Uh oh. You just got the “ping” you were secretly dreading/hoping for: the text from your ex.
Whether your breakup was amicable or not, the “ex text” is mostly inevitable. Sometimes the reach out is code for “are you still single?” Not so much because they want to get back together but because they’re nosy.
Other times it’s because they want to know how you’re doing and want to make sure you’re all right.
Most times the “ex text” is simply a habit reflex, and if your ex is bored and single, well, guess who comes to mind first?
If you receive a text from your ex, here’s what NOT to do.
See also: What TO DO when he texts you
Top 5 Mistakes To Avoid When Texting Your Ex Boyfriend
Don’t Text Back Right Away
While it might be tempting to text back right away – especially if you’re still harbouring feelings for your ex—your best bet is to cool your jets. Give yourself at least an hour or so before you respond. Why? Well, first you want to ensure you’re responding with thought to the message rather than impulsively reacting.
Do you want to text back? If so, what do you want to say? Take a moment to get really clear as to how healthy and productive an exchange with your ex would, or would not, be.
Plus, why not make ‘em sweat and remind them that you have a life that doesn’t revolve around them? Because you do!
Don’t Jump Into a Conversation Right Away
It’s easy to fall back into familiar patterns and want to engage with your ex in your routine banter but let’s remember something: you’re not together anymore, and that’s probably for a good reason.
Since your breakup, you have established boundaries and distance, and depending on how long it’s been since you’ve broken up, there might be some lingering and/or hurt feelings. It’s easy to get sucked into how you two interacted before but this is actually the moment to lean back.
Feel them out. Get clear as to their reasons for contacting you. Don’t be afraid to put your feelings, and your sense of security, first. If you have to ask them straight up, “Why are you contacting me?” do so.
See also: 20 goodnight texts to send him
Don’t Rehash the Breakup
If you’re still hurting from the breakup and have any remaining questions and loose ends you want to tie up, your first instinct might be to do just that. But the first contact isn’t the time or place to do that.
Your ex is contacting you for some reason, and it’s your priority to figure out why that is and for you to decide how you want to proceed from there.
Rehashing the breakup might cause more tension and hostility, and then you’ll find yourself at emotional trauma square one. Maybe your newfound connection can help you sort out your feelings about the breakup later. Until then, try to keep your thought and emotions on an even keel. Be more curious, less reactive.
Don’t Assume They Want to Get Back Together
Let’s be honest: if you hear back from your ex, especially within the first three to six months post-breakup, you’re going to think they want to get back together – especially if you were the one who was dumped.
This reach out text, then, is particularly potent for you. It’s basically the sign you were waiting for, right? If your ex wants to connect with you, then that must mean they miss you! That they made a mistake! Right? Wrong.
Yes, maybe your ex does miss you. Maybe they are having second thoughts. But let’s not put too much stock into a single text message.
At this point, it’s important for your peace of mind, and your heart, to take your ex at face value. Don’t assume they want to get back together until you hear those exact words. Which means don’t read between the lines or give them the benefit of the doubt.
Trust me, by assuming they don’t want to get back together will help you and your heart in the long run.
Don’t Be Petty (including mind games)
Depending on how the breakup went down, it’s probably tempting to get a little sassy or even a little mean-spirited when your ex reaches out.
You might be tempted to say something like, “Oh, now you want me” or something that you know will hurt them. Hurt people hurt people, right? But here’s your chance to be the bigger person. Not because you want to show them that you don’t care anymore – apathy is overrated – but because you are the bigger person. You understand that you once shared a meaningful connection with this person and you respect your history together.
You understand that you’ve learned lessons from this person, and so now you have a better idea of who and what you want and don’t want, in a relationship. So show up as that person. Not to entice them. Not to make them jealous. But because you’re better than that, and you know it.
Of course, the sixth thing would be NOT to answer at all. This is a totally valid action.
Consider if this person is even deserving a minute of your time. Consider the consequences, and potentially dysfunctional fallout from responding, and then act accordingly.
Remember: you alone protect your heart.