At some point or another, we’ve all wondered the same thing: should I reach out to my ex? Whether you were the one who dumped them or they dumped you, it can be hard to know how to proceed in terms of communication (and whether you should at all). Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to get over a breakup, you just can’t shake the desire to get back in touch with your former partner. If you can’t decide whether or not that’s a good idea, this mini quiz should help you decide.
- Did he cheat on me? Deciding to reach out to someone who has hurt you, especially an ex, should not be done impulsively. If you’re looking for an apology that they have not given you of their own free will, reaching out to them now is unlikely to yield different results. If, on the other hand, they have apologized and you want to forgive them, ask yourself why. Time is the best medicine, and that person is probably doing just fine. Take a page out of their book and let time heal your wounds.
- Did I cheat on him? In 99 cases out of 100, reaching out to someone you have hurt is a terrible idea. Their pain will only be compounded if you try to engage with them again. You may feel that you were misunderstood and that you need to set the record straight. Don’t. Work on your own relationship with the past. Dragging your ex back into a painful situation that you were responsible for is double cruelty.
- Was it a nasty breakup? Dramatic breakups can be the opposite of cathartic. You say things you wish you hadn’t and never get to rationally discuss where everything went wrong. It makes sense that you might want to come back to the table when you’re both in a calmer, more reflective headspace. If this is the case, talking to your ex may help tie up loose ends. But be prepared for disappointment. You may devolve into anger with each other again, or your ex may simply ignore your requests for contact.
- Do I want him back? If you want a second chance, do whatever you have to do to stop yourself from contacting your ex. You clearly have not had enough time to process the breakup and are wanting everything to go back to how it was. But things are never the same after a breakup. Wait at least six months before you consider talking to your ex again. By that time, you probably won’t want to anymore.
- Is he dating someone else? It’s hard to see your ex with someone new. You may be happy for him, but on some level, you’ll probably also feel jealous and even betrayed. That is not a state of mind that lends itself to good decision-making. Put yourself under lockdown until your emotions about his new situation die down.
- Am I in a relationship with someone else? Before contacting your ex, consider how it might affect your current circumstances. Your breakup is in the past. Is it worth compromising your new relationship? How would your current partner feel if he/she knew you were contacting your ex? Don’t sabotage your future happiness just because you can’t let go of the past.
- Has he already reached out to me? If your ex is the one to initiate contact, read between the lines. Does he sound lonely? Regretful? Angry? Hurt? If you’re both still feeling vulnerable, seeking comfort in each other may seem like the obvious option, but it will escalate quickly. Falling back into bed with someone you’ve recently ended things with will end in more drama, more heartbreak, and more anger than the first time.
- How long ago did we break up? Everyone has moments of weakness in the first weeks and months post-breakup, and those are the moments when you absolutely should not, under any circumstances, talk to your ex. If six months or more have elapsed, you’re probably in a more objective frame of mind. If it’s been less than six months, don’t even think about it.
- Am I prepared for the worst-case scenario? You may have a romanticized idea of what it will be like to talk to your ex again. Both of you are totally over the breakup, you catch up on how your lives have changed, and wish each other the best for the future. Sounds nice, right? In reality, your emotions will take on a life of their own. Your history will take over, and you will fall backward through time and end up in a place you thought you’d left behind. Expect the conversation to be painful, triggering, and unsatisfying. If you still want to go ahead with it, at least you know what you’re in for.
- What am I hoping to achieve? You should not be vague in your mind about why you want to reach out to your ex. Vagueness means that you’re not being honest with yourself, which probably means your actual motive is to get back together. If you’re not crystal clear on your motives, you’ll end up in a messy situation where one or both of you gets hurt. Know what you’re looking for, and make sure it’s worth the pain and frustration that may result.
Whether or not you ultimately decide to reach out to your ex, make sure it’s the right decision for you and won’t set you back in your healing process. You deserve to move on.