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Is it ever OK to text your ex?

Breaking up is tough. You might go from constantly texting back and forth to nothing at all. And once you cut ties, is it ever OK to reach out and text them again? If things ended on a contentious note, or if the relationship was toxic in any way, it's probably better to let things go and cut off contact. But there are also times when it's OK to reach out to your ex. 

OK: You find their favorite hoodie that they accidentally left in your family's coat closet.

If you find any of their possessions lying around, it's only right to return them. Arrange a time and place to exchange any belongings that were left behind. If it's too painful to see them post-breakup, leave their stuff in their mailbox or ask a friend to help deliver it.

Not OK: You spotted them at the homecoming dance with a new date and want to question them about it.

It's always difficult when your ex moves on, but texting them about it will only make things worse. Try to remind yourself that it's totally normal to feel sad and focus your attention on the good things in your life instead—snuggle up with your pup, watch a movie with your besties or take a shopping trip with your mom. If it's too hurtful to see pics of their new relationship on Insta, it's totally acceptable to unfollow them.

OK: You remember that you said some pretty hurtful things during an argument and genuinely want to apologize.

Maybe you called them some mean names during a fight and are feeling remorseful. It's okay to shoot them an apology text, but only if you're genuinely sorry. A half-hearted, passive-aggressive apology won't do much good, but a sincere sorry is a nice thing to do.

Not OK: You're hanging out with a new crush and want to make them jealous.

Imagine how you'd feel if you got a Snapchat from them and their new bae. Not the best feeling. It's perfectly fine (and healthy) to move on, but you don't need to flaunt it in your ex's face. Instead, focus on the excitement of your new relationship.

OK: They broke their ankle at the big soccer game and you want to make sure they're alright.

If something bad happens to them and you're worried, it's a kind gesture to check-in. After all, you spent a lot of time together. It's only natural to care about their wellbeing, so it's fine to shoot them a quick text just to see if they're OK.

Not OK: It's that time of the month, and you're in your feels after watching The Notebook.

Sappy movies can make us feel *all* types of sad, but it's important to know when you're just having an emotional moment. If you're feeling #foreveralone after watching Noah and Allie dance in the street, and you're in the thick of PMS, remember that hormones can get your emotions totally out of whack. Chances are you'll feel different in the morning.  

Not OK: You're the one that ended the relationship and they are devastated.

Your intentions might be good—you want to check-in and see if they're okay. But if you're the one that broke up with them, and you don't see yourself wanting to get back together, texting them might give them false hope or lead them on. It's best to give them some space so they can start the healing process.

OK: You're feeling uneasy about how things ended and need to get some closure.

Are you just on a break? Will you still be friends? If you're not sure where things stand with your ex, it's okay to reach out for clarification so you're not getting mixed signals. Just make sure some time has gone by first so things can settle down.

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by Kathleen O'Neill | 1/6/2021
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