It makes sense why your ex may be the first person you want to reach out to after a breakup. Maybe you’re hoping they’ll offer some words that give you more closure, or maybe you’re hoping they’ll have a change of heart. Either way, you’ll probably want to avoid dialing.
“If your relationship is truly over - not just a break but an actual breakup, then you are going to need some time to grieve the loss,” explains Dr. Brown.
Amanda Ruiz, licensed professional counselor and founder of The Counseling Collective, agrees.
“Keep in mind that the two of you broke up for a reason,” she says. “As hard as it may be, it would be best to not text or call your ex until you cool off, or are able to clarify what your goal in talking would be.
Dr. Brown suggests setting a no-contact time frame of 90 days — you'll likely be far more clear-headed after a few months go by, and can reassess your intentions for reconnecting.
And while we're on the subject of exes — it may not be the best idea to reach out to another past partner, either, unless you two happen to still share a platonic friendship. If you feel inspired to reach out to another ex, ask yourself what you're hoping to gain from that conversation. As Ruiz points out, this can sometimes lead to a "rebound" situation, which may not necessarily help you to heal from your recent breakup.
So, who should you confide in?
Ruiz And wish both recommend reaching out to an empathetic friend, a wise and caring relative, or a trusted/respected therapist.
“Most of us are looking for reassurance after a breakup, so think through who is most likely to give you support and encouragement, rather than badmouth your ex,” adds Ruiz.
Wish emphasizes that it's important to keep in mind that the primary goal of contacting others is to help you learn about yourself so that you can take away some wisdom from your breakup experience.
"Be clear when you listen to others that you focus on clarifying your reasons for breaking up, learning new insights about yourself and your ex, and bolstering the strength to change your dating choices," she explains. "Don't make the experience a shared gripe session where you only get a bit of confirmation that you were smart to break up."
Don’t hesitate to pick up your phone whenever you’re struggling to cope with the aftermath of your breakup. A split can trigger a complicated wave of emotions, and talking it out has the potential to be immensely helpful. In fact, a study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science revealed that analyzing your relationship with someone else makes you feel emotionally stronger, which in turn, gives you a boost of self-confidence. Researchers determined that confidence can then help you to move on more easily, because you may begin to grasp how successful and happy you can be without their ex.
Still, you’ll want to be careful about who you dial. To be clear, everyone’s circumstances and relationships are different, so there’s no “right” or “wrong” in terms of who to reach out to. However, your best bet is to connect with a loved one with an open heart and an open mind — that way, you’re most likely to glean the objective advice and support you need.