What’s the Best Way to Contact Your Ex?

Below we will look at a bunch of options for contacting your ex, their pros and cons, and the best way for most men and women reading this.

Eleven Ways to Contact Your Ex

First, here is a list of all the communication options I could think of:

  1. Face-to-face conversation
  2. Call your ex on the cell phone
  3. Call the home or work landline
  4. Leaving a voicemail on the cell or landline phone.
  5. Video chat (Skype/FaceTime/Zoom.)
  6. Send a text message
  7. Email (either personal or work/school email address.)
  8. Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.)
  9. Online forums and chatrooms
  10. Send a letter in the mail or deliver by hand.
  11. Any of the above, except via a family member or friend/work colleague

You would not use all of these options when communicating with your ex. Each has its place, but most people will only need 2 or 3 from that list.

Let’s quickly cover the pros and cons of each.

—Face-to-Face Conversation

Pros: Talking face-to-face is the most personal and intimate way to communicate with your ex. The benefit is that you can see their reactions, facial expressions, tone of voice etc. You can also touch his or her arm, shoulder or have a hug should things progress well. Plus, there is little to no risk you will be misunderstood.

Cons: Face-to-face interactions are uncomfortable after a breakup, especially if this will be the first time you contact your ex. There is also the risk you will say the wrong thing because it is a live conversation. And, of course, belly-to-belly is not practical for long-distance relationships.

It is best to refrain from in-person interactions with your ex until you have built rapport through other forms of communication.

—Call Your Ex on the Cell Phone

Pros: Talking on the phone is a great way to build attraction when you are confident you can stay in control. Your ex can hear your voice which deepens the connection, and hearing their voice helps you to gauge your ex’s mood.

Cons: Phone conversations can be awkward if it has been a while since you last spoke. And as with all real-time conversations, you have to think on your feet. Therefore the risk of saying the wrong thing is much higher versus an asynchronous option like texting.

—Call the Home or Work Landline

Pros: The same pros as calling your ex on the mobile. However, the landline —either home or work— gives you the option to catch your ex at a different time, in a different state of mind. And, if your ex has blocked you on the cell phone, you may still be able to reach them at work (for example.)

Cons: The same downsides as calling the mobile phone.

—Leaving a Voicemail on the Cell or Landline Phone

Pros: Calling and leaving a voicemail on the answerphone gives you the benefit that they can hear your voice without the potential negative of someone saying the wrong thing. For example, on a live call, your ex could say something which triggers you to defend yourself (or vice versa.) On a voicemail, you have no such concerns 🙂

Cons: It is likely impossible for you to know when the call will go to the answerphone. Your ex may pick up the phone, putting you both in a different mode of communication altogether (a live chat.) And, of course, with voicemail, you have no way to know if your ex will get your message.

—Video Chat (Skype/Facetime/Zoom)

Pros: When you video chat, you benefit from seeing and talking to one another without physically meeting. Hearing your voice and seeing your face is great for building attraction.

Cons: Your ex may not want you to see their face at the time you call, and they are more likely to be anxious on a video call versus a regular phone call.

—Send a Text Message

Pros: Text messages are quick and easy to send. Texting is also one of the least intrusive ways to communicate. You don’t need to worry about the time difference or if it is a good time for your ex to hear from you. Pretty much everyone is comfortable with texting.

Cons: The downside with sending a text message is there are no nonverbal cues such as body language, facial expressions or gestures to guide you. The lack of nonverbal cues means a higher chance your ex will misunderstand your words or intentions.

Psst: I have a comprehensive guide that explains when it is OK to text your ex (and when it is not.) If you are unsure, you should give it a read.

—Email (Either Personal or Work/School Email Address)

Pros: The advantage of sending your ex an email is it is easier to say more than you would with a text. You can also more easily include photos or other kinds of attachments. And just as with texting, it has the benefit of being a non-real-time way to talk.

Cons: The downside with email is that many people think of it as something to check for work purposes or when you need to do something pragmatic (read: dull.) It can feel less interesting, less personal than texting.

—Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Etc.)

Pros: The good thing about social media is it is accessible from anywhere. You can post a message to your exes wall or tweet your ex even when they do not follow you back. You can also engage with any of the other people in your ex’s social media network. It is also another option for safe, non-real-time exchanges.

Cons: The downside with social media is much the same as with text messages —the lack of nonverbal cues such as body language and facial expressions etc.

—Online Forums and Chatrooms

Pros: Discussion forums usually allow members to send private messages. You would only want to use this feature (rather than posting public.) Of course, almost all other forms of communication will be preferable to this. However, having another option is handy if your ex has blocked you on the usual channels.

Cons: You will almost certainly prefer to use one of the other forms of comms over a discussion forum. Your ex will prefer that, too. Further, suppose your ex is not in the habit of sending and receiving private messages this way or a frequent forum user. In that case, your ex could easily miss your message.

—Send a Letter in the Mail or Deliver by Hand

Pros: Sending a letter, especially a handwritten letter, can be perceived as a romantic gesture. It’s old-fashioned, but that may be fitting for your ex, and if not, it can stand out compared to every other option. A physical letter is also more likely to be re-read.

Cons: The problem with sending a letter is that it can be a bit weird, depending on your age and personality. It is also hard to be sure the letter will arrive if sending by mail. Lastly, letters are more likely to be kept back and read multiple times. Having your words read repeatedly can be positive when you write the right words or negative when not.

—Any of the Above, Except via a Family Member or Friend/Work Colleague

Pros: The reason you might ask a friend or family member to pass on a message is when your attempts are blocked. You might have another reason that makes sense for you, but this is the last resort option in most cases.

Cons: Your ex may feel you are overstepping the mark by involving friends or family. You risk a blowback with this approach.

What Is the Best Way to Contact Your Ex?

In almost all cases, the best way to contact your ex will be with a text message. Something non-provocative and easy for your ex to handle.

You could either send your message via social media (instant message) or using regular SMS text messaging.

Either way, the best way to open communication with your ex is via a non-real-time option.

—What Is the Best Way to Contact Your Ex-Girlfriend?

For most situations, the best way to contact your ex-girlfriend will be via text message. Especially if you have not spoken to her for a while (e.g., you just completed no contact.) Later, you can sprinkle in the odd phone call, providing she has been responsive to your text messages.

—What Is the Best Way to Contact Your Ex-Boyfriend?

The best way to contact your ex-boyfriend will be via text message. Either via a social network or on your mobile phone. If you have not heard from your boyfriend for a while, a short and simple text is ideal for testing his mood toward you. If he replies, great! If not, give him more time.

Every Contact Option Has Its Place

The eleven contact choices I gave above are all valid in at least one scenario. You have to pick according to what makes sense for you and for the circumstances you are facing. That means as the situation changes, so might the best option change, too.

Of course, the way you communicated the most with your ex during the relationship will likely become the best method of staying in contact once you have broken the ice.

What Next?

I recommend an incremental contact strategy to ensure you do not jump the gun. What that means is to start with the least intrusive communication option. For example, sending a social media message or text message to test the waters.

With your first message, you must not say anything confrontational or emotionally charged. You certainly do not want to discuss getting back together. Instead, your goal is to establish a relaxed and friendly rapport.

If your ex is friendly and forthcoming, you can then progress to occasional phone calls or video calls. Be sure to keep things upbeat and the duration of your calls on the shorter side.

When you can communicate easily over text and phone calls, you can finally meet face-to-face.

Baby steps are the best way forward with your ex. The best way to contact your ex will be the option that matches the context of your situation while also being the least intrusive.

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About the author: i’m a relationship coach specialising in breakup recovery. i’ve been doing this for 12+ years helping thousands worldwide. i created the Breakup Dojo, a popular program with over 1,000 members. i’ve authored several in-demand breakup recovery products, drawing from my deep fascination with psychology. i also publish the “ex-communication” newsletter that’s packed with actionable advice to over 10,000 subscribers worldwide.