Ending a relationship can be complicated, and no matter who calls things off, one or both of you might find yourselves wanting to reach back out to each other. Maybe you just want to check in and form a friendly relationship, or perhaps you're interested in getting back together. Whatever the case, if you find yourself wondering, “Should I talk to my ex?,” then you’re definitely in good company. And while talking to an ex isn’t always a bad idea, intimacy and sexuality coach Irene Fehr tells Elite Daily it all "depends on the timing and the intentions” you have in reaching out.
"If you have just broken up and had been together for an extended period of time or lived together, it is absolutely normal to want to talk to your ex," Fehr explains. "First, if you've had a habit of being around your partner — talking about your day, being involved in daily life together, going to bed together at night — you will feel lonely and it'll be natural to want to talk to them. In such situations, it's normal to want to continue to involve an ex in your life and vice versa by habit." If you want to talk to your ex but aren’t sure it’s a good idea, here are the questions you should ask yourself.
What Are You Hoping Will Happen?
According to Fehr, it's important to think about what you want from talking to your ex. "There may be idealization of and a hanging onto 'what could be' with an ex and a belief that if you continue to talk, you might be able to work things out or they might come back, whatever the situation," she says. If that's what you want, then that’s totally OK — but Fehr says you need to be honest with yourself and make sure you understand your “own motivations and underlying desires” before pressing send. However, if the relationship ended badly, or you both wanted different things, and you know deep down you shouldn't get back together, then Fehr says it might be best to not reach out.
Has Enough Time Passed For You To Be Friends?
Though you may like the idea of staying friends with an ex, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re ready. As Samantha Burns, dating coach and author of Breaking Up & Bouncing Back, previously told Elite Daily, you can cultivate a friendship with an ex, but it takes time. "No one goes from lovers to friends overnight,” she said. “To fall out of love, there needs to be a period of usually at least 90 days with zero or very limited communication before you can realistically evaluate whether you can have a truly platonic relationship." If that time period hasn’t passed, then you might want to hold off — at which point you may not even have the desire to reach out anymore.
Do You Still Need Closure?
Never got the closure you needed after your breakup? Starting a convo with your ex may not give you the closure you seek, and it may only perpetuate the pain instead. "If you truly want to move on with your life and close the door on [the] relationship, you should not talk to your ex," says Fehr. "Many couples continue the relationship and the emotional involvement past the formal relationship status by staying in touch with each other and being engaged in each other's lives — often taking the space of a partner but without a label." Rather than giving you closure, talking to that ex could instead keep your wounds from ever healing.
Are You Romanticizing The Relationship?
Sometimes, people idealize their exes because they haven’t found a replacement or don’t want to go through the dating process. However, as behavioral scientist and relationship coach Clarissa Silva previously told Elite Daily, you should probably to avoid the temptation to romanticize your ex or reminisce about your relationship. "When you do that, you are only extracting the moments of the relationship you want to remember," she explained. "You are recalling only the things that created an illusion of belongingness." When you start to think that this person should be back in your life, consider the reasons that you are no longer together. The cons of getting back together will likely outweigh the pros.
Are You Completely Over Your Ex?
Even if you've cut romantic ties, it’s possible you still have residual romantic feelings for an ex, which can be cracked open by reaching out to them. "It’s possible that one (or both) of you still has feelings and you’re having difficulty cutting the emotional cord,” Burns previously told Elite Daily. And even if you are totally over your ex, Burns cautioned against “relying on texting your ex for attention, companionship, or flirtation, especially when you’re feeling lonely,” as that will only keep you from truly moving on and becoming emotionally available to others.
If you suspect it’s not a great idea to reach out to your ex, then Fehr suggests some alternatives to help you move on. "Breaking up is like breaking an addiction — and wanting to dip back for more is a natural part of breaking it," she explains. "That is why you have to not only cut yourself off the source, but also seek support of friends, community or a therapist or coach who can remind you of what you truly want and to resist temptation to fall back." She also recommends writing out a letter to them, letting it all out, and never sending it. That way, you can express your emotions without involving your ex.
Remember: There's nothing wrong with wanting to talk to your ex, and it's completely OK to want to reach out to them. But as Fehr says, it might not be the best idea in the long run. You simply must do what feels best for you, and only you know what that is.
Irene Fehr, intimacy and sexuality coach
Clarissa Silva, behavioral scientist and relationship coach
Editor's Note: This story has been updated by Elite Daily Staff.
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