Texting an ex is always a topic of hot debate: some feel it’s unhealthy and unhelpful, others don’t see why it’s a big deal, and plenty of other’s partners fear it’s a gateway to potential cheating.
But what about the seemingly innocent ‘happy birthday’ message? Who, after all, could be so cold as to ignore someone’s special day, even if you’re no longer technically talking to your ex? Even worse: what if you see their birthday popping up all over social media, and now you feel like the ONLY person in the world not wishing them? And besides, surely sending them an innocent note will remind them that, hey, you’re totally cool with not being with them any more, right?
Well, let’s dissect it. Because – as always! – when it comes to an ex, nothing is ever simple.
If your break-up is still raw
Whether you’re still hurting or your ex is, any kind of contact is likely to bring up negative feelings – even if it’s via a well-meaning message. Time heals like nothing else, so if sending a ‘happy birthday’ message stands a chance of stirring up any kind of pain, for you or ex-bae, just don’t. You can always message later, when things aren’t so fresh, and explain: ‘Sorry I didn’t message on your birthday, it just felt like it was too soon’ is perfect.
If you’ve been broken up for, like, ever
Has enough time passed for a birthday message to be 100% innocent? Then send a text – just steer clear of any references to your relationship or your past together. A great test? Could the message you’re about to send read like it’s come from any of their friends, or does it sound specific to you? If it feels specific, re-write it until it’s generic enough to not feel like a throwback SMS.
If you have a jealous partner ATM
If you’re in a new relationship, your priority should be your happiness now. So if sending an SMS or posting on your ex’s FB wall is going to cause you grief, it’s probably best to leave it be. If you do still feel like you should send something, make sure you’re upfront with your current bae about what you’re sending and why. At least then your partner will feel like you’ve considered their feelings above your ex’s, and that there’s nothing to hide.
If you’ve ever crossed the line with an ex before
Called them after a few too many for a booty call? Gone back and cheated on someone with them in the past? These are reasons to cut contact now (unless you’re perfectly happy to keep your ex on your hookup list, in which case, that’s totally your call). Bottom line: it’s hard to break habits, especially emotional ones. So if you’ve got a recurring history with this ex, even a simple ‘happy birthday’ wish could be perceived as reaching out to them romantically. Tread carefully!