I Still Sext My Ex-Boyfriend & I Can’t Stop

When we broke up, I swore we wouldn’t fall into that dumb cliché of exes who keep having sex, but it turned out worse. Sexting with your ex is way too easy and so not a good idea but I’m still doing it. What’s wrong with me?

Trying to stay “friends” is never a good idea.

It’s a nice thought—you break up but you both still care about each other and/or don’t want to make it even more awkward than it already is, so you agree to “stay friends.” This rarely works. Going from a full-on romantic relationship to a casual platonic one just isn’t that easy. One of you will be more emotionally invested and things will get really rough really fast. Trust me, I know this from experience. In order to be friends, you need a “buffer period” of a few weeks at the very least. We didn’t take that and that was a big mistake.

Just because it’s easy doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

Let’s be real, if texting didn’t exist, there’s no way we’d put in the effort to stay in touch. If we had to actually call each other to have a conversation, we would’ve drifted apart months ago. Because it’s so damn easy to pick up your phone and type, there’s no reason not to, and by the time your brain has the chance to say “Put down your phone, girl, this is a terrible idea,” you’ve already hit “Send.” Ugh.

It’s making it impossible to move on.

It’s like being trapped in some horrible death spiral. I mean, neither of us wants to get back together, but when you’ve been with someone for a really long time, moving on is hard. When you add a halfhearted continuation of your sexual relationship into the mix, it muddies the waters of your emotions to the point where you can’t figure out how you feel at any given moment, making dating someone else, or even just being contentedly single almost entirely out of the question.

We’re using each other and it sucks.

There’s nothing wrong with being in a friends with benefits situation, but when it’s with someone you’ve been really close to, it’s just a bit depressing. Going from looking in each other’s eyes and saying “I love you” every day to talking dirty through a screen a few times a week just feels wrong.

I’d rather have excitement than familiarity, to be honest.

There’s something to be said for being able to flirt with someone who already knows exactly what you like, but the whole experience is like being on autopilot because we know the routine so well. If you think “autopilot” sounds like a buzzkill, you’re not wrong. Familiarity can be comforting, but when it’s with your ex, it just feels weird and kind of wrong. I’d so much rather have excitement at this point.

It reminds me why we aren’t together anymore.

Sexting with someone you know really well is kind of like rereading a book you already know the ending to. It’s so predictable, but you also start to notice the plot holes. Sexting is obviously not the greatest representation of a committed relationship, but it’ll remind you of all things the other person did or didn’t do that drove you apart in the first place.

It’s retroactively ruining our relationship.

After any breakup, you hope that when you look back on things five, 10, or 30 years later, you’ll remember things fondly. Since we’ve started sexting each other, it’s like we’ve started to erase all the good times and replaced them with whatever this shallow interaction. Now, whenever I try to remember the good times, all I can think about is how easy it was to put all that aside and have a totally meaningless virtual f*ck buddy system, and it makes the entire relationship before the breakup seem irrelevant.

It lets me ignore real life.

Breakups are supposed to signal some kind of change outside of the relationship as well as inside the relationship. But when you keep texting your ex, especially when it’s just a sex thing, it makes it really hard to live in the real world in which you are no longer together. Texting makes it so easy for your brain to pretend nothing has changed when in reality, you’re totally single and need to start making positive changes rather than relying on the random, unsatisfying text here and there to keep you distracted.

We should’ve left things the way the way they were.

The breakup was hard but in the end, we probably would’ve had some sort of appreciation and affection for each other after awhile. However, because we’re doing this, it cheapens the original relationship. When emotion is left out of the equation, it feels shallow. Honestly, no matter how much you want a relationship after a breakup, platonic or otherwise, it’s usually better to just leave it as it was, so that maybe someday you can look back on it with affection. I know this but haven’t followed my own advice.

Ending a relationship that’s already technically over is a logistical nightmare.

Seriously, how do you end a relationship that isn’t really a relationship when the actual relationship ended awhile ago? Ghosting is the obvious solution, but it has consequences, and when you still have friends in common, it’s pretty risky. In the end, having a face to face conversation is probably the best way to go, but honestly, we’re not there yet.

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