How To Respond To An Ex Who Hurt You

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Written By Alexis

Alexis has 7 years of experience as a relationship therapist, a degree in psychology, and a deep personal understanding of human relationships.

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how to respond to an ex who hurt you

Wondering how to respond to an ex who hurt you? Receiving a text or call from an ex who hurt you can trigger a lot, which you have been trying to forget.

Depending on how the relationship ended and how well you’ve managed the post-break-up process, the message can lead to flustered emotions and possibly make you angry. 

Despite the clumsiness that comes with responding to such ex that tries making contact, it is best to stay calm and figure out the best way to respond.

To begin with, you might start wondering if they made a mistake in reaching out to you or if it was deliberate. Why do they reach out first, and what is their motive?

 All of these no doubts can throw you off balance because this person may have inflicted you with lots of emotional wounds in the past.

This article will explore how to respond and deal with the situation. Read on!

How to respond to an ex who hurt you

Dealing with the issue of your ex attempting to come back to your life can be emotionally draining, especially when you are unsure how this may turn out. 

It might interest you to know that your ex coming back to you is kind of rare. 

Research has found that about 71% of exes never bother returning, but it’s even more interesting that only about 15% got back and stayed together.

The statistics suggest not getting your hopes high about your ex returning to you if you’re still craving for them.

The insights below will provide valuable steps on how to respond to an ex who hurt you.

ALSO READ: The Main Reason You Miss Your Ex Who Treated You Badly

1. Take your time

Taking time to choose how best to respond can help you relax in case you feel agitated or flustered by their text or call, and the first thing that might come to mind is to react immediately, and your tone might not be good. 

Taking your time to think before you act will prove highly beneficial. So take a deep breath and calm down before you respond. 

 Messages like, “Hey, can we talk?” Or ” I know you hate me right now, but I need to talk to you” doesn’t sound harsh, so you might want to respond if you still don’t feel awkward about your ex.

But also, you might want to reconsider replying fast; that way, they wouldn’t think you were expecting their messages all along.

 When you’re relaxed, ideas on how to respond may swoosh into your head.

2. Think deeply about how you want to respond

The thought of responding in a harsh tone might come faster than you think, except you’re still in love with the person. 

You might still have a soft spot for your ex. Whatever your decisions might be in the end, make sure you calculate your words well before replying. 

If they call, chances are you’ll have little time to respond with your best words.

You can ask them, “Can I call you back later?” Or “I’m in the middle of something, and if you don’t mind me calling you back.

You can talk it out later if you feel confident and up for the conversation.

3. Hear them out

It’s time to face them and listen or read what they say. Giving them the silent treatment might not work because they might keep coming back. 

Research shows that out of 74 relationships with over 14,000 participants, the silent treatment can damage the connection and reduce the tendency to have a more healthy relationship in the future. 

So, if the relationship is worth saving, you should take the time to hear what they say; from there, you’ll know your next move. 

If you don’t feel any emotional connection towards them anymore, you should respond reasonably, letting them know your stand. 

4. Avoid retaliation

Respond politely, but don’t hold back any feelings you harbor towards them. If you hate them, try not to say, “I hate you and never want to see you again!”. It would be best to learn to act maturely in cases like this. 

You can say, “I’ve come to realize that I was not the problem, and I did everything I could to keep the relationship, but you chose to wreck everything we both built, and that’s fine cause now I know better. I don’t resent you, but I can’t reply. I hope you understand my decision.”

5. Find out what they want

You can respond if you’re ready to and ask them what they want before knowing how to react.

Finding out what your ex wants would give you a sense of clarity on whether they are genuinely sorry and how genuine their intentions might be. 

Either getting back together or asking for your forgiveness, you need to know what they want.

ALSO READ: How To Make Some Feel Guilty For Cheating On You

6. Keep it brief

Keep your response concise and straight to the point. Drawing on the conversation longer than necessary will make you look broken. 

It will look like you’ve been hoping for such an opportunity to pour out your heart to them. And this makes it evident that you still have feelings for them and will want to get back together.

7. Consider no response

There’s no need to start a conversation you know won’t end well because you are not over what happened between you and your ex, or you probably still love them very much.

If you don’t feel ready to talk to them, ignore them. 

Silence is the suitable answer in this situation because you are simply trying to avoid getting hurt, and the only thing that can hurt you more is if they don’t try to apologize to you. 

But if they do, respond when you’re fully prepared to talk.

8. Be honest 

Bottling up your feelings can be tricky and challenging, especially if you don’t have someone to talk to. Please respond with the idea of expressing and communicating your emotions better to them.

When people get hurt, it might shock them so much that they hardly have words to say at that moment because they probably never saw it coming. 

But after a while, they dare to stand back on their feet and be strong enough to voice out their mind. 

If you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone physically or on the phone, you can do it via text.  

Technology has paved the way to express our feelings more swiftly without physical contact, and most people feel more comfortable texting than talking over the phone or in person. 

So you can use that medium to communicate. 

Another option is talking to a therapist about it. Heartbreak can be terrible, and not everyone likes to talk to their family or friends about it. 

So, if you can afford therapy, that would be an excellent option for you; that way, it will help you prepare to respond to your ex when you finally wish to. 

9. Meet up if you feel comfortable to

Sometimes, it’s best to have face-to-face conversations because you can see their expressions and feel whether or not their words are genuine. 

You would know how to react appropriately because conversation via text can be misleading.  

Discuss things maturely, and avoid saying something or making statements that may lead to an argument. 

You can ask questions like, “Was there anything I did you weren’t okay with?” Or ” How would you describe the relationship we had?”  

In times like this, you both might have thought it through to settle your differences without hurting each other’s feelings. 

10. Settle things with your ex before getting back to them

A renewed relationship requires understanding, trust, and love. You both need to build trust and try to communicate what went wrong in the past, not to allow past mistakes to reoccur.

Your communication must improve because that builds a good ground for better understanding.

Healthy arguments are also good, and relationship experts recommend that. It is also a way of communicating your problems better with one another.

11. Avoid blame

There is no point in throwing blame around. Focus on effective communication and letting your feelings be known. 

Allow them to figure out their mistake and choose whether to apologize or not to apologize.  

ALSO READ: How To Treat An Ex Who Treated You Badly

12.  Don’t make assumptions 

Receiving a text from your ex can be quite deceiving, especially if you’re still in love with them.

 For example, if you get a text from your ex saying, ” Hey, I just read the book you recommended, and I felt like giving you feedback. It was a beautiful read.” Now, this may sound friendly, but it may also mean your ex is trying to get your attention. 

You can’t be sure of what the text means. 

Try not to conform to the narrative that whenever your ex texts you back, it means they want you back. 

They might just be checking up on you to know if you’re doing fine or need help. Whichever it is, don’t get your hopes up.  

13. The final decision is yours

Focus on if you want to fix or leave things the way they are. After you’ve carried out the necessary steps in healing, you can decide if you wish to continue. 

Whatever your decision, as long as you’ve thought long and hard about it, you’ll be on track to being fulfilled. 

And until you make up your mind, you shouldn’t mislead them. 

You need to ask yourself what you want and how you’d feel if you got what you want. Ask yourself deep questions and answer them sincerely. 

14. Seek professional help

If the encounters with your ex who hurt you in the past become too overwhelming, consider seeking professional guidance from a therapist. 

You might need clarification about handling their persistent advances, especially when unsure of their intentions. 

Talking to a professional about it might help you see things more clearly.

15. Limit social contact

Social media is an easy place for your ex to have easy access to you, especially after you’ve deleted their numbers. 

You can unfollow them on any frequently used platform and restrict them from your account. That way, you’d have space to think about what you want to do next. 

16. Be responsible for your actions

Sometimes, you may have been wrong, so when conversing with your partner, also admit your wrongdoings if you’re longing to get back together with them. It’ll help you understand the situation better.

You can admit your wrongdoing by saying, ” I know I’ve also hurt you in the past, maybe by not listening or doing something that pissed you off, which led you to call off the relationship. I’m truly sorry, and I hope you forgive me.”

Avoid playing the blame game; crying over spilled milk is unnecessary.


Understanding how to respond to an ex who hurt you requires emotional intelligence, and relationships are bound to have problems. 

Applying the strategies listed in this article will be helpful on how to respond to an ex who hurt you. Remember, it should not be a game of blackmail or revenge.

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