If you want your ex back, you’re probably thinking about giving them a call.
But even if you have a good plan, and you know exactly what you want to say to your ex on the phone, calling your ex is almost always a bad idea.
That’s why I have always said that calling your ex is a mistake.
Now let’s explore the reasons why this doesn’t work, and what you should do instead.
Of course, there are always exceptions to any rule so at the end of the article I’ll include some scenarios where you should call your ex and how to handle it when you do. But first off, why is it a bad idea to call your ex? Let’s get into it.
1. They might not answer
This is actually the number one reason I tell people not to call their exes when they’re trying to reconnect. Every breakup comes with bad feelings. Even if you and your ex have the most amicable breakup in the history of breakups, it was still a pretty traumatic event for both of you.
It’s unlikely — especially soon after the breakup — that they’re going to be ready to commit to a phone conversation. They probably don’t want to be reminded of the heartache, how much they miss you, etc…. And they don’t want you to try and talk them into giving you another chance.
So even if you and your ex have no ill will towards one another, and you remain on very good terms… they still might not answer the phone if you call them. They’re afraid to talk to you and reopen those old wounds or risk an argument or risk being talked into getting back together…and I don’t blame them.
Another factor here is that people don’t talk on the phone the way they used to. A study found that 75% of millennials avoid phone calls. So if your ex is in that group, and they already have mixed feelings about you, chances are they won’t answer.
And don’t try calling them from an unknown number. Another study found that 90% of people don’t answer calls from unknown numbers.
And if your ex ignores your call, which is — as we’ve just discussed– quite likely… this can be a big problem. Not because it means they don’t want to talk to you–-you might have succeeded using another method of contact—but because it leaves you with less options moving forward.
Because the only thing worse than calling your ex is calling them twice. It looks desperate and if you don’t stop there, it can start to look scary. So what do you do if they don’t answer, if you can’t just call them again later without looking desperate and needy?
Even following up with a text or waiting a week between attempts is still pretty risky and could irritate your ex or make them think you’re even clingier and more pathetic than they did before.
So if you call and they don’t answer, you’re in a really tough spot and it’s going to take quite a bit of time and space from your ex before you can safely try again.
2. They don’t know WHY you’re calling
If you call your ex out of the blue, you’re as likely to scare them as you are to excite them. This is because people fear the unknown. They don’t know why you’re reaching out to them and so it makes their mind run wild. Do you want them back? Are you angry at them? Are you pregnant? Do you want money?
A phone call causes the other person to make assumptions and since–as we’ve talked about–your ex may have negative feelings towards you after the breakup, they might be thinking worst case scenario.
Texting or other forms of messaging allow you to provide information to the other person so they’re not going in blind. They don’t have that fear of the unknown like they would if they see a call pop up from you on their phone.
3. It makes it more difficult to control the conversation
The thing about a phone call is that anything can happen. You don’t know what they’re going to say, and so you have to react in the moment. This is totally fine with a friend or family member. You know what to expect and basically how the conversation will go when you pick up the phone. But with an ex, you have no idea how to react.
The more time has passed since your breakup, the more they can surprise you and that’s going to be an issue. At the same time, if they catch you off guard with a comment or a question, you can easily say something you regret and that’s going to be hard to come back from.
Getting your ex back is a very delicate process. You want to eliminate as many variables as possible from this equation so that nothing can go wrong. Calling them up out of the blue creates a lot of uncertainty which you can’t control. If things don’t go your way, the conversation can be terrible and at this stage, one bad conversation can ruin your chances.
4. Phone calls make it harder to connect
Unless you’ve had a lot of conversations with your ex on the phone, this phone call could be quite awkward. The good thing about a face-to-face meetup is that it allows you to use body language, facial expressions and gestures to communicate better. This stuff may seem trivial but it’s actually HUGE.
There have been a ton of studies on nonverbal communication. The findings show that 70 to 93 percent of all communication is nonverbal.
So without that at your disposal, talking to your ex is going to be an uphill battle. There’s a good chance your ex will come out of this conversation thinking “It was nice to talk to them but it feels like we just don’t have that spark anymore.” In reality, what’s missing is the nonverbal communication to fill in the gaps and make that connection.
5. It puts pressure on your ex
This is a big one. Calling an ex is asking a lot of them. They have to answer the phone. They have to make the time. They have to put on a show for you, essentially.
They have a busy life and they might not have the time or energy for this. So if they don’t answer–or they’re not in the mood to have the conversation that you’re looking for–it can be hurtful. It can also make them resent you for taking up their time.
6. It might lead to a serious conversation
You probably wonder what’s wrong with having a deep conversation with your ex? Or what’s wrong with talking over what went wrong in your past relationship and taking time to apologize or share your regrets? Well the truth is that you NEED to avoid serious conversations like this, *especially* early into the process of reconnecting.
If you want someone back, it’s all about connecting with them emotionally at first. It’s about re-building real, organic attraction. You want to charm them, flirt with them and show them that you can still make them happy first and foremost. You DON’T want to rehash old issues and remind them of the breakup.
While it’s possible for a deep conversation like this to give you some perspective on the breakup—though this is rare–it’s not going to get you ANY closer to getting them back. It’s actually going to push you two further apart because they’ll start to associate your contact with heavy conversations like this one.
By calling your ex you’re practically asking for something like this and it’s not going to give you the results you want, believe me.
7. There are better options
If you shouldn’t call your ex, what can you do instead? Well I always recommend texting your ex when you want to reconnect after No Contact. Texting is the preferred form of contact these days. (And by texting I of course mean any kind of messaging, whether it’s WhatsApp or Telegram or SMS or whatever)
Texting allows you to set expectations when contacting your ex. They’ll know WHY you contacted them and what to say in return, if a reply is needed.
Remember that even with texting, you should always know exactly what you want to say to your ex and communicate clearly and concisely. Don’t just say hey. Don’t ask them a boring question. Be strategic.
I recommend reaching out for a specific reason, even if it’s not the real reason you want to talk to them. For example, ask them for the name of a restaurant you went to back when you were dating, or the brand of paint you used when painting the bedroom. This will provide them a simple response and it will evoke a specific sense memory for them. Just a few words will transport them back to a time when you two were in love and happy together. This is a great way to test the waters and dip your toe back into conversation with your ex.
RELATED: 6 Rules For Texting Your Ex Back
Now let’s talk about a few specific situations when it comes to calling your ex.
I’ve already said that you shouldn’t call them with an unknown number but you may be thinking about calling them from someone else’s phone. This is an even worse idea. I know you’re desperate, but what do you plan to do when they pick up? You think you’re going to change their mind after you tricked them? Come on.
But what about if there’s an actual emergency happening. Say you’re locked out of your shared apartment and there’s a fire. In situations like this, calling your ex is obviously acceptable. You don’t want someone to get hurt because you’re worried about blowing your chances. Your ex is going to understand this and not hold it against you.
Just make sure that it’s an ACTUAL emergency. I’ve had so many clients tell me that they HAD to call their ex because it was life or death only to later admit that the emergency was that they lost their favorite hat or something. Don’t fool yourself here.
Another question I get asked is about video calls. While these do have one advantage–you can see each other’s face–this is outweighed by the obvious disadvantage: people are much less likely to answer these than even phone calls.
The one exception is if you’re trying to get your ex back and they live very far away. If you’ve been talking for a while and want to see each other but can’t do it in person, then facetime is a great option.
Then there’s voicemail. I think if you call your ex and you get sent to the machine, you need to be very careful what kind of message you leave. Have a plan for this if you do decide to call them, which again, I highly advise against.
But what should you do if you already called them and they didn’t answer? Well this isn’t always a death sentence but it is going to hurt your chances. Just don’t freak out. This does happen to many people. Just pretend like it never happened and wait *at least* a week before reaching out again… or preferably longer. And this time, just text them.