5 reasons why your ex is getting back in touch

With help from the founder of cult Insta account @textsfromyourex, we break down why your former bae isn’t staying away.

by Megan Wallace
13 September 2018, 7:00am

When Elan Gale and his girlfriend broke up in 2014, they stayed on surprisingly good terms. ‘Surprising’ because they broadcasted their post-break-up messages publicly on Instagram — in a fashion which eerily anticipates the recent relationship meltdown between Noah Cyrus and Lil Xan. Unbeknownst to the public at large (which, at this point, was just the couple’s mutual friends) it was actually an inside joke between the two parties. While the Insta-feud was a fiction, it had a very real legacy in the shape of @textsfromyourex, an IG account which has racked up over 2.5 million followers. The basic premise is: citizens of the Internet send in texts from their exes and the funniest submissions are selected by Elan and then posted on @textsfromyourex alongside a pithy caption. Simple and very effective.

So effective that the account took off at lightning speed — shooting up to 100,000 followers within its first week, and a million in the weeks to follow. When we reached out to ask about the secret behind his success, Elan explained that the internet needed a space to work through problematic ex behaviour. “Things grow when they’re concise, funny and relatable, and we feel less alone when we know other people are going through the same nonsense we are with exes.” So, in the spirit of creating similarly #relatablecontent and with a little help from Gale himself, we break down the reasons why your ex can’t resist sending that 1am text.

1. The booty call...
From rigorous research (and an unfortunate quantity of personal experience) we can attest that this is the number one reason exes get back in touch. They’re going through a dry spell, they can’t deal with all that soulless swiping on Tinder and they have zero idea of how to approach someone at the club; so they reach out to someone who they know did at least find them attractive at some point. All we can say is, if the sex was shit when you were together, it most certainly isn’t going to be worth it now you’ve broken up.

2. To find out what they did wrong...
Maybe they’re wracked with guilt about the way they treated you? Or maybe they suddenly remembered that thing you said on their birthday two years ago that really pissed them off? Whatever it is, reaching out to an ex is like an irresistible itch; the second you start thinking about it, an unstoppable wave of questions, comebacks and criticisms are unleashed. For Elan, it’s about being the one to have the final say. “Usually I think exes get back in touch because they feel like the conversations they wanted to have are incomplete. It’s like when George Costanza travels cross-country to deliver a comeback [in Seinfeld episode, The Comeback], people really do want to have the last word.”

3. They want to show that they’re totally over you...

Despite not constituting Drizzy’s finest musical moment, there’s a reason why, throughout 2016, Hotline Bling just wouldn’t die. Namely, everybody wanted to be that girl running out of paper in her passport, making Drake feel like he did her wrong. You see, the only plus side of a break-up is being able to broadcast to your ex (and the world at large tbh) that you’re doing so much better without them. So, even if they see you clocking their Insta stories, it’s hard to resist the urge to reach out and make damn sure that they know you're totally over it.

4. They miss you...

Not to be confused with reasons 1 or 2, sometimes exes get in touch because they really do miss having you in their life… or just having, you know, anyone. As Elan puts it, “The truth is, I think we are all just really lonely. We just want someone to love us. I know I do.” Pretty grim, we know, but the world is a sad place. To ease the pain, former baes reach out to old flames whenever the existential crisis gets too real.

5. They want to be… friends?

This falls broadly into two camps, and it’s important to distinguish which is which. They want to be friends, without any ulterior motive, and enough time has passed so that said friendship might actually be a viable option and everyone’s learnt a thing or two about boundaries? Sounds great, where do I sign up? It’s three months down the line, and they’ve just had a bottle of wine alone and watched Blue Valentine… be careful, it’s a trap!

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