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OT - anniversary

OK, I want a reality check here. My husband and I had our 2nd anniversary yesterday, and I was really disappointed. Because of some other obligations, we knew we couldn't do anything major. But, we had planned to try to at least eat out together. Everywhere we went was closed, then the place we ended up, my inlaws were at, and they ate with us. He gave me a card, but that was all. He thinks gifts for Valentine's and anniversaries are silly, and he can't understand why I was so let down yesterday, and it led to a huge fight last night. (I knew he wasn't doing anything, so I didn't get him anything big, but I picked up some chocolate for him to go along with a card). I feel like a rose from a gas station would at least have been a thoughtful touch to make the day something special from him. Am I being ridiculous? Everything else about our life is wonderful, and we have a great relationship. But special days are always a huge letdown for me, because I can't seem to ever get him to understand why they matter so much to me... and I feel like if I have to tell him to do something, it doesn't count. Thoughts?

I know this seems horribly unrelated to anything having to do with weightloss, but it wrecks my mood - I refused to get up and work out this morning because I was so upset still from the fight. My fault for not being dedicated enough, I know.

Tue. Oct 16, 8:59am

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not to burst your bubble because I know you're already down, but it sounds like he made a effort and that should count for something. If this is happening on your 2nd anniversary and you're upset, what's going to happen on your 8th?

We try to find ways to celebrate each other throughout the year and we don't make a big deal about anniversaries or valentine's. Buy a card and chocolates for him and put it in his car or on his pillow on any given day. those are the special occasions I remember and look forward to the most!

also, clue him in on your expectations so he doesn't feel bad for letting you down...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007, 9:15 AM

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Abandon the idea that if you have to tell him it doesn't count. That will guarantee a lifetime of disappointment . Sounds like you want him to express himself the way you express yourself on special days, which would be great if you approached these occasions the same way. Since you don't, you either have to give him a list of what you want, plan it yourself, or approach these special days with a different mindset.

When you let go it all gets so much better! Celebrate all that he does for you the other 364 days of the year!! Having a guy who buys the best gifts doesn't mean much when he's a crap ass husband and father.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007, 11:07 AM

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Does he *know* that you'd like him to get you a git/token of some kind? Because things like that don't always occur to men, and to a women it can seem thoughtless, like he doesn't care, when that's not really the case. I'm not saying you're in the wrong for expecting something more, but sometimes men need things spelled out for them, while women expect them to be psychically aware of what we want.

Having said that, I don't think you're being unreasonable in your expectations. Regardless of whether he thinks gifts are pointless, he should see that it's important to you, and make an effort for that reason.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007, 11:37 AM

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Yup, you just have to make it easy for them and they do it - most of them subscribe to "happy wife = happy life".

Tell him your favorite flower and you will get it every anniversary.
Tell him your favorite chocolate and you will get it every Valentine's Day.
Tell him your favorite gem stone, vacation destination, get the picture.

Take away the anguish over "will she like this or will I get yelled at for getting it wrong", and you'll pretty much get what you really want every time.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007, 11:57 AM

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Oh I understand what you are going through. I just had my 10 yr anniversary last Fri. I got a card too. My husband is SO thoughtful and such a great guy but he lacks in the gift giving area. Let me tell you that if that is where they lack we got it made in the shade. Like another poster said having a gift giver does not mean much if he is a loser. I would much rather be in our shoes than the others. I also know that I always feel terrible when I have a fight with my guy. Especially when I started it. Don't let it get you down. The hardest part for me is the more time that passes the more I know I should make up. Here are some (((HUGS))) to help you through this time. I think it may help to sit down and calmly talk to him about how you feel and let him know exactly what kind of stuff you like. Many blessing to you and your marriage!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007, 4:48 PM

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Honey if you're the one that wants these things and he doesn't really see the point then you gotta want it enough for both of you. And you have to somewhat 'own' it too, because even if he wants to make you happy, things may not occur to him. It's like him expecting you to throw a superbowl party, invite all his friends over, have a party and then stay quiet, cheer at the right times and stay out of his line-of-vision during the big game - if you don't 'get' sports, how is that ever going to occur to you?

Make the reservations, let him know in advance that you expect him to be home on time to take you out and that you would like to see some flowers in his arms when gets there. Tell him you would like him to be extra-sensitive, hold your car door, not talk about work, and you'd like some comliments on your appearance as well as some hand-holding and cuddling. Don't wait for him to try to remember that he has obligations and then ambush him with your trauma that he didn't live up to your expectations. Make sure he knows your expectations and communicate them clearly with plenty of advance warning. If he knows them, says he'll do his part and then doesn't deliver that's a whole other issue.

I am not a 'special day' person, but my SO is - for Valentines Day I bake him his favorite cookies and deliver those and red roses to work. He loves it! He is happy enough for both of us and I enjoy making him happy, but he had to cue me in. Once I knew it was important to him - it became (more) important to me...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007, 5:46 PM

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My husband and I usually make plans for big occasions like anniversaries, and so often things go wrong, sometimes we end up having a huge fight and go to bed mad. It's just ridiculous. So now I try not to have high expectations and things go much better. But I do tell him that missed occasions build up exponentially...he missed mother's day AND our anniversay, so my birthday has to be a GREAT present! And if he had missed my birthday, he would have had to get me a vacation to Hawaii for Christmas (or something similarily extravagent).

Tuesday, October 16, 2007, 5:50 PM

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I feel your pain, and I agree. Most guys need it spelled out, usually in writing. Add it to their agendas, in ink. On the calendar pages and the day at a glance pages. And if they don't use that, find whatever they do use. We don't know what is really important to them (unless they tell us) and we can't expect them to be mind readers either. Tell him, without the emotion behind a fight.

and btw, if the inlaws are at the restaurant, find a different table, far away. Let them know, politely, it is your anniversary, and you wish to be alone together. They will probably get offended, but, thems the breaks. Its your anniversary. What would they want on their anniversary? I bet they would want it to be special too. And if really you can't not sit with the inlaws, go out to fast food, if you must, to get your priveleged alone time with your husband. (although atmosphere is good, taco bell is better than a fight later)

My husband hates to be pressured to perform, or to be obliged, which holidays, anniversaries, birthdays, parties, etc. all do. Selfish attitude?
Maybe. But if that is what he feels, that is what he feels. He is definitely a comfort zone person. Its all a growing process, so you might need to be a bit more forgiving to your husband too.

You might ask him instead to have "date night" with you, at least once a month (better to have once a week), that you schedule (at least, initially) where he takes you out on a date (he pays). Just schedule a dinner out, at a nice but not too upscale restaurant, or a coffee and a walk, or a movie. Affordability, and you take some of the pressure off by participating in the schedule. It really freshens up the marriage, for both of you. And then, there is always the surprise later in the evening. He really would go for that! He will start looking forward to it too.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007, 8:58 PM

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20 years and counting...

Some advice from the long-married. First, the above posters who have recommended spelling things out for your husband a bit (gently and kindly, of course) are right. Mine got so stressed about Christmas, worried that the hype was all true and women were hard to please, that I finally started giving him a list. Not because I really had to have a certain gift or anything, but because it took the pressure off that he was putting on himself.

We just celebrated our 20th anniversary, which is a huge deal to me. He's been so stressed at work that I don't think he wanted to even think about it--so I planned the whole thing. We went sailing on a friend's catamaran to a little restaurant where we ate dinner, and then we stayed overnight alone. Originally I planned a bed and breakfast, but he seemed a little unnerved (it was a very good deal for a bed and breakfast, but as I said, work and money worries are getting to him). So I changed the reservation to a little cabin at a campground, less than half the price. It looked like a cute-painted tool shed, and he started calling it a tool shed; I had to humorously remind him that we got the tool shed because the bed and breakfast's price made him edgy! We've been laughing about it ever since and we'll never forget our 20th, even though it wasn't quite what I had hoped for when I started thinking about it. (At one point I was hoping for a Windjammer cruise...)

I try to give my husband every chance to make me feel loved, because I know he wants to give me that feeling and that sometimes he just doesn't know how. Although after 20 years he's getting pretty good at it.

I recently started working again after 18 years as a mom at home, and last night he rallied the troops to clean the family room, and then (after I'd fallen asleep reading in bed) he went in and cleaned the kitchen until it shone.

That's worth more than a dozen roses...though I occasionally get those romantic fripperies too. :^ )

Wednesday, October 17, 2007, 10:09 AM

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You definitely need to tell your husband, in advance, what you want. I assume you had a discussion in which it was decided that you couldn't do anything major, because of your other obligations that you mentioned. At that time, it would've been good to say "okay, let's do small presents for each other - $10 maximum," or something to that effect. That way, he knows that you're going to get him something small, and that he's expected to reciprocate.

Sometimes guys overanalyze everything - he wonders if he's supposed to do anything, and if he does something, is something small offensive b/c it should've been bigger, and is something bigger bad b/c he hasn't consulted you about the price, etc. Guys are analytical, and it sometimes overwhelms them into doing nothing at all.

Also, if you want to go out to dinner somewhere, say a couple weeks in advance, "honey, can you please make us dinner reservations for our anniversary?" If you have restaurants you'd like to go to, give suggestions. Then follow up a couple days later, b/c guys forget. Say, "do we have reservations at XYZ?" Or, if you're the kind of girl who's okay with doing it yourself, call and make the reservations yourself.

If you have to make a suggestion, that doesn't mean that he doesn't care. If he takes your suggestion and does it, then he cares. If he doesn't bother to do it, after he knows that it means a lot to you, then you can question whether or not he cares.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007, 1:10 PM

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OP here. Thanks, everyone. I think it sounds insane for me to get this worked up over it, and I know that... I think it's almost worse for me because he is so thoughtful in other ways, it makes this so much more noticeable (but also less important, I'm thinking?)

Anyway, we don't have children or plans for any soon, so we go out pretty regularly. We are both very much into wine and that sort of thing, so we make trips to wineries and nice restaurants fairly regularly - every month or so. So, we do a lot of the nice things together as a routine.

We have always tended to be event-oriented givers. Last year, for our first anniversary, he planned a nice mountain getaway for us. A few years before, for his birthday, I planned a trip to New Orleans. We knew none of that was gonna happen this year... so I guess I assumed he would still feel the need to do something special, though small. Because we had other responsibilities in the days leading up to and on our anniversary, we knew we would have a 2-hour window that night for us. We knew that meant eating locally, which for us means nothing too nice, so even the dinner planning couldn't be too elaborate.

Back at Valentine's, I was devastated because he gave me a card and a fake rose. I was so upset... I couldn't believe he'd given me a fake flower. I ended up apologizing for being childish, he apologized for not getting the real thing, and we talked about how on special occasions, I tend to expect a small token... a flower (real), a photograph, something.

All that considered, I ASSUMED he would do a flower, or maybe even a book I really like, or something this time. We had talked about a month ago about how awful it was that we wouldn't have a lot of free time that night, and I told him I still had to get his gift (I was trying to work us into the conversation about what to do)... he had a fit, and told me not to do anything. I knew then that he wasn't doing anything, from the way he acted. I got the lecture about how it's silly to give gifts for every occasion, and Christmas and birthdays should be it. So, I got mad, decided I'd "show him," and left it alone for a few weeks. I went ahead and got his card, and picked up his favorite candy, thinking that would be a small enough trinket, but still say I cared.

I guess I was still expecting something... like a fresh flower, or anything. I thought maybe he meant he wasn't buying a real gift, but that surely he would at least do that. And I did get a card... that was some training in itself, there. I am a word person, and I love cards. He's never been a card giver before, so now that's coming second nature finally. But.... I don't know. I feel like I have communicated how important some notice of the occasion is to me, and it still doesn't work. Then again, he did at least do the card (and a mushy one, not his normal humorous ones).

So I end up feeling like an ungrateful wench on one hand, and depressed on the other. I know he's a great husband, a good man, and he loves me dearly. He helps with stuff around the house, cooks dinner when I have late meetings, and usually calls me mid-day on days he knows my work is supposed to be extra tough, just to make me smile. So he is a good, good man. I think I just need to figure out how to accept this and move on, because I doubt he's going to start magically getting it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007, 1:37 PM

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Oh, honey...He's not much of a card giver, and yet he got a mushy card instead of his usual humorous ones? Why do you think he did that?

I know how hard it is--I'm the 20-year-married woman from above and I can remember my first Mother's Day when he didn't acknowledge it at all. You know why? He'd heard me and my mom and sisters complain about the brouhah our church puts on for Mother's Day (a brouhah we all hate) and thought I didn't care to have a big day for mothers!

I could have gone on forever thinking he was insensitive and never known that he was trying to do what I wanted, misunderstood as I was. I do hate the church brouhah because, well, first off, I'm not EVERYONE'S mother and I really could care less what other people think of mothers or motherhood or good mothering. And the focus tends to be on what GOOD mothers do (much of which any mother does NOT do because none of us can do it all) or else someone will give a talk about their perfect (usually dead) mother who never raised her voice, etc. Basically, it's like a huge shower of inadequacy-water for nearly every mother there who is still raising her kids or whose kids haven't turned out the way she'd hoped.

So anyway...once he realized that the one thing I did care about was that I got some sweetness from the ones I did it all for, things changed. :^ ) I don't always get exactly what I want, or have my expectations met--but then love isn't about meeting every expectation. It is, as Madeleine L'Engle described it, a two-part invention. We come into it with all kinds of expectations--Good Husband/Good Wife expectations, If He Loves Me expectations, all sorts. They are based on relationships we've known or read about or made up in our own heads, precedents on which we think our own marriages will be based. What we have to learn is that there IS no precedent. Sure, lots of people get married. But THIS WOMAN has never been married to THIS MAN, and this marriage (yours, mine, anyone's) is an entirely new entity that the two companions must invent together every day of their lives.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007, 8:10 PM

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You sound exactly like me!! I've been married six years now and special occasions still cause some tension, but it's getting much better.

Something I've learned that has helped a lot is I never say, "we don't need to make a big deal of my birthday." Because to him that means we don't need to do anything. (Where I was thinking we wouldn't get a babysitter and go out, instead he would make dinner for me and make a card, get just a small gift, rub my feet, and do all he could to make it a special day).

One Mother's day I said we didn't have to do anything big...I ended up in tears after dinner because he hadn't even said 'happy mother's day' to me yet.

Now I tell him that my birthday is a huge deal to me because as much as I'd like to say it's not, it is. His idea of a huge deal and my idea of "Oh, it's not a big deal." Turn out to be about the it works out!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007, 8:50 PM

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I guess most men could care less about a card and gift on special occasions. Since this is just your 2nd anniversary, you really need to let him know that on ALL special occasions, you really look forward to a card and a gift - even a small token of a gift. I know it makes me feel special and I've been married 37 years. If you don't let him know now how you really feel, you're in for a lot of disappointments down the road. Good luck!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007, 9:03 PM

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