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Am I expecting too much?

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OptimisticWife posted 12/4/2013 06:03 AM

My H and I went on a holiday for my recent milestone birthday without the kids. I planned the holiday and H was reluctant at first as he is an anxious flyer and he was concerned about the money we would be spending to go.
I told him it was important to me and he went. We had a great time. A few days into our week long vacation was my 40th birthday.
My H didn't get me anything...not even a card. When I asked for my card on the evening of my b'day he said he felt bad that he hadn't got me one. I had expected him to surprise me with a romantic gesture or a gift or something especially as we were childless for the whole week. He didn't do anything special for me at all except come on the vacation I planned as my own 40th birthday gift. Should I just be grateful that we spent a lovely week together or am I justified in feeling sad and disappointed?

[This message edited by OptimisticWife at 6:05 AM, December 4th (Wednesday)]

Holly-Isis posted 12/4/2013 06:14 AM

You planned the vacation and he didn't do anything but come along for the ride?

I'd be hurt too.
We were broke on my 40th birthday and MrH still got me a small gift.

Not even a card...or a letter telling you what you mean to him, the family, the world around you...he's still focused on himself.

brokensmile322 posted 12/4/2013 06:15 AM

Optimistic Wife,

Happy Birthday!!

I would be disappointed as well. I do not think it takes much to give a small gift or a card. Even if he didn't want to spend the $5 on a card, he could have wrote you a note.

Did you ask him why he did not do anything? What was his reasoning? Because I cannot think of any one reason that would be sufficient.

Is he truly on board with R?

I ask because gift giving and cards were one of the first ways my WH got 'lazy' in our marriage. Buying a gift requires planning and thought, same for a card. We stopped doing it. The reality is that when you first date, you do acknowledge your significant others birthdays etc… Why? Because you are wanting to show them that they are important to you, you want to show love, to say I care about you. Love is a verb. We stopped doing cards and presents for a bit….it should have been a red flag. We were stopping our wooing of each other. So for me, trying to R, yes, I would be upset too.

Hugs Optimistic Wife. I think this is a good place to discuss your expectations moving forward…not just for him, but for both you.

[This message edited by brokensmile322 at 6:17 AM, December 4th (Wednesday)]

OptimisticWife posted 12/4/2013 06:34 AM

Thank you for your replies. Brokensmile, I think Holly-Isis is right in saying my H is still focused on himself. When I asked where my card was his response was that HE now felt bad for not getting me one. He had a chance the next day to get me something to make up for it as I decided to go get a massage so he had a couple of hours to himself. He obviously didn't feel too bad though because when I got back to our room he hadn't moved.

My IC is working with me to help me find my line in the sand. She tells me that H knows what he should be doing but he still chooses not to do things. He is lazy. If I never planned the trip, we would not have gone. He would have been ok with that. I do feel like I am carrying the load in R. He's just coming along for the ride and doing the bare minimum of the work I have asked him to do.

If you ask him how our vacation was, he'd tell you it was great. If you ask me my response will be we had a good time but I was covering up my sadness and disappointment so not to ruin our trip altogether. I just wanted him to make me feel special

ladies_first posted 12/4/2013 10:47 AM

I just wanted him to make me feel special

Has he been successful at this in the past? Or is this a new behavior you now expect post-affair?

OptimisticWife posted 12/4/2013 14:05 PM

I guess it's a new behavior that I'm expecting him to learn. He's alway been selfish. I was/am hoping that he would learn to think about others post A. I am scared that if he can't be consider my feelings or that of others above his own, he could hurt me again. It seems everything is still about how he is feeling. I have told him in the past that I needed him to make me feel loved with his actions, not just his words. 40 has been a little triggery for me. H hated turning 40 and he had his A a few months after his 40th birthday. I was wanting to make my 40th a positive thing. That's why I planned the vacation.

Thanks for the question. It got me thinking beyond my initial disappointment.

Trying2Survive1 posted 12/4/2013 14:22 PM

I'm sorry you were disappointed and hurt. I would have felt the same.

I guess it's a new behavior that I'm expecting him to learn

Have you shared with him the things he could do that would make you feel special and loved? Do you think he meant to hurt you? Not to excuse his behavior, but is it possible he just doesn't realize how important it is to you?

FWH and I read the book,5 love languages by Gary Chapman. It helped us.

Razor posted 12/4/2013 14:31 PM

I would have expected more to. I would have been hurt and disappointed. And I would have felt that my WW really didnt give a damn about me.

All your feelings are valid IMO.

(Im going to paint with a broad brush here. what I say below doesnt apply to everyone)
I think tho that many WSs dont know what to do when it comes to how to make their BS feel better. And they are afraid they may do the wrong thing. And so they do nothing.

It also comes down to doing the maximum to repair the damage they made vs. doing the minimum necessary to keep the M.

Some people are just minimum people. They sloppy and fast in pretty much everything they do. They do the minimum to get by and figure that was enough.

Other people are maximum people. They sweat the details. They think outside the box. They go above and beyond in most everything they do.

WS that are maximum people have the best chance at R IMO.

Rebreather posted 12/4/2013 15:56 PM

I probably would have filed for divorce. Maybe cause gifts are one of my love languages. No, you aren't asking for too much.

He can learn to do better, but you really do need to have serious conversations about what you need and expect. This is where I truly feel the love languages concept can be very helpful. Have you gone through this together?

Dare2Trust posted 12/4/2013 21:32 PM


My Opinion: There's no excuse and no reason that your husband did not buy you a Birthday Card and some type of Gift. He KNEW the purpose of this trip....It was YOUR 40TH BIRTHDAY. IT was not some "surprise trip!!!"

There's simply an "expectation" that a husband will purchase his wife a card and gift on her 40th birthday. This isn't ROCKET SCIENCE!

33years posted 12/4/2013 22:47 PM

It does seem selfish that he didn't get you anything and at the same time, I am feeling guilty hearing this because my WH just had his birthday on Thanksgiving day and I did not get him a card either and didn't even tell him happy birthday. I'm still "ticked off and hurt" by the A but we are trying to reconcile, so I really should have done something. (I did buy him a small gift but had the grandkids give it to him and we did sing the birthday song and let him blow out a candle.
It gets confusing to me on how I'm suppose to treat him.....perhaps the golden rule? Do unto others as you would have them do unto you?
I am sorry OptimisticWife about being sad on your birthday trip and hope things work out for you both.

Scubachick posted 12/5/2013 01:40 AM

One year on Mother's Day i got flowers from my husband and son. He ended up taking my flowers back and giving them to his Mom because he didn't get her anything! I was hurt because I felt like I just didn't matter. My son was really upset and got so mad at his dad. When I told my husband how I felt, I thought the same thing you did....that he would make up for it the next day. He didn't! And it's because he thought I would get mad because I've always told him if I have to ask for your time or gifts, I don't want it because it feels forced. It takes away the specialness and feels Insincere. I wonder if your husband was thinking like this? Regardless though, they should have thought of something special to try to make up for it.

OptimisticWife posted 12/7/2013 07:06 AM

Thank you all again for your replies.

Trying2Survive1 I have told my H what I need...many times but he "forgets" all the time or he can't apply what he learns from one situation to another. Our IC has also observed this and has commented about how she can't see how things can improve if he won't apply previous knowledge to new situations. It's so frustrating! I feel like I am parenting him half the time but I'm trying REALLY hard not to. He needs to learn for himself too.
I don't think he meant to hurt me. I just don't think he thought of me at all if I'm being completely honest.

I did buy 5 love languages by Gary Chapman but I found it difficult to read after reading his acknowledgements where he writes "Home also means Karolyn, to whom I have been married for more than forty years. If all wives loved as she does, fewer men would be looking over the fence". I couldn't get over my anger at this statement and I ended up stopping at chapter 5.

Razor, thank you for your comments. I don't feel my H fits the roles you describe. He's more of a procrastinator. He says he needs time to think or that he is actually thinking about something but that lasts a few seconds and then he's snoring in his chair of watching some crap on tv. Any prior discussion about thoughts, relationship work or IC work has vacated his head...until I bring it up again. Then he'll tell me he forgot, is still thinking about whatever or hasn't had time to think anything through.

When he does finally come to a decision about anything where action is required, then he will think forever about how to proceed. It takes him hours to write on page of his life story for our IC. By the length of this post, I'm sure you can see I ramble on. So I guess I find his slowness annoying. I feel like he's avoiding the discomfort of doing the work because after all, how he feels seems to be more important.

Rebreather, H has gone backwards in his efforts in R. I have discussed it all with him. Today we had a massive unrelated argument where he announced we were over. He since took it back but I am still hurt and angry. He acted like a child having an aggressive tantrum. I am starting to really question my decision to R. I told him I didn't deserve the way I was treated today and told him if it happens again, we WILL be done. I have found my line in the sand. I deserve better than this. I am still waiting for his apology btw

Dare2Trust, I totally agree with you! That's why it hurt so much. He just didn't care enough to give me any thought...I often wonder why I'm still in this M

33years, I understand what you are saying but being the BS, you are hurt. I think a remorseful WS would be understanding of that. You have to do the best you can moment to moment. Good luck.

Scubachick, I'm sorry you found yourself in a similar situation. I think in my case, my H was too busy playing the victim to think about making it up to me in any way. He would just mention how bad he felt about not getting me hoo!

I think he's expecting to be the same old selfish, inattentive, lazy H he was pre A and that everything will just go back to "normal". I have told him I won't stay married to the man he was before. I have told him that he needs to step up and make some changes or I'm out of here. He made some changes and things were going great but I am starting to realize that he just does not have the sustainability to maintain those changes unfortunately. If this latest argument doesn't motivate him to make changes then I can't see us lasting much longer.

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