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Help with birthday card and gift for WW 4 weeks into R?

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PBST2 posted 7/30/2014 06:39 AM

WW's birthday is coming up in about a week. It will be ~4 weeks into R and 7 weeks post D-day 1. My feelings on how R is going change from day-to-day. Some days I feel it is hopeless that WW will ever be able to make me happy again, while other days we have been closer than ever and I imagine a greatly improved marriage will come of this.

A couple of days ago I stopped on my way home from work to get a birthday card for WW. I read through all the "For Wife" cards at the store, and I couldn't find a single one that I felt was appropriate. I don't feel like expressing to my wife at this point that she's wonderful, my soul mate, my true love, that I'm so lucky to have her, that she's the glue that keeps our family together. Most of these just made me roll my eyes, so I left the store without a card.

At this point I'm wondering if I should just get a blank card and write my own message, or maybe just a card that says "I love you". I'm wondering if anyone else has struggled with this, and what you ended up doing.

I'm also struggling with gift ideas. We usually don't buy each other expensive gifts for our birthdays. Sometimes I'll just buy a flower arrangement. I'd like to get something that signifies renewed hope for our marriage, but nothing extravagant.

BrokenButTrying posted 7/30/2014 06:49 AM

A blank card to write your own message is a good idea. Use your words, not Hallmark's.

As for gifts; if you have a garden with the space you could buy a sapling or a plant to put outside that signifies your new relationship and your continued growth together. Won't break the bank and quite meaningful.

If you're not in that place right now, flowers and chocolates will be fine too. I'm sure she will be appreciative of whatever gift you give her because she will have in mind that R is the biggest gift of all.

Ascendant posted 7/30/2014 07:07 AM

Also, at this point along in the process-

-which is to say, very, very early-

-don't feel too obligated to do anything that doesn't feel authentic for your feelings at this point.

If the idea of of this:

I don't feel like expressing to my wife at this point that she's wonderful, my soul mate, my true love, that I'm so lucky to have her, that she's the glue that keeps our family together. Most of these just made me roll my eyes, so I left the store without a card. making you choke on your lunch, then you don't HAVE to do anything, man. The last thing I'd worry about in your shoes is disappointing her in any way.

gettingbyjj posted 7/30/2014 07:28 AM

I'm on board with the blank card and personal note.

I'm in about the same situation. Both our anniversary and WW's birthday are in the next week. We are about 3 weeks into R and 1 month since DDay.

So for the anniversary, I am getting a blank card and have already drafted a personal note. Supportive, in the spirit of R, but not mushy Hallmark. I asked her for at least the same. If she wants to get me an actual gift, that's fine but not expected.

As for the birthday, just a card. No gift. No note, and I don't plan on spending a lot of effort to find the 'right' one. Considering she nearly forgot my birthday, which was a few weeks before DDay, I'm not in any particular mood to recognize hers.

hopeful325 posted 7/30/2014 07:36 AM

I was in the same boat. WH husbands birthday was about 6 weeks after DDay and we were sort of in a semi trail separation by his choice but with my support(he had our camper at the campground but was still at the house on the nights I worked late to care for kids) I didn't buy anything but did cook him a nice dinner. I think a blank card is a great idea, and as someone else suggested planting a plant.

Ascendant posted 7/30/2014 07:38 AM

PBST2, gettingbyjj-

I'd like to invite you both to the Menz Thread, located here:

Lots of great guys there from a variety of different backgrounds. Great advice. Cold beer. Dogs.

And poetry.

[This message edited by Ascendant at 7:38 AM, July 30th (Wednesday)]

forkinthehead posted 7/30/2014 09:41 AM

I understand. I have been in the same predicament. Go with a blank card and write your own message. I almost went with a sympathy card, I wasn't feeling much at the ti e. Not a nice thing to admit to feeling. There are times I actually look forward to the my brain a rest from the bologna.

william posted 7/30/2014 09:45 AM

My wife's b-day was 6 weeks after d-day. My present to her is that I'm still here, still trying, still in a relationship with her. That's the most meaningful thing I can give her. I won't get her anything in the anniversary either.

LivinginLimbo posted 7/30/2014 10:02 AM

For quite some time, I had to wear sunglasses when card shopping to hide the tears welling up. It's still difficult what with all the sappy sentiments about the "wonderful years we've shared."

Hallmark does have a line of cards that touch upon delicate situations. (I can't remember the section that they're in.) Other than that, I'd go with a blank card.

Sometimes we put way too much pressure on ourselves. If you feel forced to do this because it's what you always did, realize that the circumstances have changed dramatically and give yourself a pass this time.

10yearsafter posted 7/30/2014 10:43 AM

My FWW B-day was about 6 weeks after DDAY.

I went to Victoria Secret and bought her all new panties and made her throw all her others away. I could not stand the thought that she wore them while with OM.

I did not give her a card.

kate0421 posted 7/30/2014 13:49 PM

Wow, it's crazy how after the pain WS cause we still have it in our hearts to do something and GIVE something to them. My WS birthday was months after dday. I like you, was contemplating on what to get him. I was always so into birthdays and holidays I would plan in advance... i also looked at cards and was getting triggered all over the place.
In the end I didn't get him a damn thing. I let the kids make him a story out of chocolate bars on a poster and that was it. I think he was a little suprised but never said a word about it. His gift was me being here willing to give him a chance at R.
Don't feel bad or obligated to give her anything. Also, a suggestion would be to get her a blank card and write what you would like. Sit on it, and if you dont feel like giving it to her once her birthday is here, then don't (burn it, tear it up, shred it or run in over a million times with your car)

champ posted 7/30/2014 14:39 PM

Picking out cards for any occasion now sucks

champ posted 7/30/2014 14:39 PM

Picking out cards for any occasion now sucks

sisoon posted 7/30/2014 17:09 PM

My W committed to R on d-day, no TT, no backsliding. Her birthday was 17 days after that.

I did what I usually did (and still do) for cards - blank card that she bought with a printout of some apt quotes on colored paper. For example (for the 1st post-d-day Valentine's Day):

There is no happiness in love, except at the end of an English novel. (ANTHONY TROLLOPE, Barchester Towers)

Her gift was a couple of Chap-Stiks, because she used them all the time. We went out to eat only because our son and his family were visiting.

If you want to give your W a bigger than normal gift now, look closely at yourself for 'co-dependency' - a problem that needs to be solved as you R. IMO, there's no way a self-respecting human being who recognizes his own autonomy wants to give a nice gift to the person who just devastated him/her.

You can't win her back - she has to come back on her own, because she wants to.

If R works for you, the honest desire to give gifts to each other will come back. Wait for that. Be patient.

[This message edited by sisoon at 5:12 PM, July 30th (Wednesday)]

Badhurt posted 7/30/2014 17:19 PM

Agree with Sisoon.

Short time ago she was in hotel banging another man and might have been doing it on this birthday also had you not stood some ground after the first Dday.

Telling her how much you adore her sends the wrong signal now and I don't know how you can really mean it . She still sees him daily.

Not out of the woods yet by a long shot and keeping her aware of that keeps you in a position of strength and dignity.

WalkinOnEggshelz posted 7/30/2014 17:26 PM

You can't win her back - she has to come back on her own, because she wants to.

Can't be said any better than that. I'm a FWW, and my BH has had a heck of a time with cards over the years so I can empathize with your situation. But as a FWW, I am going to let you know it's ok to give her nothing. Only give her what you authentically feel is appropriate. Do not give more than that. If she is truly remorseful and empathetic to your pain, she will expect nothing from you. Anything you may offer should be accepted by her with gratitude and compassion.

You have already given her the biggest gift of all. You are giving her the gift of R.

Lyonesse posted 7/30/2014 17:26 PM

WH's Bday was about 4 wks after D-day. I got a blank card and wrote Happy Birthday. And I took him to dinner at a mid-priced restaurant that I wanted to try. I thought that was pretty magnanimous of me to even be there.

I went to Victoria Secret and bought her all new panties and made her throw all her others away.
I loved this idea, though!

gottabeabiggirl posted 7/30/2014 18:02 PM

My WH's birthday was ~6 weeks after DDay. It was so hard trying to find anything to do for him. He felt so guilty he didn't really want anything anyway.

Normally I make cards for him. This year I couldn't bring myself to make him a card. I also used to make him breakfast and send him to work with it every day and most days he got a lovey note in there. Can't do that anymore either. If I did it might read some pretty negative things most days.

I got him a present, one I made him pick out. I didn't have the strength to go for a surprise and risk him not liking it and feeling more rejection. No card. I took him out to a strip club and we got a nice dinner.

What I did do that actually required effort was throw him a party. He normally hates them but obviously needed to see some of the local friends we have, hes not close to any of them. I knew it was good for both of us to have friends around. It was expensive and a hassle but he thanked me for it for days after. It showed him I cared without me having to get too personal.

Can you book a night at a hotel to spend some quality time together? Maybe no gift, just time to show her you are wanting to rebuild? I wish I had done that instead.

TheWorstCase posted 7/30/2014 18:50 PM


I'm sorry that you are going through this, and feeling that even small tasks are loaded with complications. My BH too has a hard time making very simple decisions now, but things are better than they were a couple months ago for us (after tons of seriously hard work), so maybe you can take that as a sign of hope for you and your WW.

I like the idea of a plant or something that reminds you that this is a long but rewarding process and that life is beautiful. Could also be a Journal, or just the card.

Birthdays are such a touchy subject for us. Our D-Day was just a couple days before my birthday, and we didn't celebrate it. In fact, my birthday was the day my Mom flew in and I told her about all of my lies and affairs. A couple days later, my Mom, BH, and I went to dinner and I thanked them because it felt good to do something normal-ish. I somehow made them laugh, and then I'm pretty sure they both cried in the restaurant. Release of tension and all that. I wasn't surprised that I didn't get a card or a present. I didn't feel that I deserved any of that.

On the flip side - in terms of how I as a WW handled HIS birthday - I historically had been awful about getting my BH birthday gifts that were meaningful. I even had trouble remembering the date for the first couple years of our relationship. What a POS, seriously. I hate the old me. I want to smack her around. This year, about 2 months after D-Day, I got him 3 gifts that, to me, said "I want to make this work, I want to do things together". I also made him his favorite cake. He was in no mood to celebrate, and didn't even want to open his gifts. I felt so bad, and kept asking him if it was time for him to open them. It was my selfish way of saying "I want you to feel better so I can feel better too, even though you feel terrible right now, I want this awful feeling to go away". Finally he relented. When I brought him his cake with the candles lit, he just broke down crying and had to wave out the flames with his hand. Then he went in his room and shut me out for awhile. It was such a devastating thing to witness. Now that it has been some time, I can say that he did appreciate the gestures but was in no place to really tell me or act happy. I needed to accept that he wasn't in a place to celebrate being alive. He didn't want gifts, he wanted the whole day to pass by with no recognition. I dont know...maybe I should have let the day go by, and let him open the gifts when he was ready on his own.

All that being said, I think homemade cards are better (in general, not just for your predicament right now), but I like the creative process of designing them, so if that isn't your thing, don't worry about it too much. Sorry that was really long and rambly and mostly about my story!

BrokenBrunette posted 7/31/2014 14:51 PM

My WH's birthday was last Sunday about 3 weeks in from Dday. I had ordered his gift before Dday, so I already had the gift, but finding a card was harder.

We are in the middle of R, but its still touch and go for me as far as my feelings. I might be fine one moment and the other, not so much. I ended up finding a card that was somewhat generic and instead of writing a sappy message like I always do, I just signed my name.

We didn't do anything special - ironically he was feeling pretty pukey that day, so I ended up being able to do what I wanted while he laid on the couch.

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