By Chris Seiter

Updated on April 5th, 2021

We all know what it’s like to send a text message to an ex only to receive a short reply back.

It may have taken you days to muster up the courage to hit send, but you have finally opened the doors of communication.

The only problem is that your ex is not giving you enough in return.

His responses are short with words like “ok” or “cool”.

This leaves you with little to spring board into a meaningful conversation.

Why are his replies to your texts so short and what can you do about it?

Well, that’s what we are going to be looking at today.

The Top Three Culprits For Your Exes Short Replies

In my experience, there are basically three primary reasons or “culprits” for your ex’s short response.

  1. Your Text Message Was Boring
  2. Residual Baggage From Your Relationship
  3. The Timing Wasn’t Right

Let’s talk a bit about each one of these.

Culprit #1: Your Text Message Was Boring

New members often make this mistake often before they devour our program and try some of the text messages we recommend.

Sending a casual, uninteresting text message to your ex may have been normal for you to do in the relationship, but the dynamics have changed since the breakup.

If you want him to engage and respond now, you need an interesting hook to catch his attention and make him want to respond. Without a hook, your ex may want to be polite and send a short response, but he is not likely to give you the long response you want.

Make sure you do not fall prey to old communication patterns. In other words, make sure your text messages don’t suck.

Culprit #2: Residual Baggage from Your Relationship

If the relationship with your ex ended horribly, it’s likely there are hurt feelings on both sides.

It’s also entirely plausible that he may be reluctant to engage in a meaningful conversation with you as a result.

So, if you send him an interesting text message and he sends a short reply, it could be that he’s still carrying ill will towards you or baggage from your breakup.

Maybe it’s anger?

Maybe it’s hurt?

Regardless of the type of ill will, this could be the reason he’s not responding in a meaningful way.

Culprit #3: The Timing Just Isn’t Right

Let’s say that your ex is in the middle of a busy workday and about to enter a meeting when you attempt to start a conversation with him.

He may want to respond to you, because he does not want to be rude, but his time is limited.

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So, he responds with a quick text back to say “ok, cool”.

You get super hurt, because it wasn’t the response you anticipated.

What went wrong? Well, you texted him at the most inopportune time.

The wrong timing is a common culprit for an ex’s short response.

But you did not come here only to learn why your ex isn’t responding in a meaningful way.

You came here to find out what you can do about it.

Seven Things You Can Do To Change His Response

How should you respond after your ex gives you a short answer to your text message?

What should you do?

Well, let’s get our priorities straight first and start with a goal.

Your goal is to foster an environment where your ex is more likely to give you long, meaningful responses.

The way for you to achieve this goal is to do these 7 different things.

Thing #1: Do Not Get Upset

It’s difficult to not get upset when your ex messages you and it’s not in the way you wanted.

I’ve seen clients become confrontational with their exes in these situations and respond with anger.

They respond by saying, “is that it?” or “isn’t there more you wanted to say?”.

Do not fall into this trap.

Understand there are reasons why your ex is not responding to you in a meaningful way and it’s up to you to foster the environment to make that happen.

Don’t get upset with your ex.

Get upset with yourself, so you can do something about it.

Thing #2: Consider If Texting Is The Right Medium

Millennials do most of their communicating with exes through text messaging, so I spend a lot of time working with clients on perfecting their texting game.

However, every once in a while, I get a client from a different generation who is used to communicating primarily through phone calls and, in these cases, text messaging does not work well for their relationship. It’s because the foundation of the relationship was built through phone calls.

I have a current client in this situation.

She was in a long-distance relationship where they talked on the phone a lot and rarely texted.

When she finally texted her ex, she did not get a long or meaningful response, which was truly upsetting to her.

She worked so hard and he just did not play ball. So, we switched gears and focused on having her communicate with him by phone, since this was the method their relationship was established. After a month and a half, she finally gets on the phone with her ex and it went amazingly well. For her ex, a phone call was equivalent to a text message session.

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Keep this in mind.

Every situation is different.

While most people fall under the texting purview, it may not be the norm for your ex. It may be time to switch your game plan and talk on the phone with your ex instead of texting.

Thing #3: Give Your Ex Some Space

Earlier I talked about how relationship baggage and timing could be reasons for your ex’s short response.

Well, one ironic remedy to those is to do……nothing.

That’s right. Just sit back and wait.

Give your ex some space to allow time for their emotions to settle.

This is the primary reason for the No Contact Rule. It’s one of the best things you can do to increase an ex’s receptivity to your outreach. Give your ex some predetermined space, so the timing for your conversation improves.

There are situations, however, when space is given, and an ex still sends short replies. Now what? Well, in this situation, we recommend giving your ex more space.

You see, everything you do and every single interaction you have with your ex is going to teach you something. That’s why we recommend that you chart everything you do, including:

  • The Text Messages You Send
  • The Time it Took for Your Ex to Respond
  • The Timing and Duration of the No Contact Rule You Followed

The more data that you collect, the more you will notice patterns and trends.

Thing #4: Craft an Interesting Text Message

It blows my mind how many people do not understand how to craft an interesting text message.

Not only is the timing of your text important, but the quality of your text is important too.

That said, I do not coach my clients on how to have specific conversations with their ex.

That would be a recipe for disaster. Instead, I tell my clients to make it their goal to have interesting, insightful, and organic conversations with their ex.

Getting an ex to trust you enough to have an organic conversation won’t be easy. Start the conversation by catching his interest. It should be a text message that makes him do a doubletake, because that is more likely to get him engaged and respond.

One of our favorite approaches is the Damsel in Distress Text Message.

This approach essentially plays into a man’s hero complex.

The message says something along the lines of, “I need your help with something and I only really trust you for the answer”.

This approach is so simple, yet so effective. When executed properly.

Here’s how it could play out. You text your ex to say, “hey, I have a big problem at work and only really trust you for an answer”.

This approach does two things.

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First, it creates fear.

He’s alarmed and curious to hear about the big problem at work. Second, you tap into your ex’s hero complex, by saying, “I only really trust you for help”. It appeals to his curiosity and heroism, which will make your ex want to respond.

This is a technique to get your ex conversing with you, but remember it’s up to you to create a satisfying organic conversation.

Thing #5: Utilize Different Mediums for Your Text Messages

Human beings have five senses.

Yet, text messages only engage one sense.


But what if I told you there is a way to engage other senses, like hearing, with your text messages?

It’s important that when you’re conversing with your ex that you don’t just get comfortable with typing and texting.

It will become boring in the long run. Mix things up by sharing interesting articles or photos of yourself.

Leave different voice memos or voice messages in response to your ex’s text.

This is something new I’ve tried with family and friends with great results. Or send a video of yourself to your ex talking about something.

Try to keep your text messages to your ex interesting by engaging more than one of his senses and using different mediums. Don’t be satisfied with only engaging one sense.

Thing #6: Engage Your Ex in Their Interests

It always shocks me how little people think about their ex’s interests.

Many people go through the No Contact Rule obsessed with getting their ex back.

They think about the exact text message to send and plan everything out.

However, when it’s time to send the message and they get a short response, they often ask me what went wrong.

Well, it’s because they texted their ex about something he did not care about.

I tend to believe that human beings are incredibly self-interested.

We are interested in doing what is best for ourselves.

You are reading this article, because you want to gain insight to get your ex back and you believe that is going to be the best thing for you. Your ex is no different.

He went through the breakup, because he believed that being away from you was the best thing for him. It’s up to you to prove him wrong. And sometimes the way to prove an ex wrong is to get to know his interests in a very cozy way.

I think you will find that if you talk to your ex about one of his interests or passions, your conversations as a whole will become much more engaging.

I’ll give you an interesting example.

Everyone has passions in their life, but I’m a firm believer that we all have a secret passion that we don’t want anyone to know about. For me, I’m a big nerd and I love to read science fiction and fantasy books. I mean, I will devour any I can get my hands on, whether they’re good or bad. Usually if the book is bad, I don’t like it though. Go figure.

The more you get to know someone, the more likely they are to reveal their secret passion. Often the secret passion is something only our closest friends and family know about, so it’s a perfect topic to engage our exes.

For me, the topic could be anything related to science fiction, fantasy, character arcs, or story building, because I’m passionate about those things. I love talking and daydreaming about them, so they’re perfect topics.

You need to figure out your ex’s secret passion and center your conversation around it.

Quite frankly, I’m tired of seeing clients craft messages about sports.

Sports is generic and not likely to be a secret passion, because it’s so socially acceptable. But, let’s pretend your ex is a professional football player who is secretly into epic fantasy. That is likely a secret passion, because it’s not socially acceptable based on stereotypes, right?

Engaging your ex in their secret passion might be the key to getting them to open up.

Thing #7: End the Conversation First Whenever You Can

Here is the sad truth that most of my peers are afraid to share.

There is no secret text message that will get your ex to magically unlock their brain and pour out their soul into a conversation with you. The truth is that it takes a lot of hard work to establish a routine and environment that is conducive for that to happen.

If you follow the first six tips, it is likely to happen for you. But this next tip will tell you how to establish a pattern for it to continually happen.

I truly believe that it does not matter who begins the conversation. It matters who ends the conversation first.

It’s normal to want your ex to contact you first and to get upset when they don’t. Establishing a pattern for your ex to contact you first and engage in meaningful conversations occurs when you put in the work to create a pattern that leaves them always wanting more.

Start by engaging your ex in a conversation that is incredibly interesting to him and then suddenly end the conversation. Since he enjoyed the conversation, he’s likely to reach out to you again. With each conversation, he’ll start to open up until you are able to talk about a vast majority of topics.

This only happens, however, when you end the conversation first.

I’m not talking about engaging your ex in two text messages and then abruptly ending it with “hey, I got to go”.

I’m talking about…..

  • Engaging Your Ex with a Hook
  • Making Him Interested by Relating the Conversation to His Interests
  • Having a Satisfying Conversation
  • Then Ending the Conversation Slightly Prematurely

The Zeigarnik Effect explains this well.

This psychological concept says people remember incomplete tasks better than complete ones.

Here is an example. You are watching one of my YouTube videos when all of a sudden there is a gigantic scream off camera.

I stop everything and run out of view while the camera is still filming. Since I never return with an explanation, you are just left wondering what happened.

It would leave you with so many unanswered questions.

Your goal is to create this type of effect, but in a much more plausible and realistic way.

So, if you are engaged in an enjoyable conversation with your ex where you start getting butterflies and you never want the conversation to end, that is the perfect time to end the conversation. You will leave your ex wanting more.

Just like I am about to do.

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8 thoughts on “My Ex Replies To My Texts With Short Answers”

  1. SyllableCounter

    September 21, 2023 at 7:28 pm

    This is a great blog post! I have been struggling with the same issue and your advice is spot on. Thank you!

  2. Sheila

    April 26, 2022 at 11:58 pm

    At 26 weeks pregnant, me and my ex broke up. We ended on bad terms (he broke up with me) and he just ended up abruptly leaving, moving 4 hours away with his mother, without even telling me. Im now 36 weeks pregnant and have bought my own house and have just been bettering myself and going to counseling. Ive gone no contact and I’ve FINALLY just gotten him to the point where he’s actually open to calling the past couple days. We have called twice and both calls went well, but he’s incredibly dry, and seemingly uninterested over text. Since there’s going to be a baby here soon, I’m not sure how exactly to go about this situation. I’m not sure what’s appropriate to call about and whats not, or how soon I should try to see him in person, etc. Right now he seems very untrusting and shut off the idea of getting back together, but he’s also stated some things that make me feel like part of him may miss me and that if i can somehow show him that things are different, he may give me a chance. I just dont know how to do that when hes so far away. I dont JUST want to be coparents. I’d like to be a family with him, but I can’t find much advice on my specific situation, so its hard to know what to do.

  3. Ia

    October 24, 2021 at 12:31 pm

    Im not the one Who ended thr conversations first is all my work wasted Then? I sendt him a Job advertisment i toought he might be intresed in. Because i know hees change Jobs often. I also ended the conversation with a friendley heart and a smiley , there was nothing more to say after i sendt this heart and smiley lol. But im scared that heart ruined it all. I mean i always send hearts to people i talk to. I know that he dont want to give me false hopes to, so he is realy strctly when hes texting back. He also Maze it claire that we are not in a reallationship.. Eaven after no contact on 1,5 Month. He style hasent change his Minde… What can i do next, ore not do

  4. Latresse

    April 2, 2021 at 5:33 pm

    My ex contact me and now he’s being dry. He changed his numbing all like what do you want from me is he trying to continue hurt me

  5. Nervous

    August 26, 2020 at 11:51 pm

    Hi! So I completed a 45 day no contact and did my first contact message. I used the “this is random but…” hook and asked if he heard about some news that happened in a subject he’s interested in. He replied “yes” 8 minutes later and then “why” 20 minutes later. I responded 2 hours later and made a joke about the news and then said I had to go. So I got a response, he responded pretty quickly, and asking “why” 20 minutes after shows that he thought about the message for a little while after responding. However, the response was definitely neutral. How should I proceed? Do I wait a week and then send another first contact type message?

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      August 27, 2020 at 1:49 pm

      You reach out again in around 3/4 days with your second text

  6. Confused

    August 16, 2020 at 1:03 pm

    Hi Chris,
    Im a few months on after NC and have gradually rebuilt rapport. We have had texting convos and some voicecalls, theres been conversation in person too. How do I respond when he now seems to have gone cold and pulled away again with contact and short response texts. It doesnt really fall under any of the 3 categories you mentioned above. We had a couple of more intense conversations lately, the most recent very long, fun, flirty and leading to sexual texting. It wasnt full on, no feelings expressed. He seems to have regretted that conversation (i have a feeling his friend also wouldve told him off for letting it go that far). Now i think his distance is to ignore that and try to maintain the ‘only friends’ thing. How do I respond?

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      August 17, 2020 at 10:20 pm

      Hey there, look up the rubber banding effect this should help you understand why he goes cold at times. Also sometimes you need to pull back a little if they sense that you want more than friendship.