And that person is me.
As you may, or may not, know my boyfriend’s family forgot my birthday. In the grand scheme of things, no big deal…I know that. Yet, it kind of upsets me and I’ll explain why.
First, let me say that I do not want gifts or a card from them. It just seems to be a symptom of a bigger problem. That being said…here’s why it bugs me:
To start with, this isn’t the first time. It’s the fourth year in a row they’ve forgotten my birthday completely. The first year, I can understand. Boyfriend and I had just started dating so they wouldn’t know when my birthday way. When “MIL” found out, she felt terrible and sent me a belated card. Totally fine and understandable.
The next two years, completely forgotten again. I’m facebook friends with his siblings and cousins, so it was nice that they sent wishes that way, even if facebook had to tell them it was my birthday. (Totally fine. I don’t remember theirs off the top of my head either…though I have them written down.) Not his parents though.
Then this year, no one said anything. Not one of his family members. Even the ones who are on facebook 40 times a day who saw it was my birthday. Later in the day, boyfriend’s female cousin (who is the nicest member of his family) wished me a happy birthday; so I know the rest of his family saw it in their feed, even if they didn’t see the notification on their home page. His parents didn’t remember either.
as far as birthdays go…my entire family knows when Z’s is. They make sure they say something to him. My mom gets him a card, and sometimes a gift (or goes in with me for a nice gift.) They make sure to say something because he’s practically a part of the family. We’re starting our fifth year together for heaven’s sake
This year, as you know, I’ve been trying to make a better effort with his family. I make sure I don’t forget their birthdays. I went to their house and watched their dog while they went on vacation. I went to their house on Christmas despite not feeling well. I sent cards and flowers and made food for his mom after her surgery. I sent cards after their dog passed away. (I was in the hospital at the time, or I’d have gone with them.) I sent a card for when their other dog was in the hospital. I called. I even texted his mom last week to check in on her after her most recent surgery.
The response to my efforts? On Christmas, his mom didn’t even speak to me. I thought, maybe if I just tried a little harder things would improve…then his sister unfriended both Z and me (over something incredibly childish.) I had surgery too, and my grandfather died and: nothing. Now on my birthday they’ve all completely forgotten me.
For crying out loud, you’d think his mom would have at least written it down after missing it one of the three years prior. I don’t think that’s asking all that much.
I can’t lie; after my efforts, it hurt. When I tried to my boyfriend about it, he said “it’s probably because we don’t spend any time with them and you never see them.”
That angered me. You know…I know we don’t see them. That’s not my fault. Half of my week is spent in my bed. Almost my entire week, every week, is spent trapped in my home. I feel that excusing their behavior because of that is bull; and that my boyfriend excusing it is even worse and I told him so. What if we lived out of town? That would make it ‘okay’? No, it wouldn’t. In my mind, this isn’t all that different from that scenario. (Except that instead of being stuck in another town, I’m stuck in my body in my house.) He agreed.
I just feel like after trying to put in effort on my end despite being ill, I’m getting absolutely nothing back on their end. I mean, it’s not like we’ve only been together for two weeks. It’s been over four years. I’ve never been rude to them. I’ve never been anything but kind to them. I think I deserve better. I think I’ve earned better.
Something else my boyfriend said was that he hasn’t talked to his parents at all about my condition, and how sick I really am with it because he wanted to respect my privacy.(Which I appreciate because his mom had been incredibly invasive with my medical history in the past- seriously, who asks their son’s girlfriend about her bowel habits at a family function?) But, because of that, he thinks they think that I just don’t want to be around them. (not entirely wrong, but besides the point…) Part of me wants to call ‘bullshit’ on that too, seeing as his mom knows I have POTS and she’s a nurse, so she can put two and two together; but whatever.
He and I have jointly decided that he should take his parents out (breakfast or something) and tell them a little bit about what’s going on. Not the really embarrassing parts, but how sick I really am, and how hard doing simple things is for me; so that they’ll hopefully understand that I’m not simply avoiding his family. I’m hoping that this will improve the situation a little bit. (I’m also hoping he’ll remind them of all the things I’ve been going out of my way to do despite the fact that they’re making no effort at all. Hey, I can dream right?)
In the meantime, I just sent out a “Congratulations” card for boyfriend’s sister’s graduation…I’m going to keep trying. 23 months ago