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Should I Text My Ex Happy Birthday? The Pros and Cons

Should you wish your ex happy birthday when you've moved on

There’s a specific day of the year when a lot of men have the same moral dilemma and ask themselves: “Should I text my ex happy birthday?” You’d think, “Yeah, sure. Why not?” But just as you’re about to hit send, questions come flooding in.

What if she thinks you want her back when you don’t?

What if you do want her back, but a simple happy birthday won’t get the message across?

Would it be awkward if you went through a tough breakup?

These are just a few of the many situations that might come up when you wonder whether or not texting your ex happy birthday is a good idea. So let’s go through every possible scenario to help you figure out what to do.

Should I Text My Ex Happy Birthday?

The best way to answer this question is to explore some common scenarios where it’s suitable to text your ex happy birthday and others where it’s not. So, let’s go ahead and do that.

YES: You want her back

Let’s kick off with a controversial one.

If you want your ex back, a happy birthday text could be an effective way to test the waters to see if she feels the same.

If she does reply, you can easily lead into a conversation about how she’s getting on without you. If she’s responding positively to your questions, there’s every chance she misses you just as much as you miss her.

If she’s having a lousy time on her birthday, she may be more prone to reminiscing about the good times you two had together. On the other hand, there’s every chance she’s having a blast with her family and friends, in which case she could ignore your message without a second thought. That’s the risk you take when trying to rebuild a connection on this day.

With that said, there’s no real risk to your reputation here, since a Happy Birthday text can easily be passed off as a polite courtesy and nothing more.

A Kansas University study suggested that around half of splitting couples decide to give it another go. If there is any chance of you rekindling your romance, this might be the day to initiate it. Our guide on the chances of getting back with your ex has more information.

YES: You don’t want her back, but you’re on good terms

Friends who used to date

Believe it or not, it’s possible to end a romantic relationship and not hate each other’s guts for the rest of eternity. Some couples are mature enough to both realize they’re not right for each other and go their separate ways without any ill feelings. Others get over their initial heartache and move on with their lives without any resentment.

If you consider yourself to be one of these ex-couples, there’s nothing wrong with sending your ex a happy birthday text. In this case, there’s no risk of ruining your ex’s day with a smartphone notification. Most likely, she’ll be pleased to read your birthday greeting. A personal and heartfelt message could make her special day even greater.

YES: You’re on bad terms, but you want to bury the hatchet

It’s not healthy holding a grudge against anyone. It’s like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. The negative energy of resentment weighs you down and makes your life less pleasant, even if it’s just on a subconscious level.

If you’d like to bury the hatchet with your ex, a Happy Birthday text could be the perfect medium to do that. In this case, it’s recommended to add some extra kind words about how they deserve to have a fantastic day.

It’s most common that you’d want to do this in scenarios when you still see your ex in the real world. Maybe you had children together or you’re part of the same social circle. These are the situations where it makes the most sense to be proactive about being civil toward one another. If you two are never likely to get in contact again, there’s no reason to reach out on her birthday of all days.

NO: You hate her and you can’t bear to hear from her ever again

If you think this woman is a complete cow and feel sick at the thought of her name flashing on your phone, don’t send her a birthday text.

Don’t worry about whether this is polite or rude. You can ignore the rules of basic manners when there’s so much venom still within you. In this case, even asking yourself “Should I Text My Ex Happy Birthday” might get your blood pressure rising and remind you of unhappy times. It’s not good for your mental health.

Some men in this situation might contemplate sending a Happy Birthday text just to take the emotional high ground and prove that they’re so over the breakup. Don’t do it. You’re better than that. Vow to only spend your energy on people who make you feel good.

NO: You broke up with her, and she’s still sore about it

There are some break-ups where you feel fine afterward, but your ex remains brokenhearted for a long time. These are usually the ones you initiate.

If you cheated on your ex, she’s probably still sore about it. If you’ve moved on to a better relationship and she hasn’t, she’s probably still salty. In fact, in many cases where you broke up with her and you’re not sure how she feels, it’s safest to assume she doesn’t like you.

And no, you shouldn’t text her in this situation! Especially on her birthday! There’s every chance you ruin her entire day, even with a simple “HBD”. The best birthday gift for an ex like this would be to leave her alone. Ignore this advice and you can expect a fiery response.

NO: You don’t want her back, and she’s moved on too

You've moved on and your ex has too

If you’re both in happy relationships and no longer in contact, there’s no need to send her a “Happy Birthday” text. There’s nothing to be gained from it for either of you.

On top of that, there’s every chance that someone reads too much into it. Maybe she replies by asking why you’re reaching out after all these years. Perhaps her partner sees it and wonders why you’re trying to crawl back into her life. Maybe your new partner spots it and starts to get upset.

There’s so much potential drama from a simple text that is ultimately pointless to send.

NO: You want her back, BUT you know it’s best to move on

A ‘Happy Birthday’ text can be a nice strategy to reinitiate contact when you want to win back your ex. But there are plenty of situations where you shouldn’t be trying to get her back.

The most common of these is when she left you and made it clear that it’s OVER.

In this case, the best thing you can do is move on and get your life back together without her. A no-contact rule is essential to make this happen.

It’s not always easy to stick to a no-contact rule. Break-ups are scientifically proven to be emotionally damaging. Most likely, you just want to return to the time when you weren’t so heartbroken - and your ex’s birthday might seem like the perfect excuse to reach out. Find the strength to stay silent anyway.

If you do text her while still heartbroken, you’re only going to feel worse afterward. Most likely, she’ll remain in your head for the next couple of days as you wait to see if she replies. That does nothing for your journey of ‘moving on’. What’s more, if she does respond, it’s probably not going to go the way you want.

For what it’s worth, a study published in Plos One Journal suggested that people who maintain a positive outlook and focus on personal growth after a breakup are more likely to get back together with their ex. At the very least, it should help you to find a relationship with someone.

Should I Wish My Ex a Happy Birthday In Person?

This would only be suitable if she invites you to her birthday party. Turning up to your ex’s house uninvited is completely inappropriate unless it’s very clear that you’re good friends.

This is true even if you want to hand-deliver her a present. Giving your ex a birthday present is inappropriate unless it’s established that you’re good friends. 

Using a present to win your ex-girlfriend back is generally a terrible idea. A gift is rarely going to make your ex change how she feels about you. Here’s a better strategy to win her back.

How to Tell Your Ex Happy Birthday

A birthday message you shouldn't send your ex

After the question of “Should I wish my ex Happy Birthday?”, the next one is usually “How should I do it?”

Once again, the answer to this question will depend on the history with your ex and your desired outcome.

Below are some suggestions for how to tell your ex Happy Birthday based on the aforementioned scenarios when it’s a good idea to send her a text.

“Happy Birthday!”

A simple two-word “Happy Birthday” text is actually your best option if you’re aiming to test the waters for potentially getting back together.

It’s not a good idea to ask any questions or start deeper conversations on the first message, especially on her birthday when she’s likely to be busy.

If she replies with a question about how you’re getting on, that’s a decent sign that there’s maybe some interest in rekindling something. Now, the doors are open for a lengthier conversation.

If she replies to say “Thanks” and nothing else, that’s less of a sign that she’s interested. But it’s still worth continuing the conversation, perhaps the next day by asking if she did anything special.

“Happy birthday. I hope you’re treating yourself on this special day.”

This text is kind and thoughtful without being too mushy or asking for anything in particular. This is suitable for any of the situations where it’s a good idea to text your ex.

If she considers herself on good terms with you, she may reply with more details about what she got up to.

Feel free to continue the conversation if you’re screening her interest in reconciliation, or to leave the conversation at that if your only goal was to be friendly.

“Happy birthday. I hope you’re having a great day. You absolutely deserve it.”

This is a bit heavy for an ex that you’re trying to win back, but it’s a lovely message to send to a good friend or an enemy you’re trying to patch things up with.

If you want, feel free to add a personal reference that makes them remember the good times when you were closer. Perhaps a nickname you used to call them or a throwback to a personal joke you shared.

If none of these examples seem suitable, check out this nice list of 21 birthday texts to send your ex if you’re on good terms.

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