(Closed) FI ruined my birthday…feeling really down and confused

posted 8 years ago in Emotional
Post # 17
373 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

I think you guys should have a talk about expectations, but before you do, ask yourself what you truly want before you verbalize it to your Fiance.  It’s easy for this kind of thing to spin out of control.  However, you’re going to spend the rest of your lives together, so it’s important to talk through it now.

How do you want to celebrate holidays?  Do you want fancy gifts?  The whole day with him?  A vacation?  Are you content to have dinner at Chick-Fil-A?  Do you want him to cook for you?  Or is he supposed to go the whole 9 yards and take you to a fancy schmancy place?

I’m sure he wants to make you happy, but you just have to be clear with him!  Maybe he feels a little attacked and is hiding behind those excuses to save face.

Post # 18
3658 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2000

@imanw:  OP, you are getting some good advice here and I hope that as your relationship with your Fiance matures, you’ll learn better ways to talk with him about this issue.

I don’t think ignoring birthdays is a “men” thing completely although of those who are terrifically invested in a big birthday recognition, a very high percentage are women.But I will be honest and say that DH’s family always sends cards to all adults and I find that a waste of time, but for SIL’s beautiful handmade cards, those I like.

Keep in mind that it goes the other way. I remember back when I was dating having a couple of men seem to go thorugh the motions about my birthday and I thought to myself “you mistake me for someone who gives a damn, and I’ll bet that you’ve learned that behavior from other women in your life.”It felt icky, as though they couldn’t figure out who I was.

It’s important to honor the deep feelings of those that you are with, The OP’s Fiance needs to learn way to honor her birthday feelings without breaking the bank. Men who are with women who don’t care about birthdays need to honor that.

Post # 19
317 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2018

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@mrsSonthebeach:  Dinner and a movie are high birthday expectations?! Around here you can go see a mantinee movie for $5.  Lunch and a movie could cost $35 or less…

You really need to have a talk with your Fiance.  My Fiance never celebrated bdays or valentines day. He said I was the first girl he ever did something for on V-day. He was even shocked when he called a week before Vday and everything was booked, he had to beg the restaurant to give him a table! lol. Last year was our first bday together and he did nothing for me. Didn’t even think anything of it! I had to tell him after the fact that he hurt my feelings and what restaurant he was taking me to and when. (he had a gift card and I had a coupon to the restaurant so dinner was basically free so it was not about not having money) I always get nice, thoughtful gifts but like you, I’d rather do something and spend time with FI!

Post # 20
47 posts
  • Wedding: November 2011

Well, as women, we all know that men are a little… “different” to women on their ways to weigh up the importance of certain things. If he is not so thoughtful about your birthday or anniversaries, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about you, it’s just that maybe you will have to help him “learn” how important it is to you. Helping men to “learn” it might not be a matter of telling them “I would like you to be more thoughtful when it comes to my birthday”, because (believe me) they will forget it about the next day. Also, you wouldn’t want his reason to give you a present was “If I don’t make my woman a gift, she will get really upset at me”. You might want him to give you a present because “he wants to”. Now, How in the world could we make a man “want” to make a little present to his woman? In the same way we all get to “want” something: getting a REWARD. A very good reward for him could be seeing you happy, but you have to SHOW him what makes you happy (not necessarily TELL him what makes you happy but SHOW him). Whenever he comes up with a little detail or gift for you (no matter how small the detail is) show him how happy and grateful you are to him, tell him how much you loved him sending you a text message the other day, or how nice it was for you that he got you a brownie the other morning, or how nice it was from him getting two coffees (and gave one to you) the other day when he went to “Circle K”. Remind together; tell him “Remember last Christmas when you gave me that beautiful card? Oh! How I love cards!”, stuff like that. I think I made the point.

              The thing is making him notice you are grateful for any little thing he can give you and, once he notices his intentions are well appreciated, he will be wanting to give you something every once in a while just to get his reward of seeing you happy. And please, please DO NOT  complaint to him or reject the present if he gets you something like a… I don’t know… a toolbox for your birthday (LOL!), Really!! Whatever he gives you, his intentions are good. Just be cool and kiss him if he gives you whatever. If you get to reject or complaint about whatever gift he gives you, he will feel his intentions are not well appreciated and won’t have the mood to prepare a gift for you in the future. If he took you to the movies, or if he picked up some McDonalds for you, just hug him a lot and kiss him a lot; then YOU invite him watch the football game while you both have the McDonalds! Just be cool and you’ll see this will improve things a little bit.


Post # 21
7899 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: March 2012 - Pelican Grand Beach Resort

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@ILoveMyKorat:  Reread her post. OP’s expectations clearly go beyond dinner and a movie. I would never expect someone to take off work and begrudgingly accept that he wasn’t able to, for example. I’d also never hold someone to the standard I set by taking them to Orlando for their birthday or to spend a lot on my birthday when the money isn’t there.

Post # 22
899 posts
Busy bee

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@mrsSonthebeach:  Dinner and a movie is high expectations? I don’t think so at all. Around here. birthdays are a big deal. It’s our own personal holiday! 

OP, I’d be hurt, too. Mostly because he couldn’t DVR the GD football game and do something with you, even if that meant going for a walk. There’s a lot more thought he could have put into this.

I’ve run into this issue with my Fiance a bit, but in a little different way. And I have to admit that he kind of blew it on my birthday last year. Birthdays are not a huge deal in his family and they’re barely celebrated. So it’s very new for him to see our special birthday celebrations in our family. 

For example, last year my company had a very good quarter so I took my sister to Vegas for her birthday. Basically, if we have the money, we like to spend it on each other. This year I’m not as flush as I was then, so we took my sister out for drinks at a cool place in the city and then met up with my parents for dinner at a great tapas place further uptown. She said she wanted wool socks for her birthday, so that’s what I got her! 

For my birthday this upcoming year, I plan to be very explicit about what I’d like to do for my birthday and what sort of gifts I would like. My Fiance said he has a hard time buying for me, so I’m keeping a list of things I would love that he can choose from. I’ll come up with the idea for dinner and maybe a show or whatever. Or maybe even cooking a fabulous dinner at home!

I really want this dynamic to change so I’m going to take the lead to change it! My Fiance loves me and wants to make me happy, but needs some guidance on these things. If you know your Fiance wants to please you, don’t be afraid to take the lead and give explicit instructions. Eventually, he’ll have enough practice that he’ll get it on his own. And if he doesn’t, so what? At least you’ll have the celebration you want.


Post # 23
862 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

Oh, girl.  🙁 Rule number one is NEVER apologize when you’re not the one at fault!  This was a lesson I had to learn the hard way with one of my exes–HE would be a jerk and yet I would be the one to wind up apologizing when he rarely (if ever) would.  NEVER again will I do this for anyone and neither should you.

Only taking you to the movies because money is tight was one thing and it’s understandable, but he should not then have spent the rest of the night watching football since he knows you weren’t interested in it.  Since it was YOUR birthday, YOU should have been the one to choose what to watch.  Watching football was selfish on his part if you ask me.

I also find the excuse that he doesn’t know what you like yet to be a little ridiculous.  He knows you well enough to be engaged to you, but he doesn’t know what kinds of things you like?!  I hope this is only an excuse that YOU made for him while trying to explain his behavior and not something that HE’s actually ever said.  I’d really recommend NOT making excuses for him, though.  He’s a grown man and can make his own excuses for things, or better yet, not make excuses but instead provide valid reasons for things.  They say that a real man doesn’t make excuses and I believe that.

I agree with the other bees who are saying that you definitely need to have a talk with him about what your expectations are, though.  There are things you can do together that don’t cost money (or at least not a LOT of money) that would have been a hundred times more fun for you than going to sleep or watching football.  For example, I love going swimming and it only costs a few dollars to go to a swimming pool.  I also love video games and it costs absolutely nothing for my husband to play some with me.  Just let him know what you would like him to do with you and I sincerely hope that he’ll do them.  Good luck. 🙂

Post # 24
1828 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

Your Fiance “ruined” your birthday? Seriously?

Did he blow out all your birthday candles or something? How old ARE you?

I think maybe you need some perspective.


Post # 25
9082 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

My brother was way into his birthday, and it seemed nothing we (my family) ever did was enough. Even if we did “exactly what he wanted” he was bitter or upset about something. BUT my brother is kind of an asshole, so I’m not 100% it relates. I don’t know OP.

I stopped celebrating birthdays when I was probably around 11. I find celebrating your vaginal liberation day to be a little… creepy? But, that’s just my own particular tastes. You were born. Congrats. We get it.

Post # 26
1067 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

My Fiance would never pull that crap on me, but he actually enjoys celebrating stuff and planning and giving me gifts. He likes giving people gifts in general (he goes all out on Christmas).

Also, he records his football game for later, maybe your Fiance could do the same?

Post # 27
349 posts
Helper bee

I echo what star_dust said: “I do come from a family that makes a big deal out of birthdays – we don’t necessarily spend a lot of money, but my mom would bring us cake in the morning in bed and the whole family would sing, like it was a special day for that person.” My mother was not sentimental and finances were tight, so I only had one birthday party the entire time I was growing up.  When my kids were growing up, I couldn’t spend much money, but the day was devoted to showing the birthday person that we were so glad he/she was born and how special they are to us.  This does not require a great deal of money, only a great deal of thoughtfulness and some attention.  If this is important to you, it is not unreasonable to expect it from someone you expect to be your life partner, but it may not be reasonable to expect another adult to change the way they view birthdays on the scale of important life events. 

Post # 29
508 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

@imanw:  I got many birthday wishes on my birthday and smiled and acted like my Fiance had great plans whenever friends and family asked, even though I was really holed up in my apartment trying to keep myself occupied.

Why not tell them the truth and hang out with your friends instead of “holing [yourself] in [your] apartment?

“Oh, Fiance has to work, so we’re celebrating tomorrow instead.  Why don’t we do something to celebrate tonight since I don’t have plans?”

Post # 30
286 posts
Helper bee

@imanw:  Honestly, regardless of money, when a man adores you and respects you he will do everything he can to make your birthday special. If I was with someone who didn’t have a lot to spend on me, I would be PERFECTLY happy getting 2 Subway sandwiches (cheap), packing a picnic lunch (cheap fruit or snacks from grocery store) and going to the beach to watch a sunset (free). He could pick wildflowers (free) to give to me if he can’t afford a bouquet of roses. Carnations aren’t the most glamorous flowers but they are VERY inexpensive. The thought is what counts. There are plenty of things he could have done to make your day AMAZING especially after you made such a fuss over his birthday. It sounds to me like he is taking you for granted and doesn’t feel the need to do much for you.

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