Chances are pretty high that you’ve come close to texting an ex. Should you resist the impulse and hold firm to your decision to cut all ties after a breakup? Are you hoping for an improved relationship with your ex? Are you feeling needy and lonely? That’s absolutely normal and perfectly natural. All human beings depend on each other, and you’ve formed a bond with someone who’s been an important and central part of your life. There’s no right or wrong answer when the overwhelming urge strikes to pick up the phone.

Starting to date and meeting new people is the key to finally moving on. Dating will lead you to replacing the old partner with someone who treats you better because he values you. But as you edge toward finally moving on, how do you gauge your own emotions? Honesty and self-awareness will show whether you are ready to let go of your beloved. Staying in touch with your ex via text is fine as long as the effort doesn’t cause you more hurt and pain.

Texting your ex is acceptable when you get signs that reconciling might be a good idea. Those signs include treating you with courtesy and respect. Do they show genuine remorse for hurting you? Do they demonstrate a commitment to real change? There’s no set time you should wait before reaching out. If the moment feels right, go ahead as long as your ex is not rejecting you. You are the best judge of your own feelings.

If you decide to text, expect absolutely nothing. Expectations are a setup for letdowns and disappointments. The key is reciprocity. They should answer your texts, and the exchange should be a two-way street. If you get a positive response, that will be a lovely surprise.

Look for warning signs that you may run into emotional pitfalls if you text. If you keep getting signals that you are virtually alone in the relationship, stay away. When your partner takes no shared responsibility for the breakup, don’t text. Usually a hurt destroys a relationship. Does he acknowledge his role in the rupture? Does he keep blaming you? Then don’t text.

It’s no longer acceptable to text once you discover that your ex has a new relationship. Most of us feel lonely and sad feeling after a breakup. Some of us feel relief if the relationship was marred by conflicts and fighting. In both cases, you may hold onto a fantasy of reconciling in a relationship that is more loving.

The fantasy of a future reconciliation comes to a crashing halt when you find out your ex is in a new romance. Learning that your ex has a new relationship is a painful moment but actually the best gift. You are forced to move on with your life and the true morning for your finished romance begins.

Read More: This Is When You Should Text an Ex (and When You Shouldn’t)