Should You Text Your Ex After "No Contact" Ends? The Experts Say It's Usually A Bad Idea
When I break up with someone, I have to cut off all communication — for a while at least, if not forever. My heart just can't take even casual contact with an ex until its had time to really heal. I don't want to see them move on, or what their life is like post-me, and I don't want to risk having my feelings for them linger and make the breakup take even longer to heal from. But what about after some time has passed? Should you text your ex after “no contact” ends, or is it better to just put the past behind you?
There is no easy answer to that question, so I reached out to the experts to ask them to weigh in on when and if you should reach out to an ex after a period of no contact ends. There was one thing that they all agreed on: The answer to whether or not you should text your ex and reopen communication with them depends on why you imposed the no contact to begin with. Was it because you both needed time to get your heads and hearts right and create boundaries? Or was it about protecting yourself from a toxic partner? If you're considering reaching out to an ex and you're not sure what to do, here's what the experts suggest.
Remind yourself of why you needed to end contact with them to begin with.
The first step in deciding whether or not to text your ex after the no-contact window has expired is to remember why you decided to shut down all communication in the first place. “Not everyone has the foresight to do this, but a no-contact period is a great idea because it keeps former partners from slipping back into a quasi-relationship, which only makes things confusing and hurting both parties further,” Erika Martinez, a clinical psychologist in Miami, tells Elite Daily. “It can be an important agreement, especially in cases when either partner isn't 100 percent sure whether they want to end the relationship but need some space from the relationship to process.”
If that sounds familiar, the key here is to make sure that you have, in fact, given yourself the time you need to heal and find that clarity about your feelings. If that hasn’t happened yet, you’re more likely to confuse yourself further by reaching out to an ex prematurely.
There is another common reason why you may have built a communication blockade, and that was for self-preservation. “Impose a no-contact anytime you feel as though your former partner is taking the relationship split the wrong way. You don't need or deserve the drama of their constant prodding and inquiry. [Or because] you feel like you are in danger of any harassment or stalking from you ex,” Chris Armstrong, founder of the relationship coaching company Maze of Love, tells Elite Daily. Then, you should have very strong second thoughts about reaching out to them again.
“I would never recommend putting time parameters on when to re-engage contact. Instead, re-engage contact when you feel safe from potential regress that may occur because you have not fully healed. Or when you feel safe from harassment that your ex may engage in because they are not fully healed,” he advises.
What are the consequences of getting back in contact?
Sending a text to an ex can be tempting because it’s just so easy to do, but the experts advise that before you hit send on that message, that you carefully think through the emotional repercussions of reaching out. “If you are truly wanting to heal from a breakup, you risk going back to square one if you get in contact again,” Trina Leckie, breakup coach and host of the Breakup BOOST podcast, tells Elite Daily. “Everything you worked so hard for can get erased if the feelings come flooding back. It can literally be like self-torture,” she warns.
Christie Federico, a relationship and sexual empowerment coach, tells Elite Daily that staying in contact or reaching out to them can be really confusing and can actually make getting over an ex take even longer. “Often it's harder to detach from a partner when we're still in touch with them. If the communication remains the same, it can feel as if nothing has changed and it can leave us hopeful of a chance at getting back together, which may not be a healthy idea,” she warns. “Having distance can help us gain clarity around the relationship. Over time, that distance allows us [to] stop romanticizing it and realize what wasn't working and why it was probably best to break up. When we don't have that distance, it's hard to gain this perspective and much easier to hold onto an unhealthy situation for comfort and familiarity.”
Is it safe to reach out again?
The most important question you need to consider before reaching out is: Is it safe to do so? Did you cut off communication because the the relationship was toxic? Did you do so to protect your emotional, mental, and physical wellbeing? If so, Rachel Wall, a wellness coach and narcissistic abuse recovery expert, tells Elite Daily that reaching out again is not worth the risk.
“The danger of getting back in contact after a period of ‘no contact’ is that the memories of all of the bad times may fade during the time of ‘no contact.' As human beings, we are heavily wired to connect to others. Therefore we may start to look back on the relationship with rose-tinted spectacles. We may become overwhelmed with our minds giving us reasons as to why we should reconnect with the ex,” warns Wall. “This can be particularly dangerous, is reconnecting with an abuser or someone who is particularly jealous or controlling."
When it’s OK to reach out.
But is it always a bad idea to reach out to your ex? The experts say there are some circumstances where it is OK to text them again. For instance, “if you went no-contact as a way of trying to get your ex back, yes, you can reach out to them in hopes that the no-contact period gave them enough time to distance themselves from the bad memories and start to miss you,” says Leckie.
But if the no-contact was about giving yourself the room and time to heal, then Diana Dorell, intuitive dating coach and author of The Dating Mirror: Trust Again, Love Again, tells Elite Daily you should really only consider it when you're sure you’ve achieved both, and when the conversation would be constructive. “Text only if you have something that will move the energy forward, like you have clarity around the issue you did no-contact around, or have specific questions around how they feel. Don't just text because you are lonely,” she concludes.
Ultimately, the choice to reach out to an ex after a period of no contact is totally up to you. Just make sure that you’re doing it for the right reasons and that it won't actually make your heart hurt more now than it did before you hit send.