Sometimes you really need to text your ex-girlfriend. It doesn't matter how long it has been, how bad your break-up was or the number of years since you both agreed to never speak again. Sometimes you just need to. And if you've already made the (possibly inadvisable!) decision to do so, then at least you can do it in the least life-damaging way possible. So here are five super easy steps to painlessly texting your ex.
Step 1: Maybe Don't Text Your Ex
The first and most important step in texting your ex is to maybe not do it at all. Are you drunk? Are you sad? Do you just want attention? Are you trying to make someone else jealous? Most importantly, is there someone else you can contact about this issue other than your ex? Maybe an old mutual friend?
As you can see, Option Three provides the only option in which you do not end up crying softly. While there are many times you might want to text your ex, it's rare that you truly need to. "That song we both like came on the radio" is not a good reason to text your ex. "I just saw the Hangover 2 -- remember that time we were hung over?" is not a good reason to text your ex. "Mrow" is not a good reason to text your ex. I'm not saying you shouldn't text her for a valid, honest reasons -- even a simple congratulations is appropriate when it's due. Just avoid texting your ex for stupid reasons.
On the flip side, you may be in a situation in which you should really call. If your ex-girlfriend has recently lost a loved one it is much more appropriate to call or send a condolence card than a tacky text message. Alternatively if you very seriously (and not because you're drunk/lonely/horny) want to get back together, those sort of steps are best initiated over the phone.
Also never text after 9:30pm because then she'll think you're drunk even if you aren't.
Step 2: Don't Mention You're Not Speaking
If you haven't spoken to or texted you ex-girlfriend in months/years/decades it might feel weird to just start saying words on your phone. Whatever you do, don't lead with "I know we're not speaking but..." This makes you sound petty and like you haven't moved on. If you know you're not speaking then why are you texting her?! (See Step 1.) A better idea is to start with "Hey." "Hey" is the official start of any text to anyone who you don't normally text. "Hey" makes you look nonchalant and cool like Fonzie.
Still, particularly if your text is just a quick statement/congratulations, it might be best to forgo the "Hey" and just go for the awkward words from nowhere. In some ways this is even less awkward because it's almost like you're just totally normal acquaintance/friends who don't even have to go through bizarre ex-girlfriend niceties.
Step 3: Get to the Point
You're texting your ex for a very specific reason (ahem Step 1) so get on with it already. You should preferably make your point in the first text message. This isn't being rude, it's just normal texting. If you hem and haw for too long your ex might get the wrong message and respond accordingly. You don't need to be rude or curt, just to the point. You're a busy woman and I'm sure your ex is too so there's no need to waste anyone's time.
Getting to the point leave no room for uncertainty or grey area and prevents you from getting sucked in to an awful long texting conversation.
Step 4: Avoid Relationship Talk
Whatever you do, don't get sucked back in to your old relationship. First of all, don't talk about your relationship. Not the good parts, not the bad parts, not even things you did together. For the love of G-d don't talk about how your ex-girlfriend "always does this." It is neither helpful towards starting over with someone nor moving on.
Second, don't text like you are still in your relationship. Don't use quirky old pet names or baby-talk text. Avoid emoticons at all cost. You are now two adults who are communicating via a message made up of text. No one needs to write out kitten noises.
Finally, don't mention your new relationship situation. Even if you would love nothing better than to announce to everyone you meet that you did indeed find someone who would karaoke "Love You Like a Love Song" with you, this is not the time. You would almost definitely be mentioning your new girl just to see your ex's reaction and that's not fair to anyone (including but not limited to your new girlfriend). Similarly, don't ask if she's seeing anyone. You probably don't want to know anyways and you can always ask her friends.
Talking about old/new relationships takes all the tact you have inside of you and texting removes all possible tact. Don't get in to relationship talk, please don't do it, I think it's a bad idea, I'm warning you right now, really I have your back on this one. Don't do it.
Step 5: Quit While You're Ahead
If you managed to get through texting your ex-girlfriend unscathed, then just stop. Did you congratulate her on graduating and she said "Thank you?" Okay, stop. Did she confirm that, yes, that was her old friend from circus camp you ran into? Okay, stop. Did she not respond to your text message whatsoever? Okay, stop. You just have to stop texting before someone makes a fool of themselves (especially you).
I'm going to level with you: this is really hard for me. This is hard for a lot of people! You get the ball rolling, you're talking about yourselves and where you are now and then all of a sudden you're curious if they want to get a drink and catch up. Disaster.
So remember: play it cool, keep it short and maybe (just maybe) don't do it at all.