Should I get my ex a gift this Valentine’s Day? As a general rule, I would say “no”. However it depends on a number of factors, including your intentions, the terms on which you broke up, and whether you’ve kept in contact with your ex. Getting a Valentine’s Day gift for your ex is no small decision. You should contemplate your relationship history and your goals, before committing to sending them a present. Some want to rekindle an old flame. Others just want to mend bridges. In this gift guide I’ll pose several question, and the answers should help you decide if reaching out to your ex is in your, and their, best interests.
What Do You Hope To Accomplish?
Valentine’s Day is often synonymous with love in the United States. However, some cultures, like Latin America, view it as more about friendship. While I’m not against re-igniting an old flame, you have to be very careful that this doesn’t backfire. Use caution when reaching out to your ex if your intent is romantic. People tend to romanticize failed relationships around this holiday, and it’s important to remember that the relationship ended for a reason.
While Valentine’s Day is often a time for celebrating new love, for many it is also a bit nostalgic. People who are looking for a platonic relationship with their ex, may be in a new relationship. At the very least, most have moved beyond the pain associated with breaking up. If the goal is simply to mend broken bridges, try reaching out with a phone call, text message, or on social media initially.
Giving your ex a gift on Valentine’s Day when you really just want to salvage a friendship could send a mixed signal. Depending on how recently things ended, and on what terms, a gift may also make them uncomfortable. Usually I advocate extra thought when selecting a gift. However, in this scenario, I recommend something less personal.
Focus on a useful gift like this electric wine bottle opener on Amazon. Nothing about this gift implies romantic intent to your former beau. It’s just a practical accessory for their kitchen. Similarly, you could opt for this beer bottle insulated cooler also on Amazon.
Was The Break Up Mutual or One Sided?
Did you end the relationship, did they, or was it a mutual decision? If your partner ended the relationship, sending a Valentine’s day gift to your ex can seem like an act of desperation. Even if your intent is sincere, it’s probably not a wise decision. Sending a gift when a relationship is recently ended is almost certainly a bad idea.
If on the other hand, you ended the relationship and are having doubts, you should still exercise caution. Giving a Valentine’s gift to your ex can give them a false sense of hope. You may be second guessing yourself and just wanting to take things slowly. They may interpret this as a full-fledged attempt at getting back together.
Was the breakup a mutual decision? This scenario is far less likely to lead to heartache for either of you. Chances are, your nostalgia over good times is prompting the feeling that you should send a gift. In this instance, you are likely using Valentine’s Day as a way of re-connecting, and are probably not sure what you want. Until you figure it out, it’s best to not send signals one way or another.
In all of these scenarios, you should refrain from anything overly sentimental. Going with a traditional card is probably your best option. Regardless of the kind of relationship you want (romantic or platonic) a card allows you to express your true intent. Sending them a card leaves little room for interpretation. Just be clear in your message so no hearts get broken.
Are You Still In Contact With Your Ex?
When this holiday rolls around, we’re often driven to problems with impulse control. Remember that your actions have implications. When was the last time you spoke with your ex lover? Are you sure that Valentine’s Day of all the days in the year is the best time to reach out?
If you aren’t aware of what’s going on in your ex’s life, you probably shouldn’t go meddling. Sending a gift when they are dating someone else is sure to end disastrously. Not only will it cause unnecessary strife in their relationship, but you will likely be seen as the cause. It should go without saying, but this will only drive them further away.
Assuming they are single, sending a gift can be a nice way to re-open communications if the relationship ended amicably. Avoid anything too sentimental, as this may re-open old wounds unintentionally. Use this as an opportunity to start anew. You wouldn’t go out and buy a $500 piece of jewelry for someone you were interested in dating right? Try checking out the Valentine’s Day section of the site for neutral gift ideas.
For the Formerly Married
Very few divorced couples tend to worry about getting back together. Most have tried counseling and other options to save their marriage. Once the decision is made there is likely no going back. However, after the dust settles couples may struggle re-opening lines of communication.
Valentine’s Day affords a unique opportunity to connect. An ice-breaker like this Best Ex Husband Ever coffee mug may help rebuild the bridge between you and your ex.
Set Realistic Expectations For Yourself
I’ve talked about figuring out what you hope to accomplish from sending your ex a gift on Valentine’s Day. However, you must realize that your desires do not necessarily translate to results.
While you may desire a romantic relationship, your ex may not reciprocate these feelings. The same is true for a platonic relationship. You should prepare yourself for both hostile and peaceful responses. Even no response at all is possible.
Whatever they decide is out of your control, and you should respect it. A sure fire way to ensure the destruction of your relationship, or any future relationship, is to ignore their wishes. Patience is a virtue, and you should exercise it whether you decide to send a gift or just reach out with a card.
Before purchasing and sending a gift to your ex, it’s important to decide what you ultimately hope to accomplish. Take your time to evaluate if it is in your best interest, and your ex’s. Pick a gift that conveys your intent clearly, and set realistic expectations once your decision is made.
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