It’s My Ex’s Birthday, Should I Text Her, Call Her?

should-i-send-my-ex-a-birthday-cardQuestion:  She canceled on our date last minute saying there was something she needed to do and would tell me later. I called her friends and discovered she was with her ex. I sent her a text telling her I knew who she was with.  She texted back, “I’ll talk to you later.”  I sent her a text “Why did you not tell me it was him?” No response.   I sent her another text, “why are you ignoring me? Still no response. And here is where I messed up. I went by her house and a fight broke up.  She said this was why did she did not tell me. The last time she told me, I had an emotional meltdown and called her names. Later I found out she called him to come over because their daughter was very ill.  I told her I over reacted. She asked “How do I know that I can trust you again to not do something like that again?” and I said “It’ll never happen again. I give you my word”. I’ve since sent her texts and left voice messages telling her I understand why she did what she did.  No response. Next week is her birthday, should I text or call her? How can I get her to trust me again?

Yangki’s Answer: You can’t just erase or correct a misstep like that.  Leave her a lone to process her feelings her own way and time. When she’s ready to talk to you, she’ll contact you. It’s all this constant contacting and explaining that makes you come across as emotionally uncontrolled.

If she doesn’t contact you by two days before her birthday, send her a simple happy birthday card or text or small gift. No explanations. No apologies.  No unnecessary verbiage — just neat and clean. She may still not want to talk to you but that is okay.  The reason you sent the card or text or gift in the first place was to wish her a happy birthday not manipulate her to talk to you.

When she’s finally ready to talk to you again, please don’t say “I understand why you did what you did”. By saying that you are making it look like she’s the one who did something wrong yet you are the one who messed up.  The best way to tell her you “understand” is to STOP the behaviour that creates these kinds of situations.  Words are a waste of time.  After you say “it many times and keep doing the same thing, what makes you think she’ll let herself trust your words ever again?

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10 Comments

  • Thank you so much for your answer. Trust was never an issue before, he broke up with me because he was sick (TBI and PTSD) and needed time on his own.
    I’ve never seen him so angry though, and I’m not sure what to do now. I want to give him time and space to think about it and maybe try calling him in a few days to see how he’s doing. Do you think this is a good idea?

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    • I’m happy to talk to you about your situation via phone. Please click here to find out how to get an objective assessment of your situation and chances, and advice on how to proceed in the best possible way.

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  • I’ve been dating my ex again for about half a year now and things have been really good. However, Sunday morning I made a terrible mistake, confronting him about some text messages on his phone and he got really angry, saying I don’t trust him and he apparently can’t trust me. I apologized and tried to show him how much I regret doubting him. I feel awful for this breach of trust, it’s completely un-like me, even he said it is, I have no idea what has gotten into me.
    Yangki, do you think that one mistake is enough to mess up what we’ve been building up together for months?

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    • One mistake should not mess up what you’ve been building up together for months.

      However, if “trust” was 1) an issue in the relationship before the break-up and/or, 2) one of the reasons for the break-up, one mistake can be all the “proof” he needs to conclude nothing will ever change, and therefore no need to even try.

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  • I overreacted and did not give him time to talk. I just said if u r so unhappy being with me then we should not be together. I never expected him to say if that’s what you want I will leave you alone. He has totally shut me off. I tried all ways to talk to him, he just ignores me.

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    • Stop trying to make him talk to you. You are not going to make him want to talk to you by always trying to make him do it. He’s probably confused or angry with way you handled things. Let him process his emotions. If he does not contact you after a month or so, then reach out to him one more time. If he still isn’t responding, chances are he took you seriously and left you alone. Next time, don’t say anything you don’t mean, it may backfire.

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  • I was the dumper, two weeks and I missed her like crazy. I texted her, “Hi, can we talk?”, and she replied, “about what?”, I wrote back “about us”. I didn’t hear from her for 2 days. So I sent another text, “can we please talk. It’s important”, and she wrote back, “only once”. We met and I told her I made a mistake and that she’s the most important person in my life. We both cried and told each other we’re sorry. She said she was still too hurt and didn’t know she could trust me not to hurt her again, but didn’t rule out that we may get back together in the future. I don’t know how to move things forward from here. I love all of your advice and really need your help. Thnx.

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    • Showing her in words and actions that she can trust you not to dump her again is the only way you can move things forward. That means being honest at all times even when it’s hard to be, being consistent and following through on what you say, being there for her, and all the other things that build trust.

      Please read: 3 Key Behaviours That Earn Your Ex’s Trust

      Just make sure you keep the balance between “being there for her” and being needy and clingy.

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  • I’m the guy that asked the original question. A little update: I sent her a simple happy birthday card as you suggested and she texted me back with a “Thank you, means a lot”. We’re emailing and talking on phone again. I’m going to make sure I do not repeat my past behavior. Just wanted to say THANK YOU!

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