After a breakup, it can be hard to fully disconnect from an ex. After all, they were a major part of your life, so it's understandable to still want to talk to them on the reg. However, a breakup is a breakup, which means that eventually, you'll have to, you know... break it off. If it's been months and you're wondering what it means if you’re still texting your ex, worry not. Experts say you should really be focusing on why you still want to talk to your ex.
"Most relationships end in hurt, anger, and disappointment," Dr. Fran Walfish, a Beverly Hills family and relationship psychotherapist and author of The Self-Aware Parent, tells Elite Daily. "Each partner feels failed by the other in one way or another. Each one must ask themselves tough questions, 'Why do I want to stay friends with my ex?' Is it because separation, endings, and loss are too painful? Is it because I still hold out hope for the relationship to go on?"
Your reason for wanting to talk to your ex has a direct effect on what it means if you're still texting them. If your goal is to have a strictly platonic relationship with them because they mean something to you, "it’s definitely possible to cultivate a friendship with an ex," Samantha Burns, dating coach and author of Breaking Up & Bouncing Back, tells Elite Daily. "But no one goes from lovers to friends overnight. 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, on the other hand, you're relying on your ex for emotional support or you have an ulterior motive for wanting to continue talking to them, it could mean something else entirely. "Continuing to text your ex is a way of keeping the relationship alive with injected hope for rekindling what was once there," Dr. Walfish says, and Burns agrees. "It’s possible that one or both of you still has feelings and you’re having difficulty cutting the emotional cord." And if you're not entirely sure what your reason is for wanting to continue talking to your ex, fret not. A good indicator that you're romantically motivated is if you get angry or anxious when they don't respond or take a long time to finally reply, Burns says.
Ultimately, it can be totally normal to talk to your ex from time to time, if you're doing it with friendly intentions. However, "be aware of overly relying on texting your ex for attention, companionship, or flirtation, especially when you’re feeling lonely," Burns says.
As for what to do when you've moved on and you still want to text an ex? It doesn't have to be a big deal as long as both your ex and your current partner are OK with it. "It’s not bad to text your ex when you’re dating someone new, as long as there’s firm boundaries that it’s a platonic relationship," Burns stresses. "Sending a funny meme or interesting article every so often that you know they’d appreciate is an acceptable form of communication." But if you go to them when you need emotional support, share big news with them before you do with your partner, or talk to them about personal things that you think your partner should know about first, that could mean something else and is not OK, Burns states.
If you think you've moved on and it's safe to text your ex, but you're not entirely sure, Burns offers a hack. "You’ll know you’ve moved on when you can treat texts with your ex with the same expectations of any other friendship — without all of the amped up emotional reactions," she says. If you just want to check-in and see how they're doing, with no ulterior motive, that's totally cool! But if you're reaching out because you're emotionally attached and your intentions are to get them back, then it may be best to give yourself some more time to heal before you reach out. Trust yourself. You know yourself better than anyone else.