My hubby doesn’t mark those special occasions
Q . My husband and I have a great relationship; he’s a good father and a good friend. But he doesn’t show appreciation of me on important occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, etc.
He never gives me a birthday present or even a card. There are no flowers on our anniversary.
I know he loves me, I love him, and our life together is otherwise happy.
How do I get through to him that I need appreciation shown at least on my birthday?
A. Since you mention no other relationship problems — if you have some, you’re handling them well — so you must know how generally lucky you both are.
So you have two relatively easy choices: Either model the behaviour you want to see.
Or tell him outright what you want/ need from him.
On his birthday, have a card waiting when he wakes up, and have the children give him homemade cards. Tell him how great it is to see his smile when he opens them.
Anniversary? Buy flowers and place them prominently. Have a special dinner at home or out, and toast the great life you have together, saying it warrants a celebration.
Hopefully, he’ll learn. If not, tell him straight up that these gestures are important to you even if not to him, and to please get on board.
He can’t deal with my grief
Q. I returned home from living overseas when my mother developed advanced cancer.
I remained with her. I’m an only child raised by a single mother, and our bond was extraordinarily close.
I spent six months with her. It exacted a significant toll on me mentally and emotionally.
My boyfriend of 18 months visited over Christmas and proposed.
I loved him dearly. We had some problems but from the start we both felt immediately connected.
Six months after my mother’s passing, I’ve managed to deal with her debts, the banks, the celebration of her life, etc. and returned overseas where I lived with my partner.
Things between us immediately fell apart. I struggled with deep grief for 18 months.
I began taking freelance contracts after five months. But he’d already begun resenting me and I felt it.
He didn’t know how to deal with my grief, never encouraged me when I wanted to talk about her, picked fights with me.
As he pulled away when I needed him the most, I felt increasingly desperate and heartbroken.
He ended things a year ago and I left and found a flat-share.
I suffered crippling panic attacks for the first seven months, now lessening in frequency.
I now need some reassurance that this relationship was meant to end. I’ve been embittered, angry and abandoned, far from healed.
What can I do to move on? I cannot imagine ever loving someone again. I’ve lined up a great job opportunity that should start soon. I lost the two people I loved in the same year. But the fact that he chose to leave me has gutted me.
A. Deep grief can be triggered again by any other loss. You’ve dealt with caregiving, death, total responsibility for the aftermath, relocation far away, and loss of job and loss of partner.
Grief counselling can still help you through your healing process.
A new job is the best focus ahead. It’ll revive a sense of your strengths and abilities.
Your ex wasn’t able to cope because your grief — and you — was unreachable. That’s what he left, not the relationship that once was.
Move on. You may want to contact him in six months, or not.