I know how it is, trying to decide whether or not to reach out to an ex. On one hand, you want to get the shit off your chest. At the same time, you just want to cut him off with no explanation because you feel like, “He knows what he’s been doing” or “He already knows why I’m upset.”
But what if he doesn’t?
I’ve been there, torn between sending that long ass text message & just blocking him in hopes that he realizes you’re upset. While in some instances I have the philosophy of “When you already know what you’re doing, there’s no need for me to tell you,” as a Communication researcher & Relationship consultant, I also know the value of communication. And while I don’t advocate for this in every instance, there are some cases when I will recommend initiating contact & sending a text to your ex. But I don’t advise anyone text without considering these 5 steps:
1) Be clear about what you want. Be very clear, because he’s going to test you. If you’re sending a text in hopes of continuing a relationship, with contingencies in mind, then you must make that clear. If this is simply you reading him his last rites and you plan to leave him alone, then be clear about that, as well. If you’re not clear about what you want, then he’ll make the decision for you by only giving you what he wants you to have. Be clear about how you would like him to respond, whether in words or deeds. This is an important step because you need a standard by which to measure whether or not he’s stepping up to the plate of giving you what you want. And if he’s not, then you also need to be able to recognize that.
2) Be prepared. Imagine your attempt to reach out not going as well as you envisioned in your head. Before texting an ex, strive to make peace with the worst case scenario. One of two things could happen: either he won’t respond or he won’t respond the way you want him to. How will that make you feel? Recognize that sending that dreaded “final text” is what you need for closure but also understand that it still may not end up the way you want.
3) Do it with love. I don’t care if you’re saying that he betrayed you in the worst way & you never want to speak to him again, find a way to say it with gentleness so that it is not received poorly. Even though, depending on who or what type of person you’re dealing with, you can’t guarantee how they’ll receive your message, you can make the effort to show compassion i.e., “I hope you don’t feel like I’m blaming you. That’s not my intent.” I would even encourage you to apologize, not because you’ve done anything wrong, although maybe you have, in which case you should definitely apologize. But even if you don’t feel like you’ve done any ill towards him, maybe he perceives it differently. A general apology is never a bad idea, although I would consider putting some thought into making it personal. Maybe there was something you said or a situation that you know you could have handled differently. Maybe even the way you’ve treated him lately by being distant or cold.
4) Let go. Now that you’ve said your peace, let go of any expectations – of him calling or texting back, let go of any hopes that the two of you will get back together & most importantly, let go of any negative emotions you may be harboring. I know, firsthand, it’s easier said than done. But pray for the peace that surpasses all understanding. I’m really big on affirmations and the power of words. After my last breakup, I wrote a prayer of deliverance, to be released from the strong holds of that relationship.
Once you’ve sent your message, remember that not only did you get it off your chest FOR YOU, but you also clearly explained why you feel the way you do so there should be no confusion about your next move, whether that means you decide to stay with him or leave. Also consider the fact that by telling him, in the case that he truly was unaware of the issues, you’ve now enlightened him on ways to improve going forward, albeit maybe with someone new.
5) WAIT. (THE FINAL & MOST STEP OF ALL) Write it down. Draft it up. Get it all out but Do. Not Send it. Not yet, anyways. Sleep on it. Get up and read it again the next day and if you still feel the same way, then send it. Sometimes, in the moment (& when
red wine vodka is involved), you may be too passionate & it could come off harshly & you don’t want that. Take time the next day to see if you’re still in that place & if the words you compiled are still what you want to say.
Communication is always the way to go. Even when you feel like, “I’m not telling him nothing else. I’ve already told him a thousand times before.” Sometimes it doesn’t matter how well you communicate if the other person is not willing to receive the message.
So what if he doesn’t read it?
He will. Even if for no other reason than an ego boost. Believe it or not, even when someone who you DON’T like texts you, you curl your lip up but you read it anyway. Moreover, this is your opportunity to release, whatever it is that you need to say in order to move on. And once you ring that bell, you can’t un-ring it. Sending that last text or email is your chance to release. And you’ll feel relieved once you do. The moral of the story is this: you should always tell someone how you feel. They may not do anything differently, they may not even care, but they won’t be able to say they don’t know what happened, OR THEY DIDN’T KNOW HOW YOU FELT, why you fell back or ended things. Telling an ex how you feel gives them clarity, in the (unlikely) event that they (are naïve enough to act like they) don’t know what’s going on. Tell him exactly how you feel. Who knows, it may make him a better man the next time around, whether for you or someone else.
Now, (#CarrieOn) proceed.