I Call It Dating. You Call It Stalking.

A difficult day

This will be the first April 22nd in 11 years that I haven’t given a gift. It’s the first time in over a decade that I haven’t had flowers delivered, sometimes multiple dozens to multiple locations. Tonight I won’t be going to a nice restaurant or throwing a party.

I go overboard on birthdays. I come up with nice gifts and throw lavish parties. I love to give, and the act of giving someone a gift is, in my opinion, one of life’s greatest pleasures. And when I know someone well, there is nothing more satisfying than coming up with a gift that they love but had no idea was coming.

It is taking every ounce of willpower I have not to buy a present, a plant, or even a birthday card. All I want to do is wrap something up and drop it off. I don’t need to see her get it or watch her open it. But everyone deserves to have their birthdays acknowledged. Everyone deserves a gift. And even at this point, I still want to give . . . something.

But I know that I can’t. It sends the wrong message. It gives hope where there can be none and breaks down walls that have been erected by necessity. All I can do is say that I know this won’t be your happiest birthday, but that I hope it’s not your worst. And I wish for you to have many birthdays that are amazing and happy and filled with gifts and loved ones and parties. I wish for this with all of my heart.

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128 Replies to “A difficult day”

  1. Red Lotus Mama

    I think that post alone was a good gift.

    I totally know what you mean. I am the type of person that if I see something that is JUST PERFECT for someone I will buy it for them. After being with someone for 8 years it’s hard to not do that when I know I shouldn’t. I walk away thinking “he would have loved that”. Then I give myself a reality check and forgive myself.

    It will probably never go away. 11 years is a long time. But, it will get easier.

  2. Faiqa

    You know. This just makes the fact that you didn’t technically get ME anything for my birthday even more of a “fuck you.” Bastard. Oh, sorry, you wanted sympathy, right? Fine. I AM SO SORRY YOU DIDN’T GET ME ANYTHING FOR MY BIRTHDAY, I FEEL AWFUL FOR YOU.

  3. Mary P (Barnmaven)

    I have to disagree with those who said the post is a gift. Its not a gift. Its honest, it says what should be said. But its not a gift. I’m in the middle of my own divorce and I can tell you that words and intent mean a very great deal — but they don’t make up for the fact that someone you’ve spent the last x number of years meaning everything to is no longer the primary person you get a gift from on your birthday. Or that you can’t really give a gift to the other person on their birthday, knowing that they are hurting because you didn’t/couldn’t. I went through it on both sides (his birthday, my birthday) back in December.

    No matter who left who, no matter whether you believe there is a hope of things working out or not. That first birthday, post-split just SUCKS for both of you.

    I feel bad for you both. And I can totally empathize with how you feel. Its good you said something. You know its not enough…but you can’t do anything about that, and so it hurts. It hurts you both.

    Someday it will not hurt so much.

  4. Corey

    I feel you on this brother. Recently, on what would have been our sixth anniversary, I sent flowers. No note card, no expectations, just a small bouquet of something I knew she would like. I did this for the same reasons you pointed out, because I knew, if only for a brief moment, it would make her smile.

    However, her now boyfriend, went out of his way to smash them against a tree, take a picture of them laying on the ground, and email me the picture. Her response, “I guess he was mad.”

    The bottom line, you probably did the right thing by doing nothing. It was much more painful for me to know that my sincere gift was wasted.

    People continue to tell me that time heals, and I am sure it will, but that doesn’t mean it will be any easier for you along the way.

    Buckets of strength brother, buckets.

    • avatgardener

      @avatgardener, On the other had, it is remotely possible that she is celebrating in her own special way, and not even missing your shower of affection.
      I have hosted a birthday party Tea Party (not that kind, the one with cups and saucers and cucumber sandwiches) on my birthday for longer than you were married. My circle of friends has grown that I now have 3 parties in order to sit people at my table that seats 8 (if we skootch in).
      And way back last century, on my birthday, I took myself to the spa for a day of pampering – – hubby was at sea.

      Probably she and her friends will gather and discuss you, in not kind terms. It’s what gals do, in this situation. But you knew that.

  5. amanda

    I only know you from your blog, but you seem like a genuinely good guy. It’s very insightful of you to recognize that to do more than this would simply cause more harm than good.

    Kudos sir

  6. Grant

    I’m not going to read all the maudlin comments you’ve doubtless already gotten, so let me just say that you can buy me a gift any time you feel the need and please don’t commit suicide unless you’ve put me in your will. Also, if your gift is butt sex, I prefer peppermint flavored lube.

  7. cat

    Yeah, you’d probably hurt her more if you gave her something (false hope, etcetera), so not giving anything is the best gift you can give at this point.

    Sorry… rough day for you, too : (

  8. Stacey

    Knowing this about you makes me respect and appreciate you more. I too enjoy giving my loved one gifts that I know are meant just for them and sure to make them smile.

    I can only imagine how hard this is. For you and her.

  9. Fluffycat

    Wow, what a great entry. I know that feeling when you see something in the shop that would be just perfect for that person, and realize that not buying it is the right thing to do. Keep on truckin’, dude.

  10. Clown

    I know it’s different and difficult, and that stinks. I do think you’re doing the right thing.

    That being said, I think the idea that has been thrown around, that this post is the perfect gift, or a gift at all, is kind of ridiculous. I could have told you that in private, like normal, but… Come on.

    So says the butter police.
    Fucking bitch touching me, I should have cut her!

  11. bo

    God it freaks me out when you get all real and shit. I start looking for multi-colored horsemen descending from the heavens.

    You can console yourself with the fact that you WANT to give her a gift, and that you love her enough to know not to.

  12. Dragon

    For what it is worth, I think you did the right thing. My ex husband sent me a gift on my first birthday after we separated. It just ripped my heart out. It wasn’t his intent but it ruined my day and cast a shadow over plans my friends had made with me to celebrate it. I was a mess.

    You did the right thing.

  13. Jennifer

    I’m very sad for you, but there is nothing saying that you can’t send a card, saying this:

    “I know this won’t be your happiest birthday, but that I hope it’s not your worst. And I wish for you to have many birthdays that are amazing and happy and filled with gifts and loved ones and parties. I wish for this with all of my heart.”

    Cause thats perfect.

  14. Destiny

    “It gives hope where there can be none and breaks down walls that have been erected by necessity.”
    this line made me want to cry. I felt this exact same way on April 19th, but I’m just a girl, I broke down and said happy birthday- barely able to hold back a “I hope your day is every bit as wonderful as you are”, because I know that a comment like that would only be misleading. I don’t like to mislead people, its just hard not to care about people when you do.

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