When an ex reaches out, it’s a confusing experience that stirs up a lot of old emotions. You can go from confused to angry to sentimental in a matter of seconds, and you can’t help but try to figure out what his motives were for contacting you. When an ex reaches out completely out of the blue, these are some thoughts you’re likely to have:
“What the hell?”
You’re caught off guard by the random text or message, and are a little annoyed that you read it instead of deleting it or waiting until your day was over. It seems totally weird that he’s contacting you, and you’re initially put off and confused by the fact that this even happened.
“Haha, he misses me.”
You have a moment where you feel awesome for “winning” the breakup and being the stronger person. You moved on and now he regrets what he lost. You feel powerful because he misses you and you don’t even think of him anymore. You win- hurray!
“I should probably catch up on Internet stalking.”
Your curiosity gets the better of you and you have to find out what’s been going on in his life. Is he single? Getting married? Just had a breakup? Stalking your ex online will both give you a little context about why he’s reaching out to you, and prepare you for a conversation if you decide to have one with him.
“Maybe we never really did get closure.”
You wonder if your relationship is really 100% done or if you’re missing one final conversation to really achieve closure. Did you really say everything you needed to or would you feel better if you rehashed the relationship one more time?
“Should I respond?”
There are 50 things running through your mind that you would like to say, but you’re not sure which response to go with, if any. You’re torn about what to do and you completely over analyze every reply option, contemplating your options like this is a tactical operation.
“I should respond.”
For whatever reason, you briefly feel obligated to write back. You went through a lot together, and if he’s contacting you, he probably has a good reason. With all your history, ignoring him seems awfully cold…
“I definitely shouldn’t respond, ever.”
Screw this. You didn’t ask to be contacted, and you don’t need to deal with this right now. If he needs someone to talk to, he can go find a new girlfriend. He’s not your problem anymore.
“Why am I letting him screw up my evening?”
At this point, you are annoyed at the amount of mental space his message has taken up, and the series of emotions that it elicited. You wish you could just forget about it, but the ambiguity of the subtext continues to gnaw away at you.
“Is he trying to ruin my happiness?”
You’re doing great and are happier now than you were when the two of you were together. Is he trying to mess that up? Did he hear that you were doing great, or met someone new, and couldn’t resist getting in the way of that? He’s probably not being that spiteful, but the timing seems suspicious…
“Maybe we can be friends…”
There was a friendship at the base of your relationship, and maybe that’s all he’s reaching out for. If you’d never dated, it’s possible that you would still be friends today. Is it possible to get over the pain you caused each other and regain the friendship? You definitely miss some of the good times, including hanging out and laughing.
“He’s in my past for a reason.”
You’ve been better off since he’s been out of your life. Even if his message makes you feel sentimental, or you miss him, you know you made the right choice. He might be a great guy for someone else, but he wasn’t right for you. He might be trying to claw his way into your present, maybe just for a talk or a friendship, but you know letting him in is a slippery slope. There’s no reason to risk your well-being, so whether or not you chose to respond, you ultimately decide to leave the past in the past.
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