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Should I Text My Ex? Facing the Truths of Texting your Ex

If you’re pondering whether you should text your ex, here are a few things to help you make up your mind.


Before you start to beat yourself up, remember that the urge to text your ex is normal. It might be days or months or even years since you split up with our previous partner, but eventually you might want to reach out to them. Read on to learn why that is and what you can do about it.

The psychology behind wanting to text your ex

If you want to text your ex, the first thing you should do is evaluate your psychological state. Are you lonely? Are you feeling scared or sad? Or are you angry, and looking to vent some of your frustrations on whoever broke your heart?

These feelings are natural and normal. They are also, unfortunately, your problem to deal with. No matter how badly the breakup may have gone, it is on you to pull yourself back together and manage your emotions. Yes, it is wildly unfair, especially if you did not want the breakup. 

But you cannot reach out to your ex in hopes of solace. You are more likely to feel worse when they don’t answer, or ask you to stop drunkenly texting them. You need to find healthy outlets for these emotions, and resist the urge to reach for your phone. 

Is it pathetic and desperate to text your ex?

When deciding to if you should text your ex, you might ask yourself if doing so is pathetic and desperate. Unfortunately, the answer is– it depends.

If you are texting someone who dumped you, begging them to take you back, then yes maybe. But if you ended on good terms and are just asking them how they are doing because you really care, it’s not pathetic and desperate. Your ex might as for more time to heal, and that’s fine. But it isn’t desperate. Especially not if you respect their boundaries.

Should I text my ex? When it’s okay to text your 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. Those who love you will try to keep you focused on having a good time and moving forward.

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

However, if you are determined to text your ex, there are a few times when it is okay. Read on to learn more about when and how to text an ex.

Special occasions

If you ended on good terms *and that is a big if* then it is probably fine to text them on special occasions. Don’t draw the conversation out, but sending a simple happy birthday text or something similar is fine.

You have a special request or concern

If you want your sweater back or need their help dividing your belongings, there is no reason you cannot send your ex a text about it. Just keep the conversation civil and on topic. 

You feel regret

If you are the one who ended the relationship, and you are now feeling regret, it may be okay to reach out to your ex and say so.

Just be prepared for the fact that they may not be receptive to this. Your ex may be angry at you for dumping them. Depending on how much time has passed, they may have moved on. So you are welcome to text your ex if you are feeling regret, but don’t expect any miracles. [Read: How to get your Ex Boyfriend back after a regretful parting]

You are worried about them

This is a bit of a touchy issue. If you are concerned about how your ex is handling the breakup, reaching out to them to ask how they are doing may come across as tone deaf, even gloating.

If they are acting erratically because of the breakup it is best to leave your ex alone. You can’t very well fix the problem you helped create. But if there is something else that concerns you, it is fine to reach out and ask them how they are doing. Especially if a lot of time has passed. [Read: 17 Charming Ways to Get a Girl to Text You Back without Annoying Her]

When to refrain from texting your ex

People always talk about ‘giving the relationship a go’ or ‘ working hard at the relationship,’ but no one ever discusses putting that same kind of energy into a breakup. Giving your breakup a go and committing to being happy while single is probably the healthiest thing you can do.

Doing so involves not contacting your ex for a while, including texting. Read on for reasons why you shouldn’t text your ex, and should instead commit to your breakup.

Right after the breakup

Time heals all wounds, and it’s what you both need right now. When you are used to reaching out to one person to talk about your feelings, it can be tempting to go to your ex for comfort right after the breakup.

This is a major mistake. You’ve already done the hard part of going through the end of the relationship. Now you need to take a step back and put work into your breakup by not texting your ex.

When your ex starts dating again

Maybe you are scrolling through social media, or maybe you are out with friends, when suddenly you receive the news: your ex has moved on and started dating again.

Whether you are shocked, angry, or even happy for them– do not text your ex to discuss this. For starters, it makes it look like you are stalking their life. But this is especially true if your reaction is negative. Blowing up at your ex is just going to make you look bitter, petty and pathetic. Write it out in your journal, tell a friend who is not a mutual friend of your ex, do whatever you have to do– but don’t text your ex. [Read: Is your ex seeing someone new? How to deal with it]

After 8 pm

Do not call or text your ex late at night. Why? Because they will probably think its a booty call, or that you are drunk and want to yell at them. Either way, they are unlikely to answer. Best to wait until daytime to try to text your ex.

If your relationship was toxic and miserable

You’ve finally wriggled out from under a toxic, miserable relationship. Why dive right back in? Commit to your breakup with the person who made you so unhappy, and do not text them. It is time to move on! [Read: New Relationship Doubts: 17 Toxic & Normal Signs to Read What You Feel]

When you feel lonely and horny

You can dress it up all you want, but when you text your ex because you are lonely and horny they will know. No one likes to be treated like a last resort or disposable option.

Your ex won’t appreciate you texting them when you are lonely and horny, and it will make you come off as a slime ball. Its a zero sum game, so don’t do it.

How long should I wait to text my ex?

This is a tough question with no easy answer. Like so many things to do with texting your ex, it is all about how the relationship ended. Luckily we have a few guides for you to go by.

Wait at least 30 days to text your ex for a typical breakup

Healing takes time. For a typical breakup with no major blowups or harsh feelings, you should wait at least 30 days before trying to reach out to your ex and kindle a friendship. This gives you both time to see what life looks like without the other person.

Wait at least 6 months to text your ex after a messy breakup

Did you have a nasty breakup with your ex? Maybe one that involved cheating, screaming matches and/or dragging your friends into it? Then really, there is no need to text your ex at all. But if you must, wait for at least 6 months to let the dust settle on the situation.

If you passed the typical contact period, wait until you have a reason to text your ex

If a long time has passed, and you still want to text your ex, don’t spring on them out of the blue. Instead, wait until you have a reason to reach out– such as a birthday or a special occasion. This will show you are thinking about them, but not enough to cause alarm. [Read: Ex Texts You Out of the Blue: 10 Real Reasons & Best Ways to Respond]

Signs you are ready to text your ex

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 also might just be that you share a bunch of similar friends. Whatever it is, you may feel like it’s important for you to get along with your ex. You can text your ex, but only when you are ready. [Read: Can you be friends with your ex? 16 scenarios to help you decide]

Neither of you have hard feelings

Breakups are rough, even amicable ones. There is no feelings-free way to say that you do not want to be with someone anymore because of who they are. But over time those feelings can fade, and if neither you nor your ex has hard feelings then maybe you can be friends.

You aren’t feeling lonely and desperate

If you want to text your ex because you are feeling lonely and desperate, try to find out why you feel that way before you start texting your ex. Try to remember that you and your ex broke up for a reason– a reason that could not be resolved. If you are lonely and desperate reaching out to your ex is just as likely to make you feel worse as it is to make you feel better.

You have a good reason

You can always text your ex if you have a good reason. It’s determining what counts as a “good reason” that is tricky. If you want to text your ex because you are drunk, horny or sad– this is not a good reason.

But if you want to tell them that the cat you had together passed, or if you want to coordinate the return of items, that is a good reason to text your ex.

You are ready to apologize

Do you think you owe your ex an apology? Then it is okay to text them– as long as your motivations are truly to apologize. Sometimes people act like they are apologizing, when really they are trying to shirk blame or excuse their actions. If you apology starts with something like “I’m sorry, but–” then it’s not an apology.

However, if you are truly sorry you can text your ex to apologize. Just remember this: an apology, no matter how sincere, is not an immediate pass for forgiveness. Your ex might still not want to talk to you, and you need to respect that.

You want “closure”

This is a trick one. Closure is not real, and it has been used as a justification for reaching out to your ex for eons. Whatever the reason for your breakup, you two are broken up. That is the closure. It is highly unlikely that your ex is going to say anything that will make you feel better after a nasty breakup.

In fact, it is more likely they will say something that makes you feel worse. For example, if you reach out for “closure” because your ex left you for another person, they might tell you that they are happier with that person. Is that going to make you feel better?

Closure is a myth, so don’t text your ex looking for it.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Texting Your Ex

If you’ve decided that you simply must text your ex, there are some simple rules to follow.

1. Don’t text impulsively *or drunk*

Drunk texting your ex is never a wise move, unless it’s 3 am 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. Don’t text if it’s not going to be helpful

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.

Remember that texting your ex is just as likely to make you feel worse as it is to make you feel better.

3. If you want to talk to your ex, ask to meet in person

Texting is a notoriously terrible method of communication. If you want to talk to your ex, either to ask to get back together or just to try to kindle a friendship, you should ask to meet in person somewhere public.

So, when it’s appropriate, text your ex and ask to meet in person. If they say yes you can talk then. If they say no, then you have your answer.

4. Be realistic about how your ex will respond

Think about how you will feel if your ex doesn’t reply, or if they reply saying the don’t want to talk to you. You need to prepare yourself for this possibility.

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]

5. Be respectful of their current relationship status

If your ex has moved on, keep that in mind when texting them. Remember that they will probably show your text to their new partner. If you have any hopes of remaining friends, you need to be respectful of their relationship.

What to do when your ex texts you first

When your ex texts you first, take note of how you initially respond. Are you happy to hear from them, or are you horrified? Do you wish they would just go away? Does hearing from your ex make you angry and reopen old wounds?

Trust your gut. If your ex texting you first makes you happy, go ahead and text them back. But if hearing from your ex sends you into a spiral of anxiety and sadness, you should block them and move on with your life.

What should you text your ex if you want to get back with them

If you regret the breakup and want your ex back, then ask to meet them in person. This kind of conversation should not be done over text. There is too much room for misinterpretation and hurt feelings [Read: Baby come back: how to win your ex back in a healthy way]

What to do if you text your ex and get left on read

So you drum up the courage to text your ex, and they leave you on read. What now?

As disappointing as it may be, your ex’s silence is their answer. They have decided that they do not want to talk to you, and frankly nothing you can text them will change their mind. If you text your ex and get left on read, you need to accept that they are not interested in talking to you and move on.

Whatever you do, don’t send them an angry text demanding to know why they are ignoring you. This is only going to confirm your ex’s belief that talking to you is a bad idea.

A few things you should know about texting your ex

Ready to take the leap and text your ex? Here are a few things you should know.

Should you text your ex to see how they are doing?

The answer to this depends on many of the circumstances listed above. If you guys ended on good terms, and its been awhile, sure you can ask how they are doing. But if you just broke up, or had a nasty breakup, you are better off giving your ex some much-needed space.

How often should you text your ex?

Even if you and your ex are friends, it is best to keep the texting to a minimum. Texting all day long is reserved for people who are in romantic relationships. If you are texting your ex all the time, how are supposed to move on and find someone new? [Read: Moving on! 9 Upbeat songs to get over your lost love]

Is it okay to text your ex after you’ve moved on to someone new?

This is a tough one. Your current partner might not be okay with you texting your ex, even if you are just friends. If your ex doesn’t know you’ve moved on, they might be angry, asking why you are texting them if you are in a relationship with someone else.

If you and your ex really are done, the occasional text shouldn’t be an issue. Just make sure you talk to your partner about it first.

Your ex responds to your texts, but never texts first. Does that mean they still like you?

Does your ex text you back, but never first? It sounds harsh, but this situation is likely due to the fact that your ex doesn’t really think about you until you pop up on their phone.

If you wonder if your ex still likes you, do this experiment– stop texting them and see if they reach out to you first. If they do, you may still have a chance of reconciliation. If they don’t, they probably don’t have feelings for you.

Is there any magical text that can get your ex back?

Nope, sorry. Relationships are complicated, involving a swirling mix of emotions, egos, and sexuality. There is no magic text that can win back an ex. All you can hope for is time, patience and forgiveness.

Why texting your ex is more likely to hurt you then fix your ex-relationship

If you want to text your ex, it’s because you miss them. This is a natural feeling that will only start to pass if you DON’T reach out to 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, it doesn’t matter. You have broken up and the relationship is over, so why text them?

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. Lowered inhibitions and reaching out to the person who broke your heart is an obvious recipe for disaster.

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. It will reopen old wounds, and destroy your chances to heal. [Read: 7 very effective ways to resist the urge to call your ex]

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!

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Bethany Locke
Bethany was born and raised in Scotland and now resides in Brighton where she lives with her partner and rather disobedient cocker spaniel pup. She works as a f...
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