This Is When You Should Text Your Ex (And When You Shouldn’t)
Getting over a breakup is never easy. After you’ve invested time in a person, formed a meaningful bond, and gotten used to having them as a central part of your life, it’s hard to cut ties entirely. It’s no surprise, then, that the urge to text your ex can be almost unbearable. You may feel the need to give them a piece of your mind, you might want to tell them you miss them terribly, or perhaps you just want to see how they’re doing. When it comes to texting your ex, there is no right or wrong answer, but if you’ve felt the urge to make contact, you know how agonizing the decision can be.
Why We Feel the Urge to Text an Ex
“Many people can’t stop thinking about their ex obsessively to ease a feeling of loneliness. Others, who truly loved their ex, can’t let go. Some are afraid of getting out there again, so they keep their former relationship alive as a way of staying involved and not feeling single again,” Walfish explains. But according to the psychotherapist, there’s only one way to truly let go of our ex: dating. “The key factor is the readiness to (finally!) let go.”
When thinking about someone constantly, it can be hard not to get the urge to text them, but Walfish insists that looking forward is the healthy thing to do. “Everyone holds on for a different length of time. Some people avoid the pain of loss and grief by texting their ex. Others who have been deeply hurt may close the vault to their heart [and] shut it away under lock and key. You need to know yourself and respect your personal timing,” Walfish says. Try dating again when you’re ready, and in the meantime, it’s fine to stay in touch with your ex via text; just make sure they aren’t rejecting you or causing you any pain.
When It’s Acceptable to Text Your Ex
According to Walfish, there’s definitely a time when it’s acceptable to text your ex—particularly when there are signs that you two might be able to reconcile. “These signs include that they express and demonstrate genuine accountability and remorse for having hurt you. Another sign is that your ex demonstrates change with continuity,” Walfish says. “Anyone can change for a moment, but being flexible and sustaining real change is the key we’re looking for in a life partner.”
One must be brutally honest at all times, including when we experience our deepest pain,” Walfish says. “It is natural and absolutely normal to feel needy. We are interdependent beings who need each other. We can only come to another person as a complete and separately contained whole individual without the expectation of the other filling up gaps and holes. Two wholes equal the best couple.”
If you’ve just gone through a breakup (or if it’s been a minute since the initial separation), it’s important to realize that whatever transpired between the two of you happened in the past. (So if you’re currently in “broken-record mode,” snap out of it.) It’s completely understandable to want to figure out exactly what went wrong, when things changed, and how you both got to this point. Engaging in a healthy bit of self-reflection is okay, but continually obsessing over every little detail of your broken relationship in the weeks and months after you’ve called it quits only intensifies your misery—especially if you haven’t gotten proper closure (PS: you might never get it)—and keeps you stuck in a vicious cycle of repetitive thought in which you become unable to distinguish real life from all the crazy scenarios playing out in your head.
Step back, honestly assess the situation, and try your hardest to accept and come to terms with what occurred. Focusing on the future, rather than the past, is just one of the healthy ways to move on after a hard breakup. While it may be agonizingly tempting to check in with, low-key shade, or stealthily stalk your ex on social media, don’t do it. Just don’t. There’s no point in watching your ex live it up at someone’s birthday party, look great in a bathing suit on some faraway beach, or scarf down a meal in the buzzy new restaurant you two were supposed to try together. And what happens when you see them living their life with (gasp) someone else? Do you really want to subject yourself to the anger and hurt you’ll feel upon seeing your ex has moved on while you’re still gagging over what once was?
Even if it’s painful at first, unfollowing, blocking, and/or hiding your ex on the social media channels you frequent is really the best course of action. Once that’s done, shift the time and energy spent fixating on all the great things your ex appears to be doing, and use it to improve your own life.