Should You Send Your Ex a Happy Birthday Message After You've Broken Up?

Should you wish your ex a happy birthday after you've broken up?

It's a torturous question. On one hand, everyone likes receiving a genuine happy birthday message. On the other hand, your well wishes might just ruin your ex's day, depending on how your relationship ended.

As with most breakup etiquette, sending your ex a birthday message doesn't have a clear-cut answer that applies to every situation. Keep scrolling to figure out if you should type out a happy text, or just stay silent on your ex's birthday.

Say Happy Birthday If: You Can Send a Sincere Message

Birthdays are a momentous occasion and it's hard to let them slip by without saying anything, especially if you had a serious relationship with someone. Breaking up doesn't mean you have to be out of each other's lives completely—it's still okay to support one another and wish each other the best.

If you're going to send a happy birthday message, however, be sure you really mean it. Don't send a text because you feel like you should or because you're trying to make yourself look good. If it isn't genuine, saying happy birthday is pretty pointless. You know what they say: If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.

Sending a Text Message

(via Unsplash)


Don't Say Happy Birthday If: You Want to Get Back Together

If you miss your ex, a happy birthday message may seem like the perfect way to reestablish contact and maybe even confess your feelings. Unfortunately, that's a pretty selfish move. If your ex doesn't feel the same way, you've now turned their birthday into a dramatic event full of emotional conversations. Plus, there's a big chance you'll end up hurt once again, ruining any progress you've made in getting over the relationship. If you really miss your ex, choose a different day to talk things out with them, instead of taking the chance that you might mess up their birthday.


Say Happy Birthday If: You Ended on Good Terms

There are good breakups and there are bad breakups. For the bad breakups, the rules of engagement after the split are a little trickier. If you and your ex are one of the lucky pairs that experienced a good breakup, however, there's no reason you shouldn't reach out and wish them a happy birthday. There's no bad blood between you, so there's also little chance that things will be weird. You might not chat with your ex every day, but a happy birthday message is a totally fine way to show that you're thinking of them and that things are still good between the two of you following your split.


Don't Say Happy Birthday If: You're Still Hurting

If you're still struggling to get over your breakup, you don't need to tell your ex happy birthday. When you're in the process of healing from heartbreak, any contact with your ex can interrupt your progress. If the conversation goes well, you'll start wondering why you broke up at all. If the conversation goes poorly, you'll spend the entire day hurt and upset. Wait until you're truly over your ex to contact them for anything, including a birthday message.

Serena staring at her phone looking sad in a scene from Gossip Girl

(Gossip Girl via The CW)


Say Happy Birthday If: You've Moved On

On the opposite end of still trying to recover from the breakup, you might be totally fine by the time your ex's birthday rolls around. If you feel that you've genuinely moved on, either into a new relationship or just within your feelings for your ex, it's okay to say happy birthday. It might even be the beginning of a friendship between the two of you since you won't be secretly hoping that your birthday message will lead to a reconciliation.


Don't Say Happy Birthday If: It Might Hurt Them

If you're not sure how your ex is going to respond to your happy birthday message, it's better to just refrain from sending it. Birthdays are special days and the last thing you want to do is bring your ex down when they're trying to celebrate. If you're at all worried that your message might make your ex sad or angry, don't bother reaching it. Even if your intentions are pure, it's best to just let them enjoy their day.


Say Happy Birthday If: You Want a Friendship

It's totally possible that you and your ex broke up and you're on okay terms, but you wouldn't really consider each other "friends." If you want to use a birthday text to establish a friendly relationship, go for it! It might be the perfect way to show your ex that you're over everything that happened and that you're open to staying in each other's lives. Exes can be friends sometimes. If that's what you want, it's okay to pursue it.

Sierra Burgess Is a Loser: Sierra texting while leaning in bed

(Sierra Burgess Is a Loser via Netflix)


Don't Say Happy Birthday If: You Just Want to Brag

If you want to show your ex how good you're doing without them, any excuse to reach out is going to be tempting. But if you simply want a chance to brag about everything that's going on in your life, there's no point in sending a happy birthday text. Your ex will see through your motives right away, and you'll just come off looking petty and selfish. Odds are, if you text your ex to brag, you'll end up feeling worse after it's all said and done. If you just want to gloat, practice some self-control and don't send that birthday text.


Looking for more advice on dealing with your ex? Click HERE for how to deal when your ex spreads a rumor about you.