Why do our exes' birthdays make us feel like we have to do something? Maybe we feel a sense of obligation to continue the charade of post-relationship friendship. Maybe birthdays make us reflect on how quickly life is passing us by and regret all the horrible things we never got to say. Maybe we just want to ruin our ex's day by reminding him we exist. Maybe we think this would be an excellent opportunity to get laid.

Or maybe it's a little of all of those that drives us to choose one of these 7 options for reaching out to your ex-boyfriend on his birthday:

1. The casual text.

The goal: Prove you're over him.

The ideal casual birthday text should be so breezy it hurts. The emotional implication of your one-sentence, abbreviation-filled text message is that you barely even remember being in a relationship with this person. It could be anyone's birthday today—an old college acquaintance, an elderly aunt, your UPS guy—and you'd be equally pumped for them.

 

2. The serious text.

The goal: Prove he's not over you.

Look, when you last spoke, things weren't exactly breezy. You don't want to diminish that truth by sending some text laden with exclamation points and clearly false "happy"s. Instead, write a text that's guaranteed to remind your ex of all that's left unsaid. Use his full name. Imply that you'd like to have a longer conversation at some point. Freak him out a little.

 

3. The Facebook post.

The goal: Show the world you're single and loving it.

Why bother letting your ex know how totally over him you are when you could be letting the whole world know how totally over him you are? Nothing says "I've moved on" like a carefully crafted yet somehow lighthearted Facebook post—a post that's both effortlessly intimate and publicly dismissive. If his new girlfriend didn't know about you yet, she will definitely be asking him who you are once she sees all the likes you garner from mutual friends.

 

4. The long, heartfelt email.

The goal: Air some grievances.

This is it. Your big chance to reach out and say everything you wanted to say but never got the chance to. Start by explaining that Facebook let you know it was his birthday. You certainly haven't planned this email for months, keeping a copy in your drafts folder until the perfect opportunity arose to send it. Wish your ex a happy one, then segue into a conversation about getting older. From there, turn your opus casually to the topic of regrets. Mistakes. Past grievances. Things you wish you'd done better. Things you wish he'd done better. End with an apology and an "I really hope the year ahead is better for you." Hit "send" with an aching awareness of the gravity of your action.

 

5. The phone call.

The goal: Ruin his day.

This may seem like the most intimidating option, but it can also be the simplest. First of all, there's no paper trail. If you send the wrong type of birthday text message or your Facebook post comes across as desperate, there will always be a record of that. But if you say the wrong thing on the phone, your ex probably won't even register it (he was always a terrible listener). Plus, if your ex ignores your call, you can always tell yourself he was just out celebrating and too busy to answer (try calling after 10pm to ensure this will happen). Don't ever make the mistake of leaving a voicemail. It's totally sufficient that your name flash across his iPhone screen—and heart—just long enough to ruin his special day by reminding him he lost you.

 

6. Show up at his birthday party.

The goal: Get some action.

Sure, he may have invited you because your name's at the beginning of the alphabet and it came up early while he was making the Facebook invite. He probably doesn't really expect or even want you to show up. But in a few hours, your ex is going to be drunk and desperate to feel young again. And you know what reminds him of being young? The regrettable relationship you shared when he was too stupid to know any better. Score!

 

7. The skywriting airplane.

The goal: Make his big day all about you.

Though less frequently selected than the other five options, getting an airplane to write "Happy birthday, [Ex's Name]!" in the sky over your ex's birthday barbecue is a great way to show you're serious about making your ex's birthday all about you. You really know how to ruin a party, which come to think of it is why things ended so badly in the first place.    

 

(by Shira Rachel Danan; designed by Cole Mitchell)