Your former boyfriend texted you out of the blue. And now you’re wondering how to respond to an ex asking how you are.
Are you even supposed to reply to him? If yes, what should you say? Can you make him just go away if you go radio-silent for long enough?
You have a history with that man, so your heart and head aren’t cooperating with each other right now.
You had an entire breakdown when he texted you because you didn’t know how to react after the no-contact period. You thought that you’d never hear from him again.
After you broke up, you were a wreck. I mean, no breakup is easy, right? It’s like getting your heart ripped to shreds.
So what does he want from you now? Why is he casually trying to catch up with you?
Your ex-boyfriend is still a very sensitive topic between you and your friends. There’s no way you can even ask them for advice because they’ll just block him for you.
You’re lucky that you can find everything online nowadays, though. So many people have gone through the same thing as you, and as a relationship coach, I can help you through this.
There are a few things you need to consider if you want to respond to your ex and still maintain your dignity.
Why would your ex ask you how you’re doing?
There are many possible reasons for his behavior. Before responding to an ex who’s asking how you are, the first question you ask is why he’s texting you in the first place.
He was probably the one to end things and even if he wasn’t, he was the reason you split up. You left because you couldn’t handle his behavior anymore.
When he asks you how you are, he does so for one of two reasons:
1. He wants to see if he still has power over you (and to see if you’d still be up for a casual fling).
2. He regrets ever losing you and wants to see if there’s any chance to get back together.
I would love to say that he texted you because he cares about you, but you and I both know that your ex isn’t that type of guy.
Unless you were in a long-distance relationship and you broke up because of that distance, there’s no pure intention behind his behavior.
You need to understand that men and women think differently in this aspect. If you were the one to text him first after your breakup, it would be because you want to know if he’s doing alright.
But, the truth is that men generally don’t have that sort of empathy. I know that’s hard to hear, but he’s probably only there for the fun.
How to respond to an ex asking how you are
Don’t make the mistake of instantly sending him a meme or an emoji just to get it over with. There’s no reason for you to not take your sweet time and figure out what you want. By doing so, it’ll all be much easier and you’ll know that you’re doing the right thing.
You’ll get what you want from this encounter, I can promise you that much.
1. Think about yourself first
One important thing you need to consider before you even consider how to respond to an ex asking how you are is what you want right now.
Yes, you may break his heart if you don’t respond. But you’ll also break your own because you’ll be so anxious about it the entire time. You’ll also end up asking yourself millions of questions about what would’ve happened if you did respond.
However, sometimes, certain people only deserve a very blunt response. Especially in situations where you need to take care of yourself.
In this situation, you need to put yourself first. It doesn’t matter what he may think of you after your response, you just need to make sure that your needs and wants are being met.
Did he deserve for you to be civil with him? Did he deserve to get a response from you at all?
This is especially important when you’re on the fence about what you should do. Because if he decided to text you even though you agreed to not talk anymore, that means that he doesn’t respect you.
Do you want to engage with someone like that? Is he worth your time?
2. Don’t just ghost him
I know there’s a part of you that wants to ghost your ex instead of respond to him. But let me tell you why that’s an awful idea.
If you decide to just ignore the text and completely forget about it, then he won’t just stop at one text.
I mean, you know that man better than anyone else. You know that he never knows how to listen to you and hear what you’re telling him. You always had to explain things to him multiple times and he still wouldn’t get the memo.
So, how should you act right now if ghosting and blocking him is off the table? You don’t want to give him a reason to find other ways to stalk you and get to you. You don’t need that!
Let’s be honest, no one needs that.
When you respond to him, you can know that you’ve found the closure you’ve been looking for. You can set a boundary and tell him that you don’t want to talk to him anymore, or you could start a conversation with him.
I mean, when your ex contacts you after a bad breakup, you need to take that opportunity.
3. Take your time to think thoroughly about your reply
Think before you take your phone into your hands and respond to an ex who’s asking how you are. If you don’t think about it and figure it out, then you’ll only end up regretting your response.
Do you know all those times you say something and then immediately regret it afterward? Well, we want to avoid that.
You’ll have nightmares about it because the regret will follow you everywhere. And the worst part about it? You won’t even be able to look him in the eye anymore.
You just want to show him that you’re just as desirable as you always were and that you’re able to stand your ground (whatever that may mean to you).
This is also very important if you have a new partner in your life. The no-contact rule with your ex exists so you won’t jeopardize your new relationship. As his ex-girlfriend, it’s your job to tell him that you don’t want to talk to him anymore because you respect your current partner.
You don’t want to make your ex think that he still has you wrapped around his little finger.
4. Keep your emotions in check
This isn’t the time to let your heart lead the way. This isn’t when you should listen to what your heart wants because it could lead you down a cliff.
Well, that was unnecessarily dramatic. But you get the gist!
I get it. After a painful breakup, all you want is your ex back. You want him to come back to you so you can show him that you’re the best fit for him.
Your mental health and self-esteem are at an all-time low at this point and you feel like you’re falling apart. If he finds a new girl, you know you’ll end up crying for hours, even if it’s nothing more than a rebound.
I understand all of that, but you also need to know that this way you’ll only get heartbroken all over again. When you act on the feelings you have for him, you’ll give him control over your life. We don’t want that to happen!
When you put your own needs on the top of your priority list, you’ll stop running after a guy who doesn’t love you the way you want to be loved.
And that’s when you’ll know how you should respond to him.
5. Consider your options
When I tell you to consider your options, I mean all the things that’ll come after you figure out how to respond to your ex asking how you are. You need to know what your end goal is.
Are you trying to get back together with him? Do you sincerely believe it’s a good idea?
Or are you trying to get him to leave you alone? And will he be able to leave you alone or just continue to bug you?
Do you want to stay friends with him?
All of these questions are very important. And you’re the only person who can answer them and know what you’re looking for right now.
Just because you’re unsure that your ex misses you, doesn’t mean that he doesn’t genuinely feel some sort of yearning for you.
The text messages you receive from him are an invitation to communicate with each other. So consider your options and see what you can do to come out of the situation as a winner.
Lord knows you’ve lost enough already.
5 sample responses to an ex asking how you are
When your ex texts you to ask how you’ve been doing, there aren’t many things you can say.
Your first response will be immediate shock. You’ll feel paralyzed because you don’t want to mess things up. You’re already overthinking everything.
Even after thinking about all the things I’ve listed above, you’re still tongue-tied. What do you say without making a fool of yourself, all the while getting exactly what you want?
Well, here are a few examples of what you can text him when he sends you a seemingly harmless text.
1. Be polite
The best response is always to be polite and civil with him. You don’t have to be rude or put him in his place right away.
Sometimes, the best thing you can do is just be the lady you’ve always been. When you’re ladylike, you put the ball in his court and can wait for him to respond however he seems fit.
In short, if you really don’t know how to respond to an ex asking how you are, you could use one of these examples:
“Hey, I’ve been doing great. You?”
You could even tell him a little about what’s been going on in your life, for example:
“A bit exhausted from work, but overall great. How about you?”
Put a smiley at the end of the sentence, but nothing like a heart or anything that he could misinterpret. The best is to send the message with a basic smiley face, or without any emojis at all. A normal answer should be more than enough.
He’ll know that you’re being polite, but at the same time, you’re engaging him in a conversation. From here on, it’s up to him what’ll happen.
2. Set a boundary
It’s not always a good thing that your ex wants to talk to you. Especially if your ex was the dumper and he now wants to forge a friendship. How dare he? He knows how much he meant to you.
This is why it’s so important to rationalize everything. You don’t want him in your life again, do you? He broke your heart, abandoned you, and now expects you to talk to him like nothing ever happened. He doesn’t deserve that.
I know, your heart is still aching for him and it may make you do something you’ll regret later on. So, this is the perfect time to create a valid boundary with this man.
Tell him something along the lines of:
“I appreciate your concern, but you were the one to end things. I don’t understand what you want now, but I don’t want to talk to you. You should understand where I’m coming from.”
You can end the message with some kind regards or tell him that you hope he’s happy. Anything to make you feel better about setting a boundary. Usually, it’s very hard to do this.
If you don’t want to be that blunt, you may want to say something like:
“Thank you for thinking of me, but I’m still not ready to talk to you. Give it a little more time. I hope you understand.”
3. Pretend that you don’t care
When an ex is asking you how you are and you don’t know how to respond, it’s crucial to consider how much you care.
If you genuinely don’t care about him or what he has to say to you, then act on that. Don’t pretend like there’s something in your heart when all you honestly feel for the man is disinterest.
However, if you do care, and you care too much, be sure to turn that down a notch.
You may be asking yourself why you should pretend like you don’t care in this situation. Well, he’s probably waiting for a response from you, but you shouldn’t give him whatever he’s seeking just because he seems sweet. He knows what he’s doing, trust me.
So pretend like you don’t care. And the best way to do that is to feign absolute disinterest in the fact that he’s texting you or messaging you over social media. Reply with something simple like “Good” or “Fine.”
You don’t even need to follow your answer up with a question. If you want to pretend like you don’t care, then you shouldn’t think about how he’s been doing.
He asked you how you were doing and you responded. That’s the entire conversation he’ll get from you, end of story.
4. Call him out
A great way to go about this is to call him out on his behavior. You may be thinking to yourself that you can text your ex and nothing will come of it, however, when you text back and continue the conversation, he’ll just think that everything’s fine.
He’ll think that you still want him and that you still care. And your love life can’t handle another blow like that – you need to see through his little games.
So, call him out. Especially if he was the dumper, he needs to know that he can’t just barge back into your life whenever he wants to just because he’s bored.
You’re sitting there wondering “Why is my ex even texting me?” and you don’t know how to respond when he’s asking you how you are. But you just need to be blunt.
Send him something like:
“Fine, until you texted me,” or if you’re feeling bold, “What do you want now?”
It’ll catch him off guard. You just need to be ready for him to potentially get petty because he’s too insecure and he knows that he messed up.
But who cares, right?
5. Be flirty
Well, this is probably the first time you’ve heard this one. Your best friend said that you can’t flirt with him anymore, but sometimes you just need the thrill.
You won’t flirt with him because you crave validation, but because you want to see where things could go.
Use this tactic when the breakup wasn’t that painful. If your ex was abusive and manipulative, then there’s no reason for you to act kind and flirty towards him.
But if he was a genuine sweetheart and you broke up because of something minuscule, then go ahead and flirt a bit with him.
You can say “Hey there handsome, long time no text. I’m fine, how about you?”
Or even “Look who it is. I thought you forgot about me. Well, I’m good, but I’d be better if you were here with me right now.”
As you can see, these are rather straightforward. Just take note that flirting with your ex is quite a dangerous playground. But if you’re confident enough, go for it!
How NOT to respond to an ex asking how you are
I don’t know if you’ve thought of this, but there are things you shouldn’t say or do when he asks you how you are. You want to be honest with him – and I get that, I really do – but you can’t put your pride aside just to please him or get an emotional response from him.
The number one thing you shouldn’t do is play the victim.
Even if it’s not an act and you genuinely feel lost and broken, he doesn’t need to know that. You know what he’s done to you and how many scars he’s left on you.
When you say things like “I’ve been better,” or “Not as good as I was when you were around,” you’re only confirming that you’re lost without him.
Do you want him to have that kind of power over you? Do you want to have him tell everyone how miserable you are without him?
Of course, you don’t. Because men don’t think the same way women do.
If he told you that he feels completely broken without you in his life, you’d feel so special. You’d want to take him back right away because you want a man to deem you that important.
But a man sees your sorrow as his accomplishment. He’ll be more devastated and sorry for the things he did when he knows that you’ve been doing way better since you got away from him.
Show him that you’re unfazed and let him experience what it means to want someone back so strongly that he can’t sleep at night. You won’t be able to get that kind of response if you’re just trying to get his sympathy.