By Chris Seiter

Updated on April 6th, 2021

A new problematic trend I’ve seen emerging in my clients’ lives and on social media that of a “Clean Slate” message or letter.

I’ve never spoken about this idea much because it’s never been this common. Still, I’ve always seen it as a dangerous thing, and now that it’s becoming so popular, I feel like I NEED to share why I think it’s one of the most dangerous things you can do when trying to get your ex back.

Now, what exactly is a clean slate text message?

So, this idea stems from having an argument with your ex and then sending a message apologizing for your behavior to somehow “wipe the slate clean.”

I’ve seen a lot of “experts” recommend this clean slate maneuver right before a no contact rule.

I don’t think that’s the way to go.

This situation is more like a “blind leading the blind” one, and I picked that up almost a decade ago when I started in this line of work.

I still decided to give it a shot, though, because if so, many experts are talking about it, there must be some logic behind it, right?


When I tried recommending this technique in the early stages of creating my website and starting my business, the results from this were NOT even close to being good.

If you see some of my peers’ videos still recommending these text messages, you will often find comments from people getting poor results when they try this.

What does a “poor result” exactly mean, though?

Simply put, they send a clean slate text, and the ex either says, “Well, Bye, Felicia. Good luck with the rest of your life” or does not respond at all. That’s not exactly what you want when you’re trying to get your ex back.

WHY does a clean slate text message fail so much?

Over the past ten years, we’ve found there to be six primary reasons for why the clean slate text message is bound to fail.

Here are those 6 reasons.

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Reason #1: It uses words as opposed to actions.

I hate using this analogy, but let’s be honest- it works when it comes to most men.

So, my wife and I have been watching this TV show called the dog whisperer.

It’s about this guy who comes in and instantly clicks with “troublesome” dogs and trains them really well.


Watching that show made me think of how I always assumed that the way to deal with a bad dog was to stand firm and raise your voice. Interestingly, the dog whisperer does not do that at all.

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Instead of using words, he uses actions. He comes up to the dogs, and he disciplines the dog by touching it a little bit, never actually harming the dog, though.

The main takeaway is that we should emphasize ACTIONS, not WORDS.

This guy gets the most amazing results with this method of using actions as opposed to words. That’s how I operate and advise my clients too. You need ACTIONS to get your ex back because words don’t hold much meaning without actions to back them up.

So, my game plan for getting an ex back will always be more involved than merely sending an apologetic text message that requires zero effort.

Actions like the no contact rule are almost always more effective if you go right into them instead of prefacing them with words first.

One of my biggest issues with the timing of the clean slate message is when others recommend it right before a no contact rule. The no contact rule is supposed to create anticipation and give you the upper hand when it’s over.

You lose that chance when you give your ex a warning first because it takes away most of the suspense and desire to talk.

Wiping the slate clean is like making a formal announcement of the no contact rule, and that’s a big NO if you are trying to get your ex back.

Reason #2: The clean slate text message makes YOU feel better, not your ex.

Now you might be a very forgiving person, but generally speaking, it takes much more than a simple text message or letter to make someone forgive and forget after a breakup causing fight.

In fact, for the most part, all the clean slate message does is make you feel better for your actions or words.

If you really think about it, though, that’s the opposite of what a sincere apology should do.

This kind of message is supposed to make your ex feel better and reset your relationship, but it rarely works out that way.

Your ex might just look at your text message and scoff at the idea that you’re bringing it up again because you just can’t let it go. The way most clean slate messages are written further reinforces the idea that it’s all about you and your need to be absolved of your mistakes than about actually making up for them.

So, if this kind of message doesn’t make your ex feel better, why would they want you back after reading it?

Short answer: They probably won’t.

Reason #3: Timing for apologies needs to be right.

The point of an apology should ideally be to be forgiven so you can move on, right?

But for that to happen, the timing must be perfect for both parties. So, you can’t just apologize when it’s convenient for you and expect things to be back to normal.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying apologies are a bad thing, or there’s no time for it. There absolutely is a place for an apology on the road to getting your ex back.

But I only like apologies when the time is right.

The clean slate text message has you apologizing at the worst moment when your ex is at his most emotional and angry state. How can you expect any positive response at that stage?

Timing matters, and so does the WAY in which you apologize.

The clean slate message is a very indirect and impersonal way of apologizing so it could easily come off as insincere or rushed. I believe apologies are MUCH more impactful when they come directly.

Perhaps the best time to apologize is right before you get your ex back or right after you’ve gotten them back, not before you’ve tried anything.

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Reason #4. It warns your ex before a no contact rule

Now I know I’ve touched on this in reason one but it’s SO important that I felt like it deserved a special shout out again.

The clean slate text message/email/letter warns your ex before you implement a no contact rule.

I just told you how important timing is, so the same applies to the no contact rule.

For it to really work, it needs to be executed at the perfect time.

Rather than giving your ex a cue by apologizing and saying you won’t be talking for 30 days; you should try to end it all abruptly without giving them any hints to what you are doing.

Abruptly jumping into the no action rule takes your ex aback and makes them pay more attention to you as opposed to reading your apology and then feeling like the conversation is settled.

Reason #5: Apologies need to be direct, not indirect.

Again, I already said this, but it is one of those things that needs to be repeated to make sure that you all get it!

An indirect apology will never have the same “oomph” as a direct one.

What’s the difference, you ask?

Have you ever received a written apology from someone? Did it change your opinion of the person or situation? Maybe so, but that’s incredibly rare!

Apologizing in person is almost always more effective because it shows genuine effort.

Reason #6: Sometimes you shouldn’t apologize.

Here’s one thing I’ve learned in my decade of doing this – if people are upset, it’s probably for a reason.

If you’ve acted crazy or angry, you probably did it because your ex pushed you to the edge.

If that’s the case, it is NOT okay to reinforce that negative behavior and let them think they “won” by making you apologize.

That sets a dangerous precedent of your ex expecting apologies and patience from you when you get back too.

How do you judge if it’s time to apologize, though? Honestly, you can answer this best because you know when you stepped over the line and when you just responded like any normal person would when agitated.

You should not have to apologize for something your ex considers wrong if you don’t consider it wrong too.

It’s totally okay to get a little emotional when it comes to breakups, so there is absolutely no need to become a doormat by apologizing if that’s all that happened. Literally every person I’ve worked with has had some emotional outbursts during breakups, so it’s perfectly normal and expected.

Just be honest with yourself – did your behavior warrant an apology? If yes, maybe go for a direct apology. But if not, no need to embarrass yourself and give in.


I’m hoping this article made you understand why the clean slate message is NOT a good idea if you want your ex back but just to make sure you remember it all, here is a quick recap of the 6 reasons why it’s a bad idea:

  • It uses words instead of actions.
  • It makes you feel better, not your ex.
  • Apologies need to be timed right.
  • It warns your ex before a no contact rule, thus reducing its effectiveness.
  • Apologies should always be direct.
  • An apology is not always necessary.

So yeah, put yourself in your ex’s shoes and imagine how and when YOU would like to be apologized to. Chances are you’d want an apology in person after you’ve had time to process the argument, so maybe your ex deserves the same!

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22 thoughts on “The Clean Slate Message Is A Bad Idea”

  1. Anon

    February 12, 2024 at 9:48 pm

    He wanted us to stay in contact after we broke up, and I made it clear to him that I would be blocking him everywhere and that I would approach him when I was ready to be friends. Have I totally shot myself in the foot? The quiz otherwise gives us a score of 75

    1. Coach Shaunna

      February 13, 2024 at 10:04 pm

      Hey there, no not completely however, he does now know that when you reach out to him that it is because you are less upset about the break up – be sure that you are working through some articles that we have here about self work and the Holy Trinity so that when you do speak with your ERP again you are in a better headspace

  2. So

    May 5, 2021 at 5:35 am

    My ex replied my email after a month of NC but i got led on and decided to visit him uninvited drunk at night. He called a police on me. What should i do next…help please…

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      May 13, 2021 at 8:11 pm

      Hi So, I would suggest that you start moving on from your ex, once the authorities are involved I think you’ve gone too far.

  3. Paige

    March 29, 2021 at 12:44 am

    Well unfortunately I sent a text that basically said, “sex with you is great and I know you’re busy and only have time for quickies and there’s nothing wrong with that, but I’m looking for a little more. I’m not going to ghost you, but I am going to chill out for now because I feel like I’m always pressuring you.” His response: “Ok I understand. It’s probably for the best, I’m sorry.” Of course I had to text back right away, “I’m sorry too, take care.” And he responded with the same, “Take care.”

    Is there ANY chance this guy will see my value and text me? Should I text him after 30 days?

    What to do when you have sent the “clean slate” before the NC?

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      April 16, 2021 at 7:41 pm

      Hey Paige so if you have sent that text already then you are going to have to make sure that you spend the rest of your NC really focusing on yourself and not reaching out to your ex at all, not even watching social media.

  4. Pep

    July 12, 2020 at 11:49 pm

    What if you have acted wrongly by begging her to come back and she came back because she thinks you are hurt and she don’t want you to keep hurting and later told you that she don’t have feelings for you anymore, how do you correct that mistake

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      July 13, 2020 at 4:33 pm

      Hi Pep, the point of No Contact is to get over that initial hurt and pain and learn to control your emotions. While understanding that this person needs to be away from you for a little while. It hurts and it is heartbreaking but ask yourself do you want to be with someone because they feel bad for you, or do you want to be with someone who loves you

  5. That gurl

    June 16, 2020 at 11:11 pm

    Well…I discovered this site and post too late. Basically, I’ve already sent that clean slate message before even finding this site. And to be honest, I understand why he dumped me. We’d only been dating three months before covid happened in March, and while his business was at risk and he was balancing loans and a second job and online training…I was trying to text him every other day, sometimes every day, telling him I miss him, and wanting phone calls once a week or so. I know, I was being extra…I just didn’t know what was going to happen and was scared he’d abandon me, so boom, made it happen by accident while trying to prevent it.

    So…well, fuck. I feel like I’ve sort of set myself up to fail, right? I sent that message the day after he dumped me, and…cringe..another the day after that. It’s been about a week and a half, and not only do I still feel the normal emotional crap (tears, ugh), I also feel embarrassed and ashamed as hell. I just can’t see him wanting to hear from me and now that I read this, I certainly don’t see him reaching out to me, I already knew in the grand scheme of things I was not exactly a high priority.

    I kind of feel awful and don’t know how to be proactive.

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      June 27, 2020 at 6:02 pm

      Hey there, so it is not uncommon that people find this site after they’ve done a few things that they shouldn’t but the important thing now is that you change your mindset and the way you are dealing with the break up, working on yourself read articles that apply to your situation and work on your Holy Trinity

  6. D

    April 11, 2020 at 4:51 am

    Can I send the clean slate text after a no contact?

    I am in the no contact as I have been acting begging before and want give him space as the more I talked with him the more I over analys everything.

    Our relationship wasn’t bad at all, he let me go because he said there are things he needs to deal on his own. He said he is following his gut feeling. The was a moment in between the relationship where he said the same thing that he needed a bit space will continue as friends the next week we meet up. He goes out his hand on my leg and kisses me. So yeah we have a strong connection he himself said he couldn’t resist.

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      April 12, 2020 at 7:53 pm

      Hi D, we do not advise sending a clean slate text. As this just un does the work you ahve done during the NC. You just need to reach out with a text that is going to get him talking about something brief that he is interested in. It needs to be short, positive and you need to end the conversation first, three texts max. And then the next time you reach out extend the number of texts you send before you end the conversation again

  7. jessica

    February 27, 2020 at 4:19 am

    hi my ex and i are both college students i don’t think i want to get back with my ex at this point i dont but if something happens in the future i can’t speak to that but i do want to be friends we were really good friends before we got together we were together for 4ish months and broke up at the end of august/beginning of sept we stopped talking for like 3 weeks and then were tentative friends but i think we both took a lot of personal shit out on each other and from mid october to mid november we were just constantly fighting at the end he said he didn’t want me in his life even as friends and i backed out of his life

    i didn’t reach out again for 3 months which ik is a v extended no contact but considering what happened i believe it was needed i reached out feb 20 thanking him for being there for me when a family member died and he responded in a sweet but generic way saying essentially np hope you and your family are well and sorry for your loss i never responded just bc of the topic and this was before i’d fully decided i wanted to be friends i was just trying to get closure in terms of the death but i texted him again today and he’d been considering a certain major that my friend was considering and i just sorta asked oh did you end up choosing this major my friend may do it but she’s conflicted with another major and he never responded its been about 11 hours and he def has taken longer to respond in the past but my gut feeling in this situation is that he isn’t going to

    i’d been getting a lot of signs that i should perhaps reach out again and try to be friends i ran into him on valentines day (both still single so that makes me feel better lol) and running into him at dining halls and on campus all the time lately when i have friends that i can go months without seeing and i hadn’t seen him in months i am a believer in signs from a different realm and these sort of pushed me to text him today in addition i had a pretty strong gut feeling that we’d end up being friends so i was sort of devastated and confused when he didn’t respond bc my gut feelings are almost always right

    i think what’s been happening is that i haven’t been giving him the agency he needs and it just ends up in me confusing him and that’s why he doesnt respond and i was thinking (hopefully in person bc we get breakfast alone at the same place and same time on one or two days of the week) of going up to him and just being like “hey ik this is sorta weird but i’m reflecting on the relationships i’ve made and given up on since i’ve been in college and just trying to figure out if they’re something worth having in my life and i think we both got caught up in ourselves when we were fighting last sem and at first our friendship wasn’t r something i was considering of doing this with but then i reached out in feb and i felt like i was getting certain signs not from you but like a higher power where i was told if i didn’t try to figure this out it’d be something i’d regret in the future and im not saying like hey let’s become friends but just giving us a space to sort of explore whether or not being friends brings us something that we consider valuable and most of the time the people i’ve done this with we come to a mutual agreement to be or not be friends and i don’t wanna regret not trying in relationships in the future especially bc we were so close and i feel like we shared a lot with each other and so that’s why im asking to try this thing where we can just talk not about what happened (although if you want to do that i’d be open to it but its not necessarily something i try to focus on) but just regularly and use that to see what’s better suited for us and if you say no then i can’t have regrets bc i tried but i guess im just trying to give both of us the room and space to not have regrets and move forward in a positive way where our friendship doesn’t have the ending it does”

    i have been reassessing relationships (platonic and romantic) and ours wasnt one i was originally planning to do that with but i think he’s someone who won’t respond to my behind the scenes manipulation but may be more receptive to me being up front and honestly i think there’s still a good chance he could say no but i think since i’m not trying to get back with him and the behind the scenes stuff isn’t working this would be better i was wondering if this is too much like a clean slate message bc thats not at all what i want to say bc i think a clean slate is impossible and i was wondering that for pursing a friendship you think this is a good idea and could work better than the methods i tried in the past and that failed then and now in february and generally if you think this could be a way to form a friendship with an ex

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      March 12, 2020 at 10:26 pm

      Hey Jessica, I do not recommend that you send that message. If you want your ex to be a friend in the future then you need to allow some time in silence. Minimum 45 days where you are allowing some real space between you both. You must stick with the fact that you are not wanting him back as a partner if you are going to reach out to him as a friend. Friend zoning yourself is going to take a lot of work to get out of if you do that. If he is not ready to be your friend at first you have to accept that it may take time

  8. Jill

    February 21, 2020 at 12:48 am

    Ok, i understand what youre saying. Thank you for your reply Shaunna, it helps alot. One last question, do you have any suggestions to what i can say to avoid responding to questions about us but without annoying him further? Ive understood from him that a big part of my attraction or my ‘value’ to him was how naturally we communicated and got along and it diminished as we got into a rut of arguments and me becoming distant/ ignoring/snapping at him. I think No Contact is a good idea but i dont want to exacerbate the original problem(breakdown of communication). Is there a way of doing Limited No Contact but maintaining that ‘value’ or at least not harming it any further in his eyes? Is there a particular way to approach it? I know its a lot to ask but i would really appreciate your advice

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      February 22, 2020 at 10:28 pm

      Hi Jill, right now you need to follow No contact, there is no reason for you to follow limited no contact

  9. Jill

    February 20, 2020 at 9:46 pm

    Ugh i had to see him today at work, i kept it professional but its obvious im avoiding him. He came into the canteen on my break to see if i still didnt want to be his friend, i couldnt talk and eventually just turned round and said i couldnt talk about that stuff at work, then he just said ok and left. I feel like im going to push him away. The reason he broke things off was because i was acting like this before on and off , getting frustrated and angry and he got sick of trying to talk to me, he said he didnt feel like it was easy to talk to me anymore. Im worried the No Contact doesnt apply in thus case

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      February 20, 2020 at 10:12 pm

      Hi Jill, so he wants to be your “friend” so that he is not awkward in work, he doesn’t feel guilt for ending the relationship and to make it easier for him at work. Keep the the program if you want to try this route of trying to get him back

  10. Jill

    February 19, 2020 at 2:58 pm

    I tild him i couldnt be his friend and he said he was sorry i couldnt, then i messaged him and said i was sorry too and that i qouldnt bother him anymore and goodbye. 🙁 now what? He appreciates i cant be his friend and agrees to it?

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      February 19, 2020 at 9:05 pm

      Hi Jill you can start following the rules of No Contact and work on yourself for some time. And make sure you read all the information on this website that is designed to help you, especially the texting information

  11. Gabriela Gallegos

    February 4, 2020 at 9:50 pm

    What if you apologized right after the break up? I had been getting blown off by him on weekends (3 consecutively to be exact) he would give me pretty good excuses. Personal things happening and what not so I’d respect that he had things going on. We had plans to meet up the 4th weekend (the weekend I snapped per say). He canceled on me last minute by saying something serious had happened and that’s when I told him if he had lost interest or seeing someone else to just say so and I’d leave him alone. He responded and said, I clearly stated something serious happened, but whatever. I didn’t respond, the following morning he text me an explanation of the serious thing that happened. It involved his daughter and he said he was okay with us not bothering each other anymore, so I apologized and of course that is way more important than meeting up with me. I explained the reason for me snapping, it had been going on for the last few weekends and communication was not the greatest between the 2 of us, he keeps to himself a lot but I respected that. So
    I explained the actions he had been doing that led me to assume he was uninterested or worst seeing another female. He responded, no hard feelings, take care. I asked if we could work things out but he never responded. Haven’t talked to him since and he has not looked for me. It’s been about 1 week in a half. Should I just forget about it since I blew things off by assuming things that weren’t?

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      February 12, 2020 at 9:19 pm

      Hi Gabriela, so you have ended things because you were not satisfied with the relationship and how he was behaving in the relationship. So, not much is going to change if you are going to ask your ex to come back. You need to complete a No contact where you do not reach out or reply to your ex at all for 30 days minimum. And work on yourself in that time so that your ex sees how well you are doing without him.