The One Question You Should Never Ask Your Ex, Experts Warn
You don't want to bring this up when talking to an old flame.
The days immediately following a breakup often bring a mess of emotions. One minute, you hate your ex and wish you had never met them. The next, you tell yourself you'll never find someone who measures up. To say it's a "challenging time" is an understatement. No matter how heartsick you find yourself, it's important to protect your mental health. In order to do that, you'll want to avoid engaging your ex in superfluous conversations about your split (seriously, one breakup conversation is enough). However, if you do find yourself in a chat about your uncoupling, there's one question relationship experts say you should avoid. Read on to learn exactly what that question is—and how to move on if you find yourself on the verge of giving your ex a call.
Avoid asking an ex, "Did you ever love me?"
Sometimes, in the aftermath of a troubling split, you just want to know if what you had was the deal real. However, you probably won't get a satisfying response, says licensed marriage and family therapist Ashera DeRosa. "If your ex says 'yes, of course, I loved you,' you'll be tempted to say 'then why are we here?' If they say 'no, I never loved you,' what peace will that bring?" she says.
When DeRosa hears that question, she suspects that the person "is trying to reconcile a lot of information at once in a concise way." However, that likely won't be possible. "Love is a messy thing," says DeRosa. "Falling out of love can be even messier. Let it be a mess and work on your own healing journey."
Ask yourself why the question is important to you.
If asking your ex this question has been on your mind nonstop, take the opportunity to look inward. "This kind of question sounds like reassurance seeking—and it's unlikely you'll get the reassurance you seek if you're looking outside of yourself," says licensed professional counselor Rebecca Phillips, MS.
She believes that "you may be asking to subconsciously affirm a negative belief about yourself regarding being unlovable or not good enough." The answer, however, is probably something they can't give you. "It's more likely that you will get the closure and validation you may be seeking if you look within rather than looking to your ex or anyone else to give it to you," says Phillips.
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Consider going no contact.
Chatting about your relationship with an ex is risky business. "If you're looking to share how hurt you are by the breakup, your ex is not the appropriate venue," says DeRosa. "If it was a healthy breakup, they'll be walking through their own emotional journey. Yes, you both are sharing the experience of the breakup. But this doesn't mean that you need to share how difficult it is with one another."
Instead, DeRosa recommends talking to a close friend or seeing a therapist who can help you process your emotions.
Know things can change in the future.
Remember: No contact doesn't have to last forever. "Sometimes people reconcile after they've both done work on identifying their part in the problem and how they would like to show up in future relationships," says Phillips. "But without having done your work, you're more likely to repeat the same patterns that led to the breakup."
Once you're in a more settled place, you can consider an amicable relationship with your ex. Or, more likely, you'll realize that you're happy to move on and enjoy your new journey.