THE BLOG
04/25/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Textual Healing: The Casual Ex Text

Text messaging might be the easiest and most convenient way to send a note to your friends, but when it comes to communicating with a guy, it can be anything but simple. Whether his messages are short and sweet or lengthy and in-depth, you're usually left wondering: what is he really trying to say? And even worse, how do I respond? At my site, Crushable, we want to help you sift through all the subtext and emerge, textually healed.

Here's today's dilemma: that phantom text from an ex you got out of your system months ago. Like so many texts, this one has a back story. I was sitting home alone on a Sunday night (okay, it was Valentine's Day) when I heard the familiar buzz of a text message coming in to my Blackberry. But any anticipation of a cute message from a friend or crush quickly vanished when I saw who it was from -- a guy who had broken my heart almost two years ago. We've had zero contact since, and he chose this night to send me the very generic "What's up?" text. My stomach dropped right into the couch cushions.

I'll admit, I was curious as to why -- why? -- this guy would be trying to get back in touch with me this way, and at this moment. But despite my urge to press reply, I hit delete instead. I had my reasons. Here are a few:

  • The Medium: When you're in a relationship with someone for a long time, they know how to find you. My ex could have called, or written an email if he was feeling less brave. He could have Googled me and found out where I work, checked me out on Twitter or Facebook or even LinkedIn. Any of those forms of communication would have been preferable, if he really wanted to get back in touch with me. Instead, he chose to text me. Sure, it's easy to text, but it's almost too easy. No thought or effort required and, hey, if you get a bad response, or none at all, you can just pretend your note was meant for someone else. But if we haven't spoken for months and months, I deserve more than that.
  • The Message: Only the text message would allow someone who you haven't heard from in forever to send you the totally frustrating "What's up?" How do I even begin to respond to that loaded question?
  • The Timing: If you're trying to get back in touch with me after ages of radio silence, don't do it at 10 p.m. on Valentine's Day. The message made me think of all the Valentine's Days we had spent together (three to be exact) and it made me sad and nostalgic. And the feelings of rejection, betrayal and heartbreak I had pushed out my mind months ago came rushing back. I started to feel bad for myself for sitting home alone on the most romantic of fake holidays. Who wants to reward that behavior with a response, or worse, a conversation?

The moral of the story is, if an ex wants to get back in touch with you, it needs to happen on your terms. No one should ever make you feel uncomfortable or sad, and if they once made you sad they have to try that much harder to get back in your life. A much better message would have been, "I'm sorry for everything. Hope you've found love on this Valentine's Day."

Have you ever received an ill-timed text message from an ex? Have a confusing text message that you need advice on? Tell us in the comments, and you might see your story in the next edition of Textual Healing.

This post was originally published on Crushable.com