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Special occasions

(78 Posts)
ClareAB Wed 17-Feb-21 00:02:15

It's my birthday tomorrow. My husband, lovely in many ways, after 12 years together, had never seemed to 'get' celebrations, fun events etc. I'm very different. I love Christmas, and am happy to do the work of present picking/buying/wrapping/sending.
Same with cards to both of our families and friends.
This Christmas, in lock down, was the most depressing I've ever spent.
We always do stockings for those in the house. Usually at least 2 sons, wives and granddaughter. Not this year due to Covid. He didn't bother at all.
He didn't bother to wrap presents, or even put them in 'lucky dip' sack, which I provided.
So, for my birthday, we can see no-one and I accept that. I also said, as my major pressie I'd like to make a donation. I don't 'need'
Anything.
He has read that as no card, no pressie, no actual acknowledgement that its my birthday.
DOI. In therapy and just got to the part where my father told me over and over that I was a mistake, made him feel trapped and he resented my existance. I remember him roaring at me when I got pregnant at 21 with first son 'GET RID OF IT'
I didn't.
But, I trained as a registered nurse whilst I had 3 sons and supported us all, and have brilliant relationship with all of them. Youngest is 29.
My husband is expressing apologies and sorrow that I am upset.
But after a miserable Christmas and now a birthday that's gonna be miserable, am I being unreasonable to want to just go off, be single in a little house and stop trying to deal with someone who doesn't know what fun and joy is?

geekesse Wed 17-Feb-21 00:42:57

If you lived on your own, there wouldn’t be anyone there to say hello on the morning of your birthday, there would be no gifts or cups of tea.

We often want our partners to think the way we think, and often they don’t. Personally, I don’t make a thing of my birthday at all, never have, never cared, and some years I forget about it till one of the kids sends me a card or flowers. I’d absolutely HATE it if anyone made a fuss of me.

If you want a gift and a bit of a fuss made of you, tell the poor chap. He probably took you at your word and is likely to be completely confused if you are unhappy because he did what you asked.

Ro60 Wed 17-Feb-21 01:23:48

Happy Birthday Clare sounds like you need a good get together with the 'girls'.
Until I moved & then lockdown I used to meet up with friends & these things would come up - apparently it's normal with the - darker? Sex & we'd have a good laugh at their quirks & foibles.
Hope you can suggest something you want to do especially for your birthday.

Elrel Wed 17-Feb-21 01:42:46

Happy Birthday Clare! I hope your sons and their families give you the best possible day in the present circumstances.

Esspee Wed 17-Feb-21 06:55:55

Many Happy Returns of your birthday Clare.
I think you need to let it be known that you are looking forward to being treated all day - breakfast in bed, lovely lunch and a celebratory birthday dinner. You intend to have a long pamper session, spend the day with your feet up but will assist by setting the dinner table. 🌺🌸🌼

nanna8 Wed 17-Feb-21 07:16:43

Happy birthday Clare. Pamper yourself all day and suggest hubby does the cooking - he maybe hasn’t even thought of anything like that. Some don’t. He sounds like my brother in law. Strong silent type, very reliable but so silent you never hear from him from one month to the next and it simply doesn’t occur to him to communicate in any way. Never answers emails.

Septimia Wed 17-Feb-21 09:14:48

I find that men are often pretty useless at this kind of thing. But it's probably our own fault as there has been a tendency for women to take responsibility for remembering birthdays and organising celebrations.

Perhaps some "Can we..." suggestions to him about how to make it a celebration?

eazybee Wed 17-Feb-21 09:22:43

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Chewbacca Wed 17-Feb-21 09:24:11

Bit harsh eazybee?

Madgran77 Wed 17-Feb-21 09:27:14

If you say you dont need anything then some , like your husband, might understandably take that literally. You DOI need something ...you need acknowledgement that it is your birthday, a bit of a fuss made and "proof" that he cares. You have to explain that very clearly ..."I don't need anything specific as a present but ..."

My husband is expressing apologies and sorrow that I am upset ...so he DOES care!

One other thing ...does he express it ion other ways in your daily life....it might be that he sees expressing care as showing in the little things - the cup of tea made, the lawn mowed and kept tidy, the dishwasher emptied, the walk to get the newspaper in the cold ...whatever version that might be for you and him in your relationship!??

Happy birthday flowers

J52 Wed 17-Feb-21 09:30:09

Happy Birthday Clare. Lockdown and winter are really difficult times to have a birthday. Give your DH warning and tell him, write down your birthday Programme for the day.

Starting with breakfast in bed - menu to include Bucks Fizz. Then get all you best smellies and have a leisurely bath. Followed by a walk, stopping at a takeaway for hot chocolate and cake. Lunch prepared by him. Afternoon chocolates and flowers ( delivered ) watching a feel good film, while he prepares dinner, with the table set with candles!
Assuming your not shielding, most things can be bought today.

WW010 Wed 17-Feb-21 09:38:04

Oh I sympathise heartily. I’ve discovered you have to tell them what you want and give them all the tools/info. Hoping they’ll do it on their own is a fools errand. My OH was awful at Christmas. He’s not poor but was so mean with gifts. I nearly left as to me that meanness = a mean spirit. But, for valentines I told him I was making a nice meal and I expected him to make us both cocktails (we’ve never ever done that). I produced the tools, spirits and even new glasses. After a bit of hesitation he took to it and put lots of effort in. We’re now planning a regular cocktail evening. Sometimes you have to lead by the nose. Good luck.

DiscoGran Wed 17-Feb-21 09:40:05

Claire, Happy Birthday, I hope you are feeling better today💐
You may have been a bit harsh on your husband, after all, you did tell him you didn't need anything. He has only done as you asked him.
I find I have to give my OH a few ideas/clues when it comes to birthdays and Christmas. If I told him I didn't want anything he would take me literally, as yours has done.

Redhead56 Wed 17-Feb-21 09:57:02

Have a nice day whatever you do.

Nanof3 Wed 17-Feb-21 10:04:45

If it was up to a great many men Christmas, Birthdays, Anniversaries etc would not exist as they just do not regard them as the important events that women do. You have to spell it out for them and give lots of hints regarding presents.
After 50 years my OH is doing pretty well, it was my Birthday on Sunday and I had seen a lovely - not expensive - ring in a magazine and when I pointed it out to him he immediately said 'Go ahead and order it'. Not a surprise gift but something he knows I will enjoy and will make up for not being able to enjoy a nice meal with the family who only live just down the road but might as well be at the other end of the country.
We plan on a big BBQ when all this is over.

Jaxjacky Wed 17-Feb-21 10:11:49

As others have said Clare men need ‘guidance’ they take things literally J52 has the right idea, you need to clearly set your expectation, if he thinks you expect nothing, that’s what will happen. Enjoy your birthday however it pans out.

Peasblossom Wed 17-Feb-21 10:19:00

We’re a family that has never done “occasions” big or little. My first husbands parents were vile to each other every day and then pulled out all the stops for the anniversary’s etc. He thought it was the depth of hypocrisy. Mine just believed it was your everyday behaviour that counted.

Having said that, my sons partner is an ‘occasion/tradition’ person. He does his best but he needs telling what’s expected. I’m afraid the rest of us often fall short of expectation.😳

NellG Wed 17-Feb-21 10:25:49

Wow eazybe - must be an absolute joy to know you!

Happy Birthday ClareAB, hope you can make the best of it. x

WW010 Wed 17-Feb-21 10:25:57

Btw your thought re leaving and living alone. There is some truth in that when you’re not in a relationship you have no expectations so can’t be disappointed. I found a certain freedom in that. However, for me, being with a.n.other person outweighed that. Look for your positives. You made references to therapy regards your father. I recognise that too. I think for many years - even now if I thought I could - I was trying to create a childhood fantasy that I’d never had. It might be time to forgive your past and look forward. I hope you have a lovely day whatever you do. ❤️

Blossoming Wed 17-Feb-21 10:39:01

Your husband may yet surprise you, as you said he’s expressing sorrow you’re upset, so he does care. I hope you have a lovely birthday tomorrow flowers

SunRising Wed 17-Feb-21 10:44:51

Hi Clare snap its my birthday tomorrow too. I had the vaccine last weekend and that is probably the best present I could have. I do have a present from my husband which I bought on line and I doubt if I have a card. He is going to cook tea though so that will be nice. Give your husband a chance maybe he will come through next year when things are hopefully a bit better.

jaylucy Wed 17-Feb-21 10:45:58

I'd just jokingly say that you hope there is at the very least a bunch of flowers arriving tomorrow for your birthday! No reason, unless shielding, that he can't go and get the makings of a meal for the two of you - even if it is just the chilled ready meal type!
On the whole, it's a girl thing to want all the trimmings for celebrations - balloons, decorations, stockings etc . Most blokes think it's all too much of a faff and can't be bothered with it all !

grandtanteJE65 Wed 17-Feb-21 10:48:13

I think you probably know that you would not be better off single and on your own.

That said, I do feel for you. My husband doesn't get the point of birthdays either. Stock phrase, "I don't know what to get you, you have everything, you never wear your jewelry."

I decided last birthday, when he thought it was two days later than it is, that from now on, I will plan something nice to do on my birthday. Lockdown certainly does not make that easier, but can you find a film to watch on Netflix that he wouldn't ever think of and that you want to see?

IMO it isn't worth being hurt by this typical husbandly behaviour. Plan your own fun and include him if possible. If not then birthday present to self is doing off and doing your own thing,

Last birthday, I went for a long walk on my own and told the ambient air how unreasonable DH is about birthdays. It did help.

Happy Birthday from me too.

Bennydian Wed 17-Feb-21 10:48:21

Easybee, are you okay?

Quizzer Wed 17-Feb-21 10:49:37

My OH of almost 50 years is just the same. I can blame some of it on his upbringing. His parents were hard up and presents were always something you needed, rather than something you would enjoy. They almost always gave us money to buy presents for their grandsons, never buying a toy for them. One Christmas MIL said she was buying something for the 7 yr old eldest and he unwrapped a pair of school trousers! However we have been comfortably off and DH still cannot get presents for anyone. What I can never forgive him for is buying for me presents that he would like himself. An example was an expensive telephoto lens for HIS camera! On principle I never used it. Hints and outright requests fall on deaf ears. I dread Christmasses and birthdays as I feel totally unappreciated.