My Boyfriend Didn’t Do Anything For My Birthday – What does this mean and how can I handle this situation in a healthy manner?
A birthday comes around once a year, and when growing up it’s one of the most exciting occasions. (Shoot, I still get excited and I’m in my late 20’s!)
As we get older, how we celebrate will change, both with our tastes and our busier schedules.
What really complicates things is how you and your boyfriend handle it.
Sometimes you’ll disagree on what to do, or how much to spend. But what if that special time arrives and your boyfriend doesn’t do anything for your birthday?
That can be awkward and really deflate you on what should be a reassuring day. Whether or not his absent-mindedness is what you expected, don’t let your birthday be an excuse to lash out.
If you’re both mature about it, a birthday blunder can be a moment of mutual introspection, leading to conversations that move things forward.
That could lead to your bond being strengthened, or deciding it’s time to call it quits.
Is It Normal For Your Boyfriend To Forget Your Birthday?
In short, no. A good boyfriend wouldn’t forget your birthday.
It does depend though on what you mean by forgetting.
If your boyfriend makes sure to wish you a happy birthday when it arrives, you know he’s thinking of you.
But if he proceeds to do nothing else, that could seem like he doesn’t care much about it, that he forgot to arrange anything.
Going about the day normally doesn’t necessarily mean it’s all nothing to him, so think carefully before you say or do something that makes you look bad.
Maybe your boyfriend really values time spent together and thinks of that as celebration enough.
This could very much be the case if you two haven’t set much precedent for how birthdays should be dealt with.
However, look out for situations that could spell trouble. If your boyfriend cares a lot about and emphasizes his own birthday, but not yours, that’s not normal.
If he wants gifts but doesn’t get you anything, you shouldn’t indulge him.
Most people care about their birthday, so he should at least wish you a happy one.
If he forgets, you’ll have to weigh that against his usual behavior.
Is he recently overworked? Is he normally good to you? Or is being inconsiderate part of a pattern with him?
It is worth hearing him out if he apologizes, but push back if he doubles down and says birthdays aren’t a big deal.
If this matters to you, he should respect that. For your part, it couldn’t hurt to nudge him in the right direction.
Think about how you’re coming across, versus what he’s perceiving.
When your birthday is coming up, don’t hesitate to drop hints that you’re looking forward to it.
If he forgets but is sorry, be receptive to that.
A person’s eagerness is strengthened if efforts to make amends are met favorably. It helps to remember that you’re not perfect either.
You wouldn’t want to be lectured over your mistakes, and neither does your partner.
You also need to have clear standards, so be open about them and allow second chances to avoid fomenting bad blood.
Should Your Significant Other Plan Your Birthday?
This simply depends on how long you’ve been together and what you know about each other.
If your relationship is just getting started, you should absolutely be in charge of your own birthday.
It’s unrealistic to force it on your partner, even if you’ve been together for more than a year.
You might believe that being free of planning reduces stress, but you never know how it could backfire.
Even with your input, your beau could get it wrong. You might be disappointed, then ashamed for being ungrateful.
Wading through a birthday party that wasn’t what you imagined, and pretending to enjoy it, isn’t a walk in the park.
If your partner is still getting to know you, his attempt at your birthday could become an endless series of questions.
Is a multi-course meal too much? Want appetizers before dinner? Should you just eat out? Do you like ice cream cake? Who’s coming over?
If you have to decide so much, at that point you might as well be planning it all yourself.
If he does know you well, then it’s reasonable to rely on him for a lot of the planning, as long you’re specific and communicative.
Take initiative and always clarify what you’re sure you don’t want.
As you might have guessed, it’s best for you to work together when either of you has a birthday.
Split the responsibilities, but when it’s your birthday there’s no need for you to do most of the work.
Your expectations of one another should be reasonable, and how you perform when making plans may reflect your relationship in general.
It’s sort of like a challenge of your partnership’s strength, a means of weeding out bad signs.
Therein lies an opportunity to have important discussions. After all, if you guys can’t plan something as simple as a birthday, how are you going to grow as a couple?
How To Handle Your Boyfriend Forgetting Your Birthday And Communicate Your Needs
With relationships, you’ve got to remain balanced. Have perspective, keep your head on, and don’t overreact.
Putting too much stake in birthdays and other special occasions isn’t recommendable or mature.
Don’t act as if all your self-esteem hinges on these sorts of days.
No one wants a birthday disappointment, but think of what other things there are to look forward to in life.
Think about all the other ways your boyfriend has shown up for you in the past.
Don’t let one bad experience taint all the good memories you’ve made together.
Have An Open Discussion
If your boyfriend forgets your birthday you might feel like shutting him out, but communication is necessary and fruitful.
You’ll need an in-depth talk to let it all out, and get his side of the story too. Judge whether his words are sympathetic, or if he’s raising red flags.
Discussion should be a cornerstone of your relationship, so make it clear that you’re open and receptive, rather than waiting for things to go wrong.
Something helpful is to broach these topics and take note of how engaged he is.
Ask him when his birthday is and what sort of things he enjoys on that day, even if it’s not coming up.
How do his values line up with yours?
The way you two deal with birthdays can reveal that. It’s an opportunity to clear up what you expect of each other generally.
You must explain what birthdays mean for you and your relationship. For some, it’s a day to express love, or for doing things you’ve been looking forward to.
For others, it’s just another day and not a big deal at all.
What you don’t want is a cycle of disappointment, where you guys never seem to get it right.
You do have to understand one another to an extent before you’ll know how best to spend time together.
That can sometimes mean doing things you don’t really care for, which is fine as long as there’s mutual respect.
Control Your Emotions
Of course, someone forgetting your birthday is going to leave you cold and hurt, but if it’s your boyfriend that’ll feel downright insulted.
Such an incident can lead to festering resentment, which you want to steer clear of. You could end up judging his actions from then on in a negative light.
If it does bother you significantly, bring it up, but you don’t want an accusatory confrontation.
If this is one of several problems you have with him and tensions run high, it can get ugly.
Remember to use positive forms of communication instead of attacking your partner. “When you forgot my birthday, I felt…..” is a much better way of communicating than simply attacking him and his character.
Don’t let your ego get in the way, fueling the need to vent and be vindicated.
Have empathy and try to see things from his perspective, though just because he provides his viewpoint doesn’t mean you have to agree with it.
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