With the holidays in full effect, along with the New Year approaching; sparkly lights, items in your online shopping cart, and cheer in your mug, there is a very common, but thus far, unnamed condition. It starts as an involuntary twitch of an index finger and a mindless reach for your phone, all before you are even fully aware of what you are doing and asking yourself, “should I text my ex?”
Suddenly, you are drafting and redrafting nostalgic refrains in your mind. These lines are so interesting, witty, and powerful that you almost believe they will defibrillate a relationship past, like some kind of Christmas miracle.
At this point, much like that incredibly expensive gift in your cart that you’ve tried to convince yourself you can afford by making Affirm payments, you take a pause and ask yourself “what is the true cost of this to me?”
You are a sentient, beautiful human, so yes, the holidays can bring forth feelings that range from joy to nostalgia, to abject misery when we think about an ex (which may be all the time).
Thinking about an ex during this time is totally normal; however, if you feel an unstoppable, involuntary bear of an impulse to text your ex, just to feel like you can live, there’s probably an element of unrequited love and toxicity in your past relationship.
As Natasha has said many times, “a toxic ex is anyone who gets validation by exploiting your hunger for theirs.” A toxic relationship is a relationship in which you were just that – exploited, used, and unseen for who you truly are – because your ex was too ego-driven to be a true partner.
You are starving for closure, love, or acknowledgment because you were in a relationship with someone who could not truly connect with you, respond to you in kind, or support you in the way that you deserve.
Left to its own devices, this starvation lives on, whether you are in the relationship or not.
For many reasons, including your childhood, attachment style, a possible trauma bond, or a myriad of other factors, you are convinced that this one, specific person, is crucial to your emotional survival. This drive becomes a powerful generator of reasons and excuses to text your ex.
But at what further harm to you?
I hope you read the following in that pause when you are wondering, “should I text my ex?”
10 Reasons Why You Should Never Text Your (Toxic) Ex
1. Your energy is currency, and this currency is not generated easily.
Your energy is the magnetism with which you attract the good in your life and repel that which will harm you. It’s what makes those around you feel cherished, lit up, and loved. It’s what makes you feel safe, grounded, and anchored when you are enjoying the present moment doing something you love.
Your energy is a gift.
Texting an ex not only depletes YOU of your precious energy, but it also charges up someone who has harmed you in the past. It buoys someone who exploited and used your energy during the relationship, even out of the relationship and in return for nothing. Your energy, given to the wrong person, will not be valued as it should. What’s more, for this kind of person, the absence of your energy will be felt much more acutely, than its presence.
2. What you got, is what you’ll get.
Even if the universe conspired to create the most perfect situation – your ex is at his lowest and thinking of you. You text exactly the right words in the right order that pull exactly the right heartstrings, your ex is STILL the same emotionally impotent, ego-driven person who is only capable of responding to connecting with you in a fleeting (at best) manner.
Even if you cash in all your karmic goodwill to create this scenario, your ex is no different than the person you were in a relationship with. This improbable miniature moment when you receive something like a sincere text back will soon disappear, and you will be left with a hope hangover, which will make you feel even worse.
3. The worst-case scenario is disgusting.
Your ex is in bed with someone when he receives your message. Your ex is at a bar with friends and passes around his or her phone, to show friends that you are forlorn without your ex. Your ex feels down because he was rejected by someone else, and when he receives your messages, gets a nice little ego hit that he still may be the man.
Ego-driven, unavailable exes collect text messages like emotional currency, which either validate them (when they are at their lowest) or which they use to scorn former exes in private and public ways. If you feel abject disgust from the pit of your stomach reading this, use that feeling to put your phone down. But also know that none of this has anything to do with you or your worth as a partner. Ego-driven people do not discriminate according to worth. You were simply available and an (unknowing) volunteer in a toxic relationship.
You don’t have to be a volunteer anymore.
4. Texting your ex is putting off inevitable grief.
The true, necessary, and crucial grieving begins when you realize that for your own health and well-being, you will never interact with your ex again. If the option of texting is no longer there, the really scary part begins.
Sure, you can give up, text your ex, be disappointed, or get back on the rollercoaster again.
But for how long are you going to put off feeling the grief?
What will you miss in the meantime?
Your body needs you to (very carefully, slowly, and in accordance with what you need) feel the pain, take care of yourself, and be there for yourself, especially if you have been through the trauma of a toxic relationship. This is a part of you down to your very cells. It will remain a part of you until you address it, and you can never address it in an environment in which your ex has access to you.
5. Who aren’t you texting when you are texting your ex?
When you spend your time thinking about someone who sent you mixed messages, hurt you (whether knowingly or unknowingly), and someone who you could never truly be yourself around, you are inevitably missing out on opportunities to connect with people who will make you feel loved, expansive, and at ease.
Even if you are the loneliest person in the world right now and cannot think of one friend or a single human being who would enjoy your company, you will never increase your chances at your own happiness if you continually go back to someone who has proven they cannot support you on a consistent basis.
6. You’ve said enough.
If your ex is toxic, I’m willing to bet you expended all of your empathy, creative resources, verbal and non-verbal communication skills to explain how you feel and to seek connection. There is no perfect way, no word choice in the correct order, no gif, no line right from your heart that will make a person who does not have the capacity for emotional intimacy to conjure up emotional intimacy. One more text message will not do the trick.
You have done enough. There is nothing more to say.
7. One last text will not get you closure.
Again, if your ex is toxic, your ex cannot give you closure. Your ex does not have the language for this, much like your ex likely cannot speak Latin fluently. Your ex cannot tell you “the truth” because they barely know what the truth is themselves. You may get something that approaches “closure” at some point, but this will not feed you, because you will know in your gut it is not sincere.
8. You are better than this.
You — who has been through so much, who has touched so many people (both knowingly and unknowingly), who has freely given your empathy and love to others – you have people pulling for you.
Even if you feel lonely now, you inevitably have people who wish you so much joy and happiness and who look up to you. These people, even if you don’t know them and definitely the people in this community, want you to get off this merry-go-round and to give your presence and attention to someone who deserves it.
Remember who you are and what you have survived. You deserve more than an SMS back.
9. If you text your ex, what are you telling the younger version of yourself, who has been through so much?
When you give your attention to someone who has harmed you, you are inevitably telling the younger version of yourself, your inner child who has been with you all along, that you are willing to continue to put off taking care of her. Not only are you willing to put that off, but you are also communicating to her that the hits will keep coming. That you are not going to protect her, in spite of knowing what you know about your ex.
10. If you text your ex, what are you telling yourself and the universe, about what you dream for future you?
You are creating a life for future you, right now, this minute, with what you do today. You are investing in your future health, success, and happiness.
If you text your ex today, you are setting your future self up for more of the same, which at best means, exactly this – sitting around and wondering “should I text my ex?”
Waiting for a response.
Your life is precious and short. When other people talk about dreams they have pursued, books they have read, connections they have made, the art they have created, or the fun that they have had, what will you talk about? What will you have to show for your time?
Fully acknowledge that your heartache is brutal and that healing is at times slow. But also, put yourself in a position in which you have fewer days that you will regret.
Now, to address some common scenarios:
Should I Text My Ex Happy Birthday?
No. In the past, Natasha has asked, “Who do you remember on your birthday? All the people who reached out to you or the one person who didn’t?”
Should I Text My Ex Back?
No. You are not a garlic-lemon-brined turkey roasting slowly in the oven. You do not need to have your temperature checked.
Further, your ego-high doling days are over. Toxic people like to test others to see whether exes, friends, and family members will “return” even after those people have been treated poorly. Instead of interpreting a text back as your goodwill, they will take it as validation that they are still a good person or a desirable person and move on.
If your ex, by some very unlikely miracle, underwent a complete personality transformation and not only recognized the error of their ways but genuinely figured out a way to make things right with you, you would not be asking “should I text my ex back?” In this scenario (which is the only one you deserve), your ex will make it perfectly clear this is the case, and it likely won’t come via text message.
What if I genuinely see something that reminds me of my toxic ex and I want to reach out to let them know, just like anyone else in my life?
Your ex is not just like anyone else in your life.
Your ex is someone who exploited your hunger for their validation and made you feel unstable, unseen, and/or unloved.
Would you text a high school bully just because you passed the field where they called you names?
Would you text a toxic ex-coworker who never pulled their weight about something funny that happened at work?
Once you start turning the tide on listening to yourself and healing, you will remember that your ex contributed to your harm and misery. When something reminds you of your ex, it won’t ping some old hunger for their response or approval. Instead, it will remind you that you survived, that you healed yourself, and that you are available for the love that you deserve to come your way.
This post was written by Natasha Adamo team member, Irena.
Irena will be answering your comments and questions below!
+ If you need further and more personalized help with your relationship, please look into working with me here.