Filled with emotions and confusion, breakups can be complicated. Text messages often make this even more difficult, especially when they have no context. Believe me, if you’re confused about how to respond to an ex asking how you are, you’re in good company.
She’s no longer in your life and maybe and you’ve probably had no contact at all in recent weeks. All of a sudden, her name pops up in your notifications and she wants to know how you’re doing. It’s only natural that this would leave you confused.
In this article, we’ll be looking at a few basic things to keep in mind. I’ll also be giving you five different responses depending on your situation and the outcome you’re looking for.
The reason it’s difficult to respond to a message like this is emotions. You’re doing your thing and getting over the breakup. All of a sudden, a single text brings so many emotions flooding back, all without prior warning.
However you’re feeling about the breakup, there are four pieces of advice I want you to remember. Let’s take a look at those before I get into how to respond to an ex asking how you are.
A lot of advice online suggests that you ignore the message no matter what. That even if you want her back, ignoring her will promote intrigue and make her want you more.
I’m not getting into that topic here, but what I will say is she’s your ex, not a piece in some game. Unless the breakup was particularly messy and you want nothing to do with her, respond. It’s basic human decency.
Even a short “I still need some time” or “I’m still working through things, I’ll message you soon” is enough. Completely ignoring her is just asking for unnecessary conflict.
There are no rules around how long you should take, just don’t let emotions write the message for you. Take some time to think your response through before you send it.
Whether your first response is anger, heartbreak or something in between, letting that dictate your reply is a bad move.
If you need to, write out a reply then give it a couple of hours. If you read over your reply again after that time and are still happy with it, send away. Most of the time you’ll end up rewriting your message and sending a more constructive reply once those emotions have subsided.
Besides, if you haven’t communicated in weeks, replying in 12 seconds will make you look desperate. That’s not the message you want to convey.
In that time before you reply to her message, try to figure out exactly what you want from this situation. Do you want her back? Maybe just as friends? Do you think it’s better to part ways entirely?
Whatever you decide, you must make up your mind before you reply (as you’ll see below). This is about you and what kind of relationship you want (if any). It’s not a factor she should be able to influence and now is the perfect time to figure it out.
Once you’ve made your decision, stick to it. You’re no longer together and you need to make decisions for yourself.
She asked how you are, but that doesn’t mean you should go pouring your heart out in response.
Until you figure out where the two of you stand, it’s best to keep that to yourself. For all you know she’s only messaging you to get some of her things. If you’ve just responded with a 500-word message about how sad you are without her, things are about to get awkward!
Once you determine your ideal outcome from this situation, knowing how to respond to an ex asking how you are gets easier.
Below are five example replies you can use depending on your preferred outcome.
Everyone has their own style, so go ahead and change the wording if you need to. These examples should at least give you a good base to work from.
If she cheated on you or did something equally unforgivable, you may never want to see her again. You might want to get over her as fast as possible, and her texting isn't going to help. In this instance, shutting her out of your life is the healthiest response for you both.
If you respond at all, try this:
“I think it’s best we go our separate ways. Please don’t message me.”
Short, respectful and to the point. A longer reply invites interpretation and discussion, neither of which are needed here because you know that the relationship is really over.
If the breakup is still very fresh, you might need more time to figure out what you want and that’s okay too.
If that’s the case, you can respond with something like:
“Hey, it’s nice to hear from you. I’m still working through things for myself and need some more time. I’ll message you soon. Hope you’re doing okay.”
This puts a temporary hold on communication but lets her know why. You’re keeping the door open for the future but giving yourself the space you need for now.
After a long-term relationship, it seems like a waste to cut that person out of your life completely. You shared so much together and know each other better than most.
In that case, remaining friends or at least staying civil seems logical.
If this is the outcome you’ve decided on, you can start now by responding the same as you would a friend:
“I’m good, how are you?”
Simple, right? There’s no need to make any requests here or enforce any space between the two of you. Just invite an open discussion and see where things go.
If she starts talking about relationship stuff, you can respond with:
“I needed some time to think things through after we broke up. Given how things ended I think we’re better off staying friends.”
This kind of open communication can be challenging, but it’s also the best way to form a legitimate friendship with her. If you're the petty type, you might even consider making her jealous of your new life by responding with how great things are now. But maybe consider the repercusions first.
Deciding exactly what you want here isn’t always a simple decision. There are so many factors involved and sometimes it just needs further discussion. You might want to make her fall back in love with you, but it's not the right time.
If that’s the case, let her know where your head is at so you can both talk it through. It could be that you want to get back together, but you’ve seen a red flag that you need to discuss first.
I’d suggest approaching it with a very generic “I’m good, how are you?”
Once you’ve established some basic conversation, it’s time to let her know. Something like:
“I’ve been thinking a lot about how things ended. I think we worked well together, but we need to talk about [red flag topic] before I’d be comfortable going there again.”
From this point, it’s probably a good idea to suggest meeting up for a coffee or something to discuss in person. Heavy topics like this rarely go well over text message.
It's tricky to know how to respond to an ex asking how you are, but it's even trickier if you want her back.
This is where the stakes are the highest, so tread carefully. Make sure you’ve taken some time to think about it all clearly before you push down this route. If everything is still fresh, it’s almost impossible to look at it objectively.
Until you’re at a point where you can do that, being constructive here won’t be easy at all. This is especially the case if you want her back after hurting her.
When you’re ready, this is another situation where a simple “I’m good, how are you?” is the best initial reply. You just want to get some basic conversation going to see where she’s at too.
If she seems responsive, let her know what you’ve been thinking about and any progress you’ve made. Something along the lines of:
“I think we worked well together, but there were a couple of things we needed to address. Maybe this time apart is exactly what we needed to realize that. I’d like to discuss this more and maybe try this again.”
The exact wording here will change on the situation, but the point is you’re communicating openly. You should never go assigning blame here as that just turns into an argument. Instead, just try to stay objective about what went wrong.
Rather than begging or asking her permission, just let her know what you’d like from this and let her make up her own mind. It’s a delicate situation and she’ll appreciate you not pressuring her right now.
With these five examples and general tips, you’ll know just how to respond to an ex asking how you are.
For such a simple question, it sure can be a complicated topic. So long as you’re being respectful and communicating clearly about where you’re at, things should turn out well.
There are still a lot of emotions involved here, but do your best to keep them under control. If you can keep everything calm and constructive, you’re setting yourself up for the best possible outcome.