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AIBU about DH or do I need to just suck it up?

(115 Posts)
Morebirthdayblues Tue 20-Aug-13 10:15:12

Before I start I know this isn't a massive problem in the grand scheme of thing and a lot of people are going through a lot worse, but I'm really annoyed by this.

DH has always been notoriously crap at buying gifts, and last year for my 30th I got nothing, we were busy starting our own business and he said he didn't have the time or money to get me anything. I was so upset we had a massive row, and he vowed to do better.

When I had DS after a two day very traumatic labour he left the hospital to get me something, and came back with a box of strawberries! And not even a card to say well done, or I'm proud of you.

These have both really annoyed me and I'm not looking for a massive present, I'd rather he spent a tenner and picked something out for me.

Fast forward to my birthday this year and I stupidly thought he might buck himself up this time. A few days before my birthday he said he had thought we could go into town for something to eat and to the cinema and pick my present, he never organised a babysitter or tried to sort this and at short notice we had no one to ask.

When the day of my birthday came he never said happy birthday in the morning or even mentioned it when we spoke on the phone during the day, when he got home from and seen cupcakes on the table the penny dropped. He dashed out with DS to the local garage to buy a card, when he came back with it I refused to take them, he had basically forgot.

This is really pissing me off as it happens time and time again, and every time I pull him about it he get all upset with himself and is on the verge of tears, which pisses me off as it as if have to feel sorry for him.

He says he really tries but is just crap at things like that, and would rather I picked my present myself as hes afraid of getting the wrong thing. He has spoiled every big occasion for me. Our engagement was awful, he just handed me the box with the ring in it, he spoiled our wedding day by getting drunk and having a good time with his mates, he was too drunk to DTD and basically fell asleep during it. Our honeymoon was in an idyllic place over valentines day and he didn't even get me a card, or do anything special and wouldn't fork out for a meal on the beach as we were all inclusive and he didn't want to spend the extra money.

I don't want to come across as if I need big grand gestures, but something would be nice. He's great otherwise, he's an unreal father to our DS and does his fair share of housework, I'm 8 weeks pregnant at the minute and very sick and he is doing everything to help me out.

So AIBU in being upset over his behaviour on these occasions, as I feel he isn't showing any thought for me, or should I be thankful he's a great husband and father otherwise and just accept that he's crap at this type of thing?

mrsharrystyles Tue 20-Aug-13 10:52:14

My sympathies. My DH is just like this. He forgot my 30th and is generally completely crap at presents.
When it was my 50th I 'suggested' five years beforehand that I would really like an eternity ring ( never had an engagement ring) and that I would be very upset if I don't get one. He had five years to save up. I went to the jewellers with him and showed him the type I would have liked.
Come my 50th, he hadn't bought me anything. Said he had no knowledge of wanting an eternity ring, and anyway he was broke.
I was so upset. To me, it felt like he didn't care enough to bother.
It's our 25th wedding anniversary next month, I know I will get more of the same.

Morebirthdayblues Tue 20-Aug-13 10:56:37

Feel like crying, just opened the card he got me from DS, it's a bloody Thomas the tank engine one!! He knows I love a 'mummy' card from DS, but obviously couldn't get one in the local garage!!

Seriously pissed off here sad

Fairenuff Tue 20-Aug-13 11:01:27

Obviously he doesn't consider your needs much at all. He is selfish in that respect, that is clear.

But I do have to say, you knew he was like this before you married him. Why do you expect him to change? He won't you know.

BeckAndCall Tue 20-Aug-13 11:05:29

I'm so sorry you're upset about this,*birthday*.

It was my birthday yesterday and have watched my poor DH over many years have almost panic Attacks trying to figure out what I want and how to get it. He knows he's not the best present buyer and he gets upset at the thought of getting it wrong. And I'm not hard to please And don't actually care much about birthdays! He got me 3 things yesterday - all chosen by my daughters and collected by them! But they knew what I wanted (kitchen things) and helped him out.

You have some years yet before your DS can help him, obviously, but please don't think it's because he doesn't love or appreciate you - some people really just are crap at buying gifts, pretty useless at remembering stuff, and some just don't relise that birthdays are a big thing to some people if they don't really mean much to them - it might depend on how birthdays were celebrated when he was growing up - a big thing or a non event to just ignore?

paperclipsarebetterthanstaples Tue 20-Aug-13 11:10:48

Oh, op I could cry for you. I could also rewrite most of what you've said - my DP is exactly the same and I've spent many a birthday in tears. The first year we were together he booked a surprise mini break, bought me a lovely, locally made necklace and cooked dinner. I spoilt him on his too thinking 'wow, this is great'

Came down with a big bump the next year when we got up, he said 'happy birthday' then said he'd bought me something but didn't have any wrapping paper and couldn't find a pen to write my card. (we have a fucking cupboard for stationery and cards etc) he's got worse every year - this year he didn't bother at all and, know it sounds grabby / demanding / spoilt... It honestly nearly split us up because i was so hurt by his lack of thought. Had also just had a baby after a
seriously shit pg

Obviously i have no advice - you're not on your own though. I hate the thought of it spoiling every birthday. (stamps feet and prays to be treated like a princess for just 1 day)

Morebirthdayblues Tue 20-Aug-13 11:13:58

fairenuff he wasn't really that bad before we got married, presets weren't great, but I was happy that he just made an effort and picked something out for me himself. I know he's a decent guy and I love him so tbh not getting presents wouldn't make me not want to marry him.

He is generally good otherwise so I feel a bit like I shouldn't be nit picking over this, I know he loves me and is very trustworthy. But it still really upsets me, it's more the fact that he does it over and over again, and is bound to know it will upset me.

beck you're right, some people are just crap at that kind of thing and I know he didn't even have birthday parties growing up, his family aren't very sentimental, but he knows he is crap at it and it just feels like he doesn't even try.

ColdfeetPinksocks Tue 20-Aug-13 11:26:02

My DH is the same. I have a new tactic that worked a bit though (Disclaimer: for one birthday only so far and with some caveats where we'll need a 'must try harder' for next year).

A few weeks in advance I reminded him it was imminent.
A couple of weeks in advance I reminded him it was even more imminent.
A week in advance I told him exactly what I wanted to happen and how he could make it happen.
"I want a card and flowers on the day. The flowers will not be from the shop that wraps them with black ribbon. I want you to buy and put candles on a cake. You can buy candles in Tesco, Asda, Sainsburys. I do not need a present on the day, but the next time I see something I'd like and ask if I can have it for my birthday, you buy it for me and don't walk off saying 'no, you don't need that' like I'm 4."

I borrowed the tactic from a book on parenting children with SN where you need to walk them through situations so they know what's expected of them... (We don't have a child with SN -- that might excuse his behaviour...)

HeathRobinson Tue 20-Aug-13 11:27:52

If 'forgetting' his birthday wouldn't mean anything to him, I would 'forget' something that does mean something to him. If he's upset, remind him that you're upset every year.

My dh likes technical stuff and surprises. I'm rubbish at technical stuff - always ask his advice normally, but for his birthday, I buy something technical as a surprise. I listen for clues during the year as to what he might like, look it up on the net, talk to the shop staff and then choose something.

It's hard for me, as I like to get the right thing, but for dh, having a surprise that someone's thought about, means a great deal. So I'll do it for him.

dufflefluffle Tue 20-Aug-13 11:29:46

If I want something from DH I tell him what I want (percisely and with plenty of notice)- I have learned over the years that this is the only way to avoid disappointment.

Fairenuff Tue 20-Aug-13 11:31:39

DH has always been notoriously crap at buying gifts

I was so upset we had a massive row, and he vowed to do better

I stupidly thought he might buck himself up this time

This is really pissing me off as it happens time and time again

He has spoiled every big occasion for me

Our engagement was awful, he just handed me the box with the ring in it

he spoiled our wedding day

I feel he isn't showing any thought for me

All this is just from your OP. He has always been crap at buying gifts and he always will be. You have told him again and again and he promises to try harder but nothing changes. Nothing will change.

Unless you really want him to be more considerate and to really listen to you and think about what you want, then you can just carry on as you are, getting upset every Christmas, birthday, wedding anniversary, valentines day, etc.

Fairenuff Tue 20-Aug-13 11:36:55


I want a card and flowers on the day. The flowers will not be from the shop that wraps them with black ribbon. I want you to buy and put candles on a cake. You can buy candles in Tesco, Asda, Sainsburys. I do not need a present on the day, but the next time I see something I'd like and ask if I can have it for my birthday, you buy it for me and don't walk off saying 'no, you don't need that' like I'm 4

And the irony of this is that you are treating him like a 4 year old. Do you seriously have to do this to get a grow man to buy a gift for the person he cares most about in the world shock

Does he hold down a job? Because I cannot imagine that he is capable if he can't buy candles and cake without specific direction shock shock

Mumoftwoyoungkids Tue 20-Aug-13 11:37:17

It my birthday today. I bought my present last week as I spotted it in town. (We have a joint account.) birthdays don't bother me at all.

On the other hand the wedding thing would have me fuming!

Last year dh didn't get me a present or a card as we were away at a wedding just before my birthday. The day before my birthday he suddenly got really shifty and said he needed to go shopping. It was ridiculously hot so I told him not to be silly and persuaded him to have a swim instead.

On the other hand I had been a bridesmaid for the wedding and he had done all the looking after dd for all the wedding ang the dinner the night before and both nights been the one to sit with her once she went to bed while I got to swan around looking pretty. So I wasn't at all bothered about a birthday card.

Morebirthdayblues Tue 20-Aug-13 11:40:04

coldfeet I actually wouldn't enjoy that at all, having to tell him exactly what to do and reminding him about the day leading up to it is just as bad as getting nothing in my book.

duffle I showed him a watch a few wks back, he looked at it for a long time and I assumed he was taking note, told him where to get it even - but even that didn't work. Told him I wanted proper sunglasses in July for my birthday and he said no I've your present sorted this yr. all he had sorted was he knew I wanted a watch by Michael somebody, not much sorting to that.

heath nothing really matters to him, he's just not a sentimental person so I don't even know what I could 'forget'. Have thought about doing something like that before but I know I'd only end up getting annoyed with myself for doing it. I called him useless on my birthday and even felt bad for that, I'm too bloody soft for my own good!!

QuietNinjaTardis Tue 20-Aug-13 11:40:50

Dh and I had a row at Xmas. He spent the couple of weeks beforehand telling me that he hadn't got me anything. In the end I got upset and said either you are joking which isn't funny or you're not joking and I'm pissed off cos you haven't bothered to get anything. Turns out he was trying to sort something but couldn't get it organised in time so he went out the day before Christmas and got me a phone which he wanted. I'd already mentioned that when my contract was up that I wanted to get an iPhone and he went and got the Nokia lumia which he wanted. (And has now got for himself)
I was so hacked off that he couldn't be arsed to sort something out that I wanted when I bought every single present for his and my family. Got a bit upset with him as it just shows a lack of thought. told him that he was buying al the presents for his family this year as I felt a right mug.
It was our wedding anniversary at the beginning of this month. We'd agreed no presents as we are skint but I said a card would be nice to acknowledge the day. Did he bother? Did he fuck.
Christ that was a rant! Sorry op! Yanbu. At all.

Fairenuff Tue 20-Aug-13 11:48:05

DH always buys birthday and Christmas presents for his side of the family and I buy for mind, although the presents are giftwrapped from both of us.

If he forgets, I don't remind him. He has forgotton his mum's birthday in the past and got a bollocking from his dad, but I am not his parent, I am not there to police him.

He's a very capable man. I can rely on him and trust him to look after things which are his responsibility.

Personally, I'm not fussed about birthdays, especially cards but I know others like them so I buy them. Not to do so would be inconsiderate and I think that is what the real problem is here, OP.

Your dh just does not care enough about you to bother sad

Morebirthdayblues Tue 20-Aug-13 11:48:10

fairenuff our wedding was 5 years ago and I still think about it every day, it has upset me that much. Not getting me anything for having DS comes a close second. I just don't know what to do, the resentment just builds up in me and I know I'll never let it go.

Deep down I know I'm depressed but I don't want to be on medication, he knows I have ups and downs and we were at breaking point earlier this year, I was on a major downer and wasn't sure I wanted to carry on with anything, I just wanted to disappear.

I have been good since and love the bones of him, but he knows I get upset easily and have been let down by a lot of close friends and family recently. I have distanced myself from a lot of people since as I felt they were walking over me and I was making all the effort.

Sometimes I feel the only person who thinks anything of me is DS.

ColdfeetPinksocks Tue 20-Aug-13 11:49:14


Yes, in every other respect he's a perfectly valid, lovely, caring human with a proper grown up job. But he doesn't care about birthdays (his, mine, anyone else's), anniversaries or Christmas so struggles to see why I do.

He does suffer from lastminuteism which can mean on Xmas eve when I'm sitting at home waiting to crack open the wine, he's still in a queue somewhere trying to buy the last piece of tat going

Fairenuff Tue 20-Aug-13 11:51:48

But OP he knows you get upset easily and he knows you get upset if he doesn't bother with your birthday. So you have to ask yourself why doesn't he bother?

He knows it means so much to you. He knows it would take so little effort on his behalf.

Maybe it's not you. Maybe you do not get upset easily. Maybe you have every right to be upset. In fact, given his selfishness, you have every right to be really fucking angry at him and to tell him so!

stickingattwo Tue 20-Aug-13 11:52:07

YANBU - it's thoughtlessness pure and simple

Quaffle Tue 20-Aug-13 11:57:36

Sorry but the way I'd look at it is - he doesn't care enough about your feelings to buck his ideas up.

It's all very well him being all "upset with himself" ( hmm ) and "tearful" (double hmm ) but if he was that bothered he'd make sure it didn't happen wouldn't he? So the waterworks wouldn't impress me much.

As for reminding him every day for two weeks - WTF?? Do these men have to be reminded to brush their teeth and wash? To go to work? That's the most pathetic thing I've ever heard. A present I'd had to basically badger and beg someone to buy me isn't a present I'd want to receive, thanks.

Nothing you do is going to make him care enough about your feelings to change, so in your shoes I'd just accept it and stop getting any cards/presents for him.

Tittypulumpcious Tue 20-Aug-13 11:58:09

I don't think it's about the gift as such more the thought and effort that's gone into it.

Take his credit card and buy yourself a gift from him, if that irritates him maybe he'll remember next time!

Morebirthdayblues Tue 20-Aug-13 12:00:51

That's what I can't understand fairenuff he has to know how it will upset me every time, but he still does it.

I know he does care, as he is great with helping out in the house and with DS, which takes more effort that running into a shop and buying a pressie and a card. (And not a Thomas the tank engine one!!!)

And for that reason I feel as if I should just be thankful that he doesn't treat me like crap at home, or go out and get pissed all the time like most of my friend Dh's do.

He just so thoughtless when it comes to anything sentimental and if he was good at this type of thing, he would be pretty much perfect - but that's the thing that he's knows will upset me most.

I just don't know what to do, as I feel like my resentment is just going to build up as it never gets resolved. My mum has let me down a lot and it has really affected our relationship, I can never let it go and have a bit of a dodgy relationship with her, and I don't want me and DH to go the same way.

Quaffle Tue 20-Aug-13 12:01:14

OP on re-reading your posts, it strikes me that he seems very committed to letting you down, particularly given that you say yourself that you've been let down a lot by other people and get upset easily.

Do you think that part of him gets a kick out of this?

Morebirthdayblues Tue 20-Aug-13 12:02:55

titty I done that at Christmas and bought myself an ipad, I don't think he cared as it saved him the bother!

Morebirthdayblues Tue 20-Aug-13 12:04:59

quaffle I really don't think so, he's generally a forgetful person with bills appointments etc and I really don't think he'd do this on badness, but he just can't seem to break the cycle!

I just don't get it, as to me buying gifts/cards is so simple!

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