What Did You Do When an Ex Called?

Recently got a voicemail from an ex…Long story short, this woman was in my head for so, so long.

My life is well right now, and while I am initially defensive, I cannot see any reason not to call her back.

I’m not gonna bore you with the details. Just speak to me, Dopers. What did you do when that Ex called? How did you feel?

All comments welcome.

Depends much on which ex. Some of them are still my close friends (I once drove 2500 miles rountrip in 3 days to go to his wedding. The best woman, who also made the wedding rings, was his ex immediately after me. But he’s a special person.) One is probably in Russian military intelligence. Boy, would I be surprised if he called!

Seriously, how long ago did you break up? Have you had any contact with her since? Do you hate her? Did she say why she was calling you? Do you think it would upset you severely at this point to have contact with her? And do you think either one is still harboring any fantasies about getting back together?

These are all rhetorical questions. I suspect only you can answer this one. My personal leaning would be to call her back, but I have been known to have masochistic tendencies.

One time I got a call from the first guy I ever fell in love with, but who had dumped me. I was totally polite and nice and stuff, and completely pretended I had no idea who he was. Apparently enough time had elapsed that he believed me. He seemed pretty hurt. It was the right thing to do.

That’s the unfortunate thing; it was a (“normal”-turned-long-distance) relationship that deteriorated slowly. I’d say the beginning of the end was a year ago; since then, communication has been sporadic. (She lives nearby now.)

I don’t hate her. I rarely think of her these days. But wounds nearly healed still sting when picked at.

She seemed to really want me to call her back. And I can’t imagine any possessions that may still be owed to one or the other.

I harbor fantasies of it working the first time. We can’t be what we were (or I thought we were). Maybe something else; I don’t know.

But I can’t justify leaving her hanging. (God knows it would kill me.) But I don’t want to talk about my life (which is going fine, but still), I’m not sure I want to hear about hers, and I sure as hell don’t feel like drudging up the past.

Where does that leave us? The future?

I swear, why can’t tomorrow’s lessons be learned today?

If it was long distance that killed it and she lives nearby now I don’t see any reason not to call her back.

Call your ex back, but don’t do it in haste. The heart can play games worse than the mind can.

I’ve always sought to maintain good, platonic relationships with my exes. In fact, my first boyfriend has been my best friend for many years now, and we’d do anything for each other. However, it did take a while for us to get over each other romantically, and even longer for us to arrive to where we are now. I have no desire to sleep with him, or the majority of my other exes. But for the sexual attraction to disappear took some time.

Just be careful, and put your own concerns first.

  • s.e.

Well, after some polite chitchat, she had to go and said she’d call right back. Of course, this didn’t happen. (This is, by the way, typical of her. I never could tell whether she was simply scatterbrained, playing games with my head, or simply unconcerned.)

Behold my ex, Queen of Mixed Signals.

I put her out of my mind once, and I’ll do it again. Ain’t no way I’m going the distance to get burned again.

This may be rash of me, but…once bitten, twice shy, to be trite.

My current girlfriend was teasing me for a long time about wanting to meet my previous gf. I told her each time that trust me, she did not want to meet this person. One day we were at the mall, and the ex happened to spot me and came up and said hi. Now this is a pretty big deal, since this is a long-distance relationship and the odds of the three of us being in the same spot at once are slim to none. After our chance meeting, my GF pretty much replied, “You dated HER?” To which I said, “I told you you didn’t want to meet her.”

I had an Ex that could find me no matter what obscure hole the Nav dropped me into. I never called back, but she was more than a bit twitchy, so I had good reason not to.

If your Ex wants to talk ‘Old Times’, no reason not to, but beware of those old feelings, and check your assumptions.

I totally agree!!! Old feelings may come back… Just be aware why you are no longer together…

I’ve got three exes.

The most recent ex, if she called, I’d want a long, in-depth, heartfelt apology before I’d consider speaking to her. I’m not much of one for grudges, but she’s built up a good one in me.

The middle ex, if she called, I’d be willing to do lunch with her. We’ve grown really far apart, however, so I think it’d be awkward: she’d wanna talk about being a high-powered biz exec, and I’d wanna talk about anything but.

The first ex, I just sent an email to. After we broke up, we spent about five years not talking at all (or talking about once a year, more accurately). We finally reestablished contact and traumatically worked through a lot of the unresolved stuff from our relationship, and then we were great email buddies for awhile, gossiping about one another’s romantic lives and anything else. But she moved to Canada, and we’ve fallen out of touch again. She was a very good friend, and I’d like to get back in touch.

I’m fortunately dating a wonderful woman who doesn’t weird out at my being friends with my exes – she herself is great friends with her exes, and I think that’s just fine. But not all exes are friendsworthy.

If your heart is still messing with you over it and she calls you back, you may want to tell her so. Tell her that you don’t feel ready to talk with her yet, that you still have some unresolved stuff, and you’d appreciate her waiting a bit before talking with you again. A bit might be a week, or it might be five years – she should leave it up to you.


I listen to what they have to say & then we get together. It’s always fun. But of course,
I never let things get so ugly when we were together that things like that in the future
wouldn’t be possible.

Right thing to do? I did the same thing! Let’s admit it Creaky ; right thing to do or not, it was FUN! Also rewarding, sweet, and cool. Many other wonderful terms could be applied to that rare opportunity.

OK, Creaky and I have had our fun. All you who are still friends with exes may resume your party…

The first serious L-D relationship I had ended badly, but my ex and I are friends now. If he called, I’d chat with him. Same for all the half-way dating relationships I had in high school.

My first very serious boyfriend (that I dated for a year and a half) and I are still best friends. We don’t talk on the phone that often now because we’re busy and therefore a little distant.

However, my second veryserious ex, the one I dated last semester…if he called me, I’d probably projectile-vomit, and then destroy the phone. If he even wanted me to speak to him, he’d have to apologize, tell me the truth, and then go tell the police the truth.


Did we date the same girl?

To this day, whenever I hear from this girl my heart pounds in my chest (I’m amazed I haven’t dropped dead from a coronary “incident”). Although, my ex is more than polite. If we ever cross paths she seems truly thrilled to see me and is in fact well-known for being scatterbrained and falling out of touch with people. I never really figured out if we broke up, if I was being shunned, if she was playing games, or if somehow I simply fell through the cracks of her scatterbrainedness (which actually is a possibility.)

She always seems relieved that I’m not angry or bitter, and always acts as if she thinks I dropped her completely forgetting that she vanished from my life.

In any case, back to the OP: I’m always cordial to the exes that ended well, and polite to the ones that ended badly. Best not to be too encouraging (for the heartbroken), but I aim to be respectful.

I’m one of those people who holds onto feelings way too long. I realize that. Took me years to get over a months-long (but intense) relationship that ended after she cheated on me. I tried to force a friendship and ignore my feelings, both good and bad, about this woman. Did not work. At all. Open wounds need to heal.

Glad I’m married and out of the dating scene. And, glad I don’t have to see that ex anymore. Would be way too awkward.

OTOH, there’s an ex who I’d love to see just to know what she’s doing these days. I invited her to my wedding. So, I guess it all depends on the ex and the relationship you had with her.

Man, do I think we’ve dated the same woman. (I checked your profile out of curiosity, but no, you’re nowhere near my town. And upon reflection, I’m sure there are many, many women like this to go around.)

To be honest, I think she is at least vaguely conscious of these tendencies of hers and the effect they have on the guys in her life. Her sister (a very different and down-to-earth gal) once told me as much a long while back.

Come to think of it, I really don’t care what’s happened since she and I spoke. Unless there have been some profound changes in her personality/MO, there’s no point in pursuing this on an emotional level.

If my ex called I would probably say “You actually exist? I thought I just dreamed you… (long pause) But how do I know I’m not hallucinating right now?” Then I’d hang up.