My Ex Texted Me - Should I Ignore It?

By: Michael Puskar

Updated August 03, 2021

Medically Reviewed By: Aaron Horn

No matter how long you've been separated, receiving a text message from your ex, especially when you least suspect it, can be unnerving, annoying, and emotionally upsetting. In many cases, disregarding it and going about your own business is the best course of action, especially if you're trying to move on; but should you always ignore these texts? This article will help you make that decision for yourself by letting you ask yourself some questions and considering the outcomes.

What Will Answering The Text Accomplish?

A Text From Your Ex Can Bring Up Intense Emotions
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People who have recently experienced a breakup often face challenges regarding answering their ex's texts, calls, emails, or other communication forms.

Sometimes this is out of habit, it could be a way to vent their anger, and other times, they aren't ready to feel disconnected from their ex. They think that they will feel some satisfaction from responding, and they might for a short time, but usually, afterward, they feel worse, potentially ruining the entire day.

If you decide to answer that message, ask yourself what you plan to get out of doing it? If it's any of the reasons mentioned above, you should probably consider ignoring it and looking for other ways to cope.

If you both have kids or share assets and he or she is contacting you about that, it's best to respond to it, but try to be brief and civil, especially if it's something urgent. [1]

Now, if your ex is trying to apologize, you are free to respond if you please, but ultimately, you will have to judge whether it's a good idea or not. If it seems that they are coming from a place of good intentions, you are probably safe to answer it and at your leisure, if you wish.

Remember that some conversations, like small-talk or asking how you are, might seem genuine and friendly at first, but they can go in an entirely different direction as they progress. Many people choose to avoid these kinds of attempts for this reason alone. If you decide to talk to your ex when under a certain impression, but it goes on a different path, end the conversation, and don't answer any more messages in the future.

Did The Break-Up End Poorly?

Depending on the separation's circumstances, ignoring your ex might be the right call, but it was amicable; answering it probably isn't the worst decision globally and can be just like any other social interaction with a friend.

Believe it or not, not all break-ups are train wrecks, and many ex-couples are still able to remain as friends and keep in contact regularly.

Even if things did end in a less-than-ideal manner, you could still respond, especially if an apology was involved, as previously mentioned in the last section. However, if you're still upset, it's perfectly acceptable to ignore it.

For very bad break-ups, avoiding contact with your ex is probably best because you need time to move on. Keeping your ex around in any capacity in these situations ends up slowing down the healing process for you, and he or she will always be a reminder of what went wrong. Instead, focus on the present and future, and you need to understand that your grief is normal and will pass with time. [2]

If you went through an agonizing break-up, it's best to minimize or eliminate contact with your ex for the foreseeable. Still, perhaps, someday, it's possible to reconnect and be friends, but this depends entirely on how you feel.

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Only time will tell, but right now, do you. Your main priorities should be about getting better, and when you're ready, finding someone new.

Are You In A Relationship Right Now?

If you are currently seeing someone else, you should ignore all forms of communication with your ex in the vast majority of cases.

If it's recent enough, it's just reopening old wounds, and by him or her reinserting themselves back into your life, it makes things harder to move on.

Not only that, it's unfair for the person that you are currently dating. If you respond, it takes your focus off of him or her, and it might make them think that you still have feelings for your ex and question whether they are a rebound.

Worst case scenario, your current partner might accidentally get involved in the drama, if there was any, especially if you've vented about your ex before.

Therefore, it's best to give your current partner and yourself the respect that it deserves by discarding the messages, unless, of course, it's about something extremely important, like if you had kids with your ex and the reason him or her contacting you involves them.

Many individuals understand when it comes to things like this but never make contact with an ex to chat; it's disrespectful for the man or woman you see.

Does He Or She Text You Constantly?

Some exes will do everything in their power to get through to you, but this usually means that they'll spam your phone with text messages until you respond.

It often gets the other person's attention, but it usually upsets them, having the opposite impact and not accomplishing anything.

Perhaps this seems familiar, and you've already told him or her to stop texting you. Unfortunately, if you respond to these messages, it encourages them to keep writing or trying to call you, regardless of how you respond.

The reason that your ex does this is that it's hard to let go. Sure, some are trying to instigate and trying to bait an emotional reaction, but most of the time, it's because they are struggling without you around.

This doesn't justify their actions, and it doesn't mean that you should respond. If it's become a problem, and you've already told him or her to stop contacting you, and they've disobeyed that request and are being disrespectful.

You can tell them that once more, but if it doesn't help, don't respond to the texts anymore. No matter what you do, they'll keep texting you, but it'll last longer if you answer them. If you don't give him or her any attention, they'll stop eventually. If not, you can consider changing your number or taking legal action.

Do You Want To Reconcile?

Couples fight all of the time, and conflict is just a part of being in a relationship - it's unavoidable and something that needs to be managed.

While it's entirely up to the individual whether or not something is worth breaking up over (sometimes there doesn't need to be a reason at all other than wanting to find someone else), there are times where some people can overreact to situations that aren't very severe.

Deep down, they didn't want to separate, but the knee-jerk reaction to something caused them to go through with it, and after a while, it leads to regret.

Even a relationship with infidelity can survive, depending on how the person cheated on feels and how much they value the other person. [3] It is also contingent on whether the unfaithful individual cheated out of malice and spite or issues in the relationship, like affection and intimacy problems.

If you decide to forgive and get back together, it is highly recommended that you both seek counseling and therapy to help get you both back on the same page.

Not all break-ups are permanent, and if your ex texts you want to patch things up and you are open to it, answering his or her message is the right thing to do in this case. On the other hand, if you're not interested, you can ignore it and move on, as usual.

Conclusion

A Text From Your Ex Can Bring Up Intense Emotions

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As you can see, when it comes to responding to your texts from your ex, it's not always black and white, and it depends entirely on the context.

You should ignore them in some situations, especially if you're doing your best to move on with your life, but there are others where answering it can be viable or even necessary.

Regardless of which route you decide to go, help is available, and at ReGain, a licensed mental health professional is available online to guide you. If you're struggling to go forward on your own and answer messages even though you don't want to, a counselor or therapist can teach you how to cope so that you can stop these behaviors. They can also assist you with how to make necessary conversations with your ex as painless as possible.

Alternatively, if you decide to contact your ex and you end up agreeing to get back together, couples counseling is recommended to provide you both with the communication skills to work things out more effectively and to create mutual understanding. This will be crucial to give you two a better chance this time around.

Making the right decision can be tough, but hopefully, this article has helped you conclude whether you should talk to your ex or not. Next time you say, "my ex texted me," you'll be able to make the best choice; it entirely depends on you and the circumstances and what makes you happiest in the long-term.

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References

  1. Hartwell-Walker, M. (2018, October 8). Stop Toxic Fighting with Your Ex. Retrieved from https://psychcentral.com/lib/stop-toxic-fighting-with-your-ex/.
  2. Davis, D. L. (2015, February 22). After the Break-Up: When Moving On Seems Impossible. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/laugh-cry-live/201502/after-the-break-when-moving-seems-impossible.
  3. Kort, J. (2015, August 3). How Couples Can Survive Cheating (And Why They Even Try). Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/understanding-the-erotic-code/201508/how-couples-can-survive-cheating-and-why-they-even-try.

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