Question Submitted: My ex tested me, now what?

Yay! You've been waiting for your ex to reach out and they finally have. Perhaps they had ghosted you or is just plain ignoring you. You've taken the time to sit with your feelings, and give careful consideration to how you might respond to them.

The feelings that come up when an ex texts you after a breakup can vary widely depending on the circumstances of the breakup and the nature of the relationship. How the relationship ended can also play a role. You may feel anything from surprise to relief, or even anger. Receiving a text from an ex after a breakup can be unexpected and may even catch you off guard. If the breakup was acrimonious, painful or hurtful on either ends, receiving a text from your ex may trigger feelings of anger or resentment. You may feel like they are trying to manipulate you or reopen old wounds. You may feel triggered in any number of ways, as well.

In some cases, receiving the much-awaited message can trigger feelings of hope or longing. This can be an exciting but also emotional time. I remember back in my day before texts even existed, we had the telephone or letter writing. With texting, it's easy to send an instant message directly to them, but remember that when doing so it's easy to say the wrong thing or speak from a place that is inauthentic. That said, it is important to not only be true to yourself, but also come from a place of understanding.

You may interpret the text as a sign that they still have feelings for you, or that there is a chance for reconciliation. This may be good news, and reconnecting with them may very well be on the way for you both. At the same time though, receiving a text from your ex can also trigger feelings of anxiety or stress. You may be worried about how to respond, or fearful that engaging with them will lead to more hurt and disappointment.

If your ex texts you after a breakup, it's important to take some time to reflect on your own feelings and intentions before responding. Here are some general points on what you might consider after having received the text.

Take time to process your emotions and feelings. Your breakup may have been an emotionally charged experience. You may even feel a bit overwhelmed by the receipt of the text. So, taking a moment to process your emotions before responding can be helpful. It's oftentimes best to wait and allow yourself this time to process before reaching back out.

While you're processing your feelings, it's important to be honest with yourself regarding how you're feeling. Asking yourself the right questions may help. Questions such as do I need closure, or do I feel like I wish to reconcile this relationship, what are my intentions, and lastly, what might their intentions be can all be helpful points of consideration.

When you do respond, it's helpful to set clear boundaries. If you do choose to reach back out to them, be honest with what you're comfortable with so far as your personal boundaries. It's also helpful to communicate your boundaries clearly, concisely and authentically, as well as standing firm in your boundaries. 

During your conversation, it is important to remember to consider your heart. Avoid falling into old patterns that you may have been in before. This can go hand-in-hand with the aforementioned asking yourself the right questions. Remember, your intentions should be clear with regard to your communication. It's often best to avoid discussing the reason you broke up in a negative way. Doing so may bring up old wounds and trigger one or both of you.

Rather, focus more on the future and catching up with them to avoid difficult or painful feelings during this first conversation. Remember, this is a door to open a fresh conversation with him or her. This is about communication. They have extended the proverbial olive branch. This is not about rekindling an old fight or disagreement, rather it's about the two of you walking through the door of open communication - together. 

Consider seeking support from those closest to you. If you're struggling to navigate your feelings and boundaries, it may be helpful to seek support from friends, family, or a therapist. They can offer perspective and precise guidance as you process through this difficult time. Remember, it does not actually have to be difficult! When you're texting with your ex, be authentic - with them as well as with yourself. Also, remember that this text exchange does not mean it is a "make it or break it" conversation. It is simply them reaching out to you, responding to your love energy. 

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