It's festive season and you're lonely. I get it. I get lonely too. Sometimes it feels like every other human is snuggled up with their partner, going on holidays with their partner, buying cutesy stupid presents for their cutesy stupid partner.
There are lots of things you can do. You can phone a friend. You can watch Love Actually for the 57th time and cry. You can eat a tub of ice cream. You can drink a bottle of wine. You can watch Love Actually while eating ice cream and drinking wine.
But here is what not to do:
Text your ex. You know, the one who dumped you, the one who broke your heart, the one who left you for someone else, or told you they weren't ready for commitment, or that they love you, but not like that, or that the timing is just wrong.
Do not text them.
Texting your ex is never a good idea. It is, in general, an extremely terrible, very bad, not good at all idea. And you know that, because you've done it before. You've texted your ex, and you've hooked up again, or you've been rejected, or you've been gently let down, and never, ever, in a million years does it end well for you.
You know this. And yet … you miss them so much. And their number is still on your phone. And they look so cute in their latest Instagram picture. And they made you feel so loved, so connected. And you are so very lonely.
Your finger hovers over their number. It's just one little text. It's so hard to resist!
But here's the thing. Your ex may be single. Your ex may have a partner. Your ex may be happy. Your ex may be sad. Your ex may be thrilled you're out of their life or remember you fondly. None of this is relevant. None of this changes the outcome. If your ex wanted you back, they would have called you and asked.
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If we dump someone and regret it, we try to get them back. We may not be sure they still love us. We may not be sure they'll talk to us at all. We may have deleted their phone number. We may have lost our phone. But if we dump someone and regret it, we will damn well find a way to reach out. Trust me, if your ex wanted you back, they would have called you and asked.
But your ex hasn't called, which means they don't want you back. Now, if you get your ex at the right moment, you might get a chat out of them, or a drink. You might end up going out for dinner, or shagging wildly for an hour or three.
But your ex doesn't want you back, so after the shag, you'll be rejected again. You will undo all the progress you've made since the break-up, and reset yourself back to zero. Do not do it.
But if all else fails, and you've typed out 'Hey', or 'You up?', or 'I miss you', or – god forbid – 'Please take me back!', do this:
Think of the last person you rejected. It could be someone you dated, or someone who made a move on you, or it could be a person you don't like who has been trying to be your friend. Now imagine how you would feel if that person texted. Would you feel irritated? Turned off? Would you feel pity? Would you feel disdain?
Now imagine your ex feeling that way about you when you text. Imagine them feeling irritated, or pitying, or feeling disdain, or being turned off. You are far too awesome to do that to yourself. Save yourself. Save your dignity. Save your phone data. Put down the phone.
You won't regret it, I promise. Have an ice cream. Have some wine. Watch a stupid movie. This too shall pass. Festive seasons aren't always festive. You're going to be just fine.
Kerri Sackville is a freelance writer and author of Out There: A Survival Guide for Dating in Midlife | @KerriSackville