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Birthdays- how much effort?

(10 Posts)
alisontaylor1 Thu 06-Mar-14 11:52:25

It was my bday yesterday. DH bought me some flowers but that was all. He did ask if I wanted to do anything and he'd have taken a day's leave but for various reasons ( including waiting for the appearance of a mammoth period that is due) I wanted to stay close to home.

It doesn't sound anything to make a fuss about on the one hand, but on the other he has a history of being useless with gifts and making me feel as if he's made an effort. I've had some really dud presents over the years where I've wondered if he has a clue who I am...given his choice of gifts.

My Mum phoned ans asked ( half jokingly) if I was being treated to breakfast in bed with a tray and flowers and it made me really upset ( though I didn't tell her) because it was so far from anything DH would do.

He never asked me once if there was anything I'd like for my birthday and when I said I could have given him a list, he replied he doesn't like lists ( because then it's not a surprise.)

I'm a bit fed up really with him.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 06-Mar-14 12:03:03

One thing I've learned in life is that, if you want something, don't leave it to chance. Some people are spontaneous, others need instructions. Never mind that he doesn't like lists, next time you're expecting special treatment, flag it up well in advance, and be specific about your expectations. He doesn't ask so you have to take the initiative. If it still all gets ignored then you're entitled to be pissed off.

taratamara Thu 06-Mar-14 13:42:32

I agree. Next time he asks you what you want say 'I would like breakfast in bed on a tray and ......' etc. Doesn't have to be a list, just tell him. In fact why not tell him now that you'd love breakfast in bed anyway wink

Thurlow Thu 06-Mar-14 13:48:38

The thing is, everyone has different expectations for their birthdays. It's not unreasonable for someone who doesn't place much value on birthdays to not put in much effort for someone else - unless it has been explained to them that the other person thinks it is important.

I don't put much value on a fuss or presents or even going out to dinner, but I do like a card. DP doesn't understand cards at all. But I've explained to him and now he buys cards from him and from DC, because he gets that it's important to me.

I do think you have to come to compromise. For example, if one party would be perfectly content with someone simply remembering it is their birthday and buying them a small present, but the other party would like breakfast in bed, a day trip, a well thought out present, and dinner out in the evening, that's actually quite a big conflict. I know if my partner suddenly wanted the full works (and please don't think I'm calling what you want the full works!) it would get tiring, year after year, to do all of that. To me, like in any healthy relationship, there would be a compromise. I'd would maybe say I wouldn't take the day off work but we would always go out for a nice dinner and I would appreciate they liked a nice present.

I would wait a few days until you are a bit calmer or less emotional about the subject and just explain to him that on that one day a year you'd like a little bit of a fuss, and it would really make you happy if he could do that.

benid Thu 06-Mar-14 13:50:42

Are you really just fed up about the birthday gift? Is he good in other ways?
My ex used to buy me the most exquisite, thoughtful, inventive and beautiful gifts. However in all the ways that mattered, he was a nobber.
My DH is not very good at gifts and needs a full set of instructions. But he is wonderful in every other way, so I don't mind!

Jan45 Thu 06-Mar-14 13:57:29

What a miser, sorry but it's totally inconsiderate behaviour imo. I'm not buying this nonsense that men just don't think, rubbish, they choose not to.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 06-Mar-14 13:59:51

"a well thought out present,"

I don't leave that to chance either. Thinking I mean smile I mention two or three things I'd like and he gets to choose which one ... guidance whilst maintaining the element of surprise.

WhateverTrevor83 Thu 06-Mar-14 14:26:49

I just say 'that's a nice coat... isn't it a nice colour... I'll try it on... ooh it fits... might get that when I get paid' blah blah if there's something I want and there's a birthday/anniversary etc coming up. DP does the same. We are a bit lame though blush but at least we don't end up with presents we don't like/want. Occasional surprises are nice but I don't think there's anything wrong with just saying what you would like - it's not unreasonable imo.

He should have the nouse to twig that these things you have said you like / would like / admiring things on adverts or in shops etc would be a good idea for a present really.

Is money tight or something? Does seem a bit rough he didn't make more effort. That would annoy me / make me feel a bit poo.

Happy belated birthday btw cake wine

HelenHen Thu 06-Mar-14 14:56:20

My dh is useless at pressies... Every bloody time grin and he's never gonna change. He never expects or wants anything for his And he doesn't really have time to pick stuff for me. Every now and then he tries, bless him, and usually gets it wrong! So now, I either tell him exactly what I want or I go shopping myself and let him give it to me or I give him a list of a few things I want and remind him every day for a couple of weeks til he picks something grin

Imo you did well to get flowers smile

Wigsy Thu 06-Mar-14 15:36:28

My DP has been my best friend and soulmate for over 20 years. One year he got me some car parts for my birthday. Another year, he got me about £2 worth of Sainsbury's own-brand cheddar cheese.

My ex once got me a second-hand book on how to build wooden sun-dials.

My mother bought me a set of black leather drinks coasters, knowing there is nothing black leather in my home and I wouldn't want them. Another year, a full set of cutlery that she knew didn't match the full set of cutlery I already had.

A friend's dad buys him presents that are so bad it is utterly hilarious. They get weirder by the year and we always get photos emailed to us. Last Christmas it was a carved wooden potato-shaped thing with his name etched into it, and a seriously ugly jumper in the wrong size.

Just because your DP is crap with gifts doesn't mean he doesn't have a clue who you are. It means he's crap with gifts. A lot of people are, even when they're the parent or soulmate of who they're buying for. DP buys things that are practical: my mother buys things because she's a compulsive shopper. My friend's dad buys him carved wooden potatoes because he's bonkers.

It says something that your DP wanted a gift to be a surprise. I think that's nice. And he was happy to have a day off with you. If he acts as though he's made an effort, he might just want to get across that he cares, he wants to show he cares it's your birthday, but he's just clumsy at expressing it, and he probably knows it. People often appear put out if they know they've done a lame job of something.

When the mammoth period has been and gone, have a belated birthday day out with him. Think of something you want to do and use the occasion as an excuse to do it. I have had over forty birthdays, and if you treat them like any other day instead of bigging them up to be something special, they're much happier. Celebrate yours a bit late, enjoy the spring sunshine, and many happy returns. smile I hope yesterday wasn't totally rubbish. x

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