My Ex Texted Me - Should I Ignore It?
No matter how long you've been separated, receiving a text message from your ex, especially when you least expect it, can be unnerving, frustrating, 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 from an ex? This article will help you make that decision for yourself by encouraging you to ask yourself some questions and consider the potential outcomes of whatever you decide.
What Will Answering The Text Accomplish?
People who have recently experienced a breakup often face challenges regarding answering their ex's texts, calls, emails, or other forms of communication.
These individuals may be unsure whether they should respond and may want to reply as a way to vent their anger or sadness or reconnect with someone they were once close to. Other times, they aren't ready to feel disconnected from their ex just yet. They may think that they will feel some satisfaction from responding – and this may be true for a short time – but usually, afterward, they may end up feeling worse, which can potentially cast a shadow over the entire day or set them back from recovering from the breakup.
If you do decide to answer that message, ask yourself what you plan to get out of doing so. If it's any of the reasons mentioned above, you may want to consider ignoring texts on purpose and looking for other ways to cope with the breakup.
However, if you both have mutual kids or assets and they are contacting you about that, it may be necessary to respond, though it’s important to try to be brief, civil, and refrain from discussing your relationship while maintaining and respecting each of your individual boundaries.
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 may 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 that turns into an argument or makes you feel upset, it may be time to end the conversation and refrain from answering further messages in the future.
Did The Break-Up End Poorly?
Depending on the separation's circumstances, for example if it was a toxic relationship, ignoring your ex might be the right thing to do for your emotional peace and personal wellbeing. However, if it was an amicable separation, answering their message may not be an issue. Not all break-ups end badly, and some ex-partners 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 or candid heart-to-heart was involved. This could provide you with closure, but if you're still upset over the breakup, it's perfectly acceptable to ignore it.
For break-ups that have caused a lot of emotional distress, avoiding contact with your ex may be best to give you time to move on. Keeping your ex around in any capacity in these situations may end up slowing down the healing process for you. Instead, it may be helpful to focus on the present and the future. It’s important to understand that if you are upset over the breakup, grief is a normal process people will go through, and it will get better with time. It’s possible after you have both fully healed from the breakup to potentially forge a new relationship in terms of a friendship. However, it’s important to give things time, and not bank on this happening.
Are You In A Relationship Right Now?
If you are currently seeing someone new, out of respect for your new partner and for the sake of closing old chapters in your life, it may be best to ignore forms of communication with your ex in most cases, unless your relationship is amicable and respectful to each other and your new partner.
If your breakup was recent, it may reopen old wounds, and by your ex reinserting themselves back into your life, it may make it harder to move on. This could affect your current relationship.
If you respond to your ex’s message, it may potentially take your focus off of your new partner. Your current partner may wonder whether you still have feelings for your ex and question whether they are a rebound. If you aren’t honest with your new partner that you’re communicating with your ex and they find out, that could potentially damage your new relationship.
Therefore, it's best to give your current partner and yourself the respect that you both deserve by keeping communication with your ex to a minimum if that is a boundary communicated between you and your current partner. There are some exceptions, such as you have kids with your ex and the reason for them contacting you involves them.
Does Your Ex Text You Constantly?
Some exes may try to do everything in their power to get through to you; this may mean that they'll spam your phone with text messages or voicemails until you respond.
Texting constantly may get the other person's attention, but most likely not in a positive way. It may upset the individual receiving the text messages, having the opposite impact of what they expect or hope for.
Perhaps this seems familiar to you, and you've already told your ex to stop texting you. Unfortunately, responding to these messages may encourage them to keep writing or trying to call you, even if you’re responding to ask that they stop.
If you're in the "my ex keeps texting me" dilemma, your ex may be having a hard time letting go of the relationship. They may be trying to bait an emotional reaction from you or receive comfort from you due to having difficulty coping with the end of the relationship.
This doesn't justify their actions or make it okay for them to constantly text you, nor does it mean that you need to respond. If it is causing you emotional distress, and you've already told them to stop contacting you yet they continue, it may be time to block them or seek support from a trusted family or friend, or seek legal action in extreme situations.
Do You Want To Reconcile?
It’s natural that couples have disagreements, and conflict is a normal part of any relationship. While it's entirely up to the individual whether something is worth breaking up over, there are times when some people may let their emotions get the better of them and break up when that isn’t what they necessarily wanted. Sometimes couples need time apart to decide what it is they want and need and if they would like to continue the relationship in the future.
Not all break-ups are permanent. If you are in a "my ex wants me back" situation and your ex texts you wanting to patch things up and you are open to it, answering their message may get you on the right track to rekindling your relationship. Open and honest communication is important in any relationship, especially if there are concerns that you would like to resolve.
When it comes to responding to any texts from your ex, it's not always black and white, and it depends entirely on the context of your relationship, why you broke up, and the nature of their message. In some situations, especially if you're doing your best to move on, it may be best to create distance and ignore text messages for your ex. In other cases, you may need to respond due to certain assets, shared children, pets, etc. It’s ultimately up to you if you think you should respond to their text message or not.
Regardless of which route you choose, help is available whenever you need it. At ReGain, a licensed mental health professional is available online to guide you whenever and wherever you need support. If you're having a difficult time moving forward or coping with your breakup, a licensed therapist may be able to teach you healthy ways to cope.
Alternatively, if you decide to contact your ex and you end up agreeing to get back together, couples counseling may be helpful to provide you both with the communication skills to work things out more effectively and to create mutual understanding. This may help to improve your relationship and overcome any challenges you may have had.
Online counseling has been found to be comparable to in-person therapy for a variety of mental health issues, relationship concerns, and life events. The American Psychological Association reviewed a multitude of studies and found that internet-based therapy increases access to mental healthcare, and is just as effective as face-to-face therapy for a variety of issues, including relationships, depression, eating disorders, PTSD, and more.
Continue reading below for reviews of ReGain therapists from people experiencing similar circumstances.
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“I don’t know what I would have done without Harry. I was in a super low place and I was not sure what my problems were or how to solve them, but he was able to help me get to the bottom of my problems and work through them. Today I am happy and feeling like myself again. He was so easy to talk to and worked with me whenever I needed him. Even on vacation he took time to call me and talk through whatever I was going through. I would highly recommend him.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Should I Respond To An Ex’s Text?
If you are receiving texts from an ex, you may be unsure of how to deal with it and whether to respond. Each person and each breakup is unique, so there isn't a "one size fits all" rule to apply here. However, you can ask yourself some questions and learn how an expert weighs in on the situation. Nearly any relationship expert is likely to encourage you to think through and communicate your emotions thoroughly.
Here are some thoughtful questions to ask yourself:
- How did the relationship end? If it ended amicably, it could be a good thing to respond and get in touch with your ex. It’s possible you can still be friends, and receiving closure may be helpful for the healing process. On the flip side, if things ended badly but your ex is still reaching out and you feel you need time to heal, it may be best to not answer.
- Are you in another relationship? If you are, your new spouse or partner may not feel comfortable with you having a relationship with your ex, or if you decide to hide the fact you’re messaging your ex, that could potentially damage your current relationship.
- Is this the first time, or is it a common trend? If your ex is constantly reaching out to you, it could mean they miss you and your relationship and want to make amends or apologize. If it's the first time they've reached out, it's up to you to decide whether you think they are serious and trying to make amends or if they may have bad intentions.
- What do you want from the exchange? This is probably the most crucial question to ask yourself. What do you think you can gain from this interaction? If the only thing to gain is pettiness or short-term validation, or a desire to not hurt them by not responding, it's likely best that you don't text back. However, if you want to reconcile or apologize or get back to being friends or possibly rekindle the relationship, it may be good to hear from your ex-partner.
Ultimately, it's up to you to decide how you want to deal with a text from an ex.
Is It OK To Not Respond To An Ex?
It is perfectly appropriate not to respond to an ex. In fact, in many circumstances, you might find that it’s best you don’t respond, especially if it was a toxic relationship. If you find yourself in a situation where the only thing you can gain from communication with an ex is short-term validation, it's likely not worth it, especially if the wounds are still new and fresh. Receiving a text message from an ex can sometimes be a good thing, perhaps even more so if things ended on good terms and are open to rekindling a relationship.
How Long Should I Wait To Reply To My Ex?
Receiving a text from an ex may cause a wide range of emotions depending on how the relationship ended. If a text from your ex stirs up strong emotions, it may be best to try to wait some time before replying so that at least you can calmly put down your thoughts and feelings without responding on impulse. This could be hours, days, weeks, or not at all – it all depends on what you determine that you, personally, need.
Sometimes, it can be beneficial to talk to relationship experts or mental health professionals about dealing with an ex that keeps texting you, or whom you keep seeing on social media. When an expert weighs in on your situation, they may be able to give an outside perspective that isn't clouded by personal memories, judgement, or sentiments.
Is It Immature To Ignore Your Ex?
Sometimes, ignoring an individual who hurts you or causes you emotional distress is necessary for your wellbeing. If you choose to ignore an ex for these reasons, it isn’t necessarily immature, but rather quite the opposite as you recognize the value of yourself and your mental health. It’s important to put yourself first.
However, if you’re ignoring your ex to hurt them or get a reaction out of them, that could be considered immature. If your ex is asking to have some possessions back, for instance, wants to apologize, or you have children together, it may not be harmful to respond. In fact, communicating honestly with your ex about your relationship and feelings can be healing and help provide closure.
Every relationship is different, as is every individual. Be sure to give yourself the time you need to process a breakup, and don't be afraid to choose to distance yourself from your ex if you need to.
Why Would An Ex Still Text You?
Receiving a text from an ex can be a startling and sometimes unwelcome experience. However, there are potentially many reasons your ex may be texting you. Your ex may be texting because they miss you and your relationship. Your ex might also be texting you because they are jealous or want to get back at you somehow. An ex may text you to apologize or try to get some closure. The context of the text will give you an idea of why they may be texting you.
Why Did My Ex Text Me And Then Ignore Me?
If your ex sent you a text but then proceeded to ignore you, it could mean many things, and it may be hard to judge their reason exactly. Your ex may be too nervous or embarrassed to continue the conversation, or they may have texted initially on an impulse and later decided to step back. Ignoring you might also be an indication of immaturity or jealousy from your ex, and they may have simply wanted to see if you would respond.
No matter what the case may be, try your best to understand where your ex may be coming from in their decision to text or stop texting you.
Dealing with a breakup and an ex can be very stressful and challenging. It can help to seek a relationship expert or mental health professional to talk about any concerns you may have about your breakup. Each relationship is unique; you might have to think back to the personality traits of your ex, and experiences you gain insight into their actions as well as the best way for you, personally, to handle them. This kind of self-reflection can be helpful in the healing and recovery process from a breakup.
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