Why Texts From Your Ex Is a Thing | WBEZ
Skip to main content

Note to Self

Why Texts From Your Ex Is a Thing

"You go, 'Damn, just it’s not my crazy person... it’s everyone’s crazy person!'"

Elan Gale, creator of Texts From Your Ex, Tinder Nightmares, Unspirational and more

If you're not one of Text From Your Ex's 1.5 million followers already, here's what you need to know: Elan Gale's brainchild is an Instagram account with pages and pages of awkwardness captured in screenshots. They're submitted by email, and, as he told producer Jen Poyant on this week's show, he has a backlog of 40,000 "just sitting around."

Turns out, reading through hundreds of thousands of other people's emotionally loaded conversations gives you some pretty profound insight into relationships, technology, and privacy (or rather... the utter lack thereof).

"You’ve never had an interesting text conversation that hasn’t been sent to ten people. That’s just what people do," Gale says. "Even though we treat relationships more casually because of text messages and the way we communicate, you have to actually trust people more to be open and honest with them because you have your entire personal life on their phone, or their watch, or their unguarded computer. And they're irresponsible dicks... and at any moment anyone could just have a lapse of judgement for 45 seconds and leave their phone on a table without a passcode and your entire life is visible. So why pretend that it’s not?"

Seems like a fair trade

A photo posted by Unspirational (@textsfromyourex) on

Gale started Texts From Your Ex about a year ago with some ex-girlfriends who were all in on the joke. Once other people saw them, however, he realized he had stumbled onto something bigger. In the year since, he's hired an assistant and signed a book deal. He says the conversations tend to fall into three categories: calling out the receiver for ignoring them, calling out the receiver for dating someone else (which they've often discovered through social media), or "telling you to go f**ck yourself."

Oh, and:


A photo posted by Unspirational (@textsfromyourex) on

"What else is there, those are the conversations you have," Gale says. "It’s really, really hard to have a relationship with a human being in a room with you. That’s it, that’s hard enough... it took us billions of years to get to a point where we had a common language and now we’ve developed all these new methods of communication but no one has learned how to do it yet. which is why everyone’s almost really bad at it."

This is the subtext of EVERY text from your ex

A photo posted by Unspirational (@textsfromyourex) on


Elan Gale's "Texts From Your Ex" book will be released in the U.S. on October 13.  

Subscribe to Note to Self on iTunesStitcherTuneInI Heart Radio, or anywhere else using our RSS feed.

Get the WBEZ App

Download the best live and on-demand public radio experience. Find out more.