What to do when your ex pops up out of nowhere

5 questions to ask yourself before you respond

Hearing from an ex you haven’t spoken to in a long time can bring up a mix of emotions including anger, sadness, curiosity, excitement, fear, and joy. It can also be a real emotional shock, particularly if the relationship ended badly or it ended when you didn’t want it to. If you’re not sure how you want to deal with it, here are 5 questions to ask yourself to guide your reaction.

Were they abusive when you were together?

This is the first and most important question to ask. If they were abusive in any way, the best course of action is most likely not to respond to the outreach at all. If you do decide to respond, keep your responses short and closed-ended. For example, you can say, “I’m not interested in getting together,” rather than, “maybe another time.” Particularly if they’re narcissistic, it’s crucial never to give them an opening.

What do they really want?

It’s probably not news to you that some people will manipulate your feelings to get what they want out of your relationship without any intention of giving you what you need in return. If you’re not sure what they want, the best way to find out is to ask them directly. Then you can decide how you want to proceed.

Are you over the breakup?

This is not a totally black and white thing, but if you’re definitely not over it, ask yourself if communicating with them is ultimately going to help you get over it or make that process harder.

Do you want them in your life?

If so, great. It seems like they might want to be in your life in some capacity too. If not, you may consider not responding or responding in a way that makes it clear that you’re not interested in further communication.

Do you both want to get back together?

Yay for you! Go forth and be happy!

Want to learn more?

Select one of the related topics to find more.