing on Earth you want to do – but there are classy ways to handle the inevitable run-ins, from both sides of the table. Here are 6 tips for handling yourself with style, maturity, and grace – whether you’re the heartbreaker or the heartbroken.

As The Heartbreaker:

1. Give your ex space – If you are determined to go through with this breakup, the last thing you want to do is give your ex hope that there is a chance for a reconciliation. Give your former flame as much space as possible and avoid contact unless work or social obligations demand it. It may be difficult, but in the long run, this space will help your ex start to get over the relationship.

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2. Expect things to get nasty, but don’t react – It’s the lucky couple who can navigate a breakup and remain friends. More often than not, there is name-calling, nasty emails and other assorted break-up byproducts to contend with. If your ex is hurt and decides to get nasty in public, keep your composure and avoid retaliating in kind. Getting in a few parting shots will only hurt your relationships with mutual friends or your credibility in the work place.

3. Be tactful down the road – It may be weeks, or it may be months, but sooner or later you will meet someone new and start dating again. Be tactful when bringing your new flame around your ex, as it will likely be painful for him or her no matter how long it’s been since your break-up. Keep the public displays of affection and cute nicknames to a minimum.

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