How To Talk To Your Ex After It’s Over

By: Samantha Dewitt

Updated September 18, 2020

Medically Reviewed By: Denise Doster

People come into and out of our lives all of the time. Have you ever wondered why it's so much harder to talk to an ex after a breakup than any other relationship that you've decided to end? You keep telling yourself there's a reason it's over and that you're happy with your decision. Yet, emotions flood your mind at the very thought of contacting your ex. The truth is, the relationship changed the minute that it ended, and that means that you need to change how you talk to your ex.

Wondering How To Talk To Your Ex -- After It's Over?
We Can Help. Schedule A Session With A Marriage And Family Therapist Now.

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What You Need to Know

Talking to your ex after the two of you have ended a relationship may be inevitable. Maybe you have the same friend group, or you go to school or work together. Maybe you share a child. In these instances, you'll be forced to talk with them, at least on occasion. But learning how to talk to them as an ex, and not as a partner is a crucial part of moving on with your life. You should:

- Set rules and boundaries

- Avoid certain types of conversations

- Avoid too much contact

Your ex shouldn't be your crutch and vice versa. It's time to create some boundaries.

Contacting Your Ex: Necessary or An Excuse?

Your mind is wandering, and when a certain thought comes into your head, you find yourself grabbing the phone to tell your ex about it before you realize that you're no longer together. Thinking of your ex and grabbing the phone is nothing more than a habit. However, you are now at a crossroads in your thinking. Do you need to talk to your ex? Or would making the call or sending the text really just be an excuse to re-establish contact?

Good Reasons to Talk to Your Ex

Depending on the situation, you may have a good reason for talking with your ex. Just be sure that your list of reasons is short. Here are a few reasons that might justify contact with an ex:

  • They have a family member or close friend that is ill or dying, and you want to express your concern.
  • You have a family member or close friend that is ill or dying, and you think your ex would want to know.
  • You have a specific question or need advice on a subject that only your ex can help with.
  • You would like to offer sincere congratulations on an important life event, like finishing school or landing a dream job.
  • You need to return something that is very important to your ex.

Source: yanalya via freepik.com

Breakups are always emotional, regardless of whether they were confrontational or something that you both agreed on. Raw emotion makes it hard to discern your motives for contacting an ex.

Rules and Boundaries for How to Talk to Your Ex

Before you pick up the phone, think about your tone and demeanor. Use a tone of voice that is neutral, confident, and pleasant. Adding a little humor to the conversation can take off some of the edginess and awkwardness. Think about ways to make some small talk before you start the call. Ask your ex questions about things you know he or she is passionate about and use it as an ice breaker.

Conversations to Avoid When Talking to an Ex

In most relationships, both people are partially at fault. Don't bring up past mistakes or things you know that will cause hard feelings. Avoid being critical, the time for that has passed, so leave it there. Don't keep apologizing or compare your ex to current relationships. There aren't any helpful reasons for doing this. If you can't stop yourself from bashing your ex on social media, it's best to stay away from it for a while. Be mindful of the fact that you won't always feel the way that you feel right after a breakup, and that your feelings will fade over time. Sometimes, it's just best to wait it out.

What if you and your ex have to see each other often because you work at the same place or your social groups are really interwoven? This makes things slightly more challenging but far from impossible. Always try your best to be mature. You'll never regret taking the high road and acting composed and adult-like. Just because you're thinking about something you'd like to say doesn't mean that it has to come out. Keep yourself in check. Think about what type of behavior you want to have that will make you happiest with yourself in the long run.

What to Do If You Can't Resist Reaching Out to an Ex

It can be hard to let go of important relationships in our lives. Suddenly you have much more time in your life. How will you fill it? Instead of reaching for the phone to contact your ex when you're feeling down or bored, view this newfound gap in your life as an opportunity. Are their friends you would like to reconnect with? An activity or class you've always wanted to look into? Or maybe you would benefit from just having the space to put your past relationship in perspective and think about what you'd like to see in your future. The period after a breakup can be a good chance to do all of these things.

Wondering How To Talk To Your Ex -- After It's Over?
We Can Help. Schedule A Session With A Marriage And Family Therapist Now.

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What If Your Ex Keeps Contacting You?

Does it seem like your ex is looking for reasons to stay in contact with you? He or she might be reevaluating their decision to break up. How do you feel about this? If you are reconsidering the split as well, think hard before making any moves in the direction of getting back together. Here are a few questions you might ask yourself before thinking about reconciling:

  • What were the issues that were deal-breakers for me in the past? Have these issues changed?
  • Am I wanting to get back together with my ex simply because I am lonely or bored?
  • If we got back together, are we both prepared to make the changes necessary for the relationship to work this time?
  • Is getting back together in my best interest in the long run? Will this relationship be healthy for me now and in the future?
  • When I think about us getting back together, what kinds of concerns do I have?
  • Do I really want to put the emotional time and effort into investing in this person again? Or would I really rather have a fresh start with someone else?
  • What do the trusted people in my life think about the idea of me resuming this relationship? Do they think this is a good idea or a bad one?
  • Am I comfortable being on my own? If not, why not?
  • If I'm thinking more with my head than my heart, what would my decision be?

Breakups are never easy. After having been so close to someone, then having that relationship end, it can be difficult to know how and when to communicate with them again. Think about the kind of person you want to be. What kinds of behaviors will help you get there? Are you sabotaging your efforts by staying in touch with an ex when you really need to let go? Only you know the answers to these questions, so take the time and be honest with yourself. Listen to the advice of people who love you and want the best for you. Consider talking with a counselor for an outside perspective. Then, you'll be able to move on in the direction that works best for you.

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Outside Options for Help

When you're trying to learn how to talk to your ex after a breakup, it's important to look at why you're going to be interacting with them and what type of situations these might be. If you don't need to interact with them, the best thing to do is walk away or simply say 'hi' or wave and then walk away. If you do need to talk to them, then you'll need to focus on healthier interactions, but keep in mind you don't actually need to be friends.

The first thing to do is to meditate. Now, in this instance, we're not talking about full-on meditation sessions where you're going to find a quiet place to sit and contemplate your thoughts. Instead, when you find yourself in a situation where you have to talk with your ex, take a moment to take a couple of deep breaths in order to prepare yourself. Even when they're talking, if you find yourself getting agitated or having trouble, just focus on taking a breath before you respond.

Make sure that if you know you're going to have to interact with them, you are fully prepared. That means going over what the interaction needs to be long before it happens. If you know that you're going to both be at an event, try to be brief and polite. If you need to do a child swap or attend an event for your child, then prepare to be friendly, but don't worry about being overly so. Preparing for what kind of things you say and how you are going to interact is definitely going to set you up for success. When the moment comes, you already know that you're prepared for this.

Wondering How To Talk To Your Ex -- After It's Over?
We Can Help. Schedule A Session With A Marriage And Family Therapist Now.

Source: yanalya via freepik.com

Another important thing is to get your friends to help. Now, your friend needs to be someone that will support you and help you feel comfortable and confident, but they can't be someone who will be negative or rude to your ex. They also need to be ready and willing to be polite and friendly at all times.

If you're going to need help interacting with your ex in a healthy way, it can be a good idea to work with a mental health professional as well. They can help you get through the feelings that arise from the breakup. They can also work with you on self-esteem, positive interaction, and more. But you need to know where to find them, right? Well, it's easier than you might think.

BetterHelp is a great way for you to get the help that you're looking for and to make sure that you can take care of yourself. With BetterHelp, you don't have to worry about getting to your appointments on time or walking into a therapist's office. Instead, you just log on through your internet-connected device from anywhere you want (as long as you have internet). From there, you're going to have no problem having your appointment and getting any of the advice that you're looking for in a comfortable environment. Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp counselors, from people experiencing similar issues.

Counselor Reviews

"When I signed up for BetterHelp, I was in the midst of a major life crisis. I was seeking a compassionate, experienced counselor like Jillian to help me cope with the initial pain, anger, and anxiety. Also, I chose Jillian because, in her self description, she states, "I'm a big believer in seeing life challenges, especially the most painful ones, as a catalyst for self-discovery, personal growth, and positive change." This really resonated with me. I knew that I wanted my experience to be an opportunity for personal growth. I am incredibly grateful that Jillian indeed helped me grieve and work through the challenges of divorce and early motherhood. She helped me learn about myself and transform my life in a positive way. She offered practical, specific tools to incorporate into my daily routine. She helped me to reconnect with myself and clarify and move towards my life goals. She offered constructive advice for interacting with my ex-husband and maintaining boundaries. Through working with her, I was able to care for myself so that I could be a mindful, present mama, and really soak in the precious moments with my newborn daughter. My sessions with Jillian made a huge difference as I navigated this time in my life. I could not recommend her more highly."

"It's like having a completely unbiased friend who never tires of hearing me out and never tires of helping me sift through the stories I tell myself. Julie has helped me see a lot of things in my life and in my relationships that I would never have seen without her insights."

Conclusion

You can absolutely have a healthy relationship with your ex, in whatever capacity you need. It just takes an understanding of what a healthy relationship really means. Take the first step today.

FAQs

Is it OK to talk to your ex?

Should you avoid talking to your ex, or is it okay to talk to them? It honestly depends on several factors. If the relationship ended amicably, you two have remained friends, and you’re talking to your ex without a problem, then go for it. However, if you just got out of a fiery breakup, you may want to avoid talking to your ex for a while.

Time does heal all wounds, and with time, you may be able to talk to your ex again. However, there are still some reasons why you may want to avoid talking to them. For example, if you’re talking to your ex and you still have feelings, but they don’t feel the same way, it can be bad for your mental health. It’s best to avoid talking to them in that case.

 

What to say to an ex you want back?

When you break up with your significant other, you should avoid talking to them for a while until the tensions die down. Once things start to settle, you may realize that you regret the breakup and you want them back.  

If they’ve moved on or don’t want to talk to you at all, then you’re best to move on. But what if they want to talk to you and are still available? Is there hope? Yes. While there are no magic words that are guaranteed to win your ex’s heart, there are several things you can say. These include:

  • Asking to catch up. If it’s been a while and you’re amicable, ask to catch up over some coffee, or in another location that the ex feels secure.
  • The event. If there’s an event the two of you may be interested in, point that out and ask if they want to join you.
  • Mention to your ex that you regret how the relationship ended, and you want to talk to them about it. Try to find some ways to talk about it that do not include text but instead a more heartfelt face-to-face.
  • Finally, actions speak louder than words. Show your ex that you’ve made improvements to your life, be it a new job, improvements towards your help, or something else your ex wanted you to improve on.

How long should you wait to talk to your ex after a breakup?

When you break up with your ex, there’s a period of time where you should avoid talking to them. This is because emotions are still high on both sides. Also, you may want your ex back initially, but as things die down, you may realize that’s not the case.

The time that you should wait can depend on how long you’re together. For most relationships, you should wait a month until you consider it. In that time, you may have moved on and not want to talk to your ex. However, if there’s still love, you may end up talking to them again and reconnecting.

How do you know if your ex is still in love with you?

Quite often, you may have an ex who still has feelings for you. Here’s how you can know if they still have feelings for you.

  • They still talk to you and ask how they’re doing. The topics of conversation are more than just a dull conversation, as your ex will engage with you enthusiastically.
  • Your friends and family will tell you that the ex is still talking about you to them. This can be a sign the ex is not over you just yet.
  • Sometimes, hostility can be a sign. For example, if your ex tries to spite you by showing off how good their life is going, this can be a sign they still have feelings for you.
  • When your ex is talking about the good old days for you, this can be a sign your ex still cares about you.
  • You have a feeling that your ex is looking you up online and seeing what you’re up to. The ex wants to see if you’re single or have moved on.

These are just some signs. If you have a hunch, and you still have feelings, perhaps you should try to make things work again. However, if you don’t have feelings, block your ex from all forms of communication.

Should I text back my ex?

If your ex texts you, should you text them back? It may be a case where your heart says yes, but your brain says no, but even then, it can be murky.

If you ended your relationship in an amicable fashion, then perhaps it’s okay to text back your ex. However, if your relationship ended in an intense argument, then perhaps wait a while. It’s always important for things to cool down and for your emotions to return to somewhat normal before you consider speaking to your ex.

How do I make my ex regret?

If your ex was the one who initiated your breakup and you're talking to your ex, how can you make them feel regret?

Your first thought may be to tell how you feel, but that may not work. Groveling to your ex may not have the intended effect. One thing that can work is to show how happy you are.

For example, talk about your new casual relationship, your new job, or work out and make your body better. Talk about the good times you used to have.

This can make your ex feel regret and want you back. However, if they do not feel regret, this may be a sign to move on.

How do you make him regret breaking up with u?

The best way you can make him regret is to live your best life possible. Hit the gym and get fit. Get into a hobby that makes you happy. Find someone who makes your heart flutter. Talk to him and point out how much your life has improved. This can make him feel regret, unless he has moved on. In that case, it’s time for you to move on as well.

Should you tell your ex that you miss them?

It depends. If the breakup was recent and there is still emotional distress, hold off doing that. If you broke up with your ex and things have cooled down, it may be okay to admit you miss them and that you broke up with them.

If your ex has moved on, telling them that you miss them can end up causing problems. Perhaps it’s time for you to improve yourself and move on from the relationship.

How long before exes get back together?

It depends. Some exes, especially the on again, off again crowd, may not wait too long before getting back together. For others, it may take a good month for the breakup to settle before they realize that they should get back together. And other times, the exes never get back together. There is no magic number.

Does the no contact rule work if you were dumped?

It can work well if the ex ends up regretting their decision. Making it so it’s hard to be contacted can make the ex regret what they did, and they may end up crawling back to you. Besides that, it’s probably a good thing to avoid contact while emotions are running high.

Do exes miss you?

Some do, especially if you dumped them, or the breakup was due to various circumstances. Usually, an ex will show they miss you in various ways. Besides reaching out to you and asking how you’re doing, they may talk to your friends and family. Your ex may show they miss you by bragging about how their life is.

Can exes fall back in love?

It can happen. Chances are, you knew a couple who was on again, off again, or a couple who got back together after a long time. If the relationship ended amicably or due to circumstances beyond both parties’ control, the exes may reconnect and fall back in love.

With that said, if you have broken up with your ex, don’t wait for them to come back. Instead, live your best life possible. If your ex wants you back, they’ll join you. If not, then you’ve spent your time making yourself even better as a person.

Do all exes eventually come back?

Obviously not. Many relationships end with both people going their own ways and having no interest in maintaining contact. However, you may be surprised by how unpredictable life is. Sometimes, exes can come back years later and reunite with you. Other times, exes may bury the hatchet and while you may not have a romantic relationship, you remain friends.

With that said, don’t live life expecting your ex to come back. Work on yourself first and foremost. If they come back, great. If not, then you’ve just made yourself better.

Should I wish my ex a happy birthday?

It depends. If you’re amicable with your ex, then there’s no harm in it. However, if your ex doesn’t want any contact with you, wishing them a happy birthday may not be a good idea. Another reason why this may not be a good idea is if you still have feelings for them, but you know they’re toxic. Just one text can end up with you going down a path you don’t want.

Is texting your ex a bad idea?

Usually, yes. Especially if the breakup was recent. If things ended amicably and you’re still friends, go for it. However, if the pain is still fresh, or if your ex broke up with you, hold off on it for a while until everything clears up. It is possible to be friends with an ex, or even get back together with them, but if your gut says it’s a bad idea, listen.

Should I text my ex who dumped me?

Avoid contacting an ex who dumped you. Usually, begging your ex to come back will not work. What you should do is the opposite. Do not text them at all. If they regret their decision, they’ll come running back. Plus, it gives you a chance to process your emotions and decide if your ex is even worth pursuing.

Do dumpers regret?

Quite often, breakups can happen due to emotional explosions. When the dust settles, some people who broke up with their ex may regret it, and they may try to get their ex back. If your ex is trying to talk to you or trying to make you jealous, this may be a sign of regret.

Does your ex regret breaking up you?

While many exes move on, if an ex regrets it, they may text you frequently to see how you’re doing. Some may outright say they regret it. However, if an ex has a hard time admitting they were wrong, they may just bring up nice memories, or sometimes try to make you jealous by talking about how good their life is.

How do I get my ex to want me back after he dumped me?

The best way is to improve yourself and show that your ex shouldn’t have dumped you. Live your best life and show happiness. Tell your ex how well you’re doing. Do not go to your ex and start begging, because this one won’t work.

Another way is to talk to your ex after a month or so and catch up. This can make your ex want you back. If they don’t want you back, it’s time to move on.


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