Carolyn Hax: His ex can’t keep from wishing him happy birthday, which saddens him

DEAR CAROLYN: Every year, my ex – who left me out of the blue for another man – contacts me one way or the other to wish me a happy birthday. It always stuns me because we never communicate during the entire year, and she knows she’s responsible for wrecking our relationship. I don’t think she has a guilt complex as much as she wants to have her cake and eat it, too, since she’s seriously seeing someone else.

For years, I’ve ignored her, hoping she’ll get the hint. No luck there. If silence isn’t working and I really don’t want to change my number or my email address, what’s the most effective yet tactful way to tell her to get lost – and stay lost – without opening up old wounds? Birthdays are supposed to be fun.

Wanting To Put The “Happy” Back In

DEAR HAPPY: “Thank you for the call/email. The best birthday gift you could give me, though, is to leave me in peace.” Then block her phone number and email address.

Or, skip straight to Step 2, and wish yourself a happy.

One quibble: She didn’t “wreck” your relationship, she left it. If there was any wreckage (vs. merely falling out of love), then it occurred before she left, since people don’t leave when they’re happy.

Her leaving for someone else is a coward’s move and hurts deeply, yes – it isn’t radical to conclude, though, that someone who does that “out of the blue” already wasn’t happy and merely hadn’t communicated that to you. That suggests her departure was coming, even necessary, regardless.

So how ’bout pairing your cake this year with a farewell toast to the specter of Ms. Bad-for-Me? And if you can’t, then call it a pledge to find out why.

DEAR CAROLYN: After we broke up, my ex and I remained friends on Facebook. I think I did it because I’d always hoped we’d get back together and being Facebook friends prevented a formal severing.

Now, I continually see this barrage of photos and status updates of her with someone else, and it really rubs salt in my wounds.

Should I unfriend her now to spare myself the drama, or should I hold off, just in case she breaks off the new relationship someday? I’ve tried to date other people, but she’s still my first choice. If I do unfriend her, should I tell her I did so, or just do it?

Thinking Of Letting Go To Save My Sanity

DEAR LETTING GO: For the love of psychic housecleaning, pull the plug. No explanation.

Consider doing this: Be your own first choice. If you’re not sure what that means, then use the time to figure out what it means for you.

Email Carolyn at or follow her on Facebook at