Here's the thing about texting your ex — logically, you know it's not a good idea. But once you've had enough Pinot Grigio (or rosé, or tequila, or whatever your preferred poison happens to be), it's too easy to rationalize the impulse to fire off a message to the last person who broke your heart. Is it bad to drunk text your ex? Yes. Is it a problem you can solve? Completely.
In the heat of the moment, you might come up with a million reasons why you should give your phone over to Jose Cuervo:
- You're lonely and want to see if your ex is up to talk.
- You're angry and want to see if your ex is up to talk.
- You're regretful and want to see if your ex is up to talk.
- You're sad and want to see if your ex is up to talk.
- You're horny and want to see if your ex is up to not talk.
I turned to Dr. Jennifer B. Rhodes, PsyD, a licensed psychologist, dating coach, and founder of Rapport Relationships, for clarity. Is there ever a good reason to get back in touch with your ex while you're less than perfectly sober?
Her answer: Nope.
But it's a little bit more complicated than that. Here's how she suggests you handle every type of drunk-texting situation (and how to kick the habit for good).
If You Want To Tell Your Ex How You're Feeling
Are you mad at your ex for the sh*tty way they treated you during the breakup? Or are you feeling insecure about your former fling ghosting you after four dates? Dr. Rhodes isn't telling you to keep those emotions tamped down forever. But you should avoid having that conversation while you're intoxicated.
"Your feelings are probably legitimate, but you need to act like an adult and process those feelings on your own," she advises. "When you're sober, if you're feel it's appropriate to reach out, then that's OK to do."
Rather than venting to your ex while you're tipsy, jot down your feelings in your phone's Notes app. You get all the satisfaction of typing out your big speech (which helps takes the edge off, really!), but none of the next-day regret.
If you still stand by what you wrote in the morning, then you can send it off — just clean up the drunken typos first.
If You Want To Get In Touch With Your Ex After A Bad Breakup
You need to step away from your phone, period. There's a time and place to talk to your ex, and it's not past dark while asking the bartender for another round.
"Tell your friend that drunk texting may be an issue and ask them to take away your phone," Dr. Rhodes says. "You should not be contacting anyone in the heat of the moment, especially if you're intoxicated."
If you're alone, download an app that blocks you from contacting certain numbers while you're drunk. Drunk Dial NO! can be turned on at any time and block your ex's phone number and email address for up to 48 hours.
If You're After A Booty Call
This is the one time that Dr. Rhodes' rule might bend.
"It's a bad idea to be hooking up with your ex anyway," she warns. "There are so many amazing people out there that you could date. Why bother with someone who doesn't want to be with you?"
That said, if you're already in an established pattern of sleeping with your ex, that's a different story. (Reminder: Depending on how much you've had to drink, you might not be in a state of mind to give consent or make choices that your sober self would approve of.)
"But if you think you're going to seduce your ex, then forget about it," Dr. Rhodes says.
You've probably worked too hard to separate from your old relationship to throw that away with a drunken hookup. And if you're hoping that sex will change your ex's mind about the breakup, that's not necessarily foolproof logic. If you really want to get back together, that's a conversation that needs to happen in the bright light of day.
If You're Tempted To Send Sexy Pics
You have a glass or two of wine, you're listening to Beyoncé, you stumble across that black lace bodysuit in the back of your closet, you shimmy into it and take 100 selfies like you're Bey writhing around in the sand filming "Drunk in Love." It happens to the best of us on Thursday nights.
But please, don't send those photos to your ex. Number one, they don't deserve them. And number two, even if you look good, it's not a good look to sext your ex.
"Remember, you don’t own that photo," Dr Rhodes says. "He can do whatever he wants to with it."
If You're Still Not Convinced That Drunk Texting Sucks
"The last thing you want is someone to look at their phone at midnight and think how sad it is that you're drunk texting," she says.
Tough love might hurt, but you know she's right.
Here's Your Plan To Curb Drunk Texting For Good
According to Dr. Rhodes, one of the most common triggers for tipsy texting is loneliness. It makes sense — if you're by yourself, you might dwell on your breakup or single status, get sad, and get the urge to fire off a text to your ex.
If you know your fingers get fidgety the minute you have a drink by yourself, plan ahead. Schedule your evenings. Take that kickboxing class you've always wanted to try, make dinner with friends (limit the vino), head out to see a movie.
"If you're out with other people or doing something healthy for your social life, you'll decrease the likelihood that you'll drunk text," Dr. Rhodes says.
Plus, you can always ask your friends to hold onto your phone if the mood to text comes on.
If You Suspect You Might Have A Problem With Alcohol Abuse
It's nothing to be embarrassed about — alcohol misuse has been on the rise in America for the past decade.
Dr. Rhodes suggests trying a detox for three weeks: 21 days with no alcohol. "If you can't go three weeks without a drink, it's time see a professional," she says.
A licensed therapist can talk to you about your alcohol use and do an assessment to see if it's a real issue for you.
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