Like most people, you probably try to play it “cool” and wait before responding to your ex’s text or email. You don’t want to appear needy or desperate and push your ex further away, and that’s understandable.
There are times when it’s best to respond right away. In these instances, respond promptly because playing “cool” will hurt your chances more than help, and there are times when waiting to respond a few hours (in case of a text) or a day or two (in case of an email) is appropriate.
Before going further, I need to point out that this is not about counting the number of contacts (low contact, limited contact etc.) The low/limited contact strategy may help you avoid mistakes but it doesn’t move the process forward. The level of connection and context is a better guide to how to prioritize your responses.
Wait a few hours/days before responding:
- Immediately after a break-up, and in the very initial stages of trying to get back your ex.
- When you feel emotional or are triggered by something your ex said or did.
- When conversations are mostly superficial (How are you? How’s your day? and repeat, etc).
- When you’re mostly getting one word/sentence responses (your ex is still emotionally guarded).
- When your ex consistently takes too long to respond (they’re telling you what they are comfortable with. Some exes even delay responding to regulate how often you text them, especially if they know you tend to over contact them).
- When your ex is just trying to get attention/being needy or trying to start a fight.
- When discussing emotional or confrontational subjects (take control of your emotions before responding).
- When your ex is with someone else (Use discretion here. Your ex may not expect you to respond right away, but in some cases it may be to your advantage to.
Always give your ex ample time to respond in their time frame. Even if it’s obvious that they read your text/email and should have responded right away, it’s always good practice to not over-think things or assume that your ex is playing mind games.
They may be genuinely busy with other things, they may not know what to say in response or they simply don’t feel like responding, and that’s okay. You are not a couple, the expectations couples have of each other don’t apply when you are broken up. But if they take more than 3 days to respond to a text or a week to respond to an email, it’s up to you to reach out and make sure that the lines of communication stay open. It is very important that you don’t wait too long before making another attempt to connect. Waiting too long communicates a half-hearted attempt at getting back your ex.
There is a much more subtle message with deeper implications that you send by waiting too long between contacts. That message is fear; put in perspective, emotional timidity.
Emotional timidity (walking on eggs shells or tiptoeing around your ex’s feelings) does two things: One, it shows that you lack self-confidence and are not emotionally assertive and two, it makes you come across as playing a mind game (have a dishonest hidden agenda). Both are not attractive traits.
If you don’t get a response after 3 – 4 attempts to connect, or don’t hear back from them in 3 – 4 weeks (and you have already sent the “I accept the break-up text”), stop trying to contact them for a while 4 – 7 days. They are either intentionally not responding/ignoring your texts/emails, or saying (by not saying anything) that they want you to stop contacting them.
It’s important that you send the “I accept the break-up text” earlier on in the process. Many exes don’t respond if they think you are trying to undo the break-up. The “I accept the break-up text” let’s them know you just want to keep the lines of communication open and go with the flow (for now).