By Chris Seiter

Updated on April 9th, 2021

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.

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!!

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!!

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.


What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Boyfriend Back?

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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.

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31 thoughts on “The Stages of Not Getting a Text Back From Your Ex and How to Survive Them”

  1. B

    March 22, 2020 at 3:48 am

    So I texted ex after about 45 days after ex saying I was annoying. He texted back. A full conversation. He perpetuated conversation. I ended conversation on a good note. It’s been 5 days, I texted him a open question about something he is starting and he texted twice. Never texted back. I’m so frustrated and confused.

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      March 23, 2020 at 11:28 pm

      Hi B, this is really common they sometimes back off as they can get the sense that you are trying to talk to them to get them back. This is why it is important that you use methods that Chris suggests to break the pattern of how you used to speak to each other in the past

  2. Sarah

    February 20, 2020 at 12:25 pm

    We dated for eight months and have been broken up for 5 weeks. His work was becoming more stressful and I was not tolerant of how much time it was taking from us and he started pulling away in the last two weeks before break up. I went immediately NC. Reached out after a month. Received positive response and then a text two days later on my birthday at 6am. I responded back with thank you and upbeat msg on my celebration and asked him a question about his work project. A day later and still not reply from him…. what should I do and should I be optimistic about getting back together.

    1. EBR Team Member: Shaunna

      February 20, 2020 at 10:38 pm

      Hi Sarah, giving that you have completed 30 days of no contact, then you can start reaching out to your ex with texts that Chris suggests to get your ex talking keeping conversations positive, short and of an interest to him

  3. Hannah

    August 8, 2018 at 2:45 am

    Hi Chris,
    I previously kinda got my ex back with your recovery system, but he refused to commit to anything, kinda kept letting me hang around but not really giving me a reason to stay. It got so frustrating to the point that we cut things off again. I have done NC again after that, we got back in touch, but it wasn’t really me trying to attract him again. It was more I’ll talk to him once in a while when something reminds me of him. He was really responsive to texts again so I suggested a catch-up. He sounded really keen to catch up at first but then he became really difficult when it comes to arranging the logistics of the meetup, feels like he’s almost purposely avoiding me. We’ve finally settled on a day but I feel fairly confident that he’s gonna cancel on me at the last minute. It feels like he hasn’t changed at all, he did this the last time when we broke up – constantly flaking on me, going hot and cold etc. Is this a normal behavior during the recovery process, or is my ex just still immature? No matter what happens, I’d still like for us to be in each other’s lives, and given that we’ve broken up twice already, would it be a better idea to try to be friends first instead of trying to reattract him? I’d really appreciate your insight into this situation, many thanks in advance!

  4. Steve Adams

    January 23, 2018 at 2:04 pm

    So I started the 30 day no contact period with my ex 6 days ago.4 days in her friends get into touch.can my ex give me back her engagement ring to settle the debt she owes me as its worth more than the debt?no thanks my reply I’d rather have the money back and no rush for it.then another friend texts ok so can she have the paper work for Ex already has that on her mobile phone?yes of course she can.her friends how you going to get it to we’ll ive been blocked on her phone and told to stay away from her house so mail or someone drops it off.ok her friends said u drop it through letter box in person?ok so I did this last night.instantly a text off my ex thanks I wait 4 hrs later reply it’s ok hope you’re all good.i wake up this morning to a text off my ex yes I hope you’re ok.whats my next move please ?

    1. EBR Team Member: Amor

      January 24, 2018 at 1:21 pm

      Hi Steve,

      You need to restart nc.. If it was only about the ring, it would have been alright but since you both asked about each other, you need to restart..

  5. Rosa

    December 6, 2017 at 10:35 pm

    I don’t know if I should I ask him why he’s being unresponsive? I know he said because work but that’s obviously just an excuse

    1. EBR Team Member: Amor

      December 11, 2017 at 4:32 am

      It looks you need to move on..

  6. Rosa

    December 6, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    Thanks for the response.. we were off and on for almost two years ..

    Since I posted the comment he texted back and said .. I’m busy working and I texted back ok and haven’t heard from him since …

  7. Rosa

    December 5, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    Me and my ex had a bad break up about two months ago . I did EVERYTHING I shouldn’t have then finally went into NC for 3 weeks then Randomly he calls me drunk . We talked . The next day he texted me all day and called . We talked everyday for a week . He was telling me how much he missed me and loved me (Just short convos) he always started the convos . I only did once . We planned to meet yesterday (Monday) but Sunday night he told me hasn’t 100% sure because he was still out of town working . So Monday comes along I called him .. no answer .. in the evening I texted .. no answe . Then I sent one last text at night saying .. I guess were back to not talking .. still no response.

    No sure what to do ? Should I reach out again at some point ? And ask why ? Or idk . I’m not sure what to do

    1. EBR Team Member: Amor

      December 5, 2017 at 8:55 pm

      Hi Rosa,

      how many times have you broken up and how long was the relationship?

  8. sammie

    November 27, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    I did a 21 day NC rule and he didn’t text me back. We were LD and hadn’t seen each other for 4 months when I broke up with him. How do guys feel when they’re blind sided by a break up? I know he loved me and wasn’t tying to hurt me. He’d tell me that it was hard to be alone. I understand that is probably why he was being distant with me before I broke things off. I jumped to conclusions and assumed the worst. I broke up with my ex and 2 days later said I was sorry. Then I started NC. Was my NC too short? Do guys hold grudges when they’re dumped? Am I making things worse by trying to act like nothing happened?

    1. EBR Team Member: Amor

      November 28, 2017 at 1:54 am

      Hi Sammie,

      If you chased him before doing this nc, nope, he’s not holding a grudge.. It can be that he’s getting revenge, not because he’s still angry but just because of ego.. or he has moved on and he doesn’t want you to chase.

  9. Dawn

    November 27, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    I’m wondering if I can get more information on Sarah’s success story. Her situation is very similar to mine. I was seeing a guy for a few months but he said right in the beginning he isn’t looking for anything serious yet he continues to engage with my social media posts and flirt when we run into each other. So, we were never officially dating and didn’t develop a strong bond. So I’m wondering if the NC will even work. Also, how do I go NC if we have several mutual friends and are always invited to the same parties and we play in the same volleyball league?

    1. EBR Team Member: Amor

      November 28, 2017 at 2:19 pm

      Hi Dawn

      The no contact rule is not guaranteed to work in any situation but it helps increase your chances.. That means you have to avoid some parties.. how often do you attend parties in a month? and when did you broke up? Other than that, do you have specific questions about Sarah? I can forward it to Chris.

  10. Sugar

    November 11, 2017 at 5:58 am

    Hi, after reading some topics here I realize what ive done wrong. Last Sunday we broke up 4 days no nc and I suddenly message him ‘how are you he respond to me and asked also after that he said that he’s busy’, That night I send long full message I apologize and explain about my reaction and action but no reply-which I come to know that fully wrong. This morning I saw that he remove our call of endearment nickname on facebook messenger. He’s stress,depress and fed up from work and to this country. He wants to broke up with me because of continuous arguing and fighting and also he said he will go back to his home country, so there’s no chance for us to be back.
    Before we plan to go to canada to visit my parents and to finally introduce him to them. But last sunday when we broke up he said he cant wait for another 2 months to stay here and he’s not interested anymore that I should proceed alone. Last Thursday during the NC i received the invitation letter, that is the time also I broke the nc and message him. I dont know what will i do, is it the right time to tell to my parents that we already broke up? I dont like to tell anyone from my family about my current situation because Im still hoping that we will be back and I dont want them to give bad impression to my ex. But they keep asking for update for applying visit visa. Im lost and broken. Do I need to send him the invitation letter? Please help. 🙁

    1. EBR Team Member: Amor

      November 13, 2017 at 1:01 am

      Hi Sugar,

      You don’t have to tell them now. Just tell them he can’t come because he’s busy..

  11. Jules

    October 11, 2017 at 10:51 am

    Initiate day 1 of no contact on to day 2. It’s crazy but I really think it’s over

  12. Jules

    October 11, 2017 at 3:39 am

    Hi Amor,

    Thank you for your prompt response. I have no other choice but to do the no contact rule. He doesn’t pick up or respond. Today is day 1!

    1. EBR Team Member: Amor

      October 11, 2017 at 10:34 am

      Ok, you’re welcome!

  13. Jules

    October 9, 2017 at 6:44 pm

    Help! Me and my boyfriend got into an argument Monday and broke it off with me. Says he’s done, he wants out, he’s not happy where he’s at, he loves me but is not in love with me anymore. We have been going through our ups and downs for about 2 months now and me wanting him to move in with me. Fights and arguments, we keep making up and getting back and working it out but it came to this. We have been together for almost a year and a half now. 2 weeks ago after our blow out (horrible right) he decided it is best for us to move in together and he didn’t want to lose me and sign a lease together 2 days after and after signing the lease Monday we wanted me off. I took my name off this past weekend. He says he doesn’t have it in him anymore and doesn’t want any relationship and is tired of me not trusting him and arguing. I really don’t know how or what to do to get him back. He still has my things and have yet to give them back. We were suppose to meet last night and have a face to face but never responded to me and now he’s ignoring me. He said it’s over and he’s not going to change his mind. Besides the arguments we had our relationship was great. No lying, no cheating. Just 2 weeks ago we told each other we were never going to leave one another and we were fine just Sunday and in love and he was coming to see me Tuesday. We have been basically staying together throughout our whole relationship. I just got tired of his new roommates and wanted out but we definitely are great living partners. What do I do? Is he just still upset? Is he really over? He seem really serious this time about breaking up and a light bulb went off and he’s just not happy anymore. It’s really over and to move on. but I swear we were fine and in love a few days ago. Everything has been great. I’m so confused. What should I do?

    1. EBR Team Member: Amor

      October 10, 2017 at 2:49 pm

      Hi Jules,

      Do you want to try the no contact rule?

  14. L

    October 5, 2017 at 8:51 am

    Hi Amor. Thank you for your answer. Well, I didn’t really agree to wait for him… I didn’t promise anything, I could do what i want…but what I want is getting him back. But he may come back in a month or in four or five so… I am competing with a “rebound city”, “greener grass” and any girl he could met (well, I have to say we broke up nine months ago and he hasn’t been with anyone, he is not a “one night stand” guy and he has little social life, but this is not a guarantee: things may change if he met any girl better than me which lives n the “correct” city). So I need him to miss me (he told me that he did but…it is not enough for me), showing him that I am the best for him. I know that he felt my improvements during this months and that last conversation was better (in spring he told me he has moved on and that we could be just friends, just after NC…and then we got closer veeery slowly). So, what can I do to make him miss me?

    1. L

      October 7, 2017 at 9:49 am

      Thank you Amor, I’ll try…but it is so frustrating now that I know that if he hadn’t movod away, he would have given us another chance…So, my improvements had been noticed, I guess. But he is in his new town and I’m terrified of what can happen there…I know that I can’t control it, this is why I’m so anxious…

    2. EBR Team Member: Amor

      October 6, 2017 at 8:52 pm

      You can’t control other people.. The best you can do is focus in yourself and in your improvements.. Your posts and the way you interact with him after nc are the ways you can make him miss you..

  15. Cara

    October 5, 2017 at 1:14 am

    Hi, So my ex started texting me about 2-3 months ago after 6 months no contact and 6 months he apologized to me for some major wrongs he did related to us not seeing each other again . The apology was huge and sincere. I hypothesized and wondered why he apologized but after I accepted the apology did not hear from him until 3 months ago. He began with hi how are you and the text convos were about 2 weeks apart, each time he’d ask me out for a drink , he’d say he had something going on that weekend and/or I told him I was out of town which was true. His last text was about 3 weeks ago on a Saturday night when I posted about being at a restaurant. I didn’t realize it at the time but in the reflection is a guys shirt so the post was subtle but worked for me. 45 minutes after my post he texted “How’s the weekend?” I replied an hour later and followed up with how are you? No reply since. It’s odd he seemed to be ramping up with the texts…now I haven’t heard from him for a month and why did he bother texting me and not reply? Is that just to string me along? Thanks.

    1. EBR Team Member: Amor

      October 5, 2017 at 8:34 am

      Yup he is, you should move on..

  16. L

    October 4, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    Months after the break up, and after doing NC, my ex and I were being “friends” (with some references about our “still existing connection” and his attraction for me). Texting were kinda well, balance between us when it came to staring conversations… But he decided to move to another city (without job or house, he is just searching for a new life, kinda unrealistic by him and not likely to work but that’s his decision). I tried to met before he moved (we lived in different but close cities and i am moving to his for studying right now) but it was impossible. So I tried to ask him for another chance, explaining him what we could have had and remembering him how awesome we were together. Not begging, just talking. He told me that hearing that made him very happy, that he couldn’t answer at this moment but we could have this talk again when he came back (he said that he may stay there for a month or for several months…it depends of what happens in that city, which is very expensive and competitive, Neither me or my friends think he’s going to success but…). I feel he is protecting himself and hiding feelings, maybe because he is moving and he hates LDR. I believe that he avoided seeing me in person since before the break up because he may feel something. I really believe if he wouldn’t move away, we could have another chance. And he told me, minutes BEFORE I told him what I feel, something like “if when I came back we still want…”. And, as I told, after my “discourse”; he told me that we could have this talk again when he came back. I needed more but this what I have. At least he had a good reaction to my words, told me that I made him smile a lot with that, that he missed me too and that he was really, really happy of hearing me telling what I told him. But he said that he wasn’t capable of telling me more rignt now, so I didn’t insist. I wanted him to feel the change (I was very needy and insecure at the end). We end the conversation in a funny and flirty way. I text him two days after to wish him good luck, the day before he “moved” but he left it unread (he does this sometimes, I got used to it during these months but it still hurts).

    I think it is time for a form of NC. I did my part, those were my words, I’ll want them to settle. My bday is in a few weeks, if he texts me, I answer, but nothing more. I’m not initiating. And I am not talking about 30 days NC. I don’t have limit. After that 30 days, I’m not contacting either. I need him, but I really need him to “chase” me. An answer to my text is not a relief, only he starting. So my NC is about he starting, if it is 30 days, 30, if it is 50, 50. I’m fine with that (broken inside but…). My NC is “only answer mode”. Of course he will know about me, since we have a common chat group with mutual friends, but it’s not the same, neither of us shares the same in the group that between us in private.
    My doubt is: will he forget me and not noticing the NC with his new life? He has that new city idealized, is kind a rebound city in his whole life and… Well he could met someone or… Just forget me. If his advernture goes wrong, he will be back in a month, but I can’t rely on that, it doesn’t depends on me, so… Anything I can do to make him miss me? Would it work this kind of NC in a LDR after that conversation? Will he remember that he could have a life with me when things in his “idealized” new life starts to go “real” (so, not perfect)?

    1. L

      October 4, 2017 at 9:06 pm

      Forgot to say: when he left texts unraed (and he has been very busy these two days) he always texts back when he feels like, he always come back so I’m not worried. I understand that the moving is stressful and as I said, I am in “only answering – NC” stage. SoI wn’t insist or becoming a GNAT. We haad that conversation, I wish I have hit a point in his emotions and… I can only wait

    2. EBR Team Member: Amor

      October 5, 2017 at 8:09 am

      Hi L,

      It’s not an nc if you’re still answering him..and frankly, if you agreed to him that you’re going to wait, it looks like you’re just there waiting while he has his own life and that you don’t have your own..