It’s a little bit flattering, perhaps a little bit thrilling, and definitely a little bit confusing. So, your ex is still drunk texting you — and now you’re left wondering whether to read into it or just 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 that these seemingly harmless little messages could reveal even more about your ex’s feelings, depending on what they say.
Before dissecting what these texts mean, we obviously have to address the fact that alcohol is involved. Because 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 their ex back after a breakup, this factor can have a big impact on your ex’s behavior.
“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, that list goes out the window when they’re no longer sober since alcohol significantly lowers your inhibitions.
“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.
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, 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 that 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.
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. And Coach Lee recommends being polite yet firm, while keeping in mind that your ex is less likely to have an emotional response when they’re sober.
“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.
Or, Coach Lee says you can acknowledge that you suspect they’re drunk, and try to postpone the conversation until they’re sober.
“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 your their mind. How you choose to react to that notion is ultimately up to you. 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.