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Awesome Etiquette: Reaching Out To A Family Member's Ex

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Reaching out to a sibling's former partner after a break up can be difficult, but you shouldn't ignore the role that person played in your family.

When a person who has been part of your family for a long time is no longer part of the family, what's the best way to remain in contact with that person?

My brother and his girlfriend just split up. They'd been together for a long time. I want to contact them both to express how sorry I am about it, but I don't know what to say. Is it okay for me to just send a text or private message on Facebook? I thought about sending a note with some chocolates or something to her but it feels strange, as I never made much of an effort to contact her while they were together. Would it be better for me to just stay out of it? Hope you can help. I'm British and very shy, so I find the situation impossible to navigate.

Anonymous

Don't be shy, reach out! You will be able to take your cues from her and if she doesn't respond very much then you'll know. You did what you could and you leave it at that.

When you reach out, acknowledge the difficult time and say you wanted to touch base. In terms of how to reach out, a phone call is going to be the most personal though you should use the method of communication you usually use to talk to this person.

"My brother and his girlfriend just split up. They'd been together for a long time. I want to contact them both to express how sorry I am about it, but I don't know what to say."

Maybe the first one message is "I'm sorry it didn't work out for you guys, but I just want you to know you were a part of our family for a long time and I'm always going to think of you."  

Over the years, you might send a random text that's like "Hey" to keep in touch since she was part of your family for a long time. It's good to honor all those relationships when we're involved with somebody who is special to us.

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