Why Your Ex Texts You Out of the Blue And How to Respond

ex texts you

Getting into contact with an ex can be a risky business. All the progress you’ve made to move on can be undone with a single ping when your ex texts you out of the blue. I’m a firm believer that if the end of the relationship was destructive, you should do your best to stay away. However, breakups happen for all sorts of reasons. A relationship that once failed can potentially succeed at different times of life.

When it comes to the topic of exes, there is no black and white. You may want closure from them; you might want nothing at all. But when that text comes through, it may feel like the moment you have fantasized over for months is becoming a reality. Just beware, things don’t always go to plan, and your perfectly rehearsed speech may fall on deaf ears.

Just because a friend has a vague story about how their uncle’s colleague’s son got back together with someone and lived happily ever after, it doesn’t mean that will happen to you. This doesn’t mean that you should shut your hopes down if you want him back, but it’s necessary to be realistic. If you receive a text from your ex-boyfriend, the first step is to avoid thinking of it as a serious deal, whether negative or positive.

8 reasons why your ex would text you out of the blue

Unexpected text messages from your ex can be confusing or even stressful, regardless of the current state of your love life. You may think, “didn’t I already break up with this person? What does he want from me?” There is no one reason he could have texted you, so your brain may go crazy trying to consider all of the possibilities. When your ex texts you out of the blue, this list of possible reasons can help you work out what is going on.

1. Something reminded him of you

This is seemingly innocent but can also be deemed selfish. Was it necessary for him to reach out because he saw a dog that looked like one you pointed out a year ago? Often times, the “saw something that reminded me of you” text is used as a segue to open up the conversation. If you guys have agreed to try to be friends, maybe they’re just testing the waters to see if that offer is still open. This type of message is too vague to draw a real conclusion, so if you feel like it, text back and see what direction the conversation flows in.

2. You are familiar territory to him

To be honest, I sympathize with this predicament in a way. Your ex may have realized that the specific bond you had is not easily found with others. He may be trying to chase the same banter you had or the same intimacy. This is often what makes it hard to move on. People are replaceable, but personalities are not. You spent a lot of time together and got to know each other beyond the façade, which is difficult to forget. Having said that, don’t make yourself a comfort blanket. You’re better than that.

Your ex may have realized that the specific bond you had was something that is not easily found with others. Click To Tweet

3. He heard that you moved on

A bruised ego can lead to him getting into contact. The same will apply if he’s seen you looking fabulous while out and about or on social media. Men and women often deal with breakups very differently. When you’re in the stages of acceptance and moving on, it may be just dawning on him that the two of you are over for good. Men are visual creatures, and that new haircut may have caught more than one pair of eyes. For the record, this is not an excuse to get back together with someone. If he wanted you back, he would have taken action before he found out you were dating in the first place.

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4. He wants you as a backup option

He messages you just enough to keep you at bay in case he wants to start hooking up again. Leaving the door open to possibility is a dangerous game, and people’s feelings get hurt. It’s better to cut off all ties or establish a true friendship rather than allowing yourself to be someone’s safety net. You deserve better than that. If to him getting back together just means continuing the physical relationship and ditching the emotional aspect of things, you have your answer.

It’s better to cut off all ties or establish a proper friendship rather than allowing yourself to be someone’s safety net. Click To Tweet

5. He is looking for closure on something

Breakups often happen unexpectedly, and many loose ends may be left untied. When you spent a long time in a relationship with someone, you will have many connections to them (emotional and practical) and many shared memories. Breaking up can lead to questions arising. For example, suppose you broke up because you fell out of love with a guy. In that case, he may have suddenly remembered a date or moment that you shared a few months before the breakup and wonder if you were still in love with him at that point. While many questions are likely to remain unanswered, it is perfectly natural for people to want closure. Whether you choose to respond and help your ex find closure (and maybe find some yourself) or not is up to you.

6. He wants to get under your skin

So maybe you were the one who did the dumping, and your ex-boyfriend is feeling bitter about it? I will give you a clue if this is the case: if you’re left feeling upset, jealous, resentful, or offended by the contents of the message, he is probably trying to get to you. I know it’s easier said than done, but in some instances, you just have to laugh it off and get the hell out of there. I guarantee that getting angry and lashing out will make you feel annoyed at yourself for showing that you were bothered. Egotists thrive on attention, so cut it off at the source.

Egotists thrive on attention, so cut it off at the source. Click To Tweet

7. He wants to be friends again

Your breakup may have been messy and hostile, with resentment on both sides. On the other hand, it may have been amicable, and you simply agreed to cut contact with each other to save both of your feelings. Either way, it is possible that if he breaks a long period of radio silence, he wants you in his life again as a friend. If you were friends before you started dating, this might be even more likely. If this is the case, it may indicate that he has moved on from any resentments or romantic attachments to you and simply wants to enjoy your company again in a platonic way. If this is the case, you should be honest with each other about why he wants to reconnect and decide what you want to do.

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8. He wants you back

Even though you might desperately want this to be the answer, it doesn’t mean you should jump to conclusions. In some instances, an ex texting you is a reason to get excited, but it’s down to you to make sure his intentions are pure. If you feel the same way, progress with caution and take things slowly. See it as an opportunity to get to know each other again.

How to respond when your ex texts you

how to respond when your ex texts you

What do you reply when an ex texts you? Once you think that you have worked out why your ex-boyfriend is suddenly trying to contact you, you will need to choose how to respond. This is often not particularly easy, and you may struggle to work out exactly what to say.

1. Consider whether you need to respond at all

It can be easy to forget that you don’t necessarily have to respond in any way at all if you don’t want to. If the two of you already agreed that you would have no contact with each other again, you are within your rights to stick to this. If you have actually told him not to contact you repeatedly and he is ignoring this, it may be best to block his number. You could first reiterate and clarify that you are not interested and want him to leave you alone, or you could simply block him without replying. However, If no boundaries were set and you are open to speaking to him again, check out the next tips.

2. Match the style and tone of his message

If you decide to respond to your ex’s message, the best thing to do is usually to match his message in style and tone. For example, suppose his message was a casual “hey, how are you?”. In that case, you can respond with something similarly short, such as: “not too bad, just working a lot at the moment. You?”. Don’t respond to your ex with a lengthy essay as it may look like you’ve been waiting eagerly for him to contact you (even if you have, you don’t necessarily want him to know this!). The content of his message will affect how straightforward you should be, and how polite.

Don't respond to your ex with a lengthy essay as it may look like you've been waiting eagerly for him to contact you. Click To Tweet

3. Find out what it is he wants

Even if you are pretty sure that you have worked out your ex-boyfriend’s reason for texting you, you may feel like you need some confirmation. If you want to cut to the chase, then just be honest and ask what the deal is, something like: “Why are you texting me, after all this time?”. If you want to be honest and upfront but polite in your approach, you could try a message like: “Hey, not spoken in a while, what made you think of messaging?”. It may be the case that your ex simply wants a casual chat and has no grand plan for anything in particular. If so, be sure that he is honest about this and you trust him.

4. If you don’t want to get back together, be clear

Do you suspect that your ex may be contacting you because he may want to get back together? In that case, you should be honest if this is not what you want. Depending on the tone and content of his message and the circumstances of how and why your relationship ended, your response could be blunt; e.g., “Just so you know, we’re not getting back together.”). If the breakup was more amicable, you could be more delicate and considerate; e.g., “Just to be clear, so you don’t think I’m leading you on, but I think that our relationship is best left in the past. I’m happy to talk to you as a friend, though.”

Do you suspect that your ex may be contacting you because he may want to get back together? In that case, you should be honest if this is not what you want. Click To Tweet

5. If you are open to the idea of getting back together, don’t be hasty

If you have been considering getting back together with your ex, or at least haven’t ruled it out, messaging him back could even be desirable. However, you will still need to choose your responses carefully. Even if you are desperate to get your boyfriend back, it is best not to be too keen—if you reply “OMG I’ve been waiting for you to text me, I miss you so much!” you might scare him off even if he did want you back. You are better off playing it cool and replying in a simple and friendly manner at first. This approach also works if you are undecided about whether or not you want him back in your life. Keep your cards close to your chest, and your options open.

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6. Take the conversation slowly if you want to keep talking

If you have really been missing your ex and want him back, it can be tempting to try to jump straight back to where you were before the breakup. This is usually not the best idea—things have almost certainly changed in some way, and you need to look after yourself and your well being by avoiding rushing into things recklessly. One of the best things to do may be to treat him as if he were a new potential romantic interest that you have no history with. Don’t try to skip the “getting to know each other” process of dating just because you have dated before, as you have probably both changed a least a little since then.

If your ex texts you out of the blue, there is no obligation for you to return the favor. Sometimes, getting into contact can stir up old emotions; it can even ruin your day. When your phone goes off, the initial feeling you have is your raw and natural reaction—that’s something that shouldn’t be ignored. If you do decide to reply, however, give it some time before you respond. You want to make sure that if you’re starting over, you’re doing so with your best foot forward. I’m assuming that one of the last things you want is to play games, especially when your emotions are involved. Whatever you’re looking for in your life, I hope that it works out. And if not, you’ve got plenty of opportunities to make memories with somebody completely brand spanking new.

Charlie is a graduate in Media and English Literature, an excitable blogger and closet comedian. Also, Netflix enthusiast, friend to dogs, foodie, book club aficionado, and wannabe jetsetter. Follow her on Twitter and check out her blog Miss Moore.


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