It's almost the weekend and you're getting ready to head out and meet the girls for dinner and a few cocktails. As you're finishing up your makeup and double-checking your tresses, you hear a text come through on your phone. Shuffling to grab your keys and bag as you head for the door, you pick up your phone, assuming it's your friends giving you a hard time for being late - as usual. With a sigh and a roll of your eyes, you begin mentally trying out different excuses for why you're not there yet.
Then, you look down at your phone, and your heart is somehow in your throat, and at the bottom of your stomach at the same exact time.
It's your ex.
Yeah, that one, the guy who ripped your heart out and then stomped on it -- and then was adamant about how he wanted to "stay friends." The one who told you how much you meant to him and then just disappeared. It's been months since you've heard anything from him.
And now? "Hey you."
Things are going really well for you lately: you just got a promotion, you even met a new guy. By all accounts, you're happy.
Is there some sort of signal that exes get when things are going well for us? So, what do you do? Do you respond, do you ignore him?
Here are some guidelines to help you figure it out.
Think it through; never respond immediately.
An immediate response is never a good idea. It's always best to think your course of action through first, and that includes whether you want to even respond. Writing back right away will only give him reassurance that it was OK to reach out to you, and maybe even that you were waiting for him to do so.
Make a decision on how/if you want to respond after thinking it through. This applies that much more if you have ingested any alcohol!
What do you want?
Cue the scene with Noah and Allie from "The Notebook." If your ex texts you and you're happy now, and don't really care about what happened, then you might not mind starting a casual convo. Or, maybe you're happy, but you don't see anything good coming out of talking to him; you might be better off not responding.
Ultimately, you have to think about the end result that you want out of the situation. If you still have lingering feelings for the guy, but he's dating someone else, it's probably better not to tread back into muddy water. If you think he wants back in your life, is that even the right move?
What does he want?
This is a follow-up to the previous point. Even if you're surprised by the text, maybe you know why he's contacting you. Did he just break up with the chick he was dating? Is some event coming up where there will be mutual friends and a chance you might run into each other?
What do you get out of responding?
Again, don't respond if you're currently drinking. If you're happy and it doesn't hurt you to talk to your ex, then do it. If you're happy, but it still hurts to talk to your ex, don't do it. Why even bother?
If it hurts you in any way to respond to him, don't respond at all. If you're hurt about how things ended and need closure on why he has been MIA, then respond, but only if you can handle it (and do NOT start that conversation immediately).
If you know it's bad for you but you can't help yourself, picture how you felt right after the breakup. Do you want to repeat that?
Ask your friends for their opinion.
Your friends are the ones who helped to pick up your broken pieces after your breakup. Some were even friends with him, too. They love you and will give you the best advice; just remember, it may not always be what you want to hear.
Exes, even the worst ones, were once a big part of our lives, so it's normal to feel some type of way when you unexpectedly hear from one. The key is to approach it with a clear head and make a choice that you're comfortable with. There is no one-size-fits-all type of response because every relationship is different.
After you think through how your ex's text makes you feel, maybe you'll realize that it's nothing more than a little annoyance to help you recognize how over him you actually are.
And maybe, just maybe, he is actually trying to be the friend he once promised to be.