Can I Send a Birthday Card to My Son’s Ex?

Dear Ms. Cards Etiquette,

I would like to send my son’s ex-girlfriend a birthday card. They went out for 2 years. She will be 17 and my son is 19. She is a truly sweet girl and I want to know if it’s appropriate to send her a card and if you can suggest sentiments or notes for the card.

Thanks, Dee

Ah, yes, Dee, Ms. Cards Etiquette remembers her first love with fondness.

The breakup of such a long relationship at during adolescence can be a traumatic one, so I can understand your hesitation. I think it all depends if the breakup was a mutual one, and if your son and this girl are still on friendly terms. It also depends on how well you know this girl. If she has been a friend of the family for many years and you have always sent her a birthday card since was a small child, then that is definitely something to keep in mind as well.

I think the best course of action is to talk to your son about this and see what he has to say. If there are hurt feelings by either party, then you probably want to stay out of it simply so you don’t come off as “siding” with one person or the other. If she has hurt feelings and you send her a card, then it might come off as awkward for her simply because she won’t know how to react to it. It’s a touchy thing, this.

If your son is ok with you sending a birthday card to this young woman and they are on good terms, then I would keep it simple. Don’t say anything along the lines of “We miss you”, but it is perfectly fine to say something like “I’m thinking of you, and I hope you are having a great birthday.” Above all, be sincere.

Good luck Dee! I hope it works out well.