What To Do When Your Ex Sends You An “I Miss You” Text Over The Holigays

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Exes. We all have them. Some become friends. Some stay mortal enemies. And others just kind of fade into the distant past. But around the holigay season, these exes seem to slither their way back into our lives in some way shape or form. Whether it’s us being reminiscent of our past relationships or stalking their social media a little more frequently, or them suddenly popping up in one of our inboxes.

It seems like I am just drawn to dating people who are nostalgic AF because every year I get said random messages from one ex or another. Which makes sense because I’m guilty of the same phenomenon. I have in fact, been the ex to send the sad “Been thinking about you, hope all is well…” email around birthdays or the holigays. In fact, I once wrote an ex a very long birthday letter.

I KNOW, OK?! My Venus is in Leo so I’m insanely loyal. I am that girl that is messy AF on social media after a breakup. I don’t care though because I *have to* release it all.

However, I am not here to be self-deprecating or talk about my past blunders today (though they are aplenty). Instead, I am here to advise you about being the one receiving the “I miss you” message over the holigays, how to protect yourself in those vulnerable moments and how to know *if* you should respond.

Keep in mind that this is an emotional season. 

From November to January a lot of people emotionally spiral. This happens for so many different reasons. Tensions are high because we’re spending a lot more money than usual on holigay gifts. We often have to see our biological families that we may or may not have the best relationship with. Traveling can be stressful AF (especially during retrograde). It often feels like there is endless pressure to please everyone in your life with the perfect gifts, delicious homemade meals and happy life updates (gah).

All of these mount up and create an environment for utter anxious destruction for so many of us. There are definitely ways to ease some of these really hard emotions. But if you don’t, sometimes that leads to a desperate reaching out to someone from your past (i.e. an ex).

And so, this may very well be what led your ex to send you that 1 AM email saying “Hey, walked past our favorite restaurant last night and made me think of you. How’s life? Are you coming home for the holidays?”

Ask yourself: what kind of intention is behind their message?

This is dependent on so many different factors. But mainly it depends on what kind of relationship you had and the terms you ended it on. Was it an emotionally abusive relationship that left you feeling destroyed and you struggled to even leave them? If this is the case, their message is probably loaded with an attempt to manipulate you about something. Did you have a beautiful relationship that ended on good terms but just because you were at different stages in life? They might be reaching out in a genuine effort to see how you are and what’s new in your life. It’s all dependent on how you left off, what kind of person they are, and what kind of relationship you shared.

The ultimate question: To respond or NOT to respond? 

Whatever your relationship and ultimate breakup were like — be a little critical of their message and definitely don’t respond right away. I don’t say that because you don’t want to seem overly eager. I’m usually all for just responding when you’ve read the message and have time to respond. But this is a more *delicate* situation and you want to make sure to prioritize you, babes.

If it’s going to hurt too much to engage in a conversation with them, it might be a good idea to just archive the message. But if you feel that there has been enough distance from the relationship and you don’t harbor any unhealthy feelings towards her, then responding might be an option. However, this is really only a good idea if her message isn’t a “I miss you so much, you are the love of my life. I’m sorry I did you wrong!” type of message. ONLY respond if it seems she genuinely wants to catch up and hear how you’re doing. Otherwise, it could very well be an attempt at a thirst trap.

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Here are some IRL examples to help you navigate this, babes. 

I know you’re all probably wondering how I’ve figured this whole thing out, down to a science. Well, let me tell you, babes. My first and only boyfriend (who was also long distance — on purpose, if you know what I mean) has reached out to me on more than one occasion with the “How is life? Looks like you’re doing well. I’m going to be in your town next week!” kind of message. I never respond to his messages for two very important reasons: 1) He was kind of an asshole and I don’t want him in my life and 2) His messages are always veiled with a lame attempt to hookup.

On the other hand, I’ve learned the compassionate ways to respond to ex-messages with my first girlfriend. We don’t live in the same town anymore and aren’t keeping up with each other’s lives through social media — so when I get an email from her, I know it’s a genuine effort to see how I’m doing. I’ve already admitted that I’m nostalgic AF and it’s true that I am a romantic at heart.

I think that when you genuinely love someone and it just doesn’t work out because of timing or being at different places in life; that love doesn’t really die. It just gets nestled away so you can look back at it and feel at ease.

She recently emailed me this holiday season, saying that she had seen a mutual friend and heard I was doing well. She congratulated me on my work and wanted to know how my dog was doing. I mean, how cute right? I responded because I know that I don’t have any negative feelings towards her and I know that I can engage in a conversation without it making me depressed or miss our relationship. It’s a genuine conversation and connection with someone I used to love.

That’s a beautiful thing, babes. Allow yourself to respond if a good ex-reached out to you. Just be prepared for a flood of unexpected feelings. But feelings are OK, after all, if there is anything we’ve learned it’s this: feelings can’t kill you.

Happy Holigays! Let us know your thoughts about exes reaching out in the comments!


Corinne Kai is the Managing Editor and resident sex educator at GO Magazine. You can listen to her podcast Femme, Collectively just stalk her on Instagram