The stages of grief are well studied.
Most people associate these stages with death, but they can be applied to other causes of grief as well. Things such as the loss of a job, a traumatic injury, or even a breakup can all trigger the stages of grief.
While people transition through the stages at different rates, they work as an outline to help people understand why they are feeling the way that they feel.
Not only are each of the five stages identified but there is a large body of research which exists to help people navigate the stages and move through them in a healthy manner.
Why am I telling you this?
That’s a fair question.
Let’s assume that you have successfully made it through No Contact. You have your first contact text all planned and you finally work up the courage to hit the send button. Then you wait. And. Wait…. and wait some more. But that text back never comes.
Prepare yourself… you’re about to go through the Stages of Not Getting a Text Back.
Stage One: Panic
You hit the send button and instantly bite your lip.
Oh no… Was that the right thing to say?
Why did I use THAT word?!
This was a mistake…
You read and reread your sent message over and over.
Once the initial “What have I done” feeling passes you notice that the clock is ticking but no reply has come.
ten minutes go by and still, nothing has come.
Your heart jumps into your throat and you realize that they are never going to respond, they’ve forgotten you, they hate you. They’re probably laughing at you right now!!
One minute, five minutes, ten minutes go by and still nothing has come.Your heart jumps into your throat and you realize that they are never going to respond, they’ve forgotten you, they hate you. They’re probably laughing at you right now!!
Your heart jumps into your throat and you realize that he is never going to respond.
He’s forgotten you.
He hates you.
He’s probably laughing at you right now!!
Close your eyes
Take a deep breath
Let’s work through this stage like a sane person for a minute.
The conclusions that you are jumping to are most likely not the case.
First, evaluate the entire situation.
Did you send the text during work hours? Perhaps they haven’t answered because they are working or otherwise busy.
Next, consider the situation again.
You’ve successfully ignored this person for the last thirty days. Maybe they have reached out to you in that time and maybe they haven’t. Either way, they have heard nothing from you and now here you are, popping back up. This may take time from him to process depending on how he is feeling regarding the breakup.
The most important thing to remember when trying to survive this stage is that patience is key. Don’t panic and overreact. Instead, do something fun to distract yourself so that you aren’t checking your phone every ten seconds.
Stage Two: Paranoia
The paranoia stage is really the panic stage 2.0.
As your mind is racing you’ll begin to wonder WHY you aren’t getting the text back that you so desperately want, your mind will wander and you’ll begin imagining the gorgeous women that he is with. Tall, thin, and strong with hair longer and thicker than yours. You’ll start picturing things you KNOW you shouldn’t be picturing—and that’s the key.
Honestly, your ex probably fell asleep with a terrible movie playing in the background and his hand down their pants with Dorito crumbs covering their shirt and that’s the reason you aren’t getting that text back.
Recognize that these thoughts of your Ex being out with a replacement are destructive and unlikely.
Look at this way.
Assume that your wildest suspicions are correct and whatever terrible things you imagine your ex is doing are true. Will you panicking over it change it?
Recognize your worth and believe, truly believe that you have more to offer your ex than any other person could. Your projection of confidence will not only help you to pass through The Stages successfully but will draw others to you.
Stage Three: Sadness/Shame
Once the initial panic has subsided a little you are going to be left still staring at a phone with no new notifications.
At this point, your panic will turn to sadness and shame.
That’s understandable. It’s humiliating to put yourself on the line and be so vulnerable to someone just to have it ignored. You’ll start to let your thoughts become clouded by self-doubt. This is the time when you’ll stand in front of the mirror chewing on your fingernails wondering what you needed to change to make him remember you. The tears well up and you realize… You were never enough.
Your fingers will begin to itch and it is now that the gnatting begins.
“I’m sorry I texted you.”
“I know I shouldn’t have.:
“I know you don’t care about me.”
Woah. Easy. Pump the brakes.
The EBR gurus have explained why gnatting is the wrong way to go.
Desperation and self-pity are not going to draw anyone to you.
Best case scenario is that you’ll get a “Please stop,” text back.
Worst case scenario you’ll push an already hesitant Ex farther away.
Either way… these thoughts are destructive and most importantly NOT TRUE!
Your feelings of self-worth should never rest on the actions of another person. If you find yourself in the sadness/shame stage the most important thing to do is focus on your health, wealth, and relationships.
Put your phone down and go to the gym. Take some time to learn a new hair style or makeup technique. Leave your phone in your car while you go out with a friend.
Taking your mind off your sadness and focusing on positive actions will force you to remember that your life is SO much more than a text back.
Stage Four: Anger
The next stage is quite possibly the most destructive stage.
Once you get out and about and realize what a badass you truly are you’ll start to feel angry. And anger is a dangerous emotion.
How dare he not text you back?
It’s at this point that we tend to get a little crazy. This is the point where the “You aren’t worth my time! I never loved you!” texts come to life.
We say things that we don’t mean and we do things that we later regret.
It’s during this stage that we show up at their house to throw unwanted gifts at the front door.
We rant and rave and when it’s all over we stare in horror at the destruction that lays before us.
The worst part? The crazy ex act does nothing except make them believe that ignoring you is the smartest choice they’ve ever made.
So, what to do when that fire starts to burn inside you?
Channel it into going for a long run.
Take a kick boxing class.
Whatever you must do to burn that energy off, do it. Don’t let it simmer. If you don’t want to work it off then meditate or take part in some relaxing yoga. A non-physical method of releasing the anger is to write down everything you are feeling and why you are feeling that way.
Letting it sit and simmer in your chest will only result in an explosion later.
OR, possibly worse still, resentment will form and will place a block between you and your ex which will resurface later. Getting that negative energy out of your body is the only way to move through this stage successfully.
Stage Five Option One: Acceptance
If you have gone through all the above stages successfully you will be able to recognize that not receiving a text back is NOT, in fact, the end of the world.
Your life is beautiful and full and while you recognize that this is a minor disappointment, you know that you are so much more than this one set back. You’ll accept the situation with grace and will be able to move on to the next chapter: What to do after not getting a text back.
Stage Five Option Two: Stuck.
If you were unable to successfully pull yourself through any of the first four stages you’ll find yourself stuck.
Either you’ll have sent messages or done something that you can’t take back or you’ll find yourself in a negative mindset that does not allow you to move forward positively.
Whichever it is, give yourself time. Moving through a painful situation is easier for some than others and if you need to take a couple of days to feel sadness or shame then that is fine.
You wait and wait but several days have gone by and it just does not happen.
No answer arrives.
You take a deep breath
nod your head
hold it high
and think to yourself “what now?”
Assuming you’ve gone through the stages above we can assume the following:
- You have not sent any follow up texts
- You are no longer sad or angry regarding the situation
- You recognize that other factors could have come into play.
The next step is to show them that you aren’t just waiting around for a text back. Post pictures on social media where you are with friends, smiling, laughing and having an enjoyable time. Show that this little incident where the text back never came didn’t bother you at all.
As humans, we love a challenge. If your Ex knows that you are sitting at home staring at your phone screen, they are not going to have any motivation to reach out to you.
Now, you’ve posted pictures online showing that you are out and about and too busy to mind. If a text back pops up now do a happy dance and then calmly tuck your phone away until a common “down” time. Don’t text back if it’s ten o’clock Saturday night.
You are far too busy now!
Instead wait until eleven Sunday morning to send a calm, casual response. End this reply with an open-ended question to keep the conversation flowing.
Don’t wait so long to text back that you lose momentum and make him think Hm… maybe I shouldn’t have responded to her. But don’t jump for him either.
If the text back still has not come, don’t panic. Review the text that you sent.
Was it a topic that your ex is truly interested in or was it something that you were interested in?
Was there an open-ended question or an attention grabber?
example: “guess what?!; you’ll never believe it…”
Was it short and to the point?
Was it free of emotional sentiment?
Was it positive?
Was it worth answering?
If you answered no to these questions or if your text was a simple “Hey.” Then recognize that this was not the best first contact text and begin work on constructing a better option.
Now you have recognized the flaws in your initial text message and have tweaked it to perfection. While you transitioned through the Stages of Not Getting a Text Back you were in a mini-No contact period. This is beneficial and you should ensure that this mini-no contact last 3-5 days, longer if you are still having negative feelings.
Geared with your new, perfected, sure-to-get-a-response text, pick the perfect time of day,when you know he is least likely to be busy, and hit that send button. As soon as it is sent go and do something for yourself. Get a massage or go for a job. Anything to help with the anxious energy.
If the worst situation happens and there is still no reply, take a step back for 10-14 days. Remember that time heals all things and patience is the most important virtue in the Ex recovery battle. All good things come to those who wait and if you continue to work on yourself and be the best version of you that you can be they will either come back to you or you will realize that you are worth more than some turd who can’t be bothered to text you back.