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Is Texting an Ex While In a Relationship Considered Cheating?

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Texting an ex can be easily construed as cheating. It can also be healthy and innocent communication between two friends. It really depends on your perspective and the circumstances.

Put yourself in the position of your current partner. Would you voluntarily let them read all the text messages you send to your ex?

If your partner is texting an ex, would they let you read their messages?

It doesn’t matter if you’re fresh off a break-up or years into a marriage, texting with an ex can cause strong emotional reactions. In fact, texting behind a partners back is one of the primary reasons couples spy on each other’s text messages.

Is It OK to Text Your Ex While in a Relationship?

Many of us have felt the urge to reconnect with an ex. Something as innocent as seeing their photos on Facebook can trigger the urge to contact them.

But is it cheating? The truth is, it depends on several factors.

  1. your current partner and the strength of your relationship.
  2. the content of the messages.
  3. how the relationship with your ex ended.

Your Current Partner

Your current partner’s self-confidence and the strength of your relationship are crucial factors in how they will handle you communicating with your ex.

Texting your ex doesn’t have to be a big deal, as long as your current partner and your ex are comfortable with it. But it’s important to set boundaries. Otherwise your partner could easily interpret texting your ex as cheating.

What Are You Texting About?

There are a lot of reasons why someone might want to text an ex. Sometimes it’s just to share a funny story or an interesting article. This is certainly innocent enough.

Here are a few things to avoid:

  • sharing important information with an ex BEFORE telling your current partner.
  • using a flirtatious or teasing tone.
  • talking about your current partner with your ex.

How Your Relationship With Your Ex Ended

Relationships end for all sorts of reasons. Some are amicable, but most breakups are initiated by one side or the other. If there is any chance that YOU or your ex are still romantically interested, you should proceed with EXTREME caution.

Strong feelings cause people to interpret texts differently. “Let’s keep in touch” could interpreted as anything from “let’s be friends” to “let’s get back together.”

Setting Boundaries With Your Ex

Setting boundaries is an easy way to ensure no one’s feelings get hurt. Don’t text at odd hours. Don’t share deeply emotional information. And finally…

Use common sense. If the shoe were on the other foot, would you feel threatened by the frequency and content of the messages you send to your ex?

If the answer is yes, you can assume your partner will feel the same way.

Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Texting Your Ex

Some scenarios are more complicated than others. Here’s what you should ask yourself if you’re thinking about texting your ex:

  • Are you currently with someone else?
  • What form of communication are you using to interact?
  • What are your topics of conversation?

As a general rule, we recommend defining the boundaries between the two of you after the breakup so you don’t cross any lines.

And if you have a new boyfriend or girlfriend, you should be transparent about your intention to text your ex.

When Texting Your Ex Is NOT Okay

Here are just a few examples of times when you should NOT be texting an ex.

If You’re Drunk

Let’s not kid ourselves: drunk texting always leads to disaster. You might feel like you want to get back with your ex when the world is spinning, but you might wake up the next day regretting your choice.

Don’t be that person.

If you’re drinking, do yourself a favor and ask a friend to keep your phone when you’re fresh off a break-up. If you’re sitting in a bar alone, there’s an app for that.

If You’re Sexually Frustrated

If you want to send messages just for a booty call, think twice. If it’s sex you’re after, the emotional bonds you’ve formed with an ex will only complicate things.

If you’re currently with someone else, you might strain your relationship by sending that text. No matter how you look at it, you’re already cheating.

If You’re Vulnerable

Everyone has moments of weakness in their lives, but it’s never good to text your ex when you’re vulnerable.

While it may feel like your ex can heal your loneliness, you could experience positivity bias. You’re remembering all the good times even if your relationship turned sour in the end.

It might be tempting to reconnect, but we recommend you avoid sending a text to your ex in situations of extreme sadness or loss. You’re more prone to bad decisions when you’re weak.

If You Have A New Partner

A relationship is built on communication and trust. That’s why it’s never good to hide the fact that you’re texting your ex in secret.

Secrets are the first sign of something wrong with any relationship. That’s why we recommend telling your current partner about your plans before you pick your phone up.

No matter what the subject of your conversations is, people can easily misinterpret your texts.

And while cheating on your partner wasn’t your goal, the texts you send each other could suggest something else to your new partner.

Just remember that emotional affairs are another form of infidelity. So matter what you’re texting, make sure you set your boundaries and limit your conversation to strictly platonic matters.

If You Want To Move On

There are many ways to move on from your relationship, but texting your ex boyfriend or girlfriend on their phone is not one of them.

There is no good reason to prolong the agony by texting your ex after a break-up. If you want to move on, then a no-contact policy might speed up the process.

For good measure, we also recommend unfriending or unfollowing your ex from social media. You could also remove any emojis from her contact name. This way, you speed up the moving-on process.

When Texting Your Ex Is Okay

If You Want Closure

Ending relationships can be messy, and sometimes, it happens so quickly that you didn’t even know why it ended. Maybe you want to clear the air between the two of you.

Texting your ex to patch things up isn’t a bad idea. Of course, you’d want to make sure that the conversation happens in person. But you can try texting your ex to schedule your talk.

If You’re Friends to Begin With

Maybe you and your ex realized that you’re better off as friends. If that’s the case, then it wouldn’t hurt to send her messages to greet her on special occasions, or to congratulate her on special milestones.

Make sure you establish boundaries between the two of you. Your friendship is important, but if you’re already with someone else, it might jeopardize your relationship. Worse, it might turn into an affair.

If You Work Together

As long as you’re maintaining a strictly professional relationship with your ex, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t send texts or e-mail messages.

We recommend just keeping it to work. You don’t want to be the subject of office gossip.

If You’re Asking About the Kids

Maybe it’s not a break-up. Maybe it’s a divorce. Either way, if you and your ex have children together, you’ll obviously want to keep in touch.

There’s nothing wrong with an ex husband reading text messages from an ex-wife asking about the children. Even if you and your ex have a custody arrangement, it’s always good to keep an open line of communication.


Our former partners can leave an impact on us. But if you want to move on from heartbreak and open yourself up to new opportunities, then think twice before picking up your phone.

About the Author

Jason has over 25 years in the information and internet security industry. He is passionate about smartphones, gadgets, and technology. He also got a solid background in programming and software.  This includes Python, C++, app development and more.

jason thompson