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"It’s been so long since we last were in touch but I haven’t forgotten all the wonderful times we spent together last year. It’s my birthday coming up and I wanted to invite you over to stay at my place for the celebration."

In the above quote can I say:

It’s my birthday coming up and I want to invite you over to stay at my place for the celebration.

OR

It’s my birthday coming up and I would like to invite you over to stay at my place for the celebration.

And by "wanted" does it mean that he was thinking of inviting her in the past, before writing the letter?

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All 3 options (I wanted, I want to, and I would like to) can be used.

"Wanted" is past tense, so your concern with "wanted" is valid. Good catch! The other 2 options are certainly the better ones. However, if you already sent the message using "wanted," the typical recipient of that email should understand your invite still currently stands, especially if you conclude that message with celebration details.

"I want" and "I would like" are very similar choices, so feel free to use either.

I Want:

"to feel a need or a desire for; wish for"

I would Like:

"to take pleasure in"

(Dictionary.com)

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