I Feel

by Be Heard on February 18, 2013

in Sex & Relationships

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Broken Red HeartI feel sad that he didn’t bother to do anything special for me for Valentine’s Day.

I feel mad that he didn’t listen to me last week when I said I liked holidays like Valentine’s Day and that even though he didn’t like little surprises, I did. That he didn’t listen to me three days ago when I said I liked to make days like Valentine’s Day special to break up the monotony of everyday life.

I’m disappointed that he considers me choosing dinner, paying for dinner, picking up dinner and following the re-heat instructions that go with dinner, counting as “doing something” for Valentine’s Day.

I’m resentful that I ended up spending Valentine’s Day pouting because my boyfriend didn’t bother to put any effort in. He does so many caring, helpful, amazing things everyday and I never question his love for me, but on days like Valentine’s Day or my Birthday, I’d like a little something extra special.

I’m guilt-ridden because when I spoke up about why I was pouting, I upset him. I made him think he was a bad boyfriend (he’s really not). I made him feel like a failure, like I think he doesn’t care about me. Like he ruined Valentine’s Day.

And now, the morning after, I’m conflicted and still upset. Upset because I couldn’t just be sad, mad and disappointed. I couldn’t just feel what I wanted to feel because it affects the way he feels. And the last thing I want to do is make him feel bad.

How do I own my feelings without ending up feeling like a jerk for upsetting someone else? I used to think it was okay to feel what I wanted to feel regardless of how it affected others – it was their job to own their feelings and my job to own mine, but that was before I fell in love. Now, I just can’t figure out what’s more important, my feelings or his. I can’t seem to find the right balance.

See, feelings are HARD.

dee February 18, 2013 at 9:47 am

Glad to know that I am not the only one who feel in love and became more cncerned about how others feel. If youre in the market for advice, I encourage you to share how you feel about hurting your boyfriend’s feelings and how you didnt mean to do it. Figuring out how to make valentines and birthdays take special skills which are built when we habe the courage to own how we feel but also seek help from loved ones when how we feel/how we tell others how we feel makes them hurt. Believe it or not your bf holds the key to helping you express yourself to him without hurting his feelings

Amanda February 18, 2013 at 6:30 pm

It’s a good thing that you shared your feelings with him, before and after Valentine’s Day. It sounds like you were honest and up front with him. Would he rather you lie to him? Actually, you seem to be very considerate of his feelings…is he considerate of yours? With that being said, now that you’ve expressed your feelings, I say let it go and move on. No need for you to continue carrying the stress…it’ll just eat at you. He sounds like a guy who just isn’t into doing small thoughtful things for others, unfortunately. Also, maybe focus on yourself if he doesn’t want your attention…instead of expecting a b-day gift from him, treat yourself to a spa day…have a girl’s night out…go shopping! Take that energy you would’ve otherwise, well, wasted on him and make it work for you, girlfriend!!

Amanda February 18, 2013 at 6:51 pm

I think it was good that you shared how you felt with him. Would he rather you lie to him? You seem very considerate of hurting or not hurting his feelings, but I’m not seeing where he’s equally as considerate to you. With that being said, now that you’ve got your disappointment off your chest, I say let it go and move on. There’s no sense in hanging onto that stress; it’ll eat you up. It sounds like he’s just not into doing sweet little things for others or even picking up your hints. An idea? Take the energy from doing little loving things for him and direct it toward yourself…on your next b-day, treat yourself to a spa day, go shopping, have a girl’s night out! Just try to be happy…good luck. :)

Amanda February 18, 2013 at 6:52 pm

never mind this one! I didn’t think my first comment posted (computer froze up).

Erin February 19, 2013 at 11:20 am

I may get slammed for this, but he should feel bad that he didn’t do anything to make your Valentine’s Day special. You told him in advance that you wanted V-Day to be special, and he didn’t do anything about it; you made your expectations clear to him, and he failed to live up to expectations. And really, doing something special on V-Day? It’s not like you’re setting an impossibly high bar.

And so you’re upset. You have a right to be upset! Please don’t demean your own feelings b/c you think they make him feel bad. He deserves to feel bad for this. If you don’t make it clear to him that this was a big deal for you, if you don’t make it clear to him how much this hurt you, you will be setting yourself up for more disappointments down the road.

And if that happens, those disappointments down the road, how will you react? You’re already setting the pattern, the precedence: you will again suppress and demean your own feelings of hurt and disappointment so HE WON’T FEEL BAD. If you don’t express your feelings, you’re setting yourself up for a life of disappointment.

You need to tell him when he isn’t meeting your expectations, when you feel hurt and disappointed. Yes, it might “hurt his feelings,” but who says his feelings are more vaild than yours? And even if he’s a little hurt, if he’s as good a guy as you say he is, he’ll make an effort to do better next time. If he doesn’t make the effort to live up to your expectations, even after you’ve made them clear, and later, expressed your disappointment, then he’s probably not the guy for you.

And you might say, “I don’t want to lose him; if I hurt his feelings/express my expectations, I might lose him.” That’s the risk you have to take for a healthy relationship.

I said that to myself at one point. I didn’t want to lose him – the only guy who had ever told me he loved me – and for ten years I suppressed my feelings of hurt and disappointment; the disappointments kept getting bigger, and the hurt grew deeper, but I never said anything because I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. After ten years, I finally broke under the pain and pressure, and I said, “Enough is enough.”

And he couldn’t understand; he thought everything was fine. I bear some of the burden of blame for that, because I never spoke up before. But after ten years, I was speaking up. And I laid out my expectations; if he wanted to save our marriage, we needed marriage counseling. It turned out to be the last expectation of our relationship; he went to counseling with me, but made no effort whatsoever outside of that weekly appointment to fix our marriage.

I finally realized that if I stayed with him, I was never going to have the marriage that I wanted. And if I had broken that pattern ten years earlier, maybe I would have figured it out earlier, rather than wasting ten years in a relationship that wasn’t right.

Never, NEVER suppress your own feelings with the aim of “protecting” someone else. How they react to your honesty is their problem, not yours. Your first and foremost responsibility is to yourself. Take care of you first.

Erin February 19, 2013 at 11:20 am

Sorry, I totally turned this into my own private confessional. Things are still pretty raw for me.

Anne February 19, 2013 at 11:54 am

This could have been written by me a couple of years ago. I have the most wonderful, caring husband, but he just doesn’t care about things like Valentine’s Day. I think you have to figure out which means more to you- your relationship, and the things he does everyday, or having something special on certain occasions. If he means more to you, then don’t make a big deal out of it when you don’t get what you want. There are a few things that you can do that may help in the future. One thing that might help is if you don’t expect him to surprise you. For instance, this year, I told him that I didn’t need any presents or anything, but a handwritten card would mean a lot to me. The letter he wrote me was so wonderful and touching that it was better than any present could ever have been. Other times I have told him that I think it would be nice to go out for dinner, with him doing all the planning. It’s not that he doesn’t care, he just doesn’t always know what I want, and just vaguely telling him that I want to celebrate is not specific enough. But also, by letting go of my expectations for special occasions and just being thankful that I have him in my life, it makes it even more special when we do celebrate. I guess it takes compromise from both people, just like any good relationship!

Ashley February 19, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Thanks for the comments and advice. It’s greatly appreciated. Helps me realize how important it is to share my feelings, regardless of the outcome, if I’m upset, I’m upset. We ended up talking about it and he explained how he feels about Valentine’s Day/Birthdays etc. (couldn’t care less) and I explained more clearly my view (love them!), but I think Anne is right, in this situation just saying “something special” isn’t enough for him. Because those days aren’t special to him, he doesn’t get what I mean. Communicating what I actually need and not expecting him to read my mind, is the way to go. And I really can get on board with that – he is so supportive, thoughtful and caring and he does so much for me and for us every single day, and that’s what really matters. There was definitely no malicious intent or even laziness in his lack of Valentine’s Day gesture, he just didn’t understand what I meant by “make the day special”.

I think the best part of the discussion though, centered around how I can express my feelings without hurting his (thanks Dee!). His solution – sometimes I might just have to hurt his feelings and sometimes he might hurt mine, but that’s part of life and part of being in a relationship (apparently things won’t be perfect all the time!). The important part is to talk about why we were hurt so we can avoid doing it again in the future. Or in this case, be more clear about expectations to avoid the hurt in the first place. I tend to be non-confrontational, I never fight with people and I don’t like disappointing or upsetting them, but I think to make a relationship work I might need to get over that – to find that balance between the importance of his feelings and mine, I need to understand that it’s okay to fight (respectfully) and to be upset and it’s okay to feel how I feel. As cliche as it sounds, I guess communication is the key.

Wendy February 19, 2013 at 4:04 pm

I could have written this post a few years ago. My husband is slowly getting that even “made up” holidays do have meaning for me, and that I don’t want to give them up. Valentines Day was the day my (verbally abusive) mother was nice to me. The day that my dad would make sure I felt how much he loved me. Not doing anything brings up feelings of unworthiness and worthlessness for me. All I really need from my hubby is a card with a note telling me how he feels, and extra hugs. But it’s taken him 10 years to realize that by doing nothing, my depression drags me down the rabbit hole. He’s getting it now. Seeing him try helps.


Kitt February 24, 2013 at 3:26 pm

What’s important is not the holiday, what’s important is communication.

If you’d said “Valentine’s Day is important to me,” and he said “it isn’t to me” and you were able to come up with a compromise — say, July 8 is now your official “We are a neat couple” day — then he is listening to what your needs are, and you two have had communication that makes everyone happy.

But you need(ed) to find out why he would overlook a day designated (admittedly, by artificial means) to celebrate relationships and love. It might just mean he doesn’t like the enforced scramble of the day, the fight to get good restaurant seats and be creative; it might mean he’s hopelessly disorganized and thought Valentine’s Day was next week; OR it might mean he doesn’t value the relationship. This is what you need to find out now, and should have found out early on before the day happened.

My SO tells me something that’s hard to hear because women are often trained (by movies, etc.) to believe that men in love are magically super-sensitive and attuned to our wants and needs even if we don’t share them: Men do not read your mind. You want to drop 100 hints and be all subtle and think “if he loves me he’ll know what I want.” But that is not how it works. And even when you say “Valentine’s Day is important to me,” that may not be enough to get through. It is unromantic, but it is the mature way to handle a relationship: Talk with him. Understand far in advance that he has no plans for a day you feel is important or significant. Then make sure he knows in no uncertain terms that this is a potential dealbreaker for you.

If he then ignores the day, you will have your answer: Your needs are not important to him. And that says volumes about the relationship — on a lot of levels. But before that happens, communicate. It may take out some of the airy-fairy expectations Disney films have drilled into us, but they’re cartoons for a reason. They’re not real life.

hdj March 4, 2013 at 8:30 pm

Hints don’t work. If there is something specific you want, then you have to be very specific in laying out your expectations. Not that your feelings aren’t valid, but by hinting around at it you set him up to fail, which might be a part of why he’s upset.
Did you specifically say “I want to do XYZ on Valentine’s Day”. I realize it’s not romantic if you have to spell it out, but you can’t have it both ways. Either you want to do something and you make it clear what the expectations are or you drop hints and hope that he’ll pick up on them and then be disappointed that he didn’t do anything.

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