To send or not to send a card…That is the question. This could be birthday, Christmas, Condolence, Good Luck – whatever card – the principle’s the same.
Man, do I wish I had a pound for every time this question, in all its variations, has been asked on SYBD in the last decade. I swear I’d be a millionaire by now…
That “to send or not to send” question manages to polarise the members of this community every time it comes up. It tends to illicit many valuable responses and I can, as ever, see both sides.
Like with the question “can exes be friends” – my response is always “it depends”. So much of whether you should send a card or not depends on the relationship itself, the break up and how things came to an end and when.
There are many people keen to quick to chime in – “no way, why would you want to send a card to someone who broke your heart?” and I can appreciate that question.
There are also people who will say “my ex didn’t send me a card on my birthday” or whatever. I can appreciate that sentiment too.
Me, I’m a sender,…regardless. You might say that I am one for practicing the Golden Rule – so I would always acknowledge a birthday or special occasion – well, almost always.
…Even if it’s just a simple text saying “Happy Birthday” or an email expressing that.
A handful of years ago, I broke up with a guy whose birthday was soon after. I didn’t acknowledge him on the day (even though I thought of him non-stop on the day)…but a month later, when my birthday came around, he emailed me a sweet birthday greeting…Geez, I felt like a heel.
Ever since then neither of us miss sending each other a birthday email or sometimes card. Christmas too.
Again, it really depends on the kind of person you are and the kind of split you have had and how the other person is too.
If you were really treated badly, lied to, cheated on, etc…then you may not want to bother – which is of course quite rightly so…but if you genuinely still care for the other person – and a lot of us post-split do still care (regardless of whether we’re the dumper or dumpee) then you may wish to extend a common courtesy.
What type of person are you? What type of person are they? Will it be appreciated? What if it’s ignored? Would you do the same for any other friend? Are yo breaking No Contact to do it? Do you know what your motivation is on sending a card? Are you hoping for a response or even reconcilation?
All valid questions worth asking yourself.
Personally, I am a fan of birthdays, and I do like to make things special for people as much as I can…so ergo I’d tend acknowledge them in some way – even if just a text with a simple “have a great day”.
What if the person’s moved on to someone new already?
Maybe in this case it might be better to ignore it or just send a simple text or email saying “happy birthday” (or whatever). No fanfare. No big to-dos.
Whenever this subject comes up, as I’ve said before (and it does a lot) the responses that say “no way” to me tend to come from people who are projecting their own break ups and issues into the situation.
For the people who were lied to and cheated on or treated badly in some way – of course the answer would be “no way Jose”….
But our relationships and our break ups are unique to us. I’ve personally (thankfully) never had a break up so heinous that I never wanted to hear from the guy again. Well maybe once back in ’99 – that one came two weeks before my 32 birthday. He called me on the day to discuss house stuff – but never acknowledged my birthday – at least not to my recollection…which was a tad annoying – but hey “water”, “bridge”, “under” now…
I have a recent blog post Ego vs Love – What would love do – maybe that will offer a bit more advice for you? My ego is kicked to the curb and I just try to live by the Golden Rule as I said.
I remind myself often that I have no control how anyone else thinks, feels, acts toward me – only how I choose to interpret and how I choose to act toward them.
Ego would say “don’t sent a card, s/he’s your ex, you can’t show that you still care about him/her” and Love says “love just keep on loving – regardless if the person loves you back in the same way” and regardless if you receive/d a card from them! The other blog says it better, I hope…
But basically if you’re gonna be mad they didn’t acknowledge it or if they don’t send you on – you probably shouldn’t bother. If you’re expecting a miracle with the card – you probably shouldn’t bother. If you even have any expectation – even a simple ‘thank you’ – then you probably shouldn’t bother.
At the end of the day it comes down to you and your own gut feeling about it. Only you know you, and you know the ex, you know how you were treated or how you treated them – so it really is a judgmental call.
I can tell you my cards/notes weren’t always replied to or even acknowledged – but it hasn’t made a difference to my life one way or the other. If you can give without expectation – then I’d always urge to give because what we give out comes back to us – often tenfold. You may not get something back from your ex but you’ll get something back from someone, somewhere. It’s how the universe works. That lesson and silencing my ego – has led me to a much more peaceful and joyous life.
Trust your instinct – that’s the bottom line. In my experience of a decade of the Dumped – I can honestly say it probably won’t make or break your situation either way. In the best case scenario – it may bridge a gap or lead to some positive dialogue and in the worst – it may cause a setback. In both cases you’ll be fine either way. Do what feels right to you – and only you. That’s my final answer.
Actually, not my final answer, if I could offer one piece of small advice – don’t make this be about you and your feelings – keep it brief, keep is positive and keep it about the situation at hand – birthday, Christmas, Good Luck etc. This is probably not the time to pour out your soul. This is about the other person’s day. That’s my advice – and yours to take it or leave it.
If you’re a giver, then keep on giving regardless of what your ego may tell you. Remember it may not be acknowledged or appreciated – but that doesn’t discount your act of kindness. It will come back to you in some way – just don’t get hung up on the way it comes back to you. Trust that it will.
Have a great day.
PS: Will add member’s comments to this blog or create as a separate blog because there were some very good responses to this dilemma!