Whether you want your ex back or hope that they disappear forever, talking to your ex can be difficult.
When an ex pops up after a breakup, most people mess up and hurt the situation terribly— ruining the relationship further.
I’ve done this and regretted it every. single. time.
That’s why knowing how to talk to your ex comes in handy.
Today I want to share what I have learned about how to treat an ex when they want to get in touch after a breakup or separation.
Here’s how to talk to your ex after a breakup.
1. Respond reasonably promptly to your exe’s contact.
Before everyone had cell phone access 24/7, calling someone back took a few days. Heck, before answering machines, people had to keep calling each other until they got someone on the line so that they could even leave a message.
People did old fashioned actions like stopping by other people’s houses and sending letters.
Things are different now. You can definitely get busy doing other things than constantly staring at your phone, but if you wait too long to get back to him, it is obvious.
Especially when it comes to emotionally loaded interactions with exes.
Unless your ex is doing something obsessive like calling you constantly or stalking you, go ahead and return their contact in a reasonable amount of time.
If you were the one who got dumped, don’t initiate contact with your ex first (without a plan) unless you have shared business obligations or children to deal with.
2. Manage your anger.
Do not, under any circumstances, vent your anger when a man comes back after leaving you.
Even if he’s calling for some minor reason and you are annoyed with him.
Even if she is angry with you.
Even if he has dusted off the fax machine to send you a missive.
Even if her texts are hard to understand.
Even if he ran off with Gladys, his massage therapist.
Even if you suspect she’s a total psycho.
There is no circumstance when raging at your ex is a good idea, even if you hate them and hope they jump in the ocean with mommy dearest.
This advice goes double for when you want your ex back. When you want your ex back, you cannot afford to make yourself a source of negative reinforcement to them by showing your anger.
Even if you simply want a peaceful ending with your ex or to get your socks back, unleashing a tirade is simply not a good idea because even if you never see or talk to your ex again, you will remember it.
I still think about the embarrassing time I completely lost it on one of my exes years ago, and I have zero desire to see him ever again. Don’t say things to your ex that you can’t take back.
You might not regret it now, but you might later, so keep your mouth shut about your anger.
3. Be flawlessly polite and kind.
Some of you have exes who are real pieces of work. I get it.
Along with that anger and resentment, there is a tendency for people to want to make their exes pay for hurting them.
And because breakups are confusing and murky, these feelings are often directly at odds with the fact that deep down, they want their ex back.
Do you really want your ex back for the sole purpose of punishing them for all eternity?
Sounds fun. You’re probably a hit at parties.
Do NOT try to dish out mortal judgement by “treating them how they deserve” because they dumped you.
You don’t have to be a pushover and let your ex keep that entertainment set that you bought— but manage your emotions and try to be fair and kind.
4. Raise your emotional state BEFORE responding.
For the best possible result with anyone, get happy before you call or text your ex back.
Do a little dance, go outside, stand up, do something to make yourself smile if you can, so you don’t give off a painful, broken, hurt vibe. It sounds corny, but it works to put you in a happier state of mind. The happier you genuinely are, the better talking with your ex will go.
5. Hear him out.
Emotionally loaded conversations can cause our ears to close. This is BAD NEWS when talking to our exes because we can get reactive and start yelling at them before we know it.
Count on the fact that your ex knows you very well.
They might say things to intentionally push your buttons. Expect it and ignore it. Try to understand the message underneath your exe’s words. If you talk your face off, it won’t give them time to say what they want to say.
If your ex makes little jabs, they are trying to get a rise out of you.
The point of those little jabs are as follows:
- A. If your ex gets you to boil over and rage at them, they can feel smug that breaking up with you was the right choice.
- B. Getting angry is attention— even though it’s negative.
- C. You ex might be angry at you and trying to hurt you back.
All of these are reasons NOT to react if your ex tries to bait you into an argument. Don’t give them the satisfaction of your negative emotions.
6. Avoid initiating heavy conversations about the end of your relationship.
If you have to, think about it like it’s a game to see which of you will break first and bring up the dead, buried, old relationship that you two shared.
These kind of uncomfortable relationship discussions make exes FLEE unless your ex happens to be the one who thinks it’s a good idea to discuss “The End.”
Just don’t say anything about the breakup, unless your ex brings it up— and even then, I would caution you against saying very much. Your mindset should be cool. “You don’t even care anymore because you have moved on.”
7. Don’t try to get closure when you talk to your ex.
If you want your ex back, forcing them to repeat their reasons for leaving you is exactly the opposite reality that you want them thinking about.
Consider that you need them to get past the negativity of the breakup and think happy thoughts about you. Getting them to re-dump you by begging for closure is NOT POSITIVE.
ESPECIALLY do not try to get your ex to repeat or explain the reasons for the breakup if it was their idea.
This is like getting hit by a car and then asking the driver to back up and run you back over in slow motion. Painful for you and not fun for the driver. It also puts your ex in the driver’s seat, which is not where you want them.
8. When in doubt, silence is golden.
Hearing from your ex is tough. It’s emotional, it’s confusing and it can be completely crazy-making.
One guideline I’ve always found helpful is the idea that if you are not sure what to say or do in any situation, do nothing until you feel certain about what to do.
Unless he is bleeding, communication with your ex is NOT 911 urgent, even though it might feel that way right now.
You might feel needy and out of control. You might want to lash out or cry or say angry things. All of those feelings are natural and okay.
Even though you might feel like it, do not actually lash out, cry, and/or freak out— because you will regret it. If you manage to say the exact, angry thing that would put your ex in their place and make them hurt— you will regret it.
Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but acting out of pain and fear is simply not the best you can do.
I hope this helped you with how to talk to your ex the next time you have to be in contact.