So here’s a tough one: you and your boyfriend have an anniversary coming up. What do you get him? Do you get him an anniversary card—and if you do, what do you even write in it? Maybe you and your guy are on the same wavelength, but putting it in writing is nerve-wracking for plenty of people, so a little advice couldn’t hurt.
And while it may be a stereotype, some men are pretty guarded about their feelings. Whether they appreciate the card or not, you may want to choose your words carefully so you don’t crack his too-cool exterior and make him open up about his feelings. Granted, if there were ever a time for it, your anniversary would be a good one, but hey, dudes, am I right?
We’ve been kidding around about how boyfriends can be low-key about their feelings, but when done right, an anniversary greeting card can be a good, lower-pressure way to express how you feel. Conversely, putting it in writing can also make it feel a little more real, so it’s up to you to figure out how well you know your guy as you figure out how to proceed.
Tell him how special the past year has been, and any of the years before that. If there are specific kind things he’s done for you, this is a good place to bring them up and to provide another heartfelt thank you.
Some people are uncomfortable expressing their emotions, so one of the positives of writing them down in a card is that your significant other is that they can read them alone later, privately, and process any emotions they’d be afraid to show in front of you—don’t worry, it may take a looooong time, but the longer you’re together, the more they’ll open up emotionally.
One thing you definitely want to avoid: any reference to next steps. Whether or not you two believe in the “relationship escalator” (the idea that dating must lead to marriage and then children), it could feel like too much pressure to get too deep into long term commitment talk in a greeting card.
Besides, that’s a looooong conversation to fit into one card. You may need two, maybe even four cards just for your half of the conversation on that one. Use your card to celebrate the past and present, and leave the serious talk for another time.
You know your boyfriend best, so this category—things that you could put in an anniversary card to your boyfriend—is really only limited by you and your imagination.
Definitely steer clear of needling him for habits you don’t like, or even jokes that he may view as nagging rather than cute in-jokes. It’s a special day, so treat it that way. We’ve touched on the mandatory stuff, but what’s optional?
Think about literally putting something in the card, like in between the fold. Think about getting a print made of your favorite photo together (or a nice picture of yourself) so he doesn’t have to check out his cell phone wallpaper any time he wants to see a picture of you. You could also use it for a cool gift, like concert or ball game tickets, or a gift certificate to his favorite restaurant or brewery.
Really, the options of what you can put in an anniversary card are limitless, as long as you follow the golden rule: treat others the way you’d like to be treated. Nothing too intense, nothing passive-aggressive. Just straight ahead appreciation for another year with the person you love.
Should I Write I Love You In My Boyfriend’s Anniversary Card?
If you’re asking this question, the answer might be no. Ask yourself why you’re not sure. If you’ve said it to each other in person, then yes, absolutely put it in writing. But if you’re hesitating, it may be because you’re not sure now is the right time.
If you haven’t said it to each other yet, or if you’ve said it to him but he hasn’t said it back (major red flag!) an anniversary card is definitely not the right time to bust out the big guns.
While there can be legitimate reasons to hold off on saying I love you, very few of them warrant holding off a year to say it. You and your boyfriend know what’s right for you, but if he hasn’t said it after a year or more, it’s definitely a bad idea to write it in his card.
If you’re open about your feelings on the subject after a year and he’s not, you may want to reevaluate if he’s the guy for you. Admittedly, that’s a bit of a downer answer, but it’s a hard talk you might want to have…sometime after you celebrate.
But you may be asking because your boyfriend is the strong and silent type, and you’re worried about embarrassing them. That’s valid. After all, the day is about celebrating you both, so making either of you uncomfortable shouldn’t be on the menu.
If that’s the case, you have a few options. There’s the simple heart next to your signature. There’s no way to go wrong there. “Love” or even the more low-key “with love” also work as anniversary card signoffs. The meaning is clear enough, but it’s a little more in the background of the message.
“I love you” as a full sentence is definitely direct—but after a year or more, it probably should be. You know your boyfriend best, but saying “I love you” is the point of an anniversary, so don’t shy away from it if you know the sentiment is shared.
Again, this is a hard one to get wrong. Not everyone gets excited about greeting cards, but it’s rare for someone to be offended by receiving one. You know your boyfriend best. Take our suggestions, but also make sure to trust your gut. You’re likely to be right.
Getting a Gift
If you’re also looking to pick out a gift for your boyfriend, make sure you check out our extensive anniversary gift guides broken down by year. It’s an incredible resource!