One of the things that people often experience after a difficult breakup is periods of intense sadness and loneliness that compel them to reach out to their former partner. It may happen under the influence of alcohol or other drugs (i.e., the “drunk text”), or it may happen all on its own. If you’ve decided you don’t need to talk to your Ex, then Don’t Text the Ex! Easier said than done sometimes. Here are some tips if you’re having a hard time. Carry them around with you or save them in your phone so that you’re ready when the urge to text (call, email, visit) strikes:
Surround yourself with positivity. Choose screen savers for your phone, computer, etc. that support your recovery from the breakup. Remove objects (photos and such) that are likely to trigger unpleasant emotions. These don’t have to be permanent changes; it’s just a temporary fix until you start to feel better. Make changes to your social media accounts to prevent unexpected hurts. Do you need to unfriend or block anyone? Is social media even healthy for you right now?
During a calm moment, take some time to identify the specific reasons that texting your Ex is a bad idea. Write those reasons down. When the urge to contact the Ex strikes, read the reasons you shouldn’t make contact out loud, over and over again if you have to.
Create a list of healthy people you can reach out to, with phone numbers or other contact information. Give these people a heads up about what you’re going through and what kind of support you need. When you’re upset and you feel the urge to text your Ex, call someone else instead. Tell them you know you don’t need to reach out to your Ex right now and you need some distraction and encouragement.
Whatever you’re doing when the urge to text strikes, do something different. If you’re watching TV, turn it off and pick up a book. If you’re eating dinner, set the food aside and go for a walk. It’s time for a distraction. Take a cold or hot shower, watch a funny video, any healthy activity to trigger a change in your thoughts.
Every person and every relationship has strengths and issues. Getting through a breakup doesn’t necessitate denying the things you loved about your Ex and about being with your Ex. It’s okay to be sad and to miss those things. However, you can’t focus on the strengths. Recognize the things you miss, but focus on the things you don’t. When you’re not feeling totally distraught and overwhelmed, write down a list of the issues you had with your former partner and the relationship, however small. Write down the opportunities and things you might enjoy as a single person (i.e., you can set the thermostat to your preferred temperature, you can eat at that restaurant your Ex hated as often as you choose, you can talk to who you want when you want without worrying about conflict or jealousy). These lists will be different for everybody. Make sure what you write down is true for you. Wanna text the Ex? Look at your list of relationships issues and benefits of being single.
Recovering from a breakup can be hard. Go easy on yourself. If you screw up, so be it. Be patient with yourself and with your life. And never, ever be afraid to ask for help. It’s a sure sign of strength and wisdom to reach out for a helping hand, and people who do so heal much more quickly and thoroughly than those who don’t.