Thinking About Divorce

Dear Sara,

I know this isn’t about parenting but it may eventually affect my kids if I get a divorce. I am angry and hurt and depressed. I wanted to have a romantic evening on my birthday. I sent my kids to their grandparent’s house and had dinner with all of my husband’s favorite foods. He took off and went to his buddy’s house to watch a ball game. I hadn’t told him my plans and I guess he didn’t think about my birthday. I ate dinner about 8:00 PM and he came home around 10:00 PM. I just went to bed without saying anything. He didn’t have a clue why I was upset. I don’t know how to handle this lack of caring. Any suggestions?
-Jo Anna




Dear JoAnna,

It sounds like you have a communication problem. Your husband doesn’t have a clue how much a romantic evening means to you. If he didn’t grow up in an atmosphere where men were romantic, he may be unaware or uncomfortable. It’s up to you to very clear to your husband what your expectations are. Don’t leave it up to him to guess. He needs education in how to be romantic. If you expect a romantic evening and a gift it won’t be quite as romantic but tell him what you want preferably a week ahead of time. Don’t expect him to read your mind. If you want something special for Christmas, Easter or birthday be very clear with him. Your kids need to grow up seeing a father who cares about their mother. It gives your kids a sense of security to know their parents love each other.
Sara

Comments

  1. Sara offers good advice. Before reading it, my own thought was that Jo Anna needs a divorce, and, as a man who has found himself in a similar position to her husband, I offer my reasoning. Perhaps her husband shares some of my perspective.

    The first question to consider is: is Jo Anna’s husband a generally good and faithful husband, a good father, does he do an honest day’s work and supports his family? Does he come back home at night every night? Is he reliable, honest, gentle, respectful and does he keep his word? If he isn’t, she clearly should not be married to him.

    But if he is, Jo Anna needs to divorce him because he deserves someone better than her who can appreciate him and those of his qualities that matter. Is Jo Anna a five year old child? Most adults stop making a big fuss about birthdays or even outright stop celebrating them once we reach an age where adding another year to our age is not something to celebrate, because it just reminds us we’re one year closer to the end of our lives. What is a birthday? It’s just a day an integral number of years away from the day you were born. A very important landmark for children, who are growing up and want to be ever bigger and more adult, to celebrate. Your husband, if he works, probably has to deal with a thousand stressful things every day at work. If he is like most men, you don’t know the half of it because he leaves the stress back at the office. You don’t know what kind of day he had that day or what sort of stress he was under on that day, and in the preceding weeks. My bet is that he simply forgot about your birthday, because he had other things on his mind stressing him, and had arranged (perhaps in advance, before he knew about your dinner preparations) to go over to his buddy’s house to do something relaxing and de-stress. After all, he was away only for 2 hours – that doesn’t sound very long to spend with one’s buddies, so perhaps he came home earlier than planned in order to be with you. The clue is in the fact that he didn’t have a clue as to why you were upset. Did you tell him – you know, like an adult? Or did you just sulk and pout like a neurotic spoiled child and left him keeping guessing and feeling rejected and confused? For me, and for most of my adult friends, at least those of them who are grown up not just judging by the number of years they’ve been around, but also by the way they behave, a birthday is not a big deal. If someone wishes me a happy birthday, I think it’s nice and say thank you, if they don’t, I don’t even notice. I usually try to say happy birthday to those close to me, preferably on the day itself or belatedly not too many days later. I’ve given up expecting or giving presents, or having a birthday party, many years ago, probably some time in my 20s or 30s. If celebrating your birthday is important to you, it’s something you need to tell your husband explicitly; be sure to tell him you like to receive a teddy bear or a play doll as a present too, if that’s what you expect. But if you have a good husband and are such a princess that you consider divorcing him because he forgets your birthday, then that – divorcing him – is exactly what you should be doing because your husband deserves to be with someone who can appreciate him for those of his qualities which are important.

  2. Even before we were married, my husband-to-be said, “I am terrible with dates. I don’t want to hurt you (or me by hurting you). A couple of weeks before your birthday and our anniversary (and any other important date) you had better start reminding me. I did and have fo forty-eight years. it has kept both of us happy. JoAnna is right that he doesn’t have a clue. She has to give him clues. After she has cooled off, maybe she can suggest that she will start reminding him of important dates, and ask him to remind her of any dates that are important to him so they don’t make this mistake again.

  3. Even before we were married, my husband-to-be said, “I am terrible with dates. I don’t want to hurt you (or me by hurting you). A couple of weeks before your birthday and our anniversary (and any other important date) you had better start reminding me.” I did and have fo forty-eight years. it has kept both of us happy. JoAnna is right that he doesn’t have a clue. She has to give him clues. After she has cooled off, maybe she can suggest that she will start reminding him of important dates, and ask him to remind her of any dates that are important to him so they don’t make this mistake again.

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