When You Want To Text Them And You Know You Shouldn’t


Maybe it’s because they showed up unexpectedly in your newsfeed and you were so caught off-guard that your stomach dropped. They were tagged in a photo by someone you don’t know, someone you’ve never even heard of. You’re quickly overwhelmed when you think about the fact that they have this whole life now that you don’t know about, when such a short time ago, you knew everything about them.

Or maybe you want to text them because it’s late, and you feel completely alone. You used to spend every night drifting off to sleep with their arm wrapped safely around you. Now you go to sleep by yourself, feeling like you’re the only person in the world who’s still awake.

Or maybe you’ve been drinking, and you’ve finally reached the point where your brain is actually allowing thoughts about them to filter back through your system. And with every sip you take, you’re more thoroughly convinced that tonight is the night to let them know that you miss them or that you’re sad or that you hate them or that you’re never going to be okay again.

Maybe you never even had a relationship with them. Maybe they just led you on and on and on through some sick, twisted, almost-something and you let it happen, because you liked them too much to put up a fight.

Whatever the case, you want to text them in this moment. You want it so badly that it’s the only thing you can think about.

It’s not the first time this has happened and it won’t be the last. The thought always pops in your head so quickly and unexpectedly, and whether it’s a 5-minute or day-long or week-long urge, it’s painful.

But regardless of how painful that urge is, regardless of how alone you feel, regardless of the fact that you can’t stop thinking about texting them, something inside you knows you shouldn’t do it.

The relationship or the almost-relationship or the whatever-the-hell-it-was-ship has run its course. The reason you want to text them right now is probably not because you feel, deep down, that they are the one.

The reason you want to text them is something else – loneliness, lack of closure, boredom, a sense of being lost, perhaps the feeling that everyone around you is settling down and you don’t want to be the last one left.

There could be any number of reasons why you want to text them. It’s okay that you’re feeling lonely or bored, unsettled or confused, lost or isolated. You’re an adult now, you’re going to be experiencing ups and downs with these types of emotions your entire life.

But I will tell you this: sending them a text is not going to fix that emptiness inside you tonight. It may be temporarily exciting or helpful or healing. But if you know, deep down, that they’re not the one, sending that text will always be just a bandaid, never a solution.

It will be less romantic and less fulfilling and less satisfying than you think it will be. Maybe, in the moment, you’ll feel a rush of adrenaline or a small thrill when you hit send. You’ll feel antsy and alert and on edge as you wait to hear back from them. And when your phone lights up, you might feel a sense of excitement or connectedness that you haven’t felt in a long while.

But it will always fade away. Often, quickly. Because they are not the one you’re meant to be with.

You might continue to have these urges to text them for a while, especially on the nights where you’re feeling lonely or vulnerable or nervous. On the nights where you can’t fall asleep because you hate your job or your city or your friends. In the moments when you hear about another engagement or wedding or baby-on-the-way.

Remember that you’re not alone, that countless people have gone through the same thing you’re going through right now. And they got through it.

It’s okay to want to text them. But don’t follow through with it. It’ll just further postpone the healing time that your heart needs to go through before it’s ready to open itself back up.

Don’t text them. Because they’re just a bandaid. And what you’re looking for is so much more than that. TC mark

Kim Quindlen

I'm a staff writer for Thought Catalog. I like comedy and improv. I live in Chicago. My Uber rating is just okay.

Trace the scars life has left you. It will remind you that at one point, you fought for something. You believed.

“You are the only person who gets to decide if you are happy or not—do not put your happiness into the hands of other people. Do not make it contingent on their acceptance of you or their feelings for you. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if someone dislikes you or if someone doesn’t want to be with you. All that matters is that you are happy with the person you are becoming. All that matters is that you like yourself, that you are proud of what you are putting out into the world. You are in charge of your joy, of your worth. You get to be your own validation. Please don’t ever forget that.” — Bianca Sparacino

Excerpted from The Strength In Our Scars by Bianca Sparacino.

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