Should You Text Your Ex? Here Are The Dos and Don’ts Of Texting A Past Lover

It’s an age-old question: Should you text your ex?

Maybe you haven’t completely gotten over them, or perhaps you still have a few more things to get off your chest. 

Whatever your reason for wanting to hit the send button, you are vexed and confused, wondering: What is the best course of action for messaging an ex? 

Is there a time frame? 

What about holidays and birthdays? Is it acceptable, then?

Well, you’re in luck because we’ve got all the answers below, plus tips on how to stop yourself from texting your ex.

Is it Toxic To Text Your Ex? 

Whether you should text your ex is 100% dependent on the situation.

For example:

  • How long has it been since you last spoke?
  • How did things end?
  • Are you in the same friend group and trying to keep things amicable?
  • Do you live in the same area, and texting could easily lead to an unadvisable hookup?

As a general rule, don’t text for 12 weeks after the breakup.

Give yourself time to mourn the relationship.

If, after the blackout period, you and your ex decide to give friendship a genuine shot, texting can commence.

But make sure you’re ready!

Should I Text My Ex? 15 Dos and Don'ts To Consider 

When answering the question, “Is it ok to text your ex,” never say never. 

Sure, if you don’t want to come across as desperate, refrain from messaging at all costs.

But in some situations, it’s perfectly acceptable — and sometimes even necessary.

With that in mind, let’s review a few scenarios. 

Don't Text Your Ex If…

If you fall into one of the categories below, do everything in your power not to press “send.”

1. You Miss Them, But They’re Not Reciprocating

Is your heart on the floor, smashed and scattered into a million pieces? Do you lie awake at night, sobbing, with thoughts of your ex racing through your head? Be honest: Are you low-key social media stalking them?

Step away from the phone if you answered yes to any of these questions. We repeat: back out!

Do not convince yourself that they really love you and are sitting at home, moping around, waiting for you to text. Don’t devise reasons why you absolutely must talk to them. Ultimately, do not pass go!

2. You’re Going Through a Difficult Period

We’re most vulnerable when life steers us through a patch of turbulence. If you’re currently weathering a storm, and your emotions are cranked to 11, don’t reach out to your ex. 

The bottom line is that you’re no longer together — for a reason. 

By reaching out, you’ll complicate matters. Plus, you could be setting yourself up for more pain. After all, what if they don’t respond? Or perhaps they get back to you but don’t react as hoped.

Either scenario can wreak havoc on your psyche.

3. You’re Lonely

Maybe you’re not that into your ex either, but you’re feeling lonely, and your nostalgic side is urging you to revisit past relationships. 

First, you’re not alone. According to a recent study, nearly 60% of Americans feel like nobody genuinely knows them. And while texting an ex may feel like a quick fix, try to stop yourself.

If you’re craving companionship, reach out to one of your friends or family members. It’s safer, and you’ll avoid a messy situation that could turn hurtful.

4. Your Family Wants You To Get Back Together

Are you over the ex, but your family isn’t? It happens, and when it does, you may feel caught between a jerk and a beloved-but-misguided hard place.

Many folks feel obliged to take their family’s advice in these scenarios. Maybe they know better than me, and perhaps I’m not giving “Chris” a fair shot are common rationalizations among people in this category. 

But you were the one in the relationship, so you get to make the decision.

5. The Breakup Was Bad

Was the breakup a Battle of Towton reenactment? Do you now want to rehash how it all came crashing down? Are you convinced you need “closure?”

We get it. A relationship “exit interview” can be satisfying and, in many cases, healthy. But no rule says closure must involve a conversation with the other person.

Sure, you probably have burning questions, and perhaps you’re sitting on a few killer “comebacks” you’re dying to throw in their face.

But nine times out of ten, the post-breakup discussion never happens as you imagine. Alas, sometimes it’s better to make a clean break and find closure within yourself.  

6. The Goal Is To Make Your Ex Jealous

Jealousy is a powerful emotion, and many folks try to leverage it in a breakup’s wake. But it’s a dangerous gambit that can backfire spectacularly. 

So if the goal is to awaken the green-eyed monster, think twice. Things can easily go left, and you may be the one walking away covered in slime. 

7. They’re Going Through a Bad Breakup

Word on the curb is that your ex is having a hard time and going through a bad breakup. Depending on how your relationship ended, the news may inspire you to rub it in their face or run back into their arms.

Either way, texting isn’t a good idea. 

The temptation may be real, but think it through. What will you truly gain by contacting your ex? And what if they ghost you?

How will that feel? Was the relationship an exercise in sustained toxicity? If so, do you really want to welcome that energy back? 

8. You Found Something Inconsequential of Theirs

While doing the laundry the other day, you discovered a pair of their sweatpants in the mix. You immediately reach for the phone, thrilled you have an excuse to reach out finally.

But here’s the problem: You’ve been separated for months, and they’ve never contacted you about the missing sweatpants. 

In these situations, assume your ex did a telepathic Kondo assessment, decided the sweatpants didn’t spark joy, and opted not to hunt them down. Don’t convince yourself they forgot about the pants but would definitely want them back. 

To put it another way, don’t conjure reasons to text someone who’s not attempted to contact you since the breakup. It’s a form of hopeful thinking that leads to further rejection.

Do Text Your Ex If…

1. You Successfully Entered the Friend Zone

Contrary to semi-popular belief, many people maintain genuine friendships with former lovers. It takes patience, respect, and a lot of self-reflection, but it is possible. 

If you’ve reached this stage with your ex, it’s perfectly fine to text them — especially if you’re close.

2. You Genuinely Want To Be Friends

Do you genuinely want to stay buds with a former partner, and you’re wondering if they’d like the same? If so, sending a “what’s up” text may be fine.

However, before firing up the old typing fingers, think long and hard about whether you truly want to remain in this person’s life — or are you clinging to something toxic out of fear of loneliness?

Also, consider the timing. Have you given the relationship time to shrivel up and wither away?

Attempting to jump into a friendship immediately rarely works. Statistically speaking, people who wait more than six months to resume a platonic relationship have a much better chance of succeeding.

3. There Was a Death

You and the ex were together for years and part of each other’s families. As such, sending condolences upon hearing of a death is the thoughtful, mature choice. Even if you find out months after the fact, it’s still acceptable.

However, instead of communicating via text, why not get a card and send it by snail mail? It keeps a healthy distance if things are contentious while still allowing you to express your grief and sympathy.

4. You Genuinely Need Something Important From Their Place

You couldn’t care less about those ratty sweatpants you left at your ex’s place, but you need your birth certificate tucked away in the “important document drawer.” 

Sending a quick message to arrange a time is fine. Necessary, even. 

5. You Co-Parent

It’s a no-brainer that texting will be part of the deal if you share children and co-parent. In these cases, the only parties who may get upset are new partners that come into the picture.

But the relationship isn't meant to last if they have a problem with you co-parenting.

People who “parallel parent” often avoid texting in favor of a structured app built specifically for the purpose, like OurFamilyWizard or CustodyConnection.

6. You Have a Work Lead for Them

It’s been a while since you broke up, and the two of you have comfortably moved along. The relationship is amicable to warm, but neither of you is looking for romance with the other.

One day, you learn of a job opportunity for which your ex would be perfect. You wish them no ill will, so why not share the information via text, right?


Networking is rarely a bad idea. The gig could be suitable for your ex, and by hooking them up, they’ll be more inclined to do the same for you. A little mutual back-scratching, if you will.

7. You Want To Apologize

Are you the one who messed up? Do you owe your ex a proper apology? If so, texting may be the best way to do the deed. (Although, a hand-written letter on stationery is the classiest option.)

Try not to be long-winded. Say your peace and back away. Since you’re the one at fault, your ex can decide how to respond. So prepare yourself for the worst and hope for the best.

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Should I Text My Ex Happy Birthday or Merry Christmas? 

Did things end amicably? Are you now friendly acquaintances? If so, sending a cheerful note on special occasions may be appropriate.

If you do so with all your other friends, there's nothing wrong with including an ex-turned-pal. 

Should I Text My Ex Who Dumped Me? 

If someone dumps you, accept that they're not that into you. Rejection hurts — but you'll get over it.

Texting them, especially repeatedly, is not advised. Don't try to convince yourself they really love you but are just scared. If that's the case, they'll eventually get in touch with you. 

Should I Text My Ex That I Miss Him? 

In 99% of cases, it's unwise to text your ex just because you miss them. You broke up for a reason, so honor the decision.

Moreover, being overeager is never a good look in the romance department. If you're friends now, of course, texting is fine.

How To Not Text Your Ex

You know you shouldn't text your ex. But you've had a few drinks, you're feeling lonely, and terrible instincts are urging you to make reckless and regretful decisions.

So the question is: How can you stop yourself from texting them?

  • Use Technology: Use an app designed to stop you from texting certain people or going to certain websites, like DrunkMode and No Contact Rule.
  • Remember You're a Badass: Confident people tend to move on from bad breakups and don't get the urge to text exes. So work on building your self-esteem.
  • Text a Ride-or-Die: Instead of texting an ex, shoot a message to a good friend who knows all the gory details. They'll convince you to refrain.
  • Journal: Don't pick up your phone. Grab a pen and journal instead. Write down all the reasons you shouldn't reach out to your ex. By the time you're through, the temptation will have dissipated.
  • Meditate: Want to try mindfulness? If so, instead of texting, do a short meditation session. If movement is your thing, try a few yoga asanas.

Final Thoughts

Technology enhances daily life in extraordinary ways, but sometimes it makes contacting one’s ex a little too easy.

So, before you instinctively pick up your phone and reach out, think thrice. Are your motives genuine, or are you hoping for a rom-com finish? 

If it’s the latter, understand that your dreams of a happy ending will likely disintegrate in front of your face if the other person has shown zero interest in reuniting.