Boredom, loneliness, peak levels of nostalgia — it can all make
texting an ex seem like a good idea. But before you go hitting send, take a moment to assess whether or not it’s actually worth digging up the past.
you were in a toxic relationship, ended things on a bad note, or would otherwise be undoing a lot of personal growth by reaching out, I invite you to stuff your phone deep in a drawer and wait for the urge to pass. If, however, you’re 100% sure it’s a good idea, consider your goals.
Do you want to date again? Be friends? Or just say hi and catch up? “Sometimes breakups occur because it was truly a ‘wrong place, wrong time’ situation, rather than a deep-seated problem in the relationship,”
Alexandra Emery, PhD, a licensed psychologist, tells Bustle.
When that’s the case, it really might make sense to
reconnect with your ex, at which point sending a text would be a-OK. “A text may be a good place to start because the stakes are low,” Emery says. It’s a way to test the waters and see how they feel — before having a deeper conversation.
Want to give it a try? Here are 20
sample texts to send to your ex so you can reconnect — and maybe even get back together. “Hey. How’ve you been doing?”
This text is simple. And that’s kind of the point. It offers an opening line and chance for connection, Emery says, but the casualness keeps you at a safe distance. If they don’t text back, or aren’t interested in reconnecting, it won’t feel like you overshared.
“I just ate a Choco Taco and thought of you.”
Another way to reach out is by mentioning a shared memory or inside joke. “This starts the conversation on a lighter note,” Emery says, “but also lets your ex know you're thinking of them and are interested in chatting a bit.”
“Hey, this is random but I’m painting my bathroom and wanted to ask you a couple questions.”
“If your ex specializes in a certain field, trade, skill, or has extensive knowledge on a topic, it wouldn't hurt to reach out for advice,”
Leslie Montanile, a relationship expert, tells Bustle.
Even if you don’t really need help, it’s a way to extend the proverbial olive branch and get them talking. Who knows? A convo about paint colors could turn into a date.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about you and our relationship. Want to grab a coffee?”
If you’re feeling extra brave — and have decided you’re 100% serious about this whole reconnecting thing — offer to meet up, relationship coach
Erin Fisher tells Bustle. This text is direct, a little vulnerable, and includes a plan of action, which means they’re also more likely to respond. “Here’s a list of all the things I did wrong when we were together. I’m hoping to share the second list in person; all the changes I’ve made to be a better person.”
It might be tough to admit responsibility for the breakup, but it’s also incredibly mature — and shows a lot of growth,
Tennesha Wood, a dating coach, matchmaker, and founder of The Broom List, tells Bustle. So if you’re serious about rekindling things, send this text. “I came across pics from that weekend we spent in the Adirondacks and it made me smile. How is everything?”
“This works because it immediately causes them to think back to a time when the two of you had fun together,”
Alexis Wolfe, a dating expert and founder of NYCDateNite, tells Bustle.
If you start off with a sweet memory, it’ll feel natural to ease into a deeper conversation. From there, you can talk more about why you’re reaching out and what you hope for the future.
“Perhaps you’re in a relationship or not interested in trying again, but if you are, please let me know. I’ve done some self-work since we parted ways, and I think we could be a great fit this time around.”
While it’s certainly vulnerable, clinical psychologist
Dr. Carla Marie Manly says this text also shows that you’re self-aware, considerate, and honest about your reason for reaching out. It also gives them a graceful way to turn you down, if that’s the route they’d prefer to take. “Omg, meant to send that to somebody else!”
If you’re at a loss and can’t figure out what to say, consider texting them “accidentally” as a way of getting your foot in the door.
Just know that this tactic is often super obvious, Emery says. It also doesn’t reveal your true intentions — reconnecting — so save it for emergency purposes only.
“I know we decided to stop speaking but wanted to let you know that I still think of you all the time and am here if you’re ever open to reconnecting.”
This text is super sweet, Wolfe says, and doesn’t apply any pressure — two very important things when it comes to texting someone out of the blue.
“Simply saying ‘I’m sorry’ and asking for nothing in return is the most sincere way of apologizing,” Wood says. Send this text if it feels right and see what happens next.
“I think we could have handled the breakup better. Want to chat?”
Again, this one’s direct, opens the door, but most importantly, it requires a response, Fisher says. If they’re down to talk, it’ll give you the chance to share your side of the story and potentially figure out what went wrong between you.
“I really valued our friendship and miss being part of each other's lives. I wanted to see if you'd be open to chatting as friends now that some time has passed since our relationship.”
According to Dateable podcast co-host
Julie Krafchick, you don’t want to be vague or wishy washy when texting an ex. “Come in with a clear intention and text message,” she says. “Also, show what is different this time around, whether that's a change you've made to make the relationship work or reframing your relationship (i.e., now platonic).” “I just went to Coffee Bean and saw the old crew. Paul says hi!”
Bringing up mutual favorite places — like a coffee shop — and mutual friends is yet another way to reconnect, Montanile says. This message isn’t overly sentimental, but it does offer a reminder of all the good times you had as a couple.
“Hope you’re safe and doing well!”
It makes sense to check in on people right now due to the pandemic, so you really can’t go wrong by asking your ex how they are. “A person who has been thinking warmly of you, too, will be happy to get this message and will likely respond with a similar sentiment,”
Shoshanna Hecht, a personal coach, tells Bustle. “Hey! I just got the vaccine. Felt like I wanted to tell you that.”
If you have some news, and feel like your ex might like to know, craft it into a text and reach out. “A person who cares about you, even as a friend, will be interested in hearing about a positive update in your life, so there's no reason to feel vulnerable,” Hecht says.
“I know it’s been forever but I just thought about that amazing pasta sauce you used to make. Could you send the recipe?”
A text like this one is a non-threatening way to start communicating again,
Jade Bianca, a dating coach, tells Bustle. It shows you’re thinking about them, still value them, and — at the very least — would like to be on speaking terms. (About pasta, anyway.) “I just drove past our favorite beach and now I can’t stop thinking about you. How’ve you been?”
Remember, “the best way to begin a conversation with an ex is to keep your message brief, positive, and reflective,”
K.S. Lewis, a relationship expert at Chekmate, tells Bustle.
Depending on how long it’s been, and how tough the breakup was, they may be surprised to hear from you. But if you lead with something sweet, it’ll make it easier for them to respond.
“I saw on Instagram that you moved. Found any good restaurants in that area yet?”
According to Lewis, framing your text around a significant life change makes reaching out seem more natural. So if you’ve been meaning to reconnect, see if they’ve moved, gotten a new job, or graduated and use that as your reason.
“I had a good time when we dated. Want to try it again?”
This text is perfect to send someone you dated casually and then lost track of, possibly due to busy schedules or bad timing. If you didn’t end things on a bad note, it shouldn’t be hard to pick up where you left off.
“Last time we spoke you said I should take some time to think. Well I spent all of 2020 thinking, and decided to reach out.”
“This text adds some humor,” Wood says, but also makes it clear that you’ve done some personal work and have made a conscious choice to reconnect — instead of doing so for no reason.
That said, don’t send any of these texts unless you’re certain it’s a good idea. You won’t want to hurt your ex, or yourself, by drudging up the past. But if it makes sense to reach out, feel free to say hey.
Sources: Alexandra Emery, PhD, licensed psychologist Tennesha Wood, dating coach, matchmaker, and founder of The Broom List Leslie Montanile, relationship expert Erin Fisher, relationship coach Alexis Wolfe, dating expert and founder of NYCDateNite Dr. Carla Marie Manly, clinical psychologist Julie Krafchick, co-host of Dateable Shoshanna Hecht, personal coach Jade Bianca, dating coach K.S. Lewis, relationship expert at Chekmate