Full disclosure: I reached out to my ex just a week ago, and he wasn't even a good ex. He was an ex who treated me like sh*t. Afterward, I felt awful about it for days. Why did I degrade myself by doing that? I was doing so well after our breakup! I was winning! It's a normal feeling to regret texting your ex. But I had to remind myself that I can't let this aching feeling of regret sit with me forever.
This was a guy who had swept me off my feet, asked me to be his girlfriend on our second date, and then swiftly dumped me a few weeks later when things stopped going his way, a term I now know as "love bombing." However, one night, I really wanted to see the movie Annabelle, and none of my friends would see it with me. I just really had my mind set on seeing it! So I reached out to my ex and asked him if he wanted to go — as friends.
And of course, he rejected me and told me he was busy with dinner plans. After that, I spiraled. We'd hardly spoken since we broke up. Why did I have to ruin it? Why didn't he want to see me?
And then finally I had to calm myself down. Texting an ex happens to everyone, and it's a natural part of the breakup process. You can't beat yourself up over it — life is too short. So here are some things to remind yourself when you text your ex and immediately regret it. Because it's not the end of the world, even if you feel like it is.
1. Breakups Aren't A Competition
I don't know about you, but I havefor sure been under the belief that whoever moves on first after a breakup "wins." Whoever has pictures of themselves looking happy on Instagram or creates a Tinder profile and scores a date first is definitely the victor when it comes to moving on. Because that's what you want to do after a breakup, right? To rub your happiness in your ex's face.
Well, I hate to break it to you, but breakups aren't actually a competition. Moving on quickly isn't the same as moving on authentically. You can post all the fun photos you want, write Facebook statuses about how great life is, but that doesn't mean you're not a messy wreck on the inside.
So what I'm saying is this: Your heart has been broken, you miss someone, and it's expected that you'll hit them up sometimes. It's natural behavior, and everyone does it — you'd have to be a robot not to. If you're beating yourself up over it, then that's your ego screaming at you to "win" the breakup competition, which, unfortunately, does not exist.
2. It's OK To Make Mistakes
There's no rulebook for getting over a breakup. No one knows the intricacies of your relationship, what's going on in your own heart, or how to execute a breakup flawlessly — even if they're an expert.
Sometimes, the most growth happens as a result of pain, not getting what we want, making mistakes, and being utterly humiliated — you know, all the super embarrassing things we don't want that force us to take a good, hard look at ourselves in the mirror. Mistakes are OK, and I'd even go so far as to say that making a mistake every once in a while is good for personal growth, as long as you learn from it.
Frequently, when we reach out to an ex, we don't get the response that we want back. And that can force us to move on. And baby, it's time to move on.
3. This Used To Be Your Person
Don't forget that the person you regret texting isn't you're enemy; it's your ex. They might feel like an enemy in the moment (I pretend all my exes are dead in order to get over them — I get it), but try shifting your perspective in order to get over some of that text regret.
Things are only embarrassing if you are embarrassed by them. People will mostly react to your reaction to yourself. Would you freak out over texting an old friend? No, of course not. But we freak out when we text an ex due to societal stigmas. We don't want to bruise our ego. We have too much pride. We don't want to get rejected. We don't want to seem desperate or thirsty, etc.
If you don't act out on any of those emotions, then your ex won't view you through that lens if you reach out to them. Don't immediately assume the worst in the situation if you reach out to someone from your past. It's possible that no one is reading into the situation but you.
4. Tomorrow Is A New Day
I always give myself one day to wallow and self-loathe when I'm feeling sorry for myself, and then, I make a promise that tomorrow will be a new day that I will live to the fullest. If you're feeling upset about an ex-related error, that's fine. You can't switch off your emotions, and some things are unavoidable. But try not to sit in it too long, and make a plan of action to return to normalcy the next day.
Wake up and exercise. Get some sunlight. Eat healthy. Clean your apartment. Meditate. Read. Avoid social media. Do something creative, and engage in some of your favorite personal hobbies. These things will remind you that you are a whole, complete, happy person — with or without your ex.
5. Learn From Your Regret
As long as we learn from our mistakes, we improve. And when it comes to breaking up (or to anything, really), growth is all that matters. Ask yourself, why did you reach out to your ex in the first place? How were you feeling right before you did it? What could you have done instead? How did you feel after? Why are you beating yourself up over it? What personal introspection were you avoiding by just reaching out instead?
Usually, when we text an ex, it's because we're refusing to look inward or move on instead. Don't beat yourself up over it — it's all part of the journey. No one is perfect, and breaking up isn't a competition. And if your ex even reaches out to you, treat them kindly, because they're probably going to spiral out afterward, too.
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