When Should You Delete Your Ex's Number? Experts Say It's Far From Black & White

After a breakup, adjusting to life without your ex isn't always easy. Depending on the reason for your breakup and how things ended, you may be pondering whether or not deleting your ex's number is the best course of action. If you've already decided that completely cutting the cord with an ex is the most productive way for you to move on, then when should you delete your ex's number? Well, I reached out to Dr. Gary Brown, a prominent couples' therapist in Los Angeles, to find out when and why you should delete your ex's number.

"Much of the answer to this depends upon the nature of the breakup," Dr. Brown tells Elite Daily. "If the relationship ended well, the breakup was mutual, or it's clear that neither of you is interested in re-establishing the relationship at this time, then you may want to continue a friendship going forward." In situations like this, Dr. Brown emphasizes that there's absolutely nothing wrong with keeping an ex's number for the purpose of staying in contact.

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However, more often than not, relationships don't end easy with both parties feeling A-OK straight out of the gate. "There may also be times when you might strongly consider deleting, if not temporarily blocking your ex's phone number," says Dr. Brown. "For example, if the relationship ended badly and there are hard feelings between the two of you or your ex cheated on you and you simply cannot forgive them and need to move on."

From my experience, deleting an ex's number was almost always a safeguard against giving into the temptation of texting them again, because I knew that I'd probably regret it later. Dr. Brown agrees that deleting the number of someone who you're no longer seeing can be particularly beneficial to avoid back-pedaling in moments of vulnerability.

"If you know with certainty that the relationship was not good for you, but now you find yourself wanting to get back with your ex," Dr. Brown suggests deleting their number "in order to help you resist the temptation to get back into a bad relationship." He says this is especially true if you find yourself feeling lonely and constantly thinking about them.

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So, if you've decided that deleting their number is the best course of action for you, when exactly is the best time to do the deed? Well, according to Dr. Brown, there is no exact "right time." It all depends on what works for you and your specific situation. However, he does note that if there is intense hostility on either side, then it's probably better to not put it off. "If things were negative during the relationship, and there's still hostility — and you are clear that things are not going to improve, even after the breakup, then the sooner the better," urges Dr. Brown. "You have to ask yourself if you want to continue in a toxic post-breakup relationship with them."

Ultimately, deciding if and when to delete an ex's number can bring up a lot of emotions. Even once things are through, deleting anything having to do with your past love can add finality to the situation that can be hard to cope with. Just remember that it's OK to work through things at your own pace, whether that means deleting their number right now, or choosing not to delete it at al