Why no birthday present?(34 Posts)
We are visiting my family and it is my husband's birthday. My family did not buy him a present at all. He doesn't expect anything (ever) but I am a little hurt, it isn't about the money, it is a token. Something to show that they think of him and care. I feel a bit shit writing this actually, yes he is a grown up and he REALLY doesn't expect anything, but I just don't get it, we have always exchanged gifts in the past. Can I ask them why? or is that too grabbing?
How close to them are you?
Do they know it's his birthday?
If you're close enough for them to know, they are being a bit miserable.
I know it's not about being grabby, it's hurtful that they couldn't even give him the thought.
Don't feel shit about being a bit protective over your DH, that's really nice (although are you taking it as a bit of a dig at you by proxy?)
You should say something. If it's something you've always done and if you always give them something, then they need to be reminded.
I'm not sure whether I'd say something while he was there but if he went out or maybe next week on the phone, I'd say something.
We are staying with them. I bought champagne and cake. I always make a bit of a fuss over birthdays (everyone's). I just don't get it, we are close and it really isn't about the money, I got him some real rubbish it is just acknowledgement, he is VERY good with buying thoughtful presents for others and I just don't see how they can't acknowledge his birthday, I wish we hadn't bothered coming to be honest, we live overseas and visiting costs us an absolute fortune. If I say something how do I broach it without sounding grabby?
Have they mentioned it at all?
Could they have just forgotten?
If they didn't know, how did they react to the champagne/cake (dead giveaway )?
It really depends on how they were about it, apologetic would be fine, awkward and defensive, maybe not fine.
They were fine, like it is completely normal to not give a gift. Which is absolutely fine, but we have never NOT given gifts in our family. I think it is because we are here with them that it is really noticeable, if they have decided to not give gifts anymore could it have not been another time? Or maybe discussed before?
They were embarrassed being caught on the hop?
Down to brass tacks, if you think they did it on purpose to have a go at at you/your DH, tell them how much it hurts.
If it was thoughtlessness, I would leave it at that. As you say, he's a big lad and doesn't need anything, why upset the apple cart if they're not being shitty?
You're staying with them, not a good time to kick up an atmosphere unless you're feeling a bit neglected by them, and if you are, just tell them!
Your husband is a grown-up.
Your parents are giving you bed and board. You don't live on air.
You live overseas. They were being considerate thinking of your luggage weight allowance.
I would expect a birthday card though and verbal good wishes for the day.
My husband didn't send me a card or buy any for the DC to write. Now that really hurt me. Goes without saying no present.
I am feeling very neglected, so maybe this is just the icing on the cake with them. I am really hurt by this though, I think because he is the most generous man ever, it hurts when people don't reciprocate. It was my idea to come here as well, he would have had a much better time with his family or friends. I think I will reduce contact with them, not just over this, but things are very one-sided and I have had enough
I would agree with you fortified, except for the fact that it costs us a FORTUNE coming here, we buy all our own food, keep everyone supplied with wine and pay for meals out. It is never as expensive at his families house, we should stay there!
That does put a different slant on it.
If you're feeling neglected, tell them how it's making you feel.
That's so easy for me to type
I know it's not, it's between hanging off until you go home, but then you'll have to do it by phone/email, but if you say something now you've got to live with the aftermath.
Have you said anything they don't like before? What was their reaction if you have? (I'm guessing WWIII by the reluctance you have at saying something)
And only the most penny pinching person would offset a birthday present against board and lodge with a family member.
It'd be a piss poor excuse.
I think we are actually very bad at communicating and everything is brushed aside. I have been feeling quite shitty for a while though. There is a huge discrepancy between the way I am treated compared to my sister, and also the way my children and hers are treated. I think some of it is because we live so far away, but some is just pure favouritism
AgentZigzag I think it's mean too. I was playing Devil's advocate on that one as my DH and in-laws put so little effect into presents.
It's hit and miss whether the in-laws give DD1 anything for her birthday. But one hi-lite was the year that MIL and SIL gave her ONE orange Colouring Pencil between them.
I shit you not I could have shoved it both their arses and made them a kebab!
Swallowing I see you more issues than just the birthday. On balance best to have it out with them face to face but from experience I haven't had any good outcomes with that. Sorry [flowers}
Thank you both. I am really bad at confrontation, but it is eating me up as I don't understand it. How do I broach the subject as it does indeed go deeper than birthday presents? Although I really would like to know why they didn't get him anything, especially after his generosity. (now I do sound grabbing!)
DH didn't get me anything this year, which I did genuinely say not to, but you can't help a little part thinking the thoughtlessness is saying more than it probably is.
It's human nature.
And PIL forgot DD1's 12th birthday (so had time to get used to it coming round) but go on and fucking on about SIL's children. I used to make an effort for the first few years we were married, but as soon as I realised the lay of the land I stopped bothering.
What annoys me most is that DH wouldn't have been fussed going over and I used to push for him to make the effort, but now we don't see them, they think it's because I'm stopping him! No, he's got fucking eyes in his head and can work out the indifference you have towards our DDs all for himself.
(phew, ta for that offloading )
But I was brought up to speak my mind and used to be a bit judgey when MIL wanted to sweep things under the carpet, but I agree with her now.
Why fucking bother? If they can't be arsed, why should you spend a second being upset by them? Save it for people who can give you time/thought.
YANBU, they could have at least got him a chocolate orange.
"There is a huge discrepancy between the way I am treated compared to my sister, and also the way my children and hers are treated. I think some of it is because we live so far away, but some is just pure favouritism"
Did this discrepancy exist way back, before you lived so far away? Could that give you a conversational "in", as it were?
Your family do/say something showing favouritism, you make the wry comment 'I see the favouritism is still going strong then', they respond with 'whatever do you mean', you respond 'you know what I mean - it's always there, but it's been particularly noticeable on this visit. I was very hurt that you couldn't even make the effort to acknowledge DH's birthday.'
I think my mother prides herself on treating us equally but is also very vocal about the fact that more help should go to where it is needed! If only she knew.... We are in a similar situation to my sister (probably worse actually) but she really seems to think we have it all. I don't think it was always so uneven, and she wouldn't see it as being uneven anyway. I just can't shake how sad I am that they couldn't even acknowledge his birthday.
" I just can't shake how sad I am that they couldn't even acknowledge his birthday."
Then TELL her that! Seriously, do not let this fester. I know you say you're bad at confrontation, but that's true of most of us. Maybe stop considering it as confrontational to say to your mother, 'you know, it was DH's birthday on <whichever>day; did you forget? I felt so hurt that you didn't acknowledge it.' Is that really confrontational? It really isn't.
Oh, and stop being so generous when you visit ("we buy all our own food, keep everyone supplied with wine and pay for meals out."). Contribute food, but no wine, one meal out at most.
Meant to add, your generosity may be adding to her belief that you "have it all". So best to put a halt to it.
Do you think it has anything to do with you living overseas? have you recently moved?
I had a hard time this year when dd2 turned one and had no emails, cards or skype from pil / sil. It was really hurtful to me, as when dd1 turned one, they took an 8 hour flight to be at her party.
We visited them 2 weeks after dd2's birthday and after about 4 days, they gave dh some cash to buy her something. I felt her birthday was such an afterthought. I can only assume it is because we are living in another country, they would have never been so blasé about it if she was there.
I know she is a baby and your dh is an adult, but I would still be upset. I may consuder this a change in precedent, and not buy them anything on their next birthdays either.
Did they get him a card at least?
It sounds pretty rubbish. Is there any way they might have forgotten it was his birthday? Did they get him a card at least?
Yes they did get a card. They were with me when I bought him a present and the food/wine for his birthday, so they definately didn't forget. I guess they have just decided not to do presents anymore, which is absolutely fine but I would have thought it would be something that they mentioned beforehand. I think it just upsets (or maybe just surprises) me that we spent the day with them and they couldn't even get him a bar of chocolate.
Do you think they might be struggling for money at the minute and are too embarrassed to say?
They are buying a massive house, (for my sister) so yes, all the money is going into that. I still think they could have stretched to a bar of chocolate, or a bottle of wine though, they seemed quite happy drinking mine!
Stop buying wine whilst you are there.
Stop taking them out for meals.
It will be cheaper to buy ready made sort of quick food.
Don't send them birthday presents in the future.
It's a shame though, that they have been so thoughtless.
Fuck me a card at least would be ok. 59p at home bargains lol
YANBU OP, stop being so generous yourself and write down what you want to say so if you find it difficult you can give it to them. Can you cut your holiday short there if you're very upset and perhaps see friends or other family where you'll be happier?
I hate favouritism, I've seen it all my life towards my youngest siblings and I feel awful for them.
I think you should slowly put a limit on your generosity so don't withdraw it altogether but just put some firm boundaries up. So for meals out, either everybody pays for their own or you split the bill equally.
Don't continually top up their food & drink but do contribute towards your own meals. Basically, treat them like they treat you so don't spend money you haven't got on their birthdays etc. If you don't expect anything then you will not be disappointed by them.
If it suits you better, stay with your in laws the next visit and see your family for day trips etc.
When you were planning the visit did you not discuss that it was going to be his birthday though?
I'm not defending them but surely it would have come up in conversation.
Yes it did come up in conversation, when I bought his birthday cake and when I bought the champagne and wine amongst other times! They are obviously just incredibly mean, which I find ard as DH is the most generous person I know. I think I will start to change how I act with them though now. Do as you would be done or whatever it is!
HARD not ard! I am just well'ard
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