Thought Catalog
March 13, 2014

For The Love Of GOD, Do Not Text Your Ex

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What is the issue?

Put your phone down just for five minutes. Please! Give me five minutes of your time. Just five minutes. Or however long it will take you to read this. I can’t control what you do after you read this and I therefore will relinquish all responsibility after these five minutes are up, but I feel a huge responsibility to stop you now. Obviously, since you clicked this article, you are reaching out to me for heartbreak help. So now you are my responsibility. It’s okay! I will help you.

Do NOT text your ex.

Don’t. Listen to me! I’m serious. What do you really want to say to them? Think about it. I can assure you that it is not anything you have typed in that text message box on your phone right now. Actually, I am completely positive of that. I would bet my life on it. Even if you typed something like, “Why did you waste so much of my time?” or “I can’t believe you would do this to me!” or “How has your day been?” or “Is this really over?” – none of those things are what you truly, really, truly, really want to say. Sure, you may THINK you want to say them, but you don’t. I know you don’t. Because what you really want to say is the thing you are the least allowed to say, and that is “I miss you, and I want you to love me.” Right? I know it is. Tell the truth.

Okay, so pretend you do say that. Pretend you really do tell your ex that you miss them and that you want them to love you, pretend that you hit send, and pretend to factor in the inevitable 1 to 24 hour(s) of heart-pounding, stomach-burning, nausea-inducing time spent waiting for a response. Pretend that each second of that time period now ticks with excruciating slowness, and pretend that you are sobbing if they don’t respond by hour 3. (These things WILL happen if you send that message, but I am digressing.) What are their possible responses?

If you think they are going to be anything other than, “I’m sorry,” “I can’t help you,” “I don’t know what to say,” or – worse – nothing, you are sorely mistaken. Your ex WILL say one of those things, and it WILL make you hate yourself for having lost so much control in a moment of weakness. You will see your ex’s words on the screen, and you might even imagine your ex saying the words in a blasé monotone. In fact, you probably will. This will make the whole thing even more painful. And, because you realize that in your ex’s response it is clear that they don’t miss you and don’t want to love you, you will cry. All over again. Just like you did when you were dumped.

Let’s be honest. Take a second to be real with yourself. You are not texting your ex because you genuinely care about what homework assignment they’re working on. You are not texting your ex just to tell them how angry you are. No. You are texting them with the hope that they will realize the error of their ways, will say, “I miss you, and I want to love you,” and will come running back to you. I know you are! You can’t lie to me. You want that response even if you don’t tell them that first and instead say something useless like “I definitely just failed my math quiz, ugh.” That’s all you want. You don’t care about any response that isn’t a grand declaration of their remaining feelings for you.

Well, that won’t happen. It just won’t. I know you probably want to punch me in the face for saying that right now, but you must believe me. Nothing they say will live up to the standards you hoped for in their response. Nothing. Not only will they not tell you that they miss you nor will they tell you that they want to love you, but they will likely not be very talkative and you will likely have the last word in the conversation, and EVERYONE knows that means you just LOST. Do you want to lose? No, you don’t. So why text them anything at all if every single one of the possible responses you can get will ultimately leave you feeling empty? And, if they do respond, do you really want to see their name pop up on your phone? The nanosecond of giddiness you’ll feel when you see your ex’s name will quickly be replaced by sheer agony because it will remind you that your ex is still a living, breathing person – who you are not dating. It will remind you that your ex still exists in the universe in this blanket of time and space – without you. Do you really want to be reminded of that?

No, you don’t. You don’t.

What are the benefits of you texting your ex first? Trust me, you are telling them nothing new. They see right through your seemingly innocuous text message. They know how you feel. They understand that “I’ve been listening to that song you showed me,” really means “I’ve been listening to the sound of my tears dripping onto the pages of my reading assignments and the drops are spelling out all the reasons that I need you back.” They get it. And if they felt similarly, they would come back to you – on their OWN accord – and tell you that they made a mistake. Do you really want someone to come back to you solely because they felt an obligation to pacify your sad text messages and not because they actually wanted to? Because after less than a week of THAT pseudo-relationship, you’ll feel insecure all over again! You’ll keep wondering why they came back to you, and it will probably be because they felt bad! Please listen to me. I’m begging you. That does not a good relationship make.

If you absolutely must, type out the message. Then, send it to YOURSELF, and wait many, many hours. I promise you that the extreme desire to send your ex that text message will pass. I don’t even know what brought it on! Maybe you watched some movie that they liked, or saw some person they hooked up with and it made you cringe. Or maybe you were just left alone with your thoughts for a few minutes too long. But the desire, the need, the urgency to send the message – it WILL pass. It is more fleeting than you think.

Do not send. Do not. You’re welcome. TC mark

featured image – Flickr / Jason A. Howie

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