Warning : This post is way too long and probably comes across whiney, but it made me feel better to write it out! I’m pretty much over it now, lol.
June the 10th was my one year anniversary with my boyfriend. We’ve had some rough times lately and have had especially rough times on all of the “special occasions” leading up to this one, except for his birthday last Fall, which was his, “best birthday ever.” I won’t get into what happened on Xmas, or Valentines day, or my birthday back in February, but my b-day especially was almost the end of us and was most certainly my, “worst birthday ever.” The point is, there was a lot riding on our anniversary and he was well aware of that.
I systematically reminded him that our anniversary was the 10th of June on the 10th of almost every month leading up to it, because I know he’s forgetful. I gave him a subtle countdown, just so he could set money aside or get started making me something or planning something 2 months ahead of time, then 1 month ahead of time, then two weeks, then I stopped bringing it up because I didn’t want to pester him about it. A week before our anniversary he brought it up and said that what he was planning was going to cost hundreds of dollars and would set us back a bit financially. I told him to just do or get me whatever he thought I deserved but honestly I was so excited that he was actually going to spend money on me for a gift at last! He had in the past had big plans to get me something significant, told me about it, and then just didn’t go through with it, so I stuck to the modest side for his gifts, since I do tend to go overboard. I got him a really nice sushi set since we both love sushi and eat it all of the time. I drew him a big picture of our hands pressed together which turned out really nicely. Finally I learned and rehearsed a love song for the past 3 weeks to sing to him because he’s never actually heard me sing! No, he hasn’t even googled my parody songs or anything, lol. Unfortunately instead of singing to him last night, I cried myself to sleep while he tried his best to ignore me…
Our relationship has never been easy. I have worked harder than I ever have to communicate with him, to understand him, to give him a chance to fix the ways he’s messed up, to forgive him, to trust him in spite of dishonesty, to stick with him when he’s down on his luck, to encourage him, to look after him, etc etc! I don’t think what I ask in return is unreasonable. I don’t want to be yelled at, I don’t want to be lied to, I want to have sex at least 6 times in a week, I want to be treated with respect, I don’t want to be ignored and on special occasions I want some sparkly girly shit! Or at least something!
I take gift giving really seriously. If someone is important to me, I will spend all I can to get that person something I think they would like, or I spend as many hours as I have making them something. I put a lot of thought into it and because my income is kind of crazy, I start saving months in advance. I think giving someone a physical object is not more meaningful than doing something special, but it’s meaningful in a different way. For example, if you go out for dinner for a special day, you both are enjoying being out for dinner, sure one person treats the other, but it is an experience for both of you that you both want. If you give someone a physical gift, a scrapbook of your life together, a promise ring, a personalized transformers travel mug, a nice coat, dishes, chocolates, a novelized version of your e-mails back and forth from when you were getting to know each other, a painting of the two of you together, (just a few of the things I have given my boyfriend from our special occasions thus far) it’s more selfless. It’s you giving someone something in that moment that you want them to have forever, no strings attached, no matter what happens from here on out, you want them to have that thing. The only way that type of gift giving benefits yourself is by seeing it make them happy. That’s the kind of gift giving that has been missing on his side thus far but it is something we talked to death after my birthday and valentines day so I really thought he finally understood.
It’s just seemed like so far in our relationship, he’ll pretty much do everything in his power to not spend money on a gift for me for holidays. I was really excited to finally get a token of his affection for me, even if it was just a $2 necklace like from Christmas. I really was over wanting something expensive, I just wanted something thoughtful that cost him something.
I didn’t get it…
It’s going to be hard to explain how our anniversary went, so I’ll just start from the beginning and go through it chronologically. The evening before our anniversary, he told me we were going away for two nights, so to pack a bag because we were leaving in a couple of hours. I’m not great with being away from home, I over-plan, over-pack and over-think, but I made myself chill out and even though I had no idea where we were going or what we were doing, I packed my bags and was ready for our “anniversary adventure.” That night we drove out to an observatory and spent 2 and a half hours looking at different planets and stars through a telescope with just two other people. My boyfriend had thought of it last minute and set it up and had made plans for us to stay at my mom’s place afterward so that we wouldn’t have to drive the hour back home. It was really neat and an educational experience for sure but I am very shy and being in close quarters with two people I didn’t know for so long was really stressful! I toughed it out though and even used an outhouse in the pitch dark by myself while they were all still inside with the telescope! It was great but it was an experience for both of us. I think he was more excited and had more fun than I did and it didn’t cost him anything, so it didn’t quite meet my selfless gift that costs something expectation yet, but it was fun and it was still early on!
After stargazing we headed to my mom’s town and I bought us pizza. Then afterward I suggested going to the graveyard! I’m not actually a crazy person, it just so happened that the graveyard was where I told him I’d be his girlfriend and it’d been on that night exactly a year ago! I really love graveyards and scary stuff and I just thought it’d be really cool to go back and we could make it like an anniversary tradition or something. He said he was tired and that we had a big day planned for tomorrow though. I was disappointed and he could tell. He said if I really really wanted to go, that he would, but I didn’t want him to be tired the next day for whatever he had planned so I said it was fine and we went to my mom’s around midnight where we watched a movie and then fell asleep.
The next morning we slept until almost noon, so obviously we could have gone to the damn graveyard after all. We ate my mom’s food for breakfast (rice krispies and berries) and then loaded up the car and headed out. On my way out the door since my mom and step-dad apparently knew what we were doing that day, I said something along the lines of, “Oh I just hope we aren’t going to his friend’s parents place. They have these rustic cottage things and that is just so not me! He knows that though!” They hid their reactions to my statement well, because it wasn’t until we were headed in that direction that I realized that’s exactly where we were going.
I’ve spent the last three years doing my best to come out of my shell. I have gone from an agoraphobic gamer spending all of her time in Azeroth to someone who actually has a non-virtual life and says yes to stuff like a trip to Florida for 3 weeks, holding a snake, going on roller coasters, seeing new places, whatever! I am still on the girly side though. I like to be clean, I like to be comfortable, I have never peed outside, I tried camping last year and it was okay, but there were washrooms and showers and stuff. I went to a cabin last year too and it was a rather unpleasant experience. My boyfriend knows all that and he’d actually brought up the whole “rustic cabin” thing before and I’d said “Oh cool, but that’s definitely not for me!” When I found out that’s where we were staying, I couldn’t help but be a little disappointed. He’d said he was spending hundreds of dollars and this was basically his second family’s place. I knew they wouldn’t be charging him to stay! I swallowed my disappointment though, didn’t say word and we continued on to our next activity.
Our next stop was the Bruce Caves. We’d never talked about going, but he knows I love hiking and it was only a short distance from the cabin. I got changed in another outhouse type thing since I was wearing a floor-length dress and heels and then off into the woods we went. The caves were cool and just like how I remembered them from when I visited as a kid. I was starving though since it was now after 3pm and all I’d had that day was my bowl of cereal from mom’s. He mentioned that he should have thought to bring snacks, but I didn’t complain and did my best to enjoy the scenery despite my hunger and lingering disappointment.
After the caves we hiked back to the car and he asked me what I’d like to do for dinner. I’d never been anywhere in that area and was covered in mud from climbing all over the rocks though. I was really disappointed that he hadn’t made dinner plans since I was guessing that was the big ticket thing on the agenda since so far our excursions had all been free. I got a plain bagel with herb and garlic cream cheese from Tim Hortons for my anniversary dinner.
And that was the extent of what he had planned. I sat quietly for a few minutes as I ate my bagel, trying not to cry. I’d packed my new expensive dress I’d gotten just to wear out for our anniversary and here I was in muddy yoga pants looking at seagulls while I ate a bagel. I rallied myself and decided to make the best of the rest of the evening. We drove by a place called Spirit Rock Conservation area and I remembered my mom mentioning it being a cool place, so even though I was definitely hiked-out by that point, we did another 3 hour trek around through the woods and looked at ruins and the lookout over the water and a scary metal winding staircase down the escarpment. After that we headed back to the cabin.
At the cabin we built a fire and barbecued some pork burgers. I whacked my head multiple times on the door frame and he got me some ice but I kept my happy face on. We ate and then I gave him the sketch of our hands and the sushi set. He didn’t give me anything. A little later by the fire I asked him if he’d gotten me anything, just so I could stop wondering if he was going to surprise me with something. He said that no, he hadn’t and that today’s experiences and the observatory last night had been my gifts. Again I did my best to hide my disappointment. Really, I’d been expecting as much as soon as I figured out where we were going. It made me sad that he hadn’t thought I was worth spending any money on (other than the gas to drive around, the bagel and a bag of chips), but I told myself that at least he’d taken the day off work and was spending time with me at a campfire. Then he fell asleep in his chair by the fire around 11:30pm. I know we’d done a lot of hiking and it was cozy by the fire, but after everything and all my disappointments of the day, ending my anniversary by sitting at a campfire basically alone in the woods just overwhelmed me and I cried for a bit while he slept. He woke up around 12:45 and said he wanted to go in and watch a movie on his tablet (since there was no electricity). He put on one we’d already seen because he wanted us to laugh at it together again, but I was too down to get into it and I had to pee, which meant more out-house time. I was very sick of outhouses, I wanted to have a shower because I was filthy from hiking and I didn’t really feel like just watching a movie. When he finally suggested sex around 2:30am, I just burst into tears!
I explained that I was just uncomfortable and that I’m not a “roughing it” kind of girl. He said we’d, “never do it again” and that I should just try to calm down. The outhouse was full of spiders, I wanted to have a shower and I was bored. He’d started to nod off watching the movie and said he had a headache and was tired so I told him he could just go to sleep and that I’d try to keep my crying volume on low. He fell asleep and I cried into my pillow until about 4am when I passed out. I woke up to him snoring at 7am and packed up our stuff. He woke up at 8am, helped me finish packing, we loaded the car and headed home. He got me a muffin at Tim Horton’s for breakfast, helped me unload the car at home, then went into work even though he’d said he didn’t have to be in until later that afternoon. Then he didn’t text me back for an hour when I asked why he’d gone in.
Despite being kind of heartbroken, I tried to look at the positives of the day. We did have fun together when we were hiking and it was cool to learn about the stars and look through a telescope after all. I was down though and he can pick up on that. I didn’t want to hurt him by telling him what he’d done for me had left me feeling really sad. I just wished he’d done something he knew I’d like if he wasn’t going to spend any money, instead of planning something that he should have known that I wouldn’t be into. It made me feel like he still doesn’t know me at all and it bothers me that he’s never bought me anything that cost him more than like $15. Even though I just felt like crying in bed I went for a walk with him tonight, made him dinner and then watched some shows and a movie. We recently talked about how when he makes me sad and I stop doing stuff around the house for a couple days, that throws him off more and then he just does worse stuff. His solution was for me to just try to keep doing stuff around the house even though I’m sad. That’s what I was trying to do but around 2:45am he’d finally bothered me enough about what was wrong with me and why I was acting so distant and that it was effecting him that I told him how I felt. Of course we then fought until 5am, he fell asleep, I was too upset to sleep and nothing got resolved.
Basically I was saying lets just forget about special occasions. Then I won’t be disappointed and he had said that he’s happy getting nothing at all. He told me how he was brought up to believe that giving someone any kind of gift was good enough, no matter what it was. I understood that but disagreed and explained my view on gift giving as well, but he didn’t get it…
I’m left not really knowing what to do. I tried to just go with it and not be too sad and even once I got sad to not take it out on him because he had at least made an effort, but we still just end up fighting and I end up not being able to sleep. All these upsets and issues are starting to take a toll on me. I don’t want to do my artsy stuff when I’m down and I can’t do it when I’m upset from us fighting and not being unable to communicate. I had plans of things I wanted to work on today to bring myself out of this funk for our weekend with the kids, but it’s already 8am so instead I am just going to spend the day sleeping. I feel like nothing I do is really appreciated but I am sure he feels that way too. The first year is supposed to be the easy one, but it’s mostly been a uphill battle. I’m so sick of the sadness and the hours and hours of fighting. Maybe I’m being a b*tch not just being grateful that he did something, but I can’t help it.
I’ve made so many compromises and lowered so many of my expectations that I really just cannot try anymore. I told him that and he went to sleep…