You can't always blame it on the alcohol.
It’s a little bit flattering, perhaps a little bit thrilling, and definitely a little bit confusing when you realize, “OMG, my ex drunk texted me.” Sometimes it can even be annoying or upsetting, too, especially if you haven’t heard from them in a while. Now you’re left wondering, do drunk texts mean anything? Or should you just always blame it on the fact that they’re four beers deep? Of course, the true intention behind these texts will vary from person to person. Still, experts say these seemingly harmless little messages could reveal even more about your ex’s feelings, depending on what they say.
Before telling all your besties in the group chat about your ex’s drunk text, try not to overly dissect what these texts mean. According to both Chelsea Leigh Trescott, breakup coach and host of the podcast Thank You Heartbreak, and Coach Lee, a relationship coach who helps people get back with their ex after a breakup, certain factors can have a big impact on your ex’s behavior. If you’ve been drunk texted recently, see what these experts have to say about what it could mean, what you should do if it happens to you, and most importantly, how to manage your feelings after it happens.
Why Did You Get A Drunk Text From An Ex?
Alcohol lowers inhibitions, and when you feeling less inhibited, you do things you wouldn’t normally do — as well as say things you wouldn’t normally say. “When their defenses are down, (thank you alcohol), any emotions they’ve been suppressing and actions they’ve resisted taking are likely to rise to the top and feel like priorities that must be engaged,” explains Trescott. “Because people are more impulsive when they drink, any actions that are taken while under the influence are often pursued because the person is looking for emotional relief.”
Coach Lee adds that — while your ex may have a mental list of reasons why getting back together is a bad idea — any hesitation goes out the window when they’re no longer sober. “While that doesn't mean that your ex completely wants you back yet, it's a good sign that they are fighting what they really want — which is you,” he explains.
What Does A Drunk Text From An Ex Mean?
According to Trescott, your ex’s drunk texts could have to do with one of three core things: their ego, desire, or grief. If it’s their ego that’s driving them to reach out, they are likely looking for some form of validation. For example, if your ex says “I miss you,” they’re likely hoping to hear the same thing back. But they may not be so direct.
“It’s the idea that, in re-establishing contact, the tension surrounding whether you are forgettable will be lessened,” she tells Elite Daily. “This is why many drunk texts are brief. The person reaching out isn’t looking to get the relationship back, what they’re really chasing is the sense that they're still important or worth responding to. So, if you receive drunken texts that are short, spontaneous and lack substance, it’s safe to assume the messages aren’t coming from a place of fostering love but in bolstering their ego.”
On the other hand, Trescott points out that you may be the only person who is currently desirable to your ex — or alternatively, you may be the last person to make your ex feel truly desired. This is especially likely if they haven’t started seeing someone new or haven’t had good luck with dating since your breakup. It’s also more likely to be the case if your breakup ended for realistic reasons (such as misaligned visions for the future) rather than a lack of passion or love.
“This may be because your ex doesn’t have any new reference points when it comes to their desirability, chemistry, and compatibility and so their mind naturally returns to you,” explains Trescott. “Or, they’ve recently entertained someone new and it has fallen short of the connection you shared. If this is the case, the drunken text means your ex is looking for the comfort and ease of familiarity.” Trescott notes that — while this kind of contact isn’t necessarily a sign that you should get back together — you should get some satisfaction in knowing you’re still desirable post-breakup.
Lastly, Trescott says your ex may be drunk texting you because they don’t feel resolved with how the relationship ended, and they’re still grieving. If that’s the case, the messages will likely be a bit longer than the former two types and will carry a bit more weight. That’s because they’re coming from a place of grief, nostalgia, and remorse. They may be looking for closure or hoping that reconnecting with you will somehow give them some peace. “Of all drunk texts, these messages are coming from the most vulnerable place,” adds Trescott.
How Do You Respond To A Drunk Text From An Ex?
While it can definitely be tempting to start over analyzing every emoji and punctuation mark in those messages, Trescott cautions against reading too much into your ex’s drunk texts. “In reality, the message is very clear: your ex still gets something out of being connected to you,” she says. “Reading into text messages often clouds the most genuine element of the gesture, which is that you have affected someone, whether they like to admit it, address it, advance the relationship or not.”
As for how to handle it, consider your own current wants and needs before figuring out how to respond. If you have no interest in maintaining contact with your ex (or feel it may be too painful), Trescott recommends setting a clear boundary. “Say that the relationship has run its course, and that if and when you are ready to connect, you will reach out," Trescott tells Elite Daily. "And ask them to respect that boundary."
However, if you have the urge to engage in conversation and hear your ex out, Trescott advises waiting until the following day to respond. By then, your ex’s buzz will have worn off, and you can have a more honest, genuine conversation. “Whether or not your ex can communicate from a sober place will speak volumes for how ready they are to be a relevant, responsible and respectable person in your life,” she adds.
Coach Lee suggests making your response polite yet firm, while keeping in mind that your ex is less likely to have an emotional response when they’re sober. He says you can acknowledge that you suspect they’re drunk, and try to postpone the conversation until they’re ready to have it. “Show that you know better than to have a deep conversation with someone who might not even know what they are saying,” he explains. “Don't set up a situation where the sober version of your ex doesn't want to be responsible for the words of their drunk self. Tell your ex that you think it'd be better if you spoke about this more when they feel better. That will not only show your ex that you know better than to take them too seriously while intoxicated, but also that you aren't grasping at straws to get them back.”
While your ex’s drunk texts may vary slightly in intention and meaning, you can be certain of one thing: You’re on their mind. How you choose to react to that notion is ultimately up to you. And while you may still care very deeply about your ex’s feelings (and may even fantasize about reuniting), the most important thing is to protect yourself. But, whether you opt to respond or leave them on read, at the very least you’re allowed to take a little satisfaction in knowing that you’re unforgettable AF.
Coach Lee, relationship coach
Editor's Note: This story has been updated by Elite Daily Staff.
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