7 questions to ask yourself before texting your ex

Anya Meyerowitz
·5-min read
Photo credit: Kelvin Murray - Getty Images
Photo credit: Kelvin Murray - Getty Images

From Red Online

If the first lockdown was anything to go by, then the temptation to text your ex will still be rife during this second one. And it's an understandable urge, as many of us struggle with far fewer opportunities to meet new people and socialise, and simultaneously, have lots of time alone to think about our ex.

It's easy to let loneliness and boredom creep in and to begin looking at the past through rose tinted glasses. But we can't recreate the past, and texting an ex can lead to further heartbreak and have a negative impact on our self-esteem. In fact, though it can feel like a comforting idea at the time, in many cases it can lead to an increased sense of loneliness or send us plummeting back into a frenzy of emotions we thought we had moved on from.

So, to help us resist the siren call of our ex's Whatsapp conversation, we spoke to Neil Wilkie, a Relationship Expert, Psychotherapist, author of Reset and creator of online therapy platform, The Relationship Paradigm.

Here, Neil talks us through the questions we should all ask ourselves before reaching for our phones, and offers up seven ways to resist texting your ex.

7 questions to ask before texting your ex

  1. How did the relationship end and was it your decision, their decision or a mutual decision?

  2. If it was your decision, was it a mistake?

  3. If it was their decision; have they changed their mind?

  4. From what you know now, would anything have changed?

  5. Are you now both in a fundamentally different place where the relationship could work better?

  6. If you met your ex today as a complete stranger would you be attracted to them and want to start a relationship with them?

  7. If the answer to all of these is no, then nothing has changed and going back would be more than disappointing.

7 ways to resist texting your ex

1.Write down two lists.

The first of the things that you liked about them and the second of the things that you didn’t like. Be honest and focus on how they were just before the relationship ended, not in the early days. Some will be more important than others. Which list wins and how?

2.Access your subconscious

Get lots of paper and find a space free of interruptions. Think about your ex and write non-stop for 15 minutes (that means you are not allowed to stop writing.) At the end of 15 minutes, stop and take a break of at least 5 minutes. Come back and read through what you have written and see what themes have emerged. Then take that paper somewhere safe and burn it. Reflect on what that has told you about your ex.

Photo credit: Tim Robberts - Getty Images
Photo credit: Tim Robberts - Getty Images

3.Tap into your heart

Sit or lie still and focus on thoughts of your ex. What is that telling you? Check to see if your conscious mind, subconscious and heart are aligned. If not, where is the dissonance coming from?

4.Focus on what sort of relationship you want in the future

This is an opportunity to create your ideal future relationship, not to replay old dreams.

A great way of getting clarity on this can be to get a large piece of paper and some coloured pens. Let the thoughts and feelings flow and draw a representation of what your ideal future relationship will be, not just the person ,but how you will feel and the life you will be having. Look at this and see what it is telling you. Then work out what you need to do to allow this to happen.

5.List the attributes of your ideal partner

It is easy to get distracted by physical appearance. Focus instead on what their values will be and how they will make you feel.

Think through your values (example words are Fun, responsibility, control, excitement, love, passion, family, achievement). Make a list of these and choose your top 7 priorities; these will give you clues of what a compatible partner will bring.

6.Find a distraction to nurture you

What do you love doing or haven’t done that you really want to do? Choose some things that you can do in isolation and make the time and generate the energy to start. Netflix may be a quick escape but something like learning a language, meditating or bouncing to Joe Wicks may have longer lasting value.

7.If you are still tempted, try calling or texting a friend instead

If it is loneliness that is making you feel like texting your ex, you are likely to get a better response from a friend; maybe someone that you haven’t been in touch with for some time. A phone call may also be much more satisfying than a text exchange

If it is nostalgia that is driving you; just reflect on happy memories from the past and accept those are memories that cannot be recreated. You can access all of these without having to involve your ex and the complications that may ensue.

If it is a real desire to rekindle the old relationship, recognise that it can never be the same again and go back to Idea 1.

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