Drunk-Texting an Ex: Good Idea, Bad Idea, or Worst Idea Ever?

Three things always seem like a good idea when you’re drunk: Having another drink, going to Mickey D’s, and texting your most recent ex. You wake the next morning with a pounding head, a roiling stomach, and a cringing feeling as you scroll messages on your phone. And there they are: Sixteen rambling texts to your ex at 3:10 a.m., followed by thirteen texts to your best friend at 3:17 a.m., and then two more to your ex again. You remember only the first one.

Common knowledge (a.k.a. your best friend) would have it that these texts are a Very Bad Idea. High on truth serum, you say things you’d never say sober. You say things you didn’t say at the break-up, either because you were too broken-hearted, or too concerned with your ex’s broken heart. You say things that are far too messy to say at the time of the actual split, like “Can I come over?” or, “I hate you! Can I come over?”

But it’s the messiness that makes most break-ups bearable. (What did you think all those nighttime and weekend minutes were for, anyway?) Drunk-dialing is a relationship amnesty where all rules of appropriate behavior are called off, where nothing spilled requires a morning-after apology or explanation. It’s a pay-as-you-go conversation that rarely affects the long-term outcome of things (the immediate short-term is a whole other story), though it does take the edge off such soul-crushing activities as dividing property and debating pet custody. It offers the texter a cathartic release. And even if you’re mortified the next day, that humiliation often helps move the all-important “closure” process along (whether you want it to or not…whether you like it or not).

Of course, sometimes the call IS a bad idea. Sometimes it’s too early, or too late, or already too messy for an amnesty chat. And that’s when you install the Drunk Mode app on your phone: it allows you to hide certain contacts on your phone, before you get drunk, for up to 12 hours. But even that takes discipline you might not have, especially after a brutal breakup. It may be better to hand your phone over to a trusted designated dialer on those crazy late nights out. Or better yet, muster up 1-second’s worth of courage to delete your ex’s number for good.

Let’s just hope you don’t have it memorized.  

Need broken-heart help?
5 Easy Steps to Get Over a Breakup