Heartbreak

How To Avoid Calling Or Texting Your Ex (Because You Know It’s A Bad, Bad Idea)

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woman with baseball bat swinging at cell phone in the air

It's been days, weeks, or even months since you and your ex called it quits. And you're fine. You're convinced everything happens for a reason, and you'll be better off with someone else someday. You rarely even think of them.

Until you do.

And then you want to call them. You want to call them like a diver wants to come up for air after a while. You want to call them like a crash dieter wants to cheat with a cookie... or an entire bag of cookies.

I know, because I've been there. Anyone who's ever endured a breakup probably has.

But for the love of all that is moving on, don't pick up the phone! YourTango Experts and other Relationship Coaches have given us five emergency tactics, from mental exercises to getting your nails done, that you can to turn to instead.

RELATED: 3 Reasons You Can't Stop Thinking About Your Ex (And How To Finally Get Closure)

How to avoid calling or texting your ex

1. Identify your triggers.

Let's start with triggers. Something — a comment someone made, a meal you used to love making together, a special song — made you want to call your ex. YourTango Expert and Relationship Coach Charly Emery calls it your "Ex Factor" (not to be confused with the TV show).

Perhaps you've passed a relationship landmark, like the site of an early date. Or you realize you're wearing his old t-shirt. Or you end up hanging around his neighborhood, stalking his rebound. (By the way, don't do that.)

Whatever the case, you've got to do everything you can to identify and eliminate triggers. Sure, your ex could pop into your head at any moment, wherever you are.

But don't tempt fate by exposing yourself to reminders. If one starts to get under your skin, do what you can to stop it.

Get dinner somewhere else, change the song on your phone, pack away anything your ex physically left behind and erase your digital connections online (unfriend and, in some cases, block them on Facebook, unfollow on Twitter, TikTok, everything!).

2. Ask yourself what the real point of calling or texting them would be.

Seriously. Ask yourself why you want to call or text them. It's got nothing to do with, "I'll just tell him this one thing…". Most likely, you're looking to learn something. Does he miss you? Is he dating again? Would he be up for some post-breakup sex?

"When the call doesn't go well, you will kick yourself and wish that you could be like Superman and spin the Earth to turn back time," warns YourTango Expert and Dating Coach Marla Martenson.

And—chances are—the call won't go well. Or he'll ignore your text completely, leaving you hanging.

Your ex isn't Mr. Right; he's just inaccessible, which makes seem more attractive, when he really isn't, in reality.

Dating and Relationship Coach Anila Manning urges you to drop the rationalization of why you want to call and think about what's really going on.

"Ask yourself, 'What do I really want?" she says. "'What do I expect my ex to do for me on the other end of the phone?' Then sit down for a moment and listen to your answers. Don't get up until you have the courage to tell yourself the whole truth."

It might help to record it in ink, too. That's what YourTango Expert and Relationship Coach Susan Sheppard would do. You'll know better than to call or text, once you answer these three questions in writing:

  • Why did the relationship end?
  • What will it cost me to call and compromise my integrity?
  • Does my ex deserve to have any part of me?

RELATED: The 4 Best Apps To Stop You From Texting Your Ex

3. Keep someone from your support system on standby.

The temptation to call an ex is so common that no one would be surprised if you slipped up. So make preemptive plans for an intervention. Ask at least one close friend to be on your emergency "Call Instead" list.

If you're comfortable enough with your friend, you can share everything you wish you could say to your ex. Your friend doesn't have to role-play, or say much of anything. Just getting feelings out of your head and off your chest to a sympathetic ear will make a difference.

And make sure you have a back-up for your back-up. There's a chance that, one day, your "Call Instead" contact won't be available when needed. Don't call your ex. Call or text someone else.

Or simply turn off your phone!

4. Let your fingers do the … anything else.

One surefire way to squash regrettable phone calls and texts: Do something that isn't compatible with using the phone. Like taking a yoga class, getting a manicure, or meeting friends for dinner or drinks.

The urge to communicate with your ex is usually temporary. If you've done your homework, you know it won't accomplish anything productive.

So get out of the space — mental, emotional, and physical — where you first had the urge to call. Then, do something fun instead.

5. Lose his number.

This one's almost foolproof (assuming you didn't memorize his number).

You can't easily call or text your ex if you've deleted his number and cut off digital ties now, can you?

If you absolutely must keep your ex's number saved in your phone, replace his name with a message of support, such as, "YouCanDoSoMuchBetter."

Give him a specific ringtone that reminds you how much of a loser he is, lifts you up, or makes you laugh, like Taylor Swift's "Getaway Car," Handsome Ghost's "Here's To Endings," or Missy Elliott's "Slide."

I still have an ex-boyfriend saved under a highly descriptive and vulgar nickname. It kept me from calling him at vulnerable times after we broke up.

When he eventually called me, I didn't pick up. Instead, I laughed.

Sucker.

RELATED: 10 Mantras That Will Get You Over That God-Awful Breakup STAT

Amanda Green is a writer with experience in copywriting, branded content, social media, and editorial.

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