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Special occasions

(79 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'
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?

GrammarGrandma Wed 17-Feb-21 10:50:33

Dear ClareAB I'm so sorry you were rejected by your father and I'm sure your upset is prompted by this as much as by what your husband is failing to do. Perhaps you feel rejected by him as well and that is what really hurts. Please tell him that you would like him to make you a nice meal or if he can't, buy a takeaway and give you a card and, most importantly, say Happy Birthday in the morning and "I love you."

pinkjj27 Wed 17-Feb-21 10:53:08

eazybee was a little harsh but I think if someone responses like that, there is probably a reason. The clue is in her response and maybe she just needs someone to reach out and say hay are you ok?
I am a widow and I spend every day alone and it is dam hard. My birthday is Christmas day and I can tell you no one ever remembers and no one ever has.
My dad resented me too, and I get how that comes back but your dad isn’t your husband.
Your husband is sorry so why don’t you suggest doing something together, that you enjoy, maybe baking , watching a movie or crafting, he could make you a card.
My late husband never remembered my birthday but I can tell you I would give anything to spent five mins with him right now. Be careful what you wish for And happy birthday.

HomeAgain123 Wed 17-Feb-21 10:53:57

Happy birthday Clare oh dear these birthdays do cause problems ... like the rest of comments our OH’s do need to be told in advance ...... we’re having this as it’s my birthday and your cooking ...... like you I don’t need anything except ‘thought ‘ my OH asked where were pancakes last night I replied I didn’t think we celebrated anymore ?? met with a silence think he’s still trying to work it out ....... treat yourself to an ‘indulgent ‘

justwokeup Wed 17-Feb-21 10:58:42

No, you don't need any presents but you obviously need someone to let you know you're special after your horrendous Dad. Cheer yourself up, give OH a chance to stop feeling regretful and look after you. J52's suggestion sounds lovely, do together whatever you can and want to do and don't forget to keep saying 'well, it is my birthday'.
Don't dwell on Christmas, it was horrible for lots of people. Also, don't put it all on him, hopefully the 3 sons will surprise you!

Nonogran Wed 17-Feb-21 11:00:30

Happy Birthday & many happy returns. Many of us have had rather sad birthdays in recent times, and I was in a similar situation to you with my partner. Nothing forthcoming to make me feel even a little bit special.
Perhaps it's time to step back a little from all the giving you do surrounding Christmas & family birthdays? Review all this energy you expend. It might be a relief for your hubby who on the quiet just goes along with it? I hope that when all of this Covid isolation is over you can enjoy a "none birthday" family celebration to make up for your sadness. That's what I'm planning as my Christmas and birthday was lonesome. I can't wait to have everyone around the table and raise a toast to "freedom, birthdays & Christmas past!"
I'm just thankful I've avoided C19 (to date) and hopeful that birthdays to come will be better for millions of us. Many on here will empathise with where you're coming from regarding your husband's literal lack of thought so chin up & look to the future. It's strange times were living in but it will get better. You'll see.

inishowen Wed 17-Feb-21 11:02:52

It was my husband's birthday this week. I got him a card but no present as he complains about every present he gets. Our son sent three books through Amazon. Husband was straight on the phone to say he'd read them! Our son said give them to charity im not sending them back. Birthdays have always been a time when we went away for a few days. Now we're a bit lost, not knowing how to celebrate. I can understand your husband's attitude because mine is just the same.

JadeOlivia Wed 17-Feb-21 11:09:18

I had a big bday in January and decided to put it 1ll off for 6 months when I hope we will be in a better world. I know from experience that NOTHING happens unless I organise it organise it I will, I will set up an Amazon wishlist/ ask people to bring a plant or a bottle ..and celebrate that way ...I rely on no-one and create my own happinesssmile

M0nica Wed 17-Feb-21 11:13:12

ClareAB All is not yet lost. Your DH has expressed his sorrow in words, he can now do it by actions.

There is plenty of time for him to order a really nice meal from a good restaurant (or MacDonalds, whatever you prefer) and for you to enjoy it this evening, on the dining table dressed with the best tablecloth(or in front of the television) make sure you both agree on the restaurant and you both choose the dishes you want. Make sure the meal contains a good bottle of wine.

And just one query. You say your DH has never seemed to 'get' celebrations, fun events etc., didn't you realise this when you married him and factor this into the relationship. You also say he is lovely in many ways,

In future the best thing to do is to 'manage' him into doing something. As I always say to my DH 'It's my birthday next week. How shall we celebrate it?' After over 50 years, he is beginning to get the idea and sometimes even thinks of it himself.

AmberSpyglass Wed 17-Feb-21 11:14:14

I think as women we’re so conditioned not to make what we see as demands, especially on our partners, that we let ourselves get overlooked too easily!

pamdixon Wed 17-Feb-21 11:15:03

My other half has been known to say, on my b'day, that he 'hadn't had time' to get me a birthday card!! My response is, you've had 365 days. Other times he'll buy me a simply brilliant present - so I never know what to expect.
Happy birthday from me too. Hopefully your sons will send you cards and things

Annaram1 Wed 17-Feb-21 11:15:34

Happy birthday Clare! Its my 80th on 20th February and unfortunately my husband passed away 4 years ago and so I am alone. I am so pleased that my lovely son and his wife and daughter invited me to their home a few days ago for an early celebration as they are not going to be available on my birthday. My granddaughter made a cake complete with white icing covered with flowers and 2 candles in the shape of 8 0.
So Clare I am sorry about your ghastly father, but I am quite jealous that you have a lovely husband who sounds so nice and caring but just doesn't appreciate how you feel about birthdays. I wish my dear husband were still here...

Ellet Wed 17-Feb-21 11:18:01

My husband doesn’t care about his birthday, wouldn’t be bothered if he didn’t get a card. I am the opposite. Christmas the same. I start telling him at least 2 weeks before my birthday what I would like. It works. Last Christmas I ordered my own present, wrapped it up and gave him the card to write. I didn’t mind in the least. Most men just don’t think it’s important.
It’s not worth getting upset, life at the moment is difficult enough.

Jillybird Wed 17-Feb-21 11:18:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

annsixty Wed 17-Feb-21 11:19:50

It is just the way some men are.
I was married for over 60 years my H died nearly two years ago and I learned very early on not to expect a fuss, he just couldn’t do it.
I organised everything, his birthdays, my birthdays, bought my own presents and in all that time he never cooked a meal.

I just got on with it, no expectations, no disappointments.
We loved each other, he was a very good provider, lovely home etc and I willingly looked after him through his very poor health.
I think I was pleased it wasn’t the other way round, I may have had my eyes opened.
Cherish what you have while you have it, it may not last.
I should just add as a last thought, my presents to myself could be very generous!!

EmilyHarburn Wed 17-Feb-21 11:36:52

If birthdays and Christmas matter to you never say they don't. Your husband is not a mind reader. You can order your own present on line and a bunch of flowers for delivery on your birthday. You could include a message that would perhaps help depending on your sense of humour i.e. please send me flowers every year on my birthday because it gives me such pleasure.

I plan a little surprise for myself each month so that there is always something to look forward to. I gave my husband a valentine card this year and he was most apologetic he had not got one because the queue at Waitrose in the car park was too long!!

We just have to live with it.

Authoress Wed 17-Feb-21 11:48:40

Sounds like you're in a sad place - and your husband has managed to trigger all those worthless feelings your father inflicted on you! Sounds like something to discuss with your therapist.
And HAPPY BIRTHDAY - I hope you can find a little joy in there somewhere!

vickymeldrew Wed 17-Feb-21 11:56:40

I’m enjoying reading this thread. There seem to be so many other halves who don’t think they should bother. Last year it was our Golden Wedding Anniversary and a few months later I was 70. Needless to say I had no card or present on either occasion. I waited a few weeks before I quietly mentioned how disappointed I was. (I didn’t want to get into an argument). Husband was very defensive/sulky/blamed the pandemic etc.
I don’t want to follow the advice of those who say organise it yourself as to me it’s the thought that counts. Put up or shut up comes to mind!

Bijou Wed 17-Feb-21 12:02:00

My husband and I always had unbirthdays. Why make a ,fuss of one day a year.
At least you still have your husband. My beloved died thirtythree years ago and I still miss him. He never even made a cup of tea during our forty four years of a very happy marriage.

jenni123 Wed 17-Feb-21 12:02:09

It's my birthday next Monday. I will be 79, I live alone and am shielding again. i have not left my flat in over a year as I am disabled and housebound, people used to visit me but of course they cannot right now, my youngest son always visited and gave me a birthday cake, wont be doing that this year. I have quite a pile of gifts tho that have been sent via post from family and friends so I don't feel forgotten, I do not open gifts until the day but I do open cards and up to now I have 9. at least you are not alone on your birthday, so order a cake etc online, make the best of what you can. Happy birthday.

Yearoff Wed 17-Feb-21 12:07:35

I think you need to tell him you actually do want spoiled on your birthday. Not financially or materially. Poor man you told him you didn’t want anything. If he’s always been on the backseat of present arrangements he didn’t stand a chance. I hope you feel better now. My husband had dementia. I used to buy myself something and tell him he bought it!

montymops Wed 17-Feb-21 12:38:20

There seems to be a lot of criticism about Easybee- but there is truth in what she says - harsh or not. Clare seems to have no clue about how so many men are- and her message could be construed as pretty depressed and ‘moany’. She has obviously coped positively with some difficult people in her early life and has been strong. She needs to get a grip again now - life has been so hard for most of us - over the last year- which one of us had a jolly family Christmas for instance?- that to make a fuss about her birthday celebration (or rather lack of it) strikes me as somewhat self indulgent. No sympathy from me I’m afraid.

ElaineRI55 Wed 17-Feb-21 12:41:48

Happy birthday Clare. It's fairly clear your husband does care, from what you say. Perhaps lockdown plus the issues about your dad have put you in a fragile state. It doesn't sound as though you really want to leave, but do need some healing of your emotions.
Everyone expresses love and care differently and puts different levels of emphasis on each: being a breadwinner, taking out the bins, verbal expressions of love, sexual intimacy, gifts, surprises, just being there.....
You probably have to let him know what sort of day you would like.
A carry out from your favourite takeaway? Watching a film of your choosing?
I hope you do have a lovely day.?

jocork Wed 17-Feb-21 12:43:34

I was married to a man for whom celebrations were a huge deal. My family celebrated occasions but we thought nothing of doing it on a different day if it was more convenient. If I had something I wanted to do which fell on his birthday and suggested we celebrate the next day, or a day early he wouldn't even consider it. I used to get so stressed about his birthday that I sometimes made myself ill worrying that my plans would not meet his expectations.

Don't get me wrong - I love a birthday celebration - but it isn't as important to me as for some people. Clearly your husband has even less interest in occasions than me, and he has taken you at your word when you said you didn't need anything.

You are going to have to tell him how you feel, but don't be too hard on him as he thinks he's done what you wanted.

These are strange times and we are all having to survive disappointments. My plans to visit my daughter at Christmas went out of the window when it turned into 'just Christmas day' as she lives 400 miles away. To add insult to injury, my son, who lives abroad, had ordered us a hamper to be delivered to her address, so our joint present went to her. The only actual present I received that I could unwrap arrived about a week after Christmas, so I spent my first ever Christmas alone with no presents as I retired in October, so not even a work secret santa!

I'm sure your husband cares about you and would not have intentionally hurt your feelings. Maybe suggest you order in a nice take-away meal and have a little celebration together. Hopefully he won't make the same mistake again. flowers

Florida12 Wed 17-Feb-21 12:53:10

My feelings are that he does care and is upset that you are upset. Men, not all, take things literally, so if there is nothing that you need they take us at our word. Just let him know.
My husband was an advocate of “much ado about nothing” person, probably his upbringing, post war baby and times were tough. In the 34 years we were married, he slowly adapted, and ended up embracing the celebrations, especially if they were for him. Although in my early married life there were tantrums from me, he used to tune me out (I don’t blame him really), I would give anything for him to be “celebrating the lockdown” with me, it would be right up his street lol.
Whatever the day brings Clare, I wish you a very Happy Birthday.x

icanhandthemback Wed 17-Feb-21 13:08:22

I think you are probably overreacting to the situation because of the lack of other things to focus on during lockdown. The fact that your husband is remorseful is a sign that he cares about you and I suspect a lot of your feelings of not being cared for are rearing their ugly head because of your childhood history. Only you can deal with that but understanding where those feelings come from should help you rationalise that your husband is not your father.
If you really want to 'celebrate' your birthday, ask him to plan something special for another day and make it an 'honoury' Birthday like the Queen has. All is not lost, just delayed.