How to Respond If You Get a Text From an Ex

Oh, boy.

It finally arrived—that dreaded text from your ex. It's totally disarming. And yet, you can't help but feel a little smug that they actually reached out.

Of course, not all exes are created equal. Each prior S.O. deserves a different response, based on the circumstances around your relationship. We can't solve all your problems, but we can offer a little guidance.

Keep scrolling for our tips on how to respond if you get a text from an ex, based on the type of ex you're hearing from.

For the ex who ended things amicably:

If you and your ex ended on good terms, you have no reason to stress about one measly text message. After all, you guys get along, right? If you're truly in a good spot with your ex, you should have no qualms about texting them back. It's all part of maintaining your friendship, even though the relationship is over.


(Pretty Little Liars via Freeform)


For the ex who ended things on bad terms:

On the opposite side of ending things on good terms, we have the ex who ended things on a terrible note. Screaming, crying, horrible accusations—to put it simply, your relationship didn't end in a way that invites much friendly conversation. When it comes to this ex, you need to ask yourself a few questions before you decide on a reply.

First, is there any chance of mending your relationship? Second, will talking to them undo the progress you've made in moving on from them? And lastly, do you have an actual desire to talk to them? If the answer to any of these questions is no, don't respond. Sometimes fences aren't meant to be mended.


For the ex who says they miss you:

Don't respond. The ex who says they miss you is such a cliché. Odds are, they're feeling a little lonely or dealing with something in their personal life and they want a shoulder to lean on. You're not there to patch up their problems, especially if you're broken up. If they really miss you, they'll show you. A simple text doesn't mean anything.

Mariana sneakily texting someone on an episode of The Fosters

(The Fosters via Freeform)


For the ex who cheated on you:

Ha! Delete, delete, delete. People who cheat on you don't deserve your attention. Plus, the ex who cheated on you is probably dealing with a lot of guilt about their actions in your relationship. More than likely, they're only reaching out in an effort to soothe their own conscience, and you don't need to be part of that.


For the ex you were in love with:

Yikes. This one's complicated. In all honesty, it's hard not to respond to the ex you were in love with. Those feelings don't just go away, after all. At the same time, sending a reply to that ex can easily vault you back into the center of those feelings, undoing all the progress you've made in moving on.

For the ex you were in love with, we recommend you don't respond. There's too much history there, so it's unlikely everything will go smoothly. However, we know what a hard ask that is. If you do respond, don't beat yourself up. Just do your best to cut off contact and keep yourself from responding next time, if this does come up again.

Riverdale: Betty laying in bed texting

(Riverdale via The CW)


For the ex who just says 'hey':

Ew, no. Our gut instinct is ignore. Texting someone "hey" takes almost no effort—why should you waste your time sending a response? The only time you should respond to an ex who texts you "hey" is a) if you're on good terms and this isn't out of the norm or b) if you have something you want to get off your chest. If you've been dying to let them know how you really feel, by all means, text away. In all other cases, the "hey" really isn't worth any of your energy.


For the ex who wants you back:

Whew, this could be a good thing or a really, really bad thing. If your ex texts you anything that implies they want you back, you have to think about how you feel before you respond. Is there no chance that you're going to recommit to a relationship with this person? Then the answer's easy—ignore.

If you can see yourself rekindling a romance with this ex, the answer's a little more complicated. Jumping in too quickly could result in a lot of pain for you. Go ahead and respond, but try to feel out where they're at before you reveal your own position. Once you truly believe they're serious about re-starting your relationship, you might have a chance at an honest conversation about your feelings.

Rebecca Bunch on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

(Crazy Ex-Girlfriend via The CW)


For the ex who won't leave you alone:

Oh, no. There's always the one ex who just can't seem to let you go. If you've tried reasoning with this person and have made your position very clear without any success, you have to hit that block button. Someone who can't take the hint will only cause more pain and frustration for you. Trust us, cutting off all contact will be better for both of you in the long run.


On the hunt for more texting tips? Click HERE for five rules for texting your crush without being annoying.