• Wed, Feb 17 2010

Textual Healing: The Casual Ex Text

texting

[Update: This post is old, read more recent posts about relationships here!]

Text messaging might be the easiest and most convenient way to send a note to your friends, but when it comes to communicating with a guy, it can be anything but simple. Whether his messages are short and sweet or lengthy and in-depth, you’re usually left wondering: what is he really trying to say? And even worse, how do I respond? Here at Crushable we want to help you sift through all the subtext and emerge, textually healed.

Here’s today’s dilemma: that phantom text from an ex you got out of your system months ago. Like so many texts, this one has a back story. I was sitting home alone on a Sunday night (okay, it was Valentine’s Day) when I heard the familiar buzz of a text message coming in to my Blackberry. But any anticipation of a cute message from a friend or crush quickly vanished when I saw who it was from — a guy who had broken my heart almost two years ago. We’ve had zero contact since, and he chose this night to send me the very generic “What’s up?” text. My stomach dropped right into the couch cushions.

I’ll admit, I was curious as to why — why? — this guy would be trying to get back in touch with me this way, and at this moment. But despite my urge to press reply, I hit delete instead. I had my reasons. Here are a few:

The Medium
When you’re in a relationship with someone for a long time, they know how to find you. My ex could have called, or written an email if he was feeling less brave. He could have Googled me and found out where I work, checked me out on Twitter or Facebook or even LinkedIn. Any of those forms of communication would have been preferable, if he really wanted to get back in touch with me. Instead, he chose to text me. Sure, it’s easy to text, but it’s almost too easy. No thought or effort required and, hey, if you get a bad response, or none at all, you can just pretend your note was meant for someone else. But if we haven’t spoken for months and months, I deserve more than that.

The Message
Only the text message would allow someone who you haven’t heard from in forever to send you the totally frustrating “What’s up?” How do I even begin to respond to that loaded question?

The Timing
If you’re trying to get back in touch with me after ages of radio silence, don’t do it at 10 p.m. on Valentine’s Day. The message made me think of all the Valentine’s Days we had spent together (three to be exact) and it made me sad and nostalgic. And the feelings of rejection, betrayal and heartbreak I had pushed out my mind months ago came rushing back. I started to feel bad for myself for sitting home alone on the most romantic of fake holidays. Who wants to reward that behavior with a response, or worse, a conversation?

The moral of the story is, if an ex wants to get back in touch with you, it needs to happen on your terms. No one should ever make you feel uncomfortable or sad, and if they once made you sad they have to try that much harder to get back in your life. A much better message would have been, “I’m sorry for everything. Hope you’ve found love on this Valentine’s Day.”

Have you ever received an ill-timed text message from an ex? Have a confusing text message that you need advice on? Tell us in the comments, and you might see your story in the next edition of Textual Healing.

(Photo via flickr)

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  • Flipbounce

    “the most romantic of fake holidays” – freakin brilliant

  • mjness13

    it’s awesome that you didn’t respond. the curiosity would have probably gotten me :x

  • Luckydog1826

    Umm, did we date the same guy? I got the exact same “what’s up” text from an ex two years after breaking up. I have no words to describe how irritating this was. I made the mistake of answering, and now he texts me once a week to “remind me that I should hang out with him sometime.” Ug. The worst part is, I know the second I give in to him, he will go back to being the distant, hot and cold mind-fucker he always was. No, the WORST part is that I find his persistence endearing. What is wrong with me??

  • Amy

    Is this link still open for advice?

  • lynz

    the worst is when you have a child by your ex and is there until the week until you go into labor and when you call him he tells you he’s working he does not care…anyways its a year and a half later and he has texted me every other week from i hate you and she is not my daughter (when i know she is) to im hope you both die to what you doing to i miss you..how are you and Kira (my daughter) to fuck you i fucked your best friend the night she stayed with us on the floor when u passed out to i miss u.. It makes me so sick and all the power in my whole body to not answer him. All i want, wanted, is him to be a true father to our daughter and to help out financially. ANY ADVICE????????

  • renee

    Whew, well…dated the ex for a year. Thought he was the one for me, and on occasion, I still do. However, We ended horribly and no effort was made from either of us to ever talk about anything. So, it’s almost been two months and I get the famous early morning text, ‘hey’. Of course, I didn’t reply…I thought he’s drunk/partying/etc…minutes later he texts again with ‘I miss you’. This one was the shocker because he is a proud guy. I still didn’t reply. It was tempting, and at times like right now (currently dating someone new) I feel the NEED to go back to who I love…
    FYI: we broke up because of his dishonesty (trust would be an issue)
    **thoughts/opinions…I would love them.

  • eve

    could ask straight out, what do you want?

  • bittersweetness

    Your article speaks straight to the heart of my problem. He is the thorn twisting in my side. We went out for just over a year, and just three months ago he broke my heart into a million pieces by telling me he loved me but is not in love with me… He has now sent the quintessential ghost text “hi, how are you?” I took my time, but replied two nights later, out of longing and curiosity, with a very chilly text, something along the lines “I’m ok, busy but good…hope you’re doing well too.” He responds with an even more irritating “anything new and exciting in your life”…WTF does that mean?? Should I even continue this excruciating, humiliating, and incomprehensible attempt at reconnecting????

    • Mr. Man

      Email me at xnickphotox@gmail.com. For real, i want to talk about this! I think we can shed some light on each others situations.

  • Lou

    Yeah, the cost of a text (in time, effort, everything) doesn’t measure does it? I liked it better when they had to ride to us on horses and fight dragons to be able to say hello. :-)

  • hopelessromantic

    This morning I googled “should an ex text you on valentines day.” This article was the first to appear and I am so thankful I read it. Your reactions to your ex’s text was exactly how I need to react. A little background on me, I am a hopeless romantic. Every since I was little I have been captivated by the concept of love. I’ve been planning my wedding since I was 10. I love romantic movies. I cry at weddings, even if I don’t personally know the bride. I love everything about the idea of love. So it would not be surprising to say that may favorite, absolute favorite day of the year was Valentines Day. Even if I didn’t have a Valentine I still loved to see women receive flowers, letters, jewelry, surprise work visits etc. And I love to hear the guys talking about their new watches, sport tickets etc. Most importantly I loved hearing ladies and gents talk about their love for their significant other. I loved hearing the “how we met” how he proposed” “how he changed my life” stories. 5 years ago I had my very own fairy tell. I had 3 wonderful Valentine days but he was so wonderful that it didn’t have to Valentines day for flowers and letters. He spontaneously showed his compassion throughout the years. Long, painful story short ( so I don’t begin to cry for the 10th time at work) he broke up with me two valentine days ago today. The break up was horrific and the pain from losing him was worse. But the real tragedy is my distaste for Valentines day. It’s not longer my favorite holiday. Its the day that reminds me of stabbing heart break, shock, disbelief. I’m more devastated that my love for love and for this day was taken from me. To get back to the point, each Valentine day since he texts me. Last year I believe he called me. This year, I wasn’t expecting a text at all because so much time has pasted (not to mention he had another relationship since me and I haven’t even entertained the idea of dating) but at 1130 this morning my phone sings of a text that says happy valentines day with my nick name to follow plus a heart. I don’t know why he would feel like would make my day better, in fact, it makes my heart hurt more. It is just a reminder. I debated what to say back .. if anything.. after reading this article, I think I’ll just ignore it and try to get through the day.

  • geet

    My ex texted me yesterday saying “Hello ??” on fb(I unfriend him 3 weeks ago) . It’s been a month of NC though he broke up with me almost 4 months ago. I tried really hard, like really hard, to save our relationship from break-up but then he said he didn’t love me and that it was just an attraction though he still respected me and would not mind to be friends with me. I am confused.. Shoul I reply or no ?

  • MARK

    well done! my problems are gone My woman came back last night, i thought it’s a joke she came to say good bye to me ,then i waited ,suddenly i saw preparing food,bed and hide under branket, i couldn’t believe any thing i see, i decide to sleep at the gouge to see what happens next ,only see her come and slow her self on me start kissing and then i realize you are the true healer, its now 2 weeks since she came home ,but doc my sex life has gone down i don’t know why , i want to come and order for that medicine. i will phone you later today! i appreciate your services, be there for us please. thanks you to obadamtemple@gmail.com,

  • Henry Westwood

    My Name is Emil.I will love to share my testimony to all the people in the forum cos i never thought i will have my girlfriend back and she means so much to me..The girl i want to get marry to left me 4 weeks to our wedding for another man..,When i called her she never picked my calls,She deleted me on her facebook and she changed her facebook status from married to Single…when i went to her to her place of work she told her boss she never want to see me..I lost my job as a result of this cos i cant get myself anymore,my life was upside down and everything did not go smooth with my life…I tried all i could do to have her back to all did not work out until i met a Man when i Travel to Africa to execute some business have been developing some years back..I told him my problem and all have passed through in getting her back and how i lost my job…he told me he gonna help me…i don’t believe that in the first place.but he swore he will help me out and he told me the reason why my girlfriend left me and also told me some hidden secrets.i was amazed when i heard that from him..he said he will cast a spell for me and i will see the results in the next couple of days..then i travel back to Us the following day and i called him when i got home and he said he’s busy casting those spells and he has bought all the materials needed for the spells,he said am gonna see positive results in the next 2 days that is Thursday…My girlfriend called me at exactly 12:35pm on Thursday and apologies for all she had done ..she said,she never knew what she’s doing and her sudden behavior was not intentional and she promised not to do that again.it was like am dreaming when i heard that from her and when we ended the call,i called the man and told him my wife called and he said i haven’t seen anything yet… he said i will also get my job back in 3 days time..and when its Sunday,they called me at my place of work that i should resume working on Monday and they gonna compensate me for the time limit have spent at home without working..My life is back into shape,i have my girlfriend back and we are happily married now with kids and i have my job back too.This man is really powerful..if we have up to 20 people like him in the world,the world would have been a better place..he has also helped many of my friends to solve many problems and they are all happy now..Am posting this to the forum for anybody that is interested in meeting the man for help.you can mail him to agumaguspelltemple@gmail.com I cant give out his number cos he told me he don’t want to be disturbed by many people across the world..he said his email is okay and he’ will replied to any emails asap..hope he helped u out too..good luck:agumaguspelltemple@gmail.com.Once Again His Email Address Is: agumaguspelltemple@gmail.com