Don’t make her your ex by text! Really, people—you can do better!

^ Note: This is not a real app. Shame on you if you thought about searching for it.

Words by Lauren Shirreffs

It’s Friday night, and my best girlfriends are heading over. The wine is breathing and the generic pop music is on at low-medium volume. After hugs and a few moments complimenting each other’s outfits, we gather around my table of appetizers and cocktails. It takes only a few moments until:

“So how are things with the guy you’re dating?”
“Um… yeah, we aren’t anymore.”
“Really? You were so excited about him, he seemed really nice!”
“Yeah, he was, until he disappeared. And now he’s back with his ex.”

This is not a one-off conversation, ladies and gents. Many times, I’ve had this same conversation with my girls, and there are always things that they would have loved to say to the dumper, but didn’t have the chance. So let me outline it on their behalf.

As much as we all love social media and the convenience of text messaging, in certain situations it’s disrespectful and hurtful to use. If you have gone on more than three dates with someone, and you have established that she/he has your number, use it. We don’t get scared off by voice. Rather than go back and forth in long-winded emails which are almost always misunderstood, just call. Rather than risk your life texting a thoughtless message to someone while you drive, call. You liked the person enough to hang out more than once: she/he deserves the respect of a phone call (at least—in person is even better).

If you just got out of a long relationship, don’t rush into things. We all get it, we’ve all been there. We get that it’s hard—but we aren’t just fun accessories for you, and we don’t especially love it when our emotions are played like guitar riffs.

“I usually only date tiny blondes.” Well, that’s cute, but I’m a tall brunette. Is this a red flag? Is it likely then, that you are the in-betweener, a novelty, distracting him from the hurt of his last break-up, and now he’s just temporarily going with a very different style out of pure curiosity and/or spite?

I used to be the person who would give the advice, then sit back and wonder to myself how this happens to girls. Don’t they see the signs? I thought they must’ve been one of those crazy, smothering types, until it happened to me. No, I wasn’t smothering. If I’m looking for a relationship, and someone has verbally expressed interest, then the game-playing ends and I take the guy’s words for what they are. Why bother lying?

Maybe they aren’t lying. Maybe they do see something in us that is special, but sadly, they aren’t over their last relationship and nothing in what we do, what we say or how we dress will have any hope of changing that.

Most of us get this.

But these guys hurt people’s feelings when they say something one moment, and text their ex the next. After investing so much time, week after week, and expressing “feelings,” it doesn’t feel especially good when he disappears and fidgets his way through an email trying to explain why. Be straight up with us. Don’t beat around the bush: say how you feel; say how you don’t feel.

I no longer blame these women for not seeing the signs, because I know there weren’t any. And I applaud you, because expressing your feelings, investing in a relationship and being yourself with someone new… it isn’t easy. And getting up, dusting yourself off and trying again after such hurtful endings is commendable.

So, I will say what I tell my girlfriends (and myself): at least you can say you were honest, with both him and yourself. At least you gave someone a chance, and were brave enough to let someone in. He’s in a cycle of back-and-forth, make-up/break-up drama, and you don’t need that in your life anyway.

And after many long conversations with my best guy friends, trying to gain insight from the male perspective, I’ve also learned that this happens to men. I’m speaking about women, from my own experience and my friends’ experiences, but we know things work both ways. And really, no one deserves to be treated this way!

“’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
—Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Lauren Shirreffs is a freelance writer, blogger, entrepreneur, copywriter and social media guru. Find more of her work at