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Can I be sad and petty here for a second?


Hoot
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UPDATE IN POST #114

 

So to try to make a long story short, my marriage is not great and hasn't been for years. I finally told DH a few weeks ago that I wanted us to BOTH actively work at repairing it or I want a divorce. We both agreed to do the work and came up with specific action items. Things have been going ok. I feel like I'm the one steering the ship, but it's better than it was.

 

Fast-forward to Valentine's Day. I run around after work and buy flowers, balloons, a dinner for us that we can eat in front of the tv at home since I knew he wouldn't want to go out anywhere. What did I get? Nothing. Not one thing. Not even a generic Happy Valentine's Day text. To say that I'm frustrated and angry is an understatement. I already felt like I was the one steering this whole reconciliation ship, but now I REALLY feel like the only one who cares. And on top of it, I feel like I'm being petty for being so hurt and angry.

 

Maybe I could have specifically told him that I expected something... ANYTHING, but really if I have to tell you that I want to be remembered on Valentine's Day, then don't bother.

Edited by Hoot
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((hugs))

I get bummed a little for special says too.






This may help, but skip if you don't want to see it.





Did he do that stuff before? My dh isn't good with that stuff. Thinking ahead and being romantic is not part of his skillset. I know that, but I still get bummed. I try not to have expectations for special occasions (birthday, anniversary, holidays). I try to see the things he does in the everyday fog.

Edited by Diana P.
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I am so sorry things are rough and you are feeling sad :(

 

I'm wondering though--is Valentine's day something that your dh has made a point of celebrating in the past? If not, then I don't quite know where the expectation that he would do so this year would be coming from. My husband is not a holiday/celebration sort of guy--aside from taking me out to dinner one Valentine's day when we were dating (and then breaking up with me a week later...) I can't recall that he has ever done anything for Valentine's day. He also doesn't usually do anything for my birthday, or Christmas, or Mother's day, or our anniversary. Holidays just aren't on his radar as important relationship builders.

 

They're not super significant to me either, so I have not been bothered. If they were a big deal to me, I would probably discuss that with him including exactly what I would need to feel appreciated on those days, then provide reminders. At least, that is what I hear works from women who have a natural holiday expectation mis-fit with their spouse.

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:grouphug:   I'm sorry. It is so hard to feel like you are the only one trying.  I know.  

 

But I also agree with Diana P and Maize.  In a similar situation, my husband would have to be told explicitly that I wanted some acknowledgement of Valentine's Day, and an idea of what that would look like.  In my marriage, it would sound something like this:  "This year I want to do something for Valentine's Day.  Going out is a bad idea, but I'll plan a nice dinner and I'd like you to bring home [flowers, dessert, a movie, a box of candy, one/all of the above, whatever]."  

 

Even if you used to celebrate before things got bad, I'd expect a guy to need a refresher.   It can be hard to get back in the habit.  

 

:grouphug:

 

ETA: We are not struggling right now, but I still have to tell my husband to do something on days like this.  It is just not natural to him, and it's not because he doesn't care.  He just doesn't get it; he doesn't have any triggers to remind him of the day, etc. 

Edited by marbel
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By the way, I do not think you are being petty at all--just maybe a tad unrealistic.

 

I hope that today is a good day for you.

 

Have you considered marriage counseling at all? Dh and I have been in counseling off and on for years; it can take a few tries to find a counselor who is a good fit but a good one really can make a difference.

Edited by maize
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We have always done lunch or dinner on a weekend night close to Valentine's day. On the day of he usually sends me a "Happy Valentine's Day" or "Happy Hallmark Holiday Day" type text. In the past he has occasionally sent me flowers or those fruit bouquet things or just brought me something little... I genuinely didn't expect anything huge and I'm not upset that it wasn't anything extravagant. Something as simple as a picking up a bottle of my favorite drink on his way home or sending a simple text would have been enough to tell me that I wasn't the only one making an effort here.

 

And I'm sorry but I just don't buy the "it's not his skill set" or "it's not his nature" excuses. Why are we so quick to let guys off the hook for things so easily like that? They certainly don't forget when they're dating us. Everyone wants to know that they are appreciated. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that. And if I have to remind you to appreciate me on the biggest couples day of the year, then don't even bother because I don't want your pity gifts. I want a genuine expression of your affection no matter how big or small.

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My marriage was not the greatest for a long time.  There were many reasons for that, but one of the reasons was our different expectations.  I realized that I had XYZ expectations and when those things didn't happen, I translated it to "he doesn't care, he doesn't really love me" etc.  I had to learn to see that the way he showed love was different than my expectations of how it should be.  Quite honestly, the way we show love to our spouses can look downright boring.  Maybe it is taking out the garbage, or paying the bills, or making sure the doors are locked at night. I used to think that if it was important to me, he should catch on to that and if I had to tell him, it just wasn't special.  Special is over-rated.  

 

I try to have more realistic expectations now and I try to recognize the different ways that he shows that he cares.  Also, I want to encourage you that a marriage that seems to be on the brink of divorce can be restored.  

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Maybe he doesn't know that to you, gifts on Valentine's Day represent genuine expressions of affection.  For me and for DH, they don't represent genuine affection (rather, they represent formulaic or obligated affection).  If I wanted DH to get me things on holidays, or even note them, I'd have to say to him, "DH, holiday gifts and notes are a way that I feel loved."  We exchanged gifts for years thinking we sort of had to, but it was quite freeing when we stopped.  Perhaps he feels the same and doesn't realize you are attached to holidays.

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Bologna! It takes no skillset to think "we're working on our marriage. It is Valentine's Day. I should do something". Hugs to you, Hoot. I'd be upset too.

Edited by Moxie
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Aww, I don't want to argue with you.   But, I have to say...

 

Why are we so quick to let guys off the hook for things so easily like that? 

 

I would just as easily let a woman "off the hook" for things like that.   I know there are things my husband would like me to do, that I don't think to do for him.  I need to be reminded too, even if I'm happy to do them, and have done them before.  I just don't think about it unless it's brought to my attention.

 

:grouphug:  :grouphug:

Edited by marbel
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I am not attached to the holidays. I do not feel that I have unrealistic expectations or expect him to read my mind. We literally just had a conversation on Saturday about how I feel that I am the only one making an effort in the restoration of our marriage and that I feel like I'm the only one who is genuinely invested. We talked about what him being invested looks like. Side note - it sounds like I'm being very demanding because this is all so one-sided but that's not the case. We both had points of discussion for what is currently working vs what isn't. He agreed that he has not been showing me that he is invested even if he feels that he is. The hurt is that we had this conversation and yet he still didn't feel like it was important at all to even make the tiniest of gestures.

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I don't think it's unrealistic to expect him to give you gifts or something on Valentine's Day; I don't know your DH, but mine would not equate Valentine's Day gift giving with making a gesture toward improving our relationship, because he doesn't think gifts on official holidays like that demonstrate love.  Perhaps yours is the same?  Perhaps not.  

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Have you considered marriage counseling at all? Dh and I have been in counseling off and on for years; it can take a few tries to find a counselor who is a good fit but a good one really can make a difference.

We have discussed it but haven't acted on it yet. DH is not sold on its effectiveness and, to be honest, I am a bit wary because I've heard more people say that they found themselves worse off in the end than to when they started than actual success stories.

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Why are we so quick to let guys off the hook for things so easily like that? They certainly don't forget when they're dating us. Everyone wants to know that they are appreciated. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that. And if I have to remind you to appreciate me on the biggest couples day of the year, then don't even bother because I don't want your pity gifts. I want a genuine expression of your affection no matter how big or small.

 

 

No one is letting all men in general off the hook. Some of us have SOs who genuinely don't do this stuff and never have. It's not all that uncommon. I actually think it's something that frustrates some people in relationships. I think some people try really hard to go against their nature for these events, but then when the relationship changes it's hard to make that push. 

 

For instance my dh has a really hard time with birthdays, Christmas and anniversary. His efforts on those days would look very lame compared to artificial cultural expectation. Extra days like Valentine's Day and Mother's Day are just beyond him. His behavior is not one sided: he truly doesn't care about father's day or his own birthday, etc. So, my recognizing this just isn't how dh communicates love and appreciation is not "letting him off the hook". I choose to celebrate the little things he does regularly that help keep our lives going. I wrote about one such thing a few weeks ago--my dh cleans up vomit. He actually tells me not to do it. If it's the middle of the night and we wake to hearing a kid vomiting, he jumps from bed and does it. It took me a few years to realize this was way better than recognizing artificial holidays, but it really is for me. Another person's dh might be super quick about fixing things around the house or arranging work schedules so a partner can go to book club regularly. There are many different ways to express appreciation for a spouse or SO. Flowers  (chocolate, fruit, whatever) is not necessarily an act of appreciation. Some people do those things out of obligation, but do many other things to show appreciation. 

 

It's good to look at the things an SO does do; not at the things he doesn't do. 

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I am not attached to the holidays. I do not feel that I have unrealistic expectations or expect him to read my mind. We literally just had a conversation on Saturday about how I feel that I am the only one making an effort in the restoration of our marriage and that I feel like I'm the only one who is genuinely invested. We talked about what him being invested looks like. Side note - it sounds like I'm being very demanding because this is all so one-sided but that's not the case. We both had points of discussion for what is currently working vs what isn't. He agreed that he has not been showing me that he is invested even if he feels that he is. The hurt is that we had this conversation and yet he still didn't feel like it was important at all to even make the tiniest of gestures.

The fact that you just had this conversation and your dh expressed being on board with efforts to improve the marriage strongly suggests that the lack of Valentine's day effort was not an intentional snub. The most probable explanation in my mind is that Valentine's day gestures are not significant/important to your husband and he did not realize they were to you.

 

I doubt he intended to communicate disregard for you or your marriage.

 

I understand this is all coming in the context of other marital difficulties. The Valentines issue in and of itself though really looks to me like mis-matched expectations and crossed communication wires (failure on his part to pick up on your expectations, followed by possible mis-reading on your part of what his action/inaction communicates about his internal motivations and intents).

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It sounds like you are very wounded, and I am sorry you are so hurt. A question for you, that is meant in the gentlest way possible- do you really think you were putting the thought and effort into what you did because you were truly considering him or because you wanted to prove that you did your part? I know that sounds harsh, but it sounds like you did not put a whole lot of thought into your gift to him as well. You ran around after work last minute. Does your dh really like flowers and balloons? (most men I know don't).

 

I think that the only way a marriage can heal is if the couple stops thinking of themselves and truly starts showing love and care for the other person, without expecting anything in return. How do you think your dh would have responded if you would have said with a genuine smile, "Don't worry about it. I didn't expect anything. I just wanted to let you know how much I love you."  I have learned that the more we show true love to another the more they reciprocate. I am sure he is wounded too. And honestly he might not feel like doing much for you. Are you someone he wants to love? I have to ask myself this all the time. I am sure you were very attentive when you were dating, which made him want to be attentive. We can only change ourselves and examine our hearts. Again I know this sounds harsh, it is meant in the best possible way. I have to remind myself of these things too. Feel free to ignore me if I am way off base.

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People really do have different exlectations and interpretations of stuff.

 

My mom hated it when my dad bought her flowers. She interpreted it as trying to buy her affection or some such; actually, I never entirely understood what the issue was, I just know she disliked it.

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Did he get stuff for you for Valentine's Day before on a regular basis? If not, then he probably just forgot. I think gently letting him know that you were disappointed is okay. I'm sorry he didn't get you anything, but if he doesn't habitually do that, I wouldn't be too surprised. Disappointed? Yes. 

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We have always done lunch or dinner on a weekend night close to Valentine's day. On the day of he usually sends me a "Happy Valentine's Day" or "Happy Hallmark Holiday Day" type text. In the past he has occasionally sent me flowers or those fruit bouquet things or just brought me something little... I genuinely didn't expect anything huge and I'm not upset that it wasn't anything extravagant. Something as simple as a picking up a bottle of my favorite drink on his way home or sending a simple text would have been enough to tell me that I wasn't the only one making an effort here.

 

And I'm sorry but I just don't buy the "it's not his skill set" or "it's not his nature" excuses. Why are we so quick to let guys off the hook for things so easily like that? They certainly don't forget when they're dating us. Everyone wants to know that they are appreciated. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that. And if I have to remind you to appreciate me on the biggest couples day of the year, then don't even bother because I don't want your pity gifts. I want a genuine expression of your affection no matter how big or small.

 

As far as your second paragraph, I am pretty glad my dh lets me off the hook for that sort of thing.  I remembered this year, but only because I was in a shop and bought a card that was by the counter.  And I often forget birthdays, and our anniversary - I'm not actually sure of the date of that. 

 

really, I am not a big fan of created holidays to make money for card companies, and I would be loathe to give them much weight even if my dh was big on them.

 

I think just as many women are like that as men.

 

If this is really different than what your husband did in the past, my guess might be that he just really forgot. 

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Bologna! It takes no skillset to think "we're working on our marriage. It is Valentine's Day. I should do something". Hugs to you, Hoot. I'd be upset too.

 

Seroiusly. There are cards everywhere. It takes very little effort to grab at least a freaking card! Walmart has flowers, heck, even a gas station has flowers!!! Maybe he isn't positive she NEEDS a valentine, but it certainly wouldn't hurt if they are working on their marriage! Does he also ignore his mother on mother's day, unless she specifically tells him to get her a card or whatever? I mean, it's not like there haven't been commercials and posters and what not everywhere reminding the dude!!!

 

I may be sensitive, because my ex husband was awful about valentines day, starting with the year he gave me the free t-shirt a stripper gave him the night before. Sigh. 

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Aww, I don't want to argue with you.   But, I have to say...

 

 

I would just as easily let a woman "off the hook" for things like that.   I know there are things my husband would like me to do, that I don't think to do for him.  I need to be reminded too, even if I'm happy to do them, and have done them before.  I just don't think about it unless it's brought to my attention.

 

:grouphug:  :grouphug:

 

 

Wouldn't the huge posters, billboards, notation on every calendar in america, commercials, etc be reminder enough??? I mean, it's not like it was her birthday...it's a national holiday. I imagine you don't need a reminder for Christmas, etc?

SaveSave

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Wouldn't the huge posters, billboards, notation on every calendar in america, commercials, etc be reminder enough??? I mean, it's not like it was her birthday...it's a national holiday. I imagine you don't need a reminder for Christmas, etc?

SaveSave

 

 

Gosh. I almost worked through yesterday without realizing it was Valentine's Day. Sometimes that stuff is just background noise. Billboards, ads = background noise to me. It is especially noise when it is telling me to buy crap for a made up thing. 

 

 

ETA: those reminders are not background noise to people who put meaning into the "holiday". That's where the lack of communication in a relationship becomes problematic on these "holidays."

Edited by Diana P.
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Wouldn't the huge posters, billboards, notation on every calendar in america, commercials, etc be reminder enough??? I mean, it's not like it was her birthday...it's a national holiday. I imagine you don't need a reminder for Christmas, etc?

 

Save

 

Save

Um, not everyone buys into "big commercialized holiday that is heavily advertised so we will Buy More Stuff means I have an obligation to contribute to the corporate welfare of retail institutions".

 

I've never bought a Valentine's card or flowers or balloons for anyone in my life. That has nothing to do with how much I care about or invest in my marriage.

Edited by maize
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DH does not remember Mother's Day unless someone reminds him.

 

For him, these things are actually representations of a distant relationship.  I think he feels like the more you cling to artificially imposed occasions and holidays and formulaic expressions of love, the less likely you actually are to love the other person for real.  

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Take the quiz on this site:  http://www.5lovelanguages.com/, and have your husband take it too.  I'm almost certain at least one of your love languages is gifts - when you don't get gifts, you don't feel loved.  And I'd be willing to bet his are the opposite of yours.  Once you understand that, you can do better than the golden rule- (treat others the way you'd like to be treated), you can follow the platinum rule (treat people the way they want to be treated), and that can make all the difference.

 

The book is definitely worth a read, and it has been a bestseller for years, so I'm sure you can find it at any well-stocked library.

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. And if I have to remind you to appreciate me on the biggest couples day of the year

 

I think this is the part that maybe is causing the problem.  To YOU it's "the biggest couples day of the year".  For a lot of people, it's just a day.  I literally spent last night re-writing part of a chapter for a class I have to teach tomorrow.  Then I drank a beer and went to bed.  My dh and I are fine.  We just don't see this day as a thing. 

 

If your dh is like me and my dh, then he's going to need to be told explicitly what you want.  IMO, women set themselves up for disappointment when the want men to read their minds or anticipate their needs/desires. 

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I would love, love to give up the way we've done Christmas for the last however many years.  I loathe the pressure of it, and the packaging trash, and all the stuff.

 

I would too.  There are people I have fun finding gifts for, but there is no reason I could not get them a gift some other time, if I was moved to.

 

But I think Christmas could get along just fine if we dropped the gift aspect - it's a fairly new addition, anyway. 

 

INstead it seems like we are adding more of the same for other holidays.  People now are getting all kinds of things for Easter, Valentine's day.  And most of it is stuff that is just made to sell for the holiday.

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Wouldn't the huge posters, billboards, notation on every calendar in america, commercials, etc be reminder enough??? I mean, it's not like it was her birthday...it's a national holiday. I imagine you don't need a reminder for Christmas, etc?

SaveSave

 

Sorry, no.  I see that stuff because I'm in the stores.  My husband doesn't go to the store - he works, I don't, so I do the shopping.  The only times he goes to the store are if I forgot something or am sick, or he is shopping for my birthday or Christmas. 

 

Commercials? Have to watch TV or listen to broadcast radio for that.  

 

Calendar?  My google calendar shows nothing for V-Day.

 

Billboards?  Invisible when one drives the same route day after day.

 

So, yeah, unless I brought it up, it would be invisible to him.  Why is it so hard to accept/understand that days like this are simply not on some peoples' radar?  That to some it's a minor/unimportant thing compared to Christmas or a birthday?  The ONLY reason I have ever acknowledged Valentine's Day in our home is as education for my son, so that if/when he has a significant other, he knows that some people expect gifts and such on the day.  

 

OP, I'm sorry this is turning into an argument.  

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People really do have different exlectations and interpretations of stuff.

 

My mom hated it when my dad bought her flowers. She interpreted it as trying to buy her affection or some such; actually, I never entirely understood what the issue was, I just know she disliked it.

 

I'm kind of like this, especially in times when we are having problems.  I feel like I'm trying to be bought-off with a no-effort purchase.  But my love language is acts of service, and a purchase feels like the opposite of an act of service.

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We have always done lunch or dinner on a weekend night close to Valentine's day. On the day of he usually sends me a "Happy Valentine's Day" or "Happy Hallmark Holiday Day" type text. In the past he has occasionally sent me flowers or those fruit bouquet things or just brought me something little... I genuinely didn't expect anything huge and I'm not upset that it wasn't anything extravagant. Something as simple as a picking up a bottle of my favorite drink on his way home or sending a simple text would have been enough to tell me that I wasn't the only one making an effort here.

 

And I'm sorry but I just don't buy the "it's not his skill set" or "it's not his nature" excuses. Why are we so quick to let guys off the hook for things so easily like that? They certainly don't forget when they're dating us. Everyone wants to know that they are appreciated. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that. And if I have to remind you to appreciate me on the biggest couples day of the year, then don't even bother because I don't want your pity gifts. I want a genuine expression of your affection no matter how big or small.

 

I know that there are many people who struggle w/ holidays and gifts, however, apparently, your dh has shown that in the past he has been quite capable of rising to the occasion with dinner out, flowers, or gifts. He has past experiences to draw on. He knows you appreciate those things. He's done it before. So why now, when the two of you are supposed to be putting extra effort toward each other, does he "forget"?

 

People don't do something before and then stop because they somehow lost the capability of doing it. They stop because, for whatever reason, it is no longer important enough for them to do it. And if he deemed it important enough to do before, then for crying out loud, why not now, when his marriage is on the line!

 

So, no, I don't buy those excuses either.

 

But, while I think you're justified in being upset, and I would be pretty upset myself, I do want to say that after going to marriage counselling, I realize that my dh's brain just doesn't interpret things the way that I'd expect. I'd still be hurt, but I'd also very clearly explain why I'm hurt and see what his response is.

 

I strongly suggest marriage counselling, because it helps having someone else saying things besides just you. It helps you both define and refine your expectations of each other. And it's cheaper and less messy than divorce. And if divorce is in the future, I would want to know that I exhausted all other avenues before I subjected my kids to a divorce.

 

And honestly, for myself, going to marriage counselling was a last-ditch effort which I should have done sooner. 

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Aura, she says he *usually* texts her (sometimes sort of a not-very-romantic text) and sometimes buys flowers.

 

I don't think the difference between sending a text and not sending a text is a huge indicator of relationship commitment.  If he used to always buy a gift and flowers or a card and chocolate or something and this year did not, I'd say it was significant (though the interpretation is unclear).

 

But he didn't do that regularly in the past. In fact, it looks like it wasn't a serious holiday in the past for her DH at all.  So why would it be now?

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Oh, I didn't even remember the Valentine's exchange for my son's kindergarten class yesterday. Hadn't thought about it being Valentine's day at all until we got to school and I saw his classmates pulling bags of treats to exchange out of their backpacks. I ran to Wallmart and got him a bag of Valentine candy so he could participate in the exchange.

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But OP, I get feeling sad and petty.  I have felt the same way, not because DH neglected a holiday (presents is not my thing) but because he said some off-hand remark that hurt my feelings, or didn't have the kids clean the house before I came home from a trip, or whatever.  It is just so easy to assume the other person knows what makes you feel loved because you tend to think of those things as objective truths, instead of subjective experiences.  

 

You can be married for a long time before realizing that the other person does not think like you :)

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OK let me tell you about my Valentine's Day. 

 

I left for work at 5:30 am with a packed lunch. I volunteered to go in early without considering the day. Dh got youngest up and out the door for school (awesome!)

 

I went through the morning without thinking about V-Day, even when I wrote the date on a large white board. 

 

I took a lunch break and a coworker walked by and gave me a piece of chocolate. I thought "thank --- youngest is in high school and I don't have to get little cards to send to school with him anymore."

 

I kept working for a while and then picked up ds from school. I posted here about picking him up. So, proud of him. 

 

Then I thought "it's v-day. I should probably at least make dinner." So, from school I took ds to the grocery to pick up something. When we got home I found dh had thrown a roast in the slow cooker. So, I put the lame stuff I bought away. dh called and said ds had something to finish for the merit badge his troop is working on before the meeting last night. dh volunteered to come home early to get ds through that (absolutely totally awesome!)

 

I made some fabulous gf buttermilk biscuits to go with the slow cooker. We ate and I ran ds to scouts. 

 

Anyway, my big contribution was buttermilk biscuits. dh getting ds through some home safety checklist was actually a big deal. 

 

I checked my fitbit app more than I thought about V-day. 

 

It's just not important to some people. It really is just a day. And some people really do ignore advertising leading up to the day. 

 

 

 

 

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But OP, I get feeling sad and petty. I have felt the same way, not because DH neglected a holiday (presents is not my thing) but because he said some off-hand remark that hurt my feelings, or didn't have the kids clean the house before I came home from a trip, or whatever. It is just so easy to assume the other person knows what makes you feel loved because you tend to think of those things as objective truths, instead of subjective experiences.

 

You can be married for a long time before realizing that the other person does not think like you :)

Obviously we don't all think the same way. But, isn't that the point? To notice "oh, that isn't on my radar at all but it is important to him so I'll suck it up and do it"?

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Aura, she says he *usually* texts her (sometimes sort of a not-very-romantic text) and sometimes buys flowers.

 

I don't think the difference between sending a text and not sending a text is a huge indicator of relationship commitment.  If he used to always buy a gift and flowers or a card and chocolate or something and this year did not, I'd say it was significant (though the interpretation is unclear).

 

But he didn't do that regularly in the past. In fact, it looks like it wasn't a serious holiday in the past for her DH at all.  So why would it be now?

 

 

We have always done lunch or dinner on a weekend night close to Valentine's day. On the day of he usually sends me a "Happy Valentine's Day" or "Happy Hallmark Holiday Day" type text. In the past he has occasionally sent me flowers or those fruit bouquet things or just brought me something little... I genuinely didn't expect anything huge and I'm not upset that it wasn't anything extravagant. Something as simple as a picking up a bottle of my favorite drink on his way home or sending a simple text would have been enough to tell me that I wasn't the only one making an effort here.

 

And I'm sorry but I just don't buy the "it's not his skill set" or "it's not his nature" excuses. Why are we so quick to let guys off the hook for things so easily like that? They certainly don't forget when they're dating us. Everyone wants to know that they are appreciated. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that. And if I have to remind you to appreciate me on the biggest couples day of the year, then don't even bother because I don't want your pity gifts. I want a genuine expression of your affection no matter how big or small.

 

He has done several different things, which I take as meaning that depending on the year, it depends on what he does...not that he did nothing. It just varied on what he did do. AND, if could manage it during dating, he showed that he could do it if it was important to him.

 

I am not attached to the holidays. I do not feel that I have unrealistic expectations or expect him to read my mind. We literally just had a conversation on Saturday about how I feel that I am the only one making an effort in the restoration of our marriage and that I feel like I'm the only one who is genuinely invested. We talked about what him being invested looks like. Side note - it sounds like I'm being very demanding because this is all so one-sided but that's not the case. We both had points of discussion for what is currently working vs what isn't. He agreed that he has not been showing me that he is invested even if he feels that he is. The hurt is that we had this conversation and yet he still didn't feel like it was important at all to even make the tiniest of gestures.

 

They also talked about it, just a matter of days ago.

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Yes, but it is hard to recognize what is important to the other person if they do not verbalize it - and even then, for me, it is easy to gloss over it because it doesn't make sense to me.  For DH, he makes a conscious effort to be as minimally critical as possible, because I take it so personally.  In turn, I make an effort to destress his environment (of stressors that to me Are Not Stressors).  Both things took us at least a dozen years to really recognize as important efforts to make.    We have been happily married since we were teenagers.

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Did they talk about holidays, and valentine's specifically, or just "being invested"?  did she say, "you need to buy me something for Valentine's Day" (but it is okay if you just get something on the way home)?  

 

Because for DH, if we agreed we needed to be more "invested," he would think not that he *should* get something for Valentine's Day, but that he *shouldn't* (because it is a false, commercialized, artificial occasion, to him).  It would not occur to him that Valentine's Day equaled relationship investment, at all.

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exactly why I said this

...

But, while I think you're justified in being upset, and I would be pretty upset myself, I do want to say that after going to marriage counselling, I realize that my dh's brain just doesn't interpret things the way that I'd expect. I'd still be hurt, but I'd also very clearly explain why I'm hurt and see what his response is.

 

I strongly suggest marriage counselling, because it helps having someone else saying things besides just you. It helps you both define and refine your expectations of each other. And it's cheaper and less messy than divorce. And if divorce is in the future, I would want to know that I exhausted all other avenues before I subjected my kids to a divorce.

 

And honestly, for myself, going to marriage counselling was a last-ditch effort which I should have done sooner. 

 

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We literally do nothing for Valentine's Day. If I did, DH would look at me like I had two heads and think I was mocking him, or demonstrating some inherent falseness in our relationship, or something.

 

Literally nothing.

That is fine for you but she said they used to do small things.

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I spent last night working on a freelance project while Dh caught up on some of his shows on the DVR.  He made dinner but he does that every night.  He stopped in the store but it was for children's Benedryl and tissues since we have two sick kids here.  I haven't been out of the house in almost a week.

 

We don't really do much for any of the usual holidays - Valentines Day, our birthdays, our anniversary.  Some years we may do something (our honeymoon was a surprise Valentine's Day gift), but others we do nothing and it's probably a 50/50 if either of us gets the other a card.  Some years I'll get him one, some years he'll get me one, some years neither of us do - we don't really keep score.   When I was working in an office, he was more likely to have flowers or a plant sent for whatever occasion.  We usually go out to dinner for our anniversary but hate the holidays where it's super busy so he just cooks dinner those nights.

 

I think we usually remember to put a Happy whatever on Facebook, but neither of us did yesterday.

 

It sounds like VD wasn't a big occasion for you in the past so he may not have realized you wanted more this year.  I think counseling could help but it may take time to find the right counselor.

 

When ex and I were going to counseling, he made a couple really big gestures on holidays.  The main one I remember was for Mother's Day.  He set up a picnic at a state park, had music, chocolate covered strawberries, really elaborate.  It was soooo uncomfortable.  It wasn't appropriate for where our relationship was at that point in time, and it just highlighted how off base he was.  He was ignoring all the day-to-day stuff that was important to me but doing these big elaborate gestures that he never did before (and ultimately required less effort).  It just highlighted the disconnect.

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Hoot, I'm usually on the side of "it's just a Hallmark holiday, and some people don't notice or care about those", but in this case I'm totally on your side.

 

You are not being petty, you just had a recent conversation, and he usually puts forth at minimum, the effort of a text. Your feelings are completely justified.

 

I'm one of those people who do not notice or care about holidays most of the time, so I usually don't make a big deal out of them for myself or others. But, when DH and I were going through a rough time, trying to bebuild what was lost - that kind of stuff was more important to both of us. We both made that extra effort to celebrate every little thing because it was important.

 

:grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug:

 

I'm sorry he disappointed you. I'd like to recommend the seemingly most ironic book title in history (in my experience). I had this book, read it, and left it for DH to read if he wanted. He was "too busy with work" for a couple months, until the day I told him that the kids and I would not be returning home with him from my family's place when we visited for Christmas. He read the book in one sitting, then kept me up all night...talking about us and our marriage. It was a turning point. Seven years later, we're still going strong.

 

I don't know if it will have the same type of effect for you, but it can't hurt to try.

 

How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It

 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0767923189/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1487169131&sr=8-1&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=how+to+fix+your+marriage+without+talking+about+it&dpPl=1&dpID=51mzUJqX54L&ref=plSrch

Edited by fraidycat
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That is fine for you but she said they used to do small things.

There was "usually" a text--sometimes flippant; sometimes he bought something, and they used to do dinner out sometime around the holiday--she doesn't mention whether that was his initiative or hers.

 

This is not sounding like a holiday that has been a big deal to him in the past.

 

They talked about prioritizing their marriage, but it does not sound like Valentine's day specifically was brought up. OP's posts to me read as :she: having tied her Marriage Improvement Commitment Meter partially to Valentine's gestures; I strongly suspect that her dh had no idea his commitment was going to be judged by his holiday performance and that it never occurred to him to judge hers that way. Most likely Valentine's day was not on his radar at all as significant to his marriage.

 

Many of us here have posted about its non-significance to us and/or our spouses. Commitment to Valentine's Day celebration is far from a universal measure of marital investment.

Edited by maize
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It sounds like this is a small symptom of a much bigger problem. Those of us who do not have a problem not celebrating Valentine's Day probably have spouses that show their love and concern other ways.

We don't do anything at all for Valentine's Day except shop for half priced candy the day after, but my DH got up early on his day off last week to get the oil changed on my car just so I did not have to do it.

 

I think it is easier to dismiss the holiday stuff when couples show their love other ways.

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