Texting Your Ex-Girlfriend in Five Easy Steps

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 text 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?

YOU CAN OFTEN GOOGLE WHAT YOU WANT TO ASK YOUR EX

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.

EXCLAMATION POINTS HELP TOO

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.

I NEED THE SLEEPING BAG FOR A-CAMP

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.

THERE ARE NO GOOD OPTIONS HERE. YOU PROBABLY SHOULDN’T SHOW YOUR FACE IN OHIO ANYMORE EITHER

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).

SOMETIMES THE BEST THING TO SAY IS NOTHING

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.


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Lizz is a consumer, lover and writer of all things pop culture and the Fashion/Style Editor at Autostraddle.com. She is also full time medical student at Brown University in Providence, RI. You can find her on the twitter, the tumblr or even on the instagram.

Lizz has written 276 articles for us.

123 Comments

  1. This is amazing. Not like I’d ever text my ex because my girlfriend is smokin’ (she’s smart too), but still a very delightful article.

  2. My life last night unfortunately,
    this article is well timed, or ill timed, seeing as I didn’t have any kind of sense and texted her :/ I was due for a good cry anyway I guess.

  3. Also, if your ex has a common name, it’s a good idea to change her name in your phone. Texting her instead of a friend with the same name can lead to some really awkward situations. Not that I know from experience or anything.

    • This! Where were you after my last (very ugly) breakup when I texted my ex, whose name starts with the same letter as my best friend, pictures of the kitten my new girlfriend got me?! Not to mention all the gushing about how amazing she is that went along with said kitten pics. Might I just say the response was less than civil. Really could’ve used this bit of advice!

    • After a breakup (or fight when I’m still pissy), I just change the name to “Nonononononononono” or “Don’t. Stop.” or “Don’t you dare” or something else to remind me that I definitely should not be texting this person. I block them on FB and chat until I feel like I can deal. It is helpful. I don’t like to lose my temper or have emotional scenes. I prefer to be a robot. A sex robot.

      • Definitely this. I have a couple people labeled as “DO NOT PICK UP.” My phone gets a lot of wrong numbers thanks to being a similar number to the local SPCA, so I pick up if I don’t recognize the number itself so I can reroute people. I would never want that person to be a surprise ex, ew….

    • If it’s an ugly break up, I just delete her from my phone. My phone has a nasty habit of randomly resending old texts when it boots up. So I’ve texted exes without even sending a text. In general, I find just removing her from the phone solves a lot of problems.

      • Yea i support thats right to just delete her num from ur phone, bcuz if it stays there u may want to text or call her if u sees her name and num .

    • As someone who’s been on the other side of this situation, this is a great idea. No one wants to get flirty texts from an ex she’s not over when those texts are meant for someone else. It fukkin sucks.

    • So true! I wouldn’t call this one girl an ex girlfriend but she’s kinda one and because of Tegan and Sara’s song Bad Idea I’ve changed her name to Bad Idea so I constantly remind myself not to text her when I’m drunk or therefore seeking attention.

  4. ‘Avoiding Relationship Talk’ is the best advice ever. Went down that road with my ex the whole time since we broke up e.g X has a new album out, remember how much fun that concert was. We met up before I’d moved on to discover she had. So many lesbians I know are friends with their exes and it’s all good, glad to know I’m not the only one out there incapable of it

  5. My ex once texted me: “You’ll never find anyone else like me again” My first thought was I fucking hope not! I didn’t want you so why would I want anyone LIKE YOU? So yeah..nothing good can come of texting your ex..

  6. Once my ex texted me a photo of herself before a date and asked, “Is the tie too much?”
    This is not a good thing to text your ex.

  7. This is hilarious. Even as old and wise as I am (ha), I know I would make every texting mistake listed here.

    • you and me both buddy

      i probably have broken each one of these rules tonight as a matter of fact

      some people never learn

  8. What’s the protocol for when your ex, whom you haven’t spoken to in months, feels the need to text you and let you know you will not be invited to her upcoming wedding–to a man? Umm, it would’ve been more awkward to actually get invited I think.

  9. Wow, super timely advice. I tried to text my ex a few weeks ago, while drunk. Turns out he changed his number, so that bullet was dodged.

    • thanks to ASHRA spells, your spell worked within 48hours Just as you promised,my ex called me in the middle of the night pleading for me to forgive him, I am now reunited with the person I love. I am happier than I’ve ever been as I can now look to an amazing future with thought I’d lost for good.

      Thank you ashra,you can contact ASHRA on personal emaill address on :ashraspelltemple@gmail.com or +2348131134346

      Todd, Derby England UK

  10. I don’t have texting, and even though I feel like I’m in the stone age right now, this article was great. Texting is so complicated! I’ll stick to drunk facebook messages.

  11. “Also never text after 9:30pm because then she’ll think you’re drunk even if you aren’t.”

    these are the truest and best words anyone has ever typed

  12. Yeah…
    Is there a text to make sure your ex is alive when she lives in the boonies and there are forest fires?

      • Unfortunately I was serious… I looked up the forest fires online instead…. other side of her town… *sigh of relief* no need to text

    • My friend did this for me! And then she told me she got the idea from something Tegan had said, and so to this day I still have a contact called BAD IDEA

  13. This is my favorite article of all time. It’s funny cause it’s true. There have been so many times I have made this mistake in the past.

    HAHA. AMAZING

  14. Lizzzzzzzzzz, I ALREADY TEXTED HER. D: Why did article not happen before her birthday last week?! Now I’m in all kinds of awkward angst/confusion. =\

  15. “You can often google what you want to text your ex”
    (But google won’t tell me the answer like she would. . .)

    FUCK

    No sleeping bag is worth the next ten hours of shame drinks, subsequent shame hangover and inevitable shame-i-told-my-best-friend-and-now-I’m-crying-at-Starbucks-confession

  16. Thankfully I haven’t broken any of these rules, but now I desperately want to text ‘Mrow’ to someone and see how they react.

  17. I LOVE SPECIFIC EXAMPLES THEY ENHANCE MY COMPREHENSION

    My ex-gf texted me today asking if she could stay with me (at my parents house?) while in town next weekend.
    I said HELL TO THE NO GURL (in more polite terms).

    I wish I could send myself a congratulations text, that’s how proud I am.

  18. Currently breaking pretty much all of these rules. Trying to stay friends after she moved to another country was possibly not the smartest move I’ve made. Unfortunately, this communication is also happening on facebook, which opens a whole can of other worms, the biggest, grossest, most gut-wrenching-if-eaten being the fact that all previous messages are stored IN THE SAME FUCKING CONVERSATION. One unfortunate click, and it’s all there in front of you. This made me realize I’m an idiot. Goodnight.

  19. NO EMOTICONS!!! I totally agree. I asked a simple question to my ex once and put a smiley face at the end because I wanted it to be light-hearted and nice sounding but NOOOOOOOO… the smiley face said WAY
    more than I thought even possible.

    “I thought since you put a smiley face in your text message that this meant we could open up our communication.”

    NO WAY!! Damn emoticons.

    I had to deal with an outpouring of pent up emotions and then got called a “bitch rolled up in chocolate and covered in a colorful candy coated shell.”

    Best insult ever… but the text got totally way off base from my original intention.

    • It is very interesting. I put a smiley face at the end of my e-mail message. He called the next day and we met after 2.5 years of no contact. He suggested to be friends. Nex time I e-mailed him and closed with “hugs”. He was suppose to call me 6 weeks ago..but has not… Any ideas? Was it too much? Now I am thinking what to do next.

  20. Seriously I can’t with AS sometimes, this was just too funny and real!

    I remember an ex texted me a naughty lingerie pic of herself and was like, “miss this?” I thought she might have texted that pic to the wrong person (me) but no she knew my weakness for garter belts and thigh high silk stockings. It was a trap a sexy sexy trap. A trap I fell into and feared I would never get back out.

    I wish I had this article then but nooooo…..I suffered *more* 3 weeks of pain, confusion, processing overloads, and more confusion.

    I learned to not date people who I am too sexually compatible with but fail miserably with everything else. Balance is key.

  21. Balance is key, but I haven’t ever had an ex who didn’t lack a flair for drama. Having ATT, I can’t block anyone to save my life. I’d love to have had sent this to my exes and myself at least a few times in my life. This is the most entertaining AS article yet that has hit close to home.

  22. Was the article written SPECIFICALLY for me in the wake of a recent breakup? Bad decisions = adverted. Zero breaks in non-communication. Why yes, I will pat myself on the back.

  23. Dilemma: Deleted ex’s # from the phone to avoid texting but you still remember her digits on top of your head. Dang! #veryme

  24. Ugh, I made that mistake a month ago! I wish I’d seen this article earlier but it definitely gave me a good laugh hahha! Well done.

  25. If I hadn’t blocked, deleted, ignored & attempted to forget my ex, I’d SOOOOOO be sending this article to her. Can someone do it for me, puleeeeze?!?

  26. LOL!!!

    There really is no good reason to text an ex. Unless you are good mates and there’s absolutely NOTHING in the way of feelings either way left..

  27. This is a testimony that i will tell to every one to hear. i have been married four 4years and on the fifth year of my marriage, another woman had a spell to take my lover away from me and my husband left me and the kids and we have suffered for 2years until i met a post where this man Dr Zara have helped someone and i decided to give him a try to help me bring my lover back home and believe me i just send my picture to him and that of my husband and after 48hours as he have told me, i saw a car drove into the house and behold it was my husband and he have come to me and the kids and that is why i am happy to make every one of you in similar to met with this man and have your lover back to your self. His email: truegiftspell@gmail.com

  28. Oh, joy. Roll your -metaphorical- balls ladies. Just… roll the ball. Pass it on. Someone might catch it, and roll it back. My two cents. xD

  29. I have mixed feelings about texting exes. I generally try to avoid it, and if I have something I really need to say to them I do it over Facebook. (I go on Facebook less often than I check my messages, and therefore it helps me not obsess over what they might respond with.)

    I think it helps too that for the most part I am friends with my exes, which makes communication easier.

    Interestingly, I’m not the ex who does the texting; that falls to the person I most recently ended it with.

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  31. My name is Ethan Camel from USA am 39 years old i got married at the age of 22 i have only Two child and i was living happily .After six year of my marriage my husband behavior became so strange and I don’t really understand what was going on, he packed out of the house to another woman i love him so much that i never dream’s of losing him, i try my possible best to make sure that my husband get back to me but all to no avail, i cry and cry seeking for help, i discussed it with my best friend Linda and she promise to help me. She told me of a man called DR Shadow, she told me he is a very great man and a real man that can be trusted and there is nothing concerning love and Cancer issues he cannot solve and she told me how he has help countless numbers of people in restoring their relationship etc. I was really convince, I quickly contacted his cell phone +2348166292265 or email address at drshadow31@gmail.com . I explain all my problem to him, he told me that I should not worry that all my problems will be fine and now am very happy I with my husband and my family.

  32. Hi, I and my ex boyfriend broke up about 7 weeks now. We’ve been together for 4 years. We had so many issues during in our relationship. We got engaged and eventually he changed his mind not to get married soon and told me he doesn’t want kids. It broke my heart. He also told me that culture differences is another problem between us. When we broke up I beg many times. He told he doesn’t want to go back in to our relationship and he wants us to move on. I stayed another 2 weeks with him while I am looking for a new place. we had sex a couple times. He told me he just want us stay as friends.
    When I moved out, he didn’t txt or call but when we each other we are fine talking like a friend. Is there anyway that i can win him back? that was the question i asked my sister and she told me he have had an encouter with the famous love doctor and i contacted him and he prayed for my relationship and my boyfriend came back to me and my relationship was restored and now we will be getting married soon. Please get to know him and ask for his help on (prayerstosaverelationship@yahoo.com). The love doctor is the best and will help you 🙂

  33. […]robinso.buckler @ yahoo . com: Helped to bring My Ex-Husband back with his spiritual power […]

  34. My ex and I broke up about 2 months ago. I got most of my things back from him 1 weeks ago, and we had “the talk”. According to him, he found someone better and went for it. He then proceeded to tell me that he’s moved on, and that I should too. I thought it was kinda funny because I have not given him any reaction since we’ve broken up, shown him how miserable I am, talked to him only when necessary (we work together), but never about us. The thing is, that it’s clear out in the open that was with someone new, it confused me why he still stared at me. At first, I thought it was only my imagination, until other co-workers actually started noticing it too. Is he staring at me so that he can feel better that he’s found the “better one”? i wondered. He was also cold towards me at work, which others noticed, I continued being my cheerful self at work from Day 1 after the breakup, so my friends seem to think that he was trying to hurt me for not giving any reaction. I still loved him, and wanted to get back together with him. I didn’t know this new girlfriend did something to him to make him forget about me. I got to know after one of my co workers introduced me to Akim who mends broken heart and relationships. Akim helped me break what the girl has done on my boyfriend and he came back to me begging me to have him back. we are living together again. Akim’s contact email is prayerstosavemarriage@hotmail.com. Do well to contact him if you’re facing love issues… 🙂

  35. I have been in a relationship for over 2 years with my bf all of a sudden he said he wants a break up, we stopped being close because i got a job so we dont get to hang out as much as we did b4 and he started dating another girl i dont know her name but that was why he left me i tried many ways to get him back but to no avail. A friend told me of a man called Dr harrison or Doctor as he is called he helped me with my issue i did not believe in stuff like that but now me and my bf are going strong, i just wanted people to know of this wonderful man and his works. You can contact him at Harrisonwells989@outlook.com

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  38. ITS VERY NICE CONTEXT TO REFERRED. I SURELY DID AND FOUND IT VERY HELPFUL JUST NOT TO IMPRESS OUR EX BUT TO AVOID WHAT THAT MIGHT HURT THEM BACK LIKE POKING IN THE WOUND. THANKS FOR SUCH AN INTERESTING AND AMAZING ADVICE.

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