If you just went through a breakup, the holidays are bound to bring up memories of your ex. Everyone is a little more vulnerable, especially when it comes to exes.
For some, the holidays are a feel-good and jovial time. For others going through heartbreak, the holidays can trigger feelings of sadness or loneliness. This season is also prime time for exes to reach out to wish you happy holidays...or to tell you they miss you after too many glasses of eggnog at the office party.
If you receive an unexpected message from your ex, it can really throw you off guard. Maybe you're surprised to hear from them, or perhaps you anticipated it. What’s important is that you try to view the message from the same perspective you would if it wasn’t the holiday season.
Here are a few tips if an ex reaches out:
1. Don't feel the pressure to respond immediately
Just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean you owe your ex anything. Your response or lack of a response will depend on the nature of the breakup. If you parted on amicable terms, your ex reaching out to wish you a happy holiday likely means they are thinking of you. If you're in a good emotional state and want to respond, that’s fine! It’s more than ok to say thank you and wish them a good holiday too.
2. Be mindful of the consequences
The waters get a little murkier when there are still strong feelings involved. Maybe you've worked hard to move forward since the breakup, and now that innocent low-key text makes you feel insecure and brings up unanswered questions: Do they want to get back together? Do they miss me? Have they changed? While thinking about these questions may be tempting, it's important to remember that you're still exes for a reason.
3. Reclaim your power
During this time, it’s important to reclaim your power. Stay strong and don't let your ex undo the boundaries you created for yourself. It's up to you whether you choose to engage with them or not. Trust your gut feeling. If you choose to respond, keep the conversation light and avoid getting into anything deep and meaningful.
4. Focus on yourself
Remember to keep a healthy perspective. A text is easy to send but can create so much anxiety. Focus on self care first. Use the holidays to focus on what really matters: your own happiness, self-care, and loved ones around you.