What to Do When Your Ex Texts You

You’re going about your day and feeling great. Then, without thinking twice, you reach into your purse and grab your vibrating cell phone. Blindly pulling it from the chaos of your bag contents, you raise the screen to your face and freeze. Your ex text you.

The feeling you get when you see a past lover’s name pop up on your phone can be as nauseating as a high speed boat race on a rough sea, or as exciting as Christmas morning. Depending on your feelings towards your ex and your hopes or intentions, how you respond to your ex’s message will vary.

Here’s What To Do When Your Ex Texts You

Feeling aside, there are simple rules to follow when it comes to texting him back. But first, these are the possible reasons he is texting you:

He Misses You

Though he might not say so, if you haven’t been communicating with your ex then there’s a good chance he’s missing you.

Since meeting new women and making new connections can be tough for men, if this is the case then there’s a good chance he’s reaching out because he has been missing and thinking about you.

He Wants You Back

If enough time passes after the breakup and he’s reflecting on your relationship then he may realize what he’s missing and want to win you back.

That said, the words he texts ybe written to pull at your heartstrings, but don’t take these words to mean exactly what they say. For instance, if he messages you saying, “I want you back,” then there’s a good chance he’s feeling mixed emotions and this may not 100% be true.

However, since most guys fear rejection the likelihood of him sending those exact words are pretty low. Instead he’ll probably send you a message to test the waters, then depending on how you reply, he’ll decide whether or not letting you know he wants you is a good idea.

He Wants to Be Friends

In this case his message will likely be light hearted and friendly. He may choose to share interesting news with you, or ask how you’ve been or what you’re up to. This message is tricky because it could be a well disguised “I miss you” message, but if he’s giving you the friend vibe, then that’s likely the case.

You should be able to tell after a few more messages from him.

He Wants to Make You Feel Bad

If your ex is miserable about the breakup or has built up resentment towards you then he may feel compelled to text you his thoughts. The important thing to remember here is that whatever nasty things he sends you, he is doing so out of hurt.

Don’t take these messages to heart, or rebuttal with words that are equally as cruel. Instead know that he probably doesn’t mean what he’s saying, but for twisted reasons making you feel bad makes him feel better… or at least getting these feelings off his chest does.

He Is Sorry

If your ex is sorry about how the relationship ended then this may be his reason for texting.

These messages are easy to spot as he’ll likely just admit to his wrongdoings and wish you well. He could be doing this because he genuinely feels bad for hurting you, or he may be doing it for closure.

After apologizing to you there’s a good chance you won’t hear from him again. Don’t get angry if you reply to this message and hear nothing back. If he’s said all he wants to say to you then leave him be.

I am a big believer in trying to forgive your ex, not for his sake but for your own. Whether you want to move on or want him back, this is a crucial step in processing the breakup. There’s no rush. It always takes time to heal.

He Is Booty Calling

This could be hard to spot because he may sugar coat his messages before implying that he wants to hook up. A big indicator as to if he is booty calling you though is the time of his message. If he texts you late at night then he could just be messaging you out of sexual desire.

Regardless of whether or not you want to rekindle your relationship with your ex, don’t go down this path. If you do, you risk getting hurt, and even if you’re just looking for some no-strings-attached fun, it’s still going to lead to an awkward situation.

What to do after receiving a text from your ex:

To keep this process as simple as possible let’s break this situation into four possible scenarios.

  1. You want to get back together with your ex
  2. You’re uncertain about getting back with your ex
  3. There’s no way you would ever get back with your ex
  4. You want to be friends with your ex.

Keep your situation in mind moving forward with your action plan for texting him back.

When to Reply

Regardless of your feelings and intentions, wait a while before texting him. This is important for a couple of reasons:

1. It will give you time to think about what you want to say.

Even if you have no intention of rekindling your relationship, the last thing you want to do is send a resentful or sad message. Instead, take the high road and stay classy. He knows there’s a chance you could react negatively to his text, so by not doing so you’ll surprise him, and he may even realize what a good thing he has lost in you.

2. It shows him you’re not waiting to hear from him.

Even if you happen to be on your phone for other reasons, letting time pass before responding to him will send the message that you’re busy with other things. This will spike his curiosity and make him to wonder what’s occupying your time.

Consider the Tone

Texts are just words on a screen, left to be interpreted by the person on the receiving end. That’s why texting is less about the words themselves, and more about the feelings you get when reading them.

Before replying to your ex’s text, be certain of the type of message you’re looking to send.

Do you want him to know that you’re open to chatting with him, or would you rather make it clear the ship has sailed? Are you hoping to reignite a spark between the two of you, or are you fighting the temptation to tell him what a jerk he is? Knowing your end-game and intentions will help when it comes to choosing your words and communicating the right message.

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Regardless of your intention though, keeping your texts short and sweet helps prevent confusion in your message. Why? Because the less you write, the less chance there is that he will misinterpret what you are saying.

If you have no desire to talk to your ex then you then you may ignore his text. As long as it doesn’t ask anything important, and it isn’t relaying valuable information, you can easily let it slide.

If however, your ex texts asking an important question or passes along useful news, then respond, either with the answer he needs or a short “thanks.” You don’t have to dive back into communicating with him again, but do show some respect and appreciation.

Always read your text aloud at least three times before sending it. This checks for clarity and prevents needing a follow up, corrected text or explanation.

Keeping the Conversation Alive

When you want to get back together, or are open to the possibility, there are certain things to keep in mind when replying to his texts.

1. Send a positive message.

Even if you’ve been devastated since the breakup don’t convey so in your text message. If you do, you’ll look desperate to get him back, and even a bit pathetic. That is not the type of message that will make him want to be with you again… and if he was thinking about to get back together with you a downer message may make him change his mind.

RELATED: How Can I Make My Ex Chase Me?

What will make him want to be with you is a message showing that you’re cheerful and busy. Sending the type of message proves your life carried on after the relationship ended will let him see that you’re a strong, independent woman who doesn’t need a man to complete her. This is an extremely attractive trait.

2. Take things slow.

This will give you both the opportunity to do some thinking and decide if you want to give your relationship another try, and it’s also good for reigniting the spark between you.

When you message him, send the type of texts you would send in the early days of getting to know someone. Yes, you know this person and you’ve already shared a relationship, but if you go right back to where you left off then you risk the relationship falling apart again.

Instead consider sending what I call Satellite Texts. These messages don’t ask for a reply, though if he’s into getting back together then he probably will respond. What these messages do is pass along information you know he’ll find fascinating or useful. Or, they could ask a question that you know he’ll enjoy reading and answering.


“Hey, I just saw that Ditch Records is having a huge sale this weekend. I know how much you love your vinyl so I thought I’d let you know. I hope you’re having a great day!” 

This message shows that something reminded you of him and that you were thoughtful enough to pass along the information.

“I’m really craving some sushi for lunch. Seeing as you’re a restaurant expert, where should I go?”

This message gets his opinion on something you know he’ll be happy to talk about. You can get more examples of Satellite Texts by checking out my free video presentation.

Neither of these messages are overly romantic, but believe me, both of them are super powerful for reeling him back in and making him want to commit to you again.

Just remember, men like to keep things simple and they love their freedom. If your texts demand a lot of attention or makes him feel smothered then he may choose to avoid them.

Be wise with your words and keep him looking forward to hearing from you.

What to Do When Your Ex Texts You

About Amy North

Amy North is a women's relationship coach and best-selling author from Vancouver, Canada. Her high-acclaimed programs include "Text Chemistry" and "The Devotion System", both of which have helped thousands of women from around the world find (and keep) the man of their dreams.

Copyright © Amy North