What to Do When Your Ex Contacts You Out of the Blue: We Have Advice For All Scenarios

What to Do When Your Ex Contacts You Out of the Blue: We Have Advice For All Scenarios

Whether you were the heartbreaker or the heartbroken and if you're happily single, seeking or settled down now, here's advice on how to handle it when you ex pops back up to the surface.

By Jen Glantz

‘Tis the season where love just feels like it’s permanently in the air. Maybe it’s the scent of your favorite candle burning, holiday music that’s playing on repeat, or the fact that everyone around you seems to either be getting engaged or posting sappy posts about their family on social media. Which is why this season is the one where exes usually pop back into your life, even if they’ve been MIA for months ... or years. 

So what do you do when your “person” from the past sends you a text, gives you a call, or asks you to meet-up once again IRL? You turn to these experts for their advice.

If You Called It Off

Ask yourself this, when you called things off with your ex, did you ever want to get back together

Virginia Williamson, LMFT, says that If your ex treated you poorly, cheated or ended the relationship in a particularly painful way, you are making yourself vulnerable to that person again by responding to them.  

“Consider what you think you might gain by talking to this person again and if the cons far outweigh the pros, it may be best to leave it alone,” says Williamson. 

If They Called It Off

Maybe you’re the one who was broken up with, and if so, are your hard feelings toward your ex something you can put aside? 

Williamson says that it’s OK to reconnect with your ex if you’re willing to talk again. However, It's important to take a moment and give some thought to the likelihood that reconnecting will do more harm than good for both you and your ex.  

If It’s Been a Long Time

When so much time has passed, it can feel a little weird to hear from an ex.  

Brenda Della Casa, a dating and career expert, says don’t read into it too much. 

“Your ex could be going through something, trying to get attention, feeling lonely or dealing with a number of other emotions/factors,” says Della Casa. “The truth is you have no idea what their motivations are and it is important not to jump the gun and showcase reactions that are based on assumptions. Think about why you broke up in the first place.  Rose-colored glasses have caused many men and women to waste time trying to rewind a relationship. Walking down memory lane or having intimate chats are only going to cause confusion and possibly hurt someone.”

If It Was Recent

Even if the breakup was recent, you still might have already made a ton of progress in getting over them.  Williamson suggests that you consider if the relationship was a train wreck, and it took you a long time to get back on your feet, evaluate how it might set you back if you were to reconnect even once, particularly if the break up was more recent.   

If You’re Single Now

Having a decent time being solo right now? Williamson says that if your relationship ended on a decent note and your ex treated you with care and respect, there are fewer risks in responding as long as you check your expectations about what is going to happen next. 

“If you find that you are hoping that you may be able to resume the relationship, think about how you will handle it if that is not the motivation for your ex getting back in touch,” says Williamson.  

If You’re in a Relationship

When your ex tries to re-enter your life, but you’ve already moved on, deciding whether or not to respond can make you feel like you’re riding a rollercoaster of emotion

Williamson says that if you are in a current relationship and you are satisfied and committed, think about whether you are comfortable letting your partner know that your ex has reached out.   

“If you can't be open and honest with the person you are in a relationship with now about your ex, there is a much higher likelihood that you will have regrets about responding to an ex from a relationship that ended for a reason. If you have to be secretive about it, you could lose a relationship that works over one that likely didn't,” says Williamson. 

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