General Question

sleepygirl's avatar

Why do men text their ex-girlfriends?

Asked by sleepygirl (29 points ) August 2nd, 2009

My ex-boyfriend has been texting me pretty regularly for almost 2 years. (He’s been married for 5 years). He hasn’t asked to meet me but tells me when he comes to my city. (Once he texted me that he was going to a concert in my town and asked if I was going, too—I said no). All our texts have been on the up and up and neither one of us has indicated we have any romantic / sexual interest in each other (though we both have legal backgrounds so we’ve always chosen our words carefully). I miss him in a less than platonic way so I’ve considered asking him to stop texting me. But, I don’t want to embaress myself if it turns out I’m just one of his text-buddies. He indicated he doesn’t respect his friends who cheat on their wives. But, if I were his wife, I would consider him texting an ex a form of cheating much less when he sometimes spending hours doing it. It’s unlikely anything could ever come of us texting, Just the same, I’m putting this out in the universe because I don’t have anyone I can talk to about this. So, why do men text their exes?

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44 Answers

charliecompany34's avatar

because we want it.

Flo_Nightengale's avatar

Interesting question…
I am not quite sure unless his marriage is going rocky and wants to make sure there is a life raft for him. The best thing is to tell him to stop even if it is the friends. For all you know it might be the wife.

filmfann's avatar

Just in case.
Welcome to fluther. Lurve

charliecompany34's avatar

actually, it’s because we remember that “feeling” and even though married, it was something about you or “the ex” that ties us to you. it’s called “soul mate” syndrome. we’ll never forget that certain “ex.” never.

just from a man’s point of view.

MrGV's avatar

Cause they have no pride.

Lovey_Howell's avatar

booty-text?

SuperMouse's avatar

@charliecompany34‘s answer is pretty close to my theory. I think that it is because they get a little rush from doing it and from hearing back. It makes them feel a little naughty but in a safe way.

casheroo's avatar

I don’t view texting an ex as cheating, I think you may be overreacting.
I mean, I talk to my ex and we text…rarely ever talk on the phone though. I don’t see how that’s cheating, I don’t hide it from my husband. I wouldn’t care if he exchanged occasional texts either, since it’s pretty impersonal and just friendly.
And I’m really not that relaxed of a person, but I guess I am with this.

I suppose if it really bothers you, then say something. Speak up for yourself.

RandomMrdan's avatar

why do women text their ex boyfriends?!

Zendo's avatar

Their present woman is apparently not doing a very good job satisfying the dude.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

He doesn’t know what’s good for him

sleepygirl's avatar

I really appreciate everyone taking time to respond to my question—you’ve all given me something to think about.

In response to @charliecompany34, I think I have “soulmate syndrome” myself. And to @SuperMouse, I think you’re right about being naughty and safe at the same time. I’ve experienced that when I text him myself. And, of course, @RandomMrdan, you are so right about me being complicit in this weird situation (but, I owned up to that when I said I have feelings for my ex). To @casheroo, I applaud you for being so open-minded—it sounds as if you’re very secure in your relationship. I wouldn’t appreciate my significant other texting an ex because I know when I do it’s not with the purest of motives. Finally, to @Zendo, I don’t think my ex texting me necessarily has anything to do with his wife and whether she’s satisfying him. But, I don’t know, that’s just my guess.

casheroo's avatar

@sleepygirl Soo, you text this guy with not the “purest of motives” even though you know he’s married?

I think the only reason it works for me is because my exes respect my marriage. Maybe it’s not working for you because you don’t respect his marriage and feel guilty.

chyna's avatar

If you “wouldn’t appreciate your significant other texting an ex” why are you doing it?

elijah's avatar

I agree with you that it is a form of cheating, because he is taking time away from his wife to give to you. It’s an emotional cheat. You make him feel good about himself. I also think you get off on the whole “he’s got a wife and yet he still wants to talk to me because I’m special” aspect.
Marriage sometimes gets complicated and people forget to appreciate the little things. He doesn’t feel pressure when he talks to you, because you’re not the one asking him to cut the lawn or fix the toilet. You are another girl besides his wife that shows interest in him, his thoughts, his feelings; things his wife may overlook.
You admit you still feel something for him, and that’s what happens when you continue an emotional relationship with someone you should be letting go of. You deserve 100% of a mans heart, and honestly so does his wife. You can’t move forward when you hold on too tightly to the past.
Maybe you two are meant to be together, but right now he is married. Let him figure out what he wants in his life, and you should stop wasting your time with a married man. You deserve more :) good luck!

sleepygirl's avatar

@casheroo, when I say my motives are not pure, I mean I have feelings for him. I don’t mean I would ever act on them because I do respect marriage. In fact, when he called me after getting married, I told him to tell his wife we spoke because I wouldn’t be a part of his life otherwise. I think he started texting me (and I texted back) because exchanges are short, pithy and topical. Nothing gets too deep. So, at first, it seemed relatively safe. Our texts haven’t changed much. What has changed is how I feel about him. I used to think about him but, without any contact, he was easier to put out of my mind. Now, every time I get a text from anyone and I hear that distinctive sound, I think about him. My body’s walking the straight and narrow (and will continue to) but my heart has a mind of it’s own.

And @chyna, I guess I text him because I’m right back where we were so many years ago whenever he reaches out to me. And it felt safe when it initally started. I still think we’ll never see each other again. But, texting him takes a toll on me. Maybe his wife, too. I don’t know. I just wanted to know what’s behind men texting their exes. I don’t know why his motives matter to me.

@elijah, thank you for the encouragement! I don’t think my ex and I are meant to be together or we wouldn’t have broken up and he wouldn’t have married someone else. What’s pretty clear is that I have unresolved feelings that I can’t reveal to anyone. So, thank you to everyone for giving me your input (and taking me to task)!

chyna's avatar

You said you text each other for hours. It is cheating in that it is taking time away from his family. It’s up to you to decide to continue or stop it, but if you think his wife would be okay with it, think again.

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

The same reason for everything else we do. Sex.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities you do everything for sex? do you really think you’re that simple?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities I don’t understand how that can be – do you like it like that?

sleepygirl's avatar

@chyna, I don’t pretend to know what kind of relationship they have, but I don’t think his wife would be OK with it because I wouldn’t if I were in her place. As for family, not that it impacts the situation, but they don’t have any children. I’ve considered blocking his number to completely take him out of the equation. I’m not sure I could do it, though.

Remember, though, nothing has happened! And there are no plans for anything to happen. I guess I’m not surprised that most of the women look at this situation from the wife’s perspective—I suppose I do, too! So, guys, is it really all about sex (e.g., @Simone_De_Beauvoir)? Assuming you were in a committed relationship, tell me why you’d text your ex!

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@sleepygirl I know for a fact that for many male/man-identified people who are straight, gay, bi, whatever…that it is NOT all about sex

chyna's avatar

It’s up to you, but some day you will be the wife. Remember that and act accordingly.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

Maybe he’s lonely.

sleepygirl's avatar

@chyna, you seem to have a pretty clear idea of what’s appropriate. What do think I should do?

@NaturalMineralWater – I’ve considered that. It’s possible to be lonely even if you’re married or in a relationship.

chyna's avatar

Only you can answer that. I feel that marriage is sacred and people take their spouses for granted. It angers me that people divorce so easily now, and over things such as you are talking about.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@chyna why should other people’s marriages anger you? as long as yours is okay and according to your standards, it doesn’t matter, right?

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

@sleepygirl Having already burned this bridge in my past I would be wary of this contact.. period. Even if it is presently innocent to you and him.. he and perhaps you need to ask yourselves if it’s something you wouldn’t tell his wife about.

sleepygirl's avatar

@chyna, just to reiterate, I have no plans to meet with my ex much less break up a marriage! I respect the institution of marriage. If I didn’t, I probably wouldn’t have misgivings about our texting or wonder why he texts me.

chyna's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I don’t believe that I said other people’s marriages angers me. I said it angers me that people divorce so easily over things such as their spouse texting other people. And I am not sure what you are referring to as “my standards”?

sleepygirl's avatar

@NaturalMineralWater, you make a good point. But, I never text my ex anything that couldn’t be read by my mother or printed on the front page of my town’s newspaper.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@chyna well I meant it in a way that other people’s divorce is part of their marriage or end there of and obviously it probably isn’t over texting but the break of trust that may represent…and I didn’t mean anything negative by ‘your standards’...just meant they are your standards, you know?

Skippy's avatar

If it’s being hidden from the significant other, it is a form of cheating. Plain and simple!

sleepygirl's avatar

@Skippy, I don’t know what my ex is or is not telling his wife. We may go a month or so and not text, but then he’ll text me and we may go back and forth on and off for several hours. So, I suspect he does not tell her. But, all our texts are about politics or music or movies or restaurants, etc. So, I’d feel kind of strange suddenly asking him about his communication with his wife. That seems kind of private and maybe none of my business, or do you think not? I guess because he and I have a past, I feel bringing up his wife might invite comparisons. If I faired worse than she in the discussion, it would be hurtful for me. And, if I faired better, it might seem I was inviting him down a path I’m not willing to entertain.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@sleepygirl I don’t get why he doesn’t discuss these things with his wife, you know about movies and politics and all that

sleepygirl's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I don’t know that he doesn’t talk to his wife about the same things. When we text, it just seems like we’re friends. It’s the same friendly back and forth we had when we were together, only minus the seuxal tension (at least nothing is said / texted which would indicate either one of us feels that way). We joke, but nothing untoward is said. I once asked / texted him if he still had a large circle of friends and he said he did. So, I don’t think he’s just lonely but, who knows. I’d like to think he just genuinely likes me and likes communicating with me even if it’s over between us and nothing can ever “happen.” But, I sometimes feel woefully out of the loop about what makes men tick.

Skippy's avatar

@sleepygirl I understand you still have some feelings, and he must value you as a friend, but some things should be discussed with his wife. As long as you continue to reply, you are allowing him to lean on you, talk to you, and ignore his wife.

He needs to be able and secure with the woman that HE made the choice to share his life with, to talk to her about such things. If you are on a text list of his friends that would get fun jokes, silly songs etc,,,that’s ok, but what I see happening, is he wants to keep you in his life, and he really doesn’t seem to care to discuss with his wife. He needs to understand that he made his choice, and yes you can still be “friends” but unless YOU cut it off, he will continue to, IMHO be unfaithful to his wife.

His wife deserves more than his sneaking and texting with you. And again, is a form of cheating on her. When a man, or a woman is going to another than the spouse for conversation, this is where it all starts.

From what I see that you’re saying you don’t want to be a homewrecker, but in essence, you are contributing to that happening.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Skippy well to be fair we don’t know if he is ignoring his wife

sleepygirl's avatar

@Skippy – For what it’s worth, my ex definitely does not include me if he sends out mass texts with funny jokes, etc.

Do you think you’d feel I was contributing to a breakdown of my ex’s marriage (or at least of their communication) if everything was the same EXCEPT we hadn’t had a sexual relationship in the very distant past? In other words, if he was texting me the same amount with the same content, would you feel the same way? Because, it almost sounds as if you’re saying married people shouldn’t have close friends of the opposite sex. And, if that’s what you’re saying, that’s OK. Some people feel that way. And, of course, that’s just a hypothetical because that’s not the case here. I have “feelings” for my ex but there’s no evidence or there’s nothing I can point to which suggests that he feels the same. I mean, maybe he does, but I don’t know. And I’ve been careful not to let him know how I feel.

So, it may not be a good idea for my ex and me to text because I feel emotionally vulnerable when it comes to him. But, I opened up this forum because I’m trying to get in his head. I may not be as self-aware as I could be, but what I really lack is any understanding of what motivates men. I know we’re all human and, thus, we’re more alike than different. Still, they think differently. For one, they seem to be able to compartmentalize their lives in a way most women seem unable to do. Thank you for taking the time to respond!

And @Simone_De_Beauvoir, thanks for your comment, too!

whereisfreespeech's avatar

b/c they are stupid

Skippy's avatar

@sleepygirl It doesn’t matter if your relationship was sexual or not – that’s not a real issue with the continued texts. Yes, I believe married people can have friends of both sexes, but it seems that the messages that he’s sending to you are the types of things that “partners” discuss together, or atleast should “if” they have a healthy relationship.

I can understand that you still have feelings for him, and I would believe he has some for you. What you really need to do is bring it out in the open and discuss it with him. It’s not fair to you if he’s just wanting to be a “friend” and you have a different feel for it. He may feel what he’s doing is ok BECAUSE he only regards you as a friend. Men have different brains, and they don’t often see things the way we do. You get happy when you hear from him, I understand that, but if he doens’t feel that way, it is not fair to you. In that same thought, I wonder if he gets that same JOLT when he gets text’s from you?

With this said, would his wife be upset with him if she knew that you guys were still talking? (And yes, this I would attribute to your prior sexual relationship) Would she feel betrayed that he was sharing with you and not her? If so, then he’s really being wrong and you’re contributing to potentially damaging their relationship.

In our conversations, I see you as a caring person, who right now is getting mixed signals, and is confused. Be smart. If he wants only the friendship, then extract yourself the best you can.

jfos's avatar

1) Would you be content with only being friends with him, no more and no less?

2) Since he goes for a month(s) sometimes without texting you, I’m gonna give him the benefit of the doubt and say that he does have a healthy relationship with his wife. Otherwise there wouldn’t be such gaps.

3) The topics you admit to talking about are not dangerous, so I don’t think that should be a criticizable subject.

4) What would be a criticizable subject is the outcome of talking to him. Let’s assume that he only wants a friendship. In talking to him every so often, it is harmful to you to continue talking to him, waiting for each text message, etc.

nikkiemay's avatar

I will say this. I can see where you are coming from. My ex, who I swear was the love of my life, saw a relative of mine in the spring and started looking for me when he found out I had moved back in town. I have never gotten over him and I thought hearing from him would be a good way to find out that he was doing well (he is married) and happy and that I could move on. When my relative told me he was looking for me, I told her he was unhappy, because most ex’s do not go looking for former lovers. I found out later that I was right and that he was in an unhappy relationship. However, we text each other for the majority of the summer. He kept asking to see me and then one day showed up on my job. I would text him once every few weeks to see how he was doing. One time I asked to see him and he agreed. He told me to call him om a certain day and his wife found the text and left a voicemail for me. he then told me (by voicemail) to not call that phone again and that the conversation (note the single form of the word conversation) never happened, which made me think she was right there when he called. I do not feel bad about communicating with him because the only thing we have said to each other that was remotely romantic was that we were thinking about one another. My heart is broken, because he sought me out and he started the whole thing because after he called me the first time, I was not looking for him to call again for a long time and he started texting me and asking to see me two days later.

The one thing that makes me feel better is that I see that I did mean something to him and I think he believes that he should have stayed with me all along; but I miss just communicating with him. I am sure, since he chooses to stay in the situation, that he got a lot of flack from his wife. I wonder if he misses me communicating with him because he always seemed to be happy when I communicated with him.

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