Should You Text Your Ex? The Guide to Help You Decide
It’s never easy to answer this, but if you’re pondering over whether you should text your ex, here are a few things to help you make up your mind.
We’ve all been there. It might be days or months or even years since we have split up with our previous partner. All is going well, but then, one evening, half a bottle of red wine later, you are reaching for your phone with the uncontrollable urge to text your ex.
You can tell yourself that it’s just to ‘see how they are doing’ or that there is a specific, urgent question that only your ex would know the answer to. But really, whether you split up last week, or last winter, the key to knowing whether it is okay to text your ex, is to understand why you want to text them in the first place.
Most people that have just come out of a relationship, regardless of how it has ended, are likely to receive the following advice – don’t text your ex, under any circumstances, particularly if the circumstances involve alcohol of any kind.
Friends have “banned” us from using our phones on nights’ out, or we have deleted our ex partner’s number *while secretly safe in the knowledge that we know it by heart* to show willing and “stay strong.”
Your friends’ job is to keep you from hurting any more than you have to during a break-up, and the truth is that if you are reaching for your phone in a moment of weakness, you probably shouldn’t be texting your ex at all. [Read: 7 very effective ways to resist the urge to call your ex]
Should I text my ex?
Whether the breakup ended amicably, or horribly, your friends are unlikely to think there is ever a good time to contact your ex partner, and will try to keep you focused on having a good time and moving forward.
Breakups need time and space. If you broke up with someone, it was probably for a very good reason – be it that you caught him with his pants down, or that you simply knew she wasn’t the right one for you.
Whatever the catalyst for the breakup, once you have started down that path, it is very difficult to go back. Difficult, that is, because the damage has been done. The beautiful bubble of love and happiness you once shared has now been broken, and knowing that you have the ability to break up, makes it almost impossible to ever get that bubble back – which is why most relationships where couples break up and get back together only leads to them breaking up again. [Read: 10 reasons why the on-off relationship is the worst kind of relationship you can be in]
While getting back together with your ex might seem like the wisest way to stop all the heartache, if you don’t give yourself, and them, the time to heal, then you’ll never know whether you have made the right decision.
Are you making the effort to successfully break up?
People always talk about ‘giving the relationship a go’ or ‘ working hard at the relationship,’ but what if the same effort went into the breakup? Giving your breakup a go is probably the healthiest thing you can do. Doing so involves not contacting your ex for a while, and exploring what life is like without them.
Of course, you are going to wonder about your ex every once in a while. If you haven’t spoken in a few months, you’ll ask yourself how they are doing, what they might have been up to, or whether they are seeing anyone new.
This is particularly true if you don’t have any mutual friends who you can ask. Curiosity about your ex is completely natural, and with it the desire to reach out to them to find out. Before you do, however, you should think carefully about the repercussions of doing so. [Confession: I miss him so much but I don’t think he misses me at all]
If you did call or text, how would your ex react?
Think about the possible answers he or she could give. You ask how they’re doing and they reply by telling you that they’re doing great – is that going to make you feel happy, or would it completely upset you? On the other hand, you ask how they’re doing and they reply by saying that they’re totally miserable – is that going to make you feel smug/guilty/like getting back together?
The same goes for questions about new partners. If you want to find out whether your ex is in a relationship, ask yourself why that even matters to you? Is it because you would be genuinely happy for your ex if they’re dating someone new, or is it because you would then like to find out everything you can about their new squeeze and plot ways to destroy their new partner? Is it because you just so happen to have had three great dates with a hottie who is more beautiful/more wealthy/has a better job than your ex and want to rub it in their face? [Read: Is your ex seeing someone new? How to deal with it]
The motivations behind texting your ex
Understanding your motivation is important. If reaching out to your ex is not because you simply care, and you know, deep down you aren’t going to be able to handle certain answers, then perhaps the wounds are still a little raw and you need to wait a while longer.
However, being good friends with your ex can be a wonderful thing. You spent all that time together after all, and you must have been happy at some point. The whole “let’s stay friends” thing is something that is often said at the end of an amicable break-up. Yet, in reality, it’s pretty hard to maintain a friendship with someone you were so intimate with, and when new partners come along, being friends with an ex can be so much more brutal, especially if you’re still harboring feelings for them. [Read: The step-by-step guide to being friends with an ex without any complications]
Staying friends after the break up
You’re the only one who really knows how important having a good relationship with your ex is. There might be a reason you are going to be bound together for eternity, it might just be that you share a bunch of similar friends or for some reason, you may feel like it’s important to you to get along.
If you know that you want to be friends with your ex, and you know that they feel the same, then take it slow. Whatever you decide to do, you still need that initial “cooling off period” where you give each other space and time to live your lives apart from one another.
But if you can both get to the point where you can have a healthy, supportive relationship as friends *and that doesn’t mean falling into bed with one another every time you’re single* then that can be a really wonderful thing. [Read: Can you be friends with your ex? 16 scenarios to help you decide]
Texting your ex – The things you need to remember
#1 Don’t drunk text. Drunk texting your ex is never a wise move, unless it’s 3am and you are stranded outside your apartment and they are the only person with a spare key *expect your ex to be very unimpressed with you if this is the case*.
#2 Have a good reason. If you want to text your ex, make sure you understand why – if the reasons are motivated by jealousy/resentment/wanting to hook up or get back together, then it’s probably not a good idea.
#3 Their reaction. Think about how you will feel if your ex doesn’t reply. And if you are going to do it, do it at a time when you know you are busy or leave your phone and go out for the day. The painful wait will just leave you feeling a lot worse. [Read: 12 reasons why the no contact rule always works in your favor]
#4 Think about the purpose of your text. Are you asking your ex a specific question, do you just want to know how they are, do you want to try and get your ex to meet you? If you are doing it ‘just because,’ it’s probably because you miss your ex. And if this is the case, you really need to wait a few weeks before texting your ex.
#5 Can you resist your ex? Make sure you know you can resist your ex. If texting turns to sexting and you end up hooking up again, is that what you really want? You are probably just prolonging the pain and setting yourself up for even more hurt. [Read: 16 signs your ex still wants you back in their life]
If you really want to be friends, and you are truly over the relationship, and you’d be happy if your ex was happy *and with a new partner,* then go for it – but make sure you are not just trying to convince yourself of something that’s not the truth!
Let’s face it, texting your ex is usually a bad idea. However, there are times when it’s not, and can lead to a truly important friendship. [Read: 15 reasons why your ex is still trying to stay in touch with you]
But being true with yourself is the only way you can really know the answer to the question ‘Should I text my ex?’ but if you slip up and do it anyway, at least you can be safe in the knowledge that you won’t be the only one!