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When your partner forgets about you and the things that matter to you, it hurts like hell… especially when it’s something as important as your birthday.
You can rightfully expect your partner to understand how significant that day is, so you’re feelings – whatever they may be – are valid.
Instead of breakfast in bed, a romantic date, and a thoughtful present, you didn’t even get a “Happy birthday” from them. They treated this special day like any other day of the year, leaving you disappointed and heartbroken.
How could they do this to you?!
Yes, it’s bad, and it shouldn’t have happened, but before you scream at them, slam the door, tell them that you never want to see them again, and cry yourself to sleep, read this advice.
1. Consider whether this is the first time.
Is this the first time they have forgotten your birthday, or has it happened before?
If this is the first time, and they are an otherwise loving partner, they might have simply been occupied with other things, and they might try to make it up to you in any way they can.
After all, people sometimes aren’t even aware which day it is. I’m sure you’ve had that happen to you.
Your partner might know the exact day, hour, and minute you were born, but they might not have checked the calendar in a while so didn’t notice that that day had come around again. This is especially true if you haven’t even mentioned your birthday, let alone given them any hints that the day is coming.
If this is the first time, it might hurt the same as if it were the hundredth time, but it’s clearly not a pattern. Your partner might be willing to do anything to make things right again, and to make sure that the first time becomes the only time.
On the other hand, what if you have been together for years, and they have forgotten your birthday on numerous occasions? Do they know how much it means to you? Does it mean anything to them? Keep reading to learn what you can do.
2. Consider whether this is the only type of incident.
Whether they have forgotten your birthday once or a few times, the most important question is whether this is the only type of incident.
Have they hurt you in other ways? How do they treat you all the other days of the year? Are they a kind, loving partner who only has a problem when it comes to the important dates, or do you feel neglected and unloved throughout the year?
Think about how you feel about them forgetting your birthday. Now, think about how often they make you feel that way, regardless of this incident. If they mistreat you and hurt you regardless of which day it is, why are you with them in the first place?
On the flip side, if they only let you down on important dates such as your birthday, there might be a reason for this that’s not as bad or as obvious as you think. But more on that later.
3. Think about your relationship.
Let’s get back to the way they treat you, regardless of which date it is. Do they make you feel loved, appreciated, and special? Do they give you the attention that you need and make you a priority?
Or is this date just the culmination of all the hurt you’ve been silently putting up with for a long time before this birthday incident? Are you only upset because they forgot your birthday, or are you realizing that this person is simply not making you happy in the relationship?
Think of this special day as a separate incident for a minute, and consider how many incidents there have been during your relationship. If your partner doesn’t make you feel loved and appreciated and this was just further proof of that, you should consider making this the last time anything like this can happen.
Don’t stay in an unhappy relationship. There are people out there who would make you feel special and happy every day of the year, even if they sometimes forget something by accident.
4. Think about what was going on in their life at the time.
Speaking of accidents and valid excuses, if your partner otherwise makes you happy, what was going on during the time when your birthday was coming up, and on that date in particular?
Was their life so hectic that they struggled to even find time to eat and sleep? Have they been unaware of what day it is for a while now?
Did something bad happen, such as overwhelming family or work problems? For instance, if you know that their boss was putting tremendous pressure on them to finish a project, that they’re having mental health issues, or that a family member was diagnosed with a serious illness, these are very valid excuses.
However, simply saying “I’ve been busy,” or “I’ve been stressed out,” aren’t really excuses. They can be, but people often use them as a get out of jail free card, so you need to really consider whether their excuses are valid.
Are you familiar with their problems, and have they thoroughly explained them to you and apologized? Or did they try to fob you off with something like the aforementioned short sentences? If they truly have an excuse, they should explain it to you. If they don’t, they should be genuinely apologetic.
5. Let them know about your birthday.
Many people get so hurt that their partner forgot their birthday that they don’t even let them know about it. They just act passive-aggressive with no explanation. This is the wrong approach that sounds a lot like an unhealthy relationship. Let your partner know that it’s your birthday and that they forgot about it.
Some would advise you to just go out and celebrate it without them, without ever letting them know about it. But this is simply not a healthy way to deal with problems in a serious relationship between two mature individuals.
By all means, celebrate your birthday without your partner if you want to, but don’t do the whole passive-aggressive thing that will just lead to more resentment and make your relationship toxic.
Tell them that it’s your birthday and then celebrate it without them if you’d like. But make them realize what they forgot.
6. Let them know how it makes you feel.
If they forgot your birthday and you said nothing, they’ll have no clue how hurt you are and why. You might be tempted to give them the silent treatment and make them wonder what’s wrong, but you won’t be doing anyone any favors.
Yes, you might not wish to speak to them for a while because of the hurt you feel, but not before you express your feelings. When you bottle up your feelings, they tend to explode at a later point in time, and no one wants that.
In addition, your partner might not think that it’s such a big deal, and you need to show them that it is a big deal if you are deeply hurt.
The thing is, some people simply don’t like birthdays, including their own, and they wouldn’t really care if everyone forgot their birthday. And you might have had huge expectations that make you feel like it’s a bigger deal than it really is.
Yes, it’s very wrong that your partner forgot your birthday, but you are currently very emotional about it, and they aren’t even aware that they did something wrong and might not see it the same way you do. You have every right to be mad at them, but try to see it from their perspective, too, especially if they aren’t a big fan of birthdays to begin with.
7. See if they are apologetic.
The most important thing now is their reaction when you let them know what they did and how bad it is. Whatever their excuse may be, they should be genuinely apologetic once they find out that they’ve made a huge mistake and deeply hurt the person they love.
Even if they’ve been busy and important dates don’t mean much to them, they should care about what matters to you. People can forget important things and be forgiven for it, but only if they realize what they did, apologize for it, and make it up to you.
Even if they don’t really care about the big dates such as birthdays or anniversaries, this is not a valid excuse. It doesn’t matter how they feel, it matters how their actions make you feel.
Your partner should care about things that matter to you, even if they don’t care about them themselves. If they just say that you’re overreacting or make vague excuses to get out of it, they aren’t treating you with the respect you deserve.
The least they could do is apologize, and if they’re not even willing to do that, you should consider ending the relationship.
8. See if they will promise to make it up to you.
However, your partner will probably apologize, but saying that you’re sorry doesn’t mean much. Actions speak louder than words, and you need to remember that.
Change in behavior is the only real apology, so your partner should promise to make it up to you and make you feel special again. If they aren’t even willing to acknowledge your feelings and their mistake, you should consider finding someone who will, because those who care about you would.
Your partner ruined a very important day for you, so they should promise to make it up to you by doing everything that they should have done on your birthday.
Ideally, they will celebrate your birthday the next day. However, if this is not an option, doing something nice for you could suffice for now.
9. See if they will actually make it up to you.
Again, words don’t mean much if they aren’t followed by action. So, while your partner might be a great sweet talker and apologize and promise to make it up to you, you should see if they actually keep that promise.
They might just be trying to get you to cut them some slack and forget about the whole thing by making promises and apologizing. Doing those things is a great start, but it’s definitely not sufficient. After all, you don’t want to be with someone who breaks their promises and only feeds you empty words.
Actions, not words. Actions. Always remember that.
Your partner should do something romantic and nice for you to make up for forgetting your birthday. Taking you to dinner and a movie and calling it a celebration won’t cut it. This is not just about the date, but about your feelings, and those hurt feelings won’t go away after you have a nice meal and watch a movie about the romance you wish to have in real life.
Your partner should keep putting in the effort to make it up to you for more than just a day or two.
10. Consider how they feel about their own birthday.
The reason your partner treated your birthday like they did might be because they don’t like celebrating their own birthday. They might have had bad birthdays in the past, and now they prefer to not even notice the date when it comes.
If your partner forgets their own birthday, it might be the reason they forgot about yours. Birthdays might be a touchy subject for them, and they might not even be aware of it. If they otherwise make you happy but ruin your birthdays, it might not have anything to do with their feelings for you. It might be unresolved trauma that’s causing their behavior.
You should try talking to them about this and getting them to open up to you to let you know why they hate birthdays. Be aware that this is probably not something that you can resolve on your own, but a therapist might help your partner come to terms with their past experiences and celebrate birthdays again.
11. Consider whether the important dates are important to them.
If your partner always makes you feel loved but ruins every important date, this is similar to the previous point. They might simply not think that important dates are that important. But, more likely, they have a past trauma that they need to resolve with the help of a therapist.
Let’s not forget that what matters to you should matter to them, but they might have such repressed memories that they can’t let themselves give importance to these dates. Do they hate holidays too, for instance?
While they should definitely make up for what they did, you should try helping them become aware of the underlying issue with the help of a therapist.
12. Let them know how important it is to you.
Is your partner aware how much your birthday means to you, or have you acted like you don’t even care about it?
If you’ve been pretending that you’d be fine if you don’t even celebrate your birthday and that it isn’t important to you, your partner probably won’t understand why you’re feeling this way now.
This is why it’s important to be honest in a relationship instead of playing passive-aggressive games and pretending that you’re something you’re not. Even if you did nothing of the sort, your partner might not be aware of how much this date matters to you, so you should definitely make it perfectly clear.
13. Remind them of your birthday ahead of time.
In the end, some people unconsciously set a trap for their partners. Most people talk about their birthday when it’s coming, and this saves everyone from getting hurt. On the other hand, some purposely stay silent about their birthday to see if their partner will remember it.
But ask yourself: why are you testing your partner, and are you expecting them to fail?
Is it really important that they remember your birthday? Then why don’t you give them the heads up? Maybe you could even make plans together ahead of time. What’s so wrong with that?
You might just be unhappy with them in general, so you’re setting a trap for them to prove yourself right one more time to gain the strength to let them go.
14. See if they will remember if reminded.
If you do mention your birthday and give your partner hints, but they still forget, it’s a whole different story. If you did the silent thing instead, and waited for them to make the mistake, remind them from now on and see if they remember and celebrate it accordingly.
If they do, don’t set the stage for unnecessary drama anymore. But if they don’t, they might not care about you as much as you think.
15. See how they’ll celebrate your birthday.
Ultimately, see how your partner celebrates your birthday from now on. They should put in the effort to help you enjoy this important day.
However, more importantly, they should put in the effort to make you feel happy and special every day. So, if they truly do their best to shower you with love, you can cut them some slack about one mistake, even such a big one as forgetting your birthday.
Happy birthday! Make a decision to make yourself happy regardless of your partner because you deserve it!
Still not sure what to do when your partner forgets your birthday? If this is part of a wider pattern of mistreatment or neglect, you need to speak to someone about it because it’s not healthy. So why not chat online to one of the experienced experts from Relationship Hero who can help you figure things out. Simply click here to chat.
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