In short, I was annoyed. Another week, another weird excuse for a text message. With some exes, it’s the same thing for weeks after the break up: drunk text after drunk text, accusing me of being a bitch, of using him (For what? His low income? His medium-sized dick? His mediocre sexual skills? Okay, maybe his apartment… It did have a prime location…), of a myriad of things I didn’t really do. With others, it’s awkward check-ins and memes sent in the middle of the night. Random texts, months later, saying, “Maybe we can be friends with benefits. The attraction’s still there, right?” No, no it isn’t.
It wasn’t until I woke up one morning after a night out and brought up my call log that I realized I was guilty of the same. My ex’s name was listed in big, bold letters with a two digit number in parenthesis next to his name. Not one, not two, but ten unanswered calls. My foggy memory was able to recall my phone speaker not working, and my drunk brain thinking my calls were being dropped. In my defense, at least I only called the guy ten times because I thought my phone wasn’t working. Otherwise I’m sure I would’ve given up at like, three ignored phone calls. Right?
This wasn’t an ex who texted me full of anger or longing on occasion. This was the one I was still going crazy over, years later. What the hell was I doing?
Honestly, I don’t know the recipe for moving on. I wish I did. But I do know how to let an ex down gently. So if you still care about your ex on some level, but he’s shooting you drunk texts after the bar closes that you have zero interest in answering, then this guide’s for you.
Note: Some exes are scummy and don’t deserve your sympathy. This is for that guy that you still want to be friends with or girl that you just want to be happy. Not your asshole ex who deserves to be miserable.
1. Remember a time you were the crazy one.
T. Swift says it best on her new album. “Don’t blame me, love made me crazy.” If love hasn’t made you crazy, trust me, it will one day. Recall a time you drunk dialed your ex sobbing and begging for them to come back to you. Embarrassing, right? Now have a little sympathy for your ex.
2. Just don’t do it.
I’m guilty of sleeping with an ex. It was great. He knows my body and what I like and vice versa, and the passion – the hate, the love, the pining, the confusion, the secrecy – it’s all there. But if you want your ex to move on (or, perhaps more importantly, if you want to move on), don’t do it. Quoting Dua Lipa now, “If you’re under him, then you ain’t gettin’ over him.” Don’t make your ex suffer by seducing him. He’ll just want it again and again, and the emotional connection that comes with sex (at times) can be rough. So unless you’re on the same page about this hook-up, it’s best to spend the night with a battery operated boyfriend instead.
3. Texting is a fine line.
Now when an ex shoots me an unnecessary “what’s up?” text, I don’t ignore them. I know the pain of being ignored. But it’s a super fine line. I don’t sit there and draw out the conversation. If he sends me a meme, I say, “haha.” And that’s it. There’s no need to start a conversation, and you can be short while still being gentle. “How are you?” Can be answered with, “I’m doing great.” It’s not an invitation for more discussion, it shows you’ve moved on, and it’s still pretty damn nice.
4. When all else fails, be blunt.
Sometimes you just have to tell it like it is. It sucks breaking someone’s heart, but sometimes it has to be done. If your ex still doesn’t get the picture, there’s no problem in telling him or her that you’ve moved on.
5. Don’t take shit.
Remember that your ex is hurting, so anything they’ve said out of anger likely isn’t 100% how they feel. Still, that doesn’t mean you have to take it. Rather than engaging in an argument that leaves something great off in the worst way possible, ignore any cruel comments. If your ex turns out to be an ass, you’re better off not getting involved anyway. And if they’re truly a nice person, they’ll regret what they said soon enough.
Heartbreak sucks, no matter what side of the break you’re on. While I hope I learn the guide to moving on eventually, for now, I’m just going to try being nice to the exes that drive me a little crazy. And to any ex-lovers I annoy: Sorry, I’m working on it.