How to Handle Special Occasions
in the Life of Your Ex-
It’s incredible how much stress there is about if and how to acknowledge a special occasion in your ex’s life like a birthday, graduation, promotion, etc. What will s/he think if I do/don’t acknowledge it, what should I say, how should I communicate, what should I do if there's a response, what should I do if there's no response...??
Trust me, it’s NOT WORTH STRESSING ABOUT. The only thing you should think about is YOUR healing.
But special occasions in the life of your ex- is such a big issue for so many people in the period after a breakup that I think it’s best to address it.
Strictest policy: Never acknowledge anything
After reading through hundreds (literally) of posts about this issue and having gone through it myself way too many times, my thinking on it is simple:
If you parted on bad terms and/or you can’t envision having this person in your life as just a friend, then make no contact and never acknowledge any events in the person’s life.
Remember, s/he broke up with you. If they don’t want a relationship with you, then you don’t need to be wishing them well on whatever things happen in their life.
That’s the very strict no-contact policy.
But not everyone’s horrible, not all ex-‘s are bad people, and many times you hope that someday you and the ex- might be friends.
In that case, my suggestion is to keep it very, very simple and impersonal. No phone calls ever, just email or text.
As an example, on his/her birthday, just send an SMS saying “Happy birthday to you. Best wishes." Yes, it’s cold; yes, it’s bizarrely short and formal, particularly for a person you’ve been so close to. But that’s the point: s/he broke up with you, your heart is aching, and anything personal you say will only lead to more pain, doubting, second-guessing, and ripping of the emotional scars for YOU.
Only major events known prior to the breakup
One useful strategy to follow is a policy where you only acknowledge major events in your ex’s life which you knew about prior to the breakup. His/her birthday is the obvious one. Or a graduation which was already scheduled while you were together. Maybe a celebration, a job promotion or another event which had already been planned while you were together.
But don’t acknowledge anything that you didn’t know about before the breakup. You shouldn’t know about anything in your ex’s life anyway. And to acknowledge that you are still following your ex’s life, and to wait for some response back about it, is brutally painful.
And only very major events should be acknowledged. The small things should just be ignored. Remember, you are NOT his/her cheerleader any more.