If you want your ex back, you want to know what you should say to them to make them change their mind about the breakup.

But it’s more important to know what NOT to say in this situation.

The truth is that it’s easier to kill your chances right now than it is to fix everything with a few messages.

Chances are you’ve probably sent one or more of these messages in the past but it’s really important that you stop this behaviour as soon as possible because it can really hurt your chances. 

Obviously this is mainly for people who do want their ex back, but quite frankly most of these messages should be avoided even if you have no intention of ever being with your ex again in the future… most of them are just bad news, period.

So regardless of your situation and what outcome you’re hoping for with your ex, just avoid sending them any of these messages.  

Now, I’m going to start with the LEAST awful message to send your ex first — that’s #10 on the list — and count down to the very worst message, which will be #1 on my list.

Let’s get started with the #10 worst message you can send your ex…

#10. “Can we hang out?”

If you want your ex back, you will eventually likely need to see them in person to flirt and re-build natural, organic attraction again… basically, you’ll need to see them to make them want you back.

But simply asking your ex “wanna hang out?” is an absolutely terrible way to try and arrange this kind of in-person meeting.  

First of all, it shows too much interest.  You don’t want your ex to think that you’re desperate to see them, and this kind of message sends exactly that signal. 

Secondly, it lacks any kind of underlying purpose or reason for the message… any time you text your ex after breaking up, you should have a clear reason why you’re contacting them and what you want out of the interaction. Remember your goal here…that’s what you need to be focusing on.

Sure, maybe you really do just want to hang out, but you should at least frame the message in such a way that it sounds like you’re asking to see your ex for a specific purpose.

This lowers your ex’s defenses a bit because they won’t worry as much about WHY you want to hang out if you’ve given them a real reason.

This also gives both of you an excuse to see one another. Because they probably want to see you but they know that seeing you may mean pressure to get back together or have a big, drawn out dramatic conversation. Now that you’ve given them a more mundane reason, they’ll jump at the chance.

For example, maybe your ex is good with interior design, so you could ask if you can bounce ideas off them about your bathroom remodel. 

Or maybe they’re good with computers and you need help hooking up a printer, it doesn’t really matter. Whatever you decide on, the key is that you’re providing a clear and reasonable-sounding purpose for proposing an in-person meet-up.

Lastly, in order to subtly shift the balance of power between you and your ex, it’s always best to sound confident when you’re asking this kind of thing.

So instead of saying “can you please help me fix my car” you might phrase it as, “I know you’re great with cars. Mine is making this weird sound and I was wondering if you’d come check it out. How does Wednesday after you get off work sound?”

This way, you’ve made it sound like you assume your ex will agree to meet up, and you sound confident in yourself and in your intentions.

#9. “I’m dating someone new.” 

Now I’ll be the first to tell you that jealousy is an extremely powerful way to make your ex want you back… if you use it properly.  But if you just flat-out tell your ex out of the blue that you’re dating someone new… that’s just going to ensure they assume you’re only telling them to incite jealousy or get revenge.

Don’t get me wrong — you should absolutely go on dates with new people as soon and as much as possible after your breakup.

It’ll help change how your ex feels about you and your potential future together when they find out, and it’ll boost your confidence and take your mind off the breakup… but you MUST let your ex find out in a subtle, indirect way.

This can be through mutual friends, through a photo of you with your arm around some new guy or girl…. Or even through a very passive comment when you’re talking with your ex where you just casually mention in passing that you were recently out for dinner with a “new friend”.

Never just outright tell your ex about your dating life. Always do so in a subtle, under-the-radar way that your ex won’t assume is aimed at them or intended specifically to make them jealous.

#8. “Why did you want to break up with me? I need closure.”

I’m generally opposed to “seeking closure” in general after a breakup.  Usually there either isn’t any closure to be found, your ex will just lie to avoid hurting your feelings with the truth, or it’ll turn into a dramatic ‘serious talk’ that will only make your ex even less attracted to you.  

This kind of message is especially toxic if you still hope to get back together.  It signals that you still have feelings for your ex, or else you wouldn’t care about them enough to ask this kind of question… and it signals that you’re struggling to move on.

Strong, confident people that are highly sought-after by the opposite sex don’t care about this kind of thing… they’re just focused on moving on and finding someone else to fill their ex’s place.

And because this will likely lead to a big conversation about the breakup, instead of providing you with closure, all it’s going to accomplish is further reinforcing your ex’s belief that your old relationship was plagued with problems. This will show them that breaking up was the best decision moving forward.

Avoid this kind of drama or you could ruin your chances with your ex. Don’t try to talk about the breakup with your ex, and accept that ‘closure’ is usually a myth.

#7. “hey sup”

Ah yes, the famous “pointless” text message… this is one of the most common mistakes people make when trying to get an ex back.  They send meaningless fluff messages like this, asking “what’s new” or “how’s it going” with no clear plan as to what the message is intended to do or achieve.  Your ex isn’t going to be interested in replying to that kind of boring, pointless text any more than you would.

Again, if you plan to message your ex, always have a reason — either legitimate, or fake but believable — and avoid boring them with short, meaningless texts that don’t have a purpose or don’t justify a reply on their part.

Instead, be funny or interesting or ask a legitimate-sounding question… even a funny meme or an inside joke is enough to avoid coming across as boring.

Whatever you do, don’t send messages to your ex that won’t either make them laugh, smile, or feel like you’re asking a legitimate question because you want their opinion or help.  As long as it gives your ex a reason to reply, or a reason to smile, it’s 100x better than simply saying “yo sup”….

#6. “You broke my heart. I can’t even function, I am an emotional wreck.”

Now, I realize that this might be true for you right now.  Maybe you are a wreck, and maybe you’re still upset at your ex for causing you such heartache.  But what, exactly, is telling your ex about those feelings going to accomplish?

I mean, if you for sure don’t want your ex back, then all you’re doing is trying to make them feel guilty for hurting you by breaking up… and I’m sure, at least in 99% of cases, that your ex already feels guilty for having to cause you such pain.

And they probably also assume you’re struggling right now, so there’s not really a need to tell them directly anyway.

And if you DO want to get back together, this message is even worse.  Like I mentioned earlier, this kind of statement sends a clear signal that you’re not moving on and you’re sitting around waiting to see if they change their mind about breaking up.

Even though that might be true, and might sound at first like a reasonable message to convey to your ex, it is the exact opposite of what will make them want to take you back.

What you should be doing is HIDING your post-breakup emotions as much as possible… from your ex in particular. 

Keep your emotional support circle small… just a friend or family member or 2 that you can confide in, and otherwise put on a smile so it seems like you’re not sitting around crying and you’re actually a confident, desirable person that will easily replace your ex with someone new unless they do a 180 on the breakup and ask you for another chance.

By sending your ex that kind of message, and demonstrating that you’re thriving in life since the breakup and quickly moving on, you’re injecting a sense of urgency and forcing them to recognize that they’ll soon lose you for good unless they change their mind and take you back.

In summary:  don’t let your ex see your emotions.  Let them see you thriving and moving on quickly, and let them worry internally about that.  Avoid sending any kind of message that suggests you’re struggling or waiting around for them in hopes they’ll change their mind about breaking up.

And if they can tell that you’re just waiting for them to come around, then your ex is never going to come back because they don’t feel any pressure to.


#5. “I never want to talk to you ever again. I’m blocking your number.”

Look, if you hate your ex’s guts and never want to speak to them ever again, then this message is fine.  It’s a bit immature, but whatever… if you truly don’t care about your ex or seeing them ever again, then I guess this kind of text is OK to send.

But if you have any lingering thoughts about taking them back, or you at least want to keep your options open, then there’s no need to say this kind of thing to your ex at any point.

Not only is a bit childish and pointless, it’s just going to be seen as aggressive and confrontational to your ex.  

Besides, what if you say this and then your ex decides to actually do the same thing?  That’s going to make it impossible to ever reach out to them in the future. This kind of message is pointless and likely only to anger your ex or make them think you’re a bit immature, so just don’t send it. 

#4. “Are you seeing anyone yet?”

Alright, so you want to know if your ex is dating again.  I get it.  It’s a natural tendency that most people have, but it’s also pointless and unlikely to benefit you regardless of your ex’s response.

Avoid asking your ex about their dating life, regardless of whether you want them back or not, is just a bad idea.

Let’s say you ask your ex this question, and they reply with something like, “yes, I have been seeing a new guy” or “yeah I’m seeing Tim from the office now”…  what exactly are you going to do with that information?

It’s going to be painful to hear your ex is dating again, especially if you still have hopes of getting them back, and anything you try to do or say to your ex in regards to this new person they’re dating is going to be counterproductive.  You can’t talk your ex out of seeing someone new, and if you try, they’re going to react badly.

And you still don’t know if this is just a rebound, or a real relationship that’s going to last months or years… so it doesn’t really help you move on.

If your ex says no — well, that’s probably the answer you’re looking for — but it doesn’t change your strategy if you want them back.  In fact, it doesn’t even really tell you anything about your chances of ever dating them again, because they could be lying to avoid hurting you, or they could be telling the truth but still dead set on moving on and unwilling to ever get back together.

So, what’s the point of asking your ex if they’re seeing anyone?  Regardless of the answer, you don’t get ahead or learn anything useful.

And lastly, this type of message–any message where you’re digging for info about your ex’s dating life or romantic escapades since the breakup–sends the wrong message to your ex.

If you want them back, you want them to believe that you’re moving on and you don’t care who they see or what they’re doing now.  So, avoid asking your ex about their dating life, at least unless they bring it up on their own for some reason.

#3. “I f***ing hate you. You’re an ugly piece of s**t.”

Yeah, so… I’m not sure I need to really explain why this message is bad, do I?  Look, I totally understand that sometimes your breakup is so nasty that you feel a burning urge to lash out at your ex or try to get revenge.

Maybe they broke your heart by doing something truly awful to you.  Maybe they deserve to suffer or face your anger for what they did.

But, guess what?  Sending your ex angry, hateful messages or seeking revenge is not going to make you feel much better.  It’s a petty, immature thing to do and it’s not the kind of person you want to be, is it?

The best revenge is to succeed in life without your ex… to make them wish they had never broken up with you.  Sending rude or angry messages honestly is never worth the risk — especially, of course, if you’re hoping for a second chance with this ex.

#2. “I cheated on you so many times. With your best friend.” 

Again, as I just described, going out of your way to try and get revenge or hurt your ex is… well, it’s petty, and it’s also pointless and likely to backfire on you.  I don’t think I need to explain this, but your ex is never going to change their mind about breaking up if you start owning up to all the awful things you did behind their back during your time together… and they might be devastated to hear it, but it’s not going to give you the satisfaction you’re looking for when you send this kind of message.

Take the high road.  Be the bigger person.  Keep this kind of secret from your ex, whether you want them back or not.  Not only will it keep your reputation intact — I mean, imagine what people would think if they found out you cheated on your ex with their best friend — but it’s also just the right thing to do.

Again, as I already mentioned, there’s no benefit to hurting your ex with this kind of message… and of course, doing so is going to kill your chance of ever getting back together.

Alright, and finally, the #1 worst message you can send your ex…

#1. “Why are you ignoring me? Respond!” (SPAMMING)

Now I know it’s a bit controversial to consider this the single worst message you could send your ex, but what I want to convey is how damaging it is to SPAM your ex with multiple texts, calls, and messages.

Not only does it hurt your chances of getting them back, it makes you look like a clingy, needy, desperate person and it absolutely will not make them any more likely to actually respond to your messages.

If you’ve tried to reach out to your ex more than once, and never received any kind of reply whatsoever, that’s your signal to stop contacting them for at least a week or two.

If you try to reach out to your ex multiple times, using a different approach each time, and you still don’t hear anything back then you need to back off and lay low for a while.

Your ex’s silence is a dead giveaway that you need to give them space, and by continuing to reach out you’re doing the exact opposite.

Not only are you disrespecting their clear desire to be left alone by spamming them over and over again, you’re also making yourself look like a needy, clingy loser.

If you want to get a second chance with this ex, then you need to shift their perception of you… re-build their attraction for you.

And being desperate, being too eager to contact them over and over again. These are traits that make you less attractive.

They’ll only make your ex MORE confident that breaking up was the right move, and less likely to respond to your future messages.  

If you’ve tried to contact your ex a number of times and got no reply, or even limited interest, stop reaching out. You need to change your approach to make your ex want you back.

Dave Barker

Breakup Coach

About the Author

Dave Barker is a breakup and 'ex back' coach with over a decade of experience helping clients repair and improve romantic relationships.

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