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'My BF did not celebrate my birthday this year. His birthday is coming up. What do I do?' UPDATED 4X

'My BF did not celebrate my birthday this year. His birthday is coming up. What do I do?' UPDATED 4X


Every relationship reaches its tipping point, even if it's too late.

In a popular post on the Relationship Advice subreddit, a woman shared the saga of her birthday and her less-than-supportive boyfriend. She wrote:

"My BF (32M) did not celebrate my (33F) birthday this year + no gift/gestures. His birthday is coming up. What do I do?"

BF (32M) and I (33F) got into a big argument a few days before my birthday (about a month ago) and he did not do anything to celebrate my birthday. It's been a month since my birthday and while the argument was resolved, he did not offer to do anything to celebrate my birthday, or get me a present during this time.

His birthday is coming up this weekend and I always go above and beyond for his birthdays each year. Given he did not celebrate mine, how should I approach this?

TL;DR: BF did not celebrate my birthday, and his birthday is coming up. What do I do?

People had a lot of thoughts about the situation.

saltychica wrote:

I looked at your post history. This selfish AH doesn’t give af. Sounds like he’s picking fights timed conveniently to avoid buying you anything & then making up in time to cash in. Don’t spent any more time or money on this creep. Lose 200 lb of dead weight & be so much happier & more peaceful. You’re worth so much more than what you’re settling for.

OP responded:

I've always given him the benefit of the doubt and, perhaps, too many chances to make things better after he's hurt me again and again. He usually blames me for starting arguments because I bring things up that he may say or do that bother me, and I approach him for a discussion.

For example, he'll yell at me and I will ask him not to. His response will be "you made me get to this point, and now you're asking me to be respectful?" He'll usually then follow up with an apology later.

Along the same vein, the argument before my birthday was around why I brought up a conversation we were supposed to have about a lie he had told me that he does not want to address. I type this all out, I realize how stupid I am being by having stayed.

I asked him today, after I made this post, about why I'm not a priority to him and I did, as some suggest, bring up my birthday. I asked him why things that are important in my life are not important to him...and unfortunately he was pin drop silent. The wonderful community here has reminded me that I do deserve more.

Hoyomojo wrote:

I would buy him a "Congratulations!" card, and inside write, "You're single!"

Marxam0d wrote:

Have you talked about him missing your birthday and how that made you feel?

OP responded:

I did! He missed it last year too, and he never tried to make up for it. I feel weird asking and asking. I don't ask for extravagant things and we're both working professionals (although I'm a grad student), but I feel like birthdays are those one events you should care about...without having it explained to you. I'm not sure how else to explain to him.

Aussiealterego wrote:

"I'm not sure how else to explain to him."

Oh, he understands - he just doesn't care. As long as his needs are met in the relationship, it doesn't matter to him how you feel. The best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour. Here you are, wringing your hands because you think that if you just explained it differently, if you just found the right words to get through to him, he would change, because he loves you.

No. He is consistently and deliberately displaying selfish behaviour that does not cherish you. Either decide that you are willing to put up with this for the rest of your life, or check out of the relationship. He has shown that he is unwilling to change.

OP responded:

You really hit the nail on the head. I really did try so many different methods of communication to try and explain things differently. I tried different approaches, different times to have conversations, different environments...I really left no stone unturned in that respect.

I know you're right about him knowing his behaviour is intentional. But I often wonder, how can someone say they love you and still be alright treating you poorly?

Billowing_flags wrote:

You're a grad student wondering how to explain the concept of celebrating your loved one's birthday to a grown-a*s man! Did I read that correctly? Because what the hell planet is he from that he needs a damned explanation?!? STOP MAKING EXCUSES for your cheap POS bf and just dump him already!

OP responded:

I didn't want to confide in friends or family about him and our issues because I didn't want them to think ill of him, so I went to a therapist to try and figure out where I was going wrong and how I could help communicate with him most effectively. I read books. Blogs. Watched Ted Talks on communication. Videos on effective name it. I tried it. But no strategy worked.

You know, I didn't want to approach the problems we were having with a "know it all" attitude (he sometimes makes me feel that way because I know a lot about a lot -- occupational hazard of a grad student), so I really went full student mode and tried to learn how I could help us.

What I failed to really see, and what I think I understand MUCH better here now, is that oddly enough...he's the ONLY person in my life that I've needed to "work on communication" with.

I get along with everyone else...and strangers too! I understand now, after reading on this post, that there really is no excuse for someone who does not care. They make their intentions known though their behaviours. There is no excuse to not celebrate or listen to the feelings of a loved one.

A few days later, OP jumped on with an update.

Firstly and most importantly, thank you everyone for the love and advice on the original post. I've taken most of it to heart and I will do better by myself and you!

BF (32M) called just now (after not having spoken or reached out in about 48 hours. Also it's his birthday this weekend), and he told me (GF; 33F), in a very somber voice, that he missed me so very much and that he was incredibly sad that we hadn't spoken in a couple days.

I could hear he was driving and I was on his car's bluetooth. I asked him where he was headed to, and, without pause, he told me that he was on his way to a last-minute party invite at his friend's house, which is about 1.5 hours away.

But he quickly followed up with, "it's just a distraction because I miss you and love you so much." I asked him, if he was "truly missing me" and "wanted to work things out," (as he said on the phone) and had an evening free, how is it that he didn't consider reaching out to spend some time together to discuss things?

It's not like we had discussed not seeing each other. The last time we spoke, I asked him why things that were important to me were not to him and he was silent, and I didn't hear from him again. (Of note: I have enough respect for him that I decided if a break up was right, which is likely, I would have that conversation in person. But that has not happened in the 48 hours since we last spoke!)

He had no response and then after a pause, he asked if I had some time tomorrow to sit down to talk instead, given he was looking forward to the party now. I started crying because it made me incredibly sad to realize this was all just a game to him. All talk. Completely disingenuous. No heart. This is 4.5 years together. I was an idiot. But, what a guy.

TL;DR: Update to the post about birthday present for BF (32M) who did not celebrate GF (33F)'s bday. He called. His birthday is this weekend. He was missing me. He had an evening free. Accepted a last minute invite to a random party and was on the way there.

The internet had a lot of thoughts about the update.

nsfbr11 wrote:

He wasn’t missing you. He was bored while driving. Punt.

happyprocrastinator wrote:

No need to meet in person to break up with him.

Just text him “it’s over” to ruin his party time. And block him.

gotanysparechang33 wrote:

Yeah there's nothing to talk about or workout. The relationship is completely over. You should plan something with friends or just a day of self care to take your mind off of things.

blueavole wrote:

Make some fabulous plans this weekend—— for yourself. Block his number. Get a pedi. See friends. Go to an art exhibit and a sex shop for a new vibrator. Whatever floats your boat. Getting over him is gonna hurt like coming down from an addiction. Because that is what it is: bad relationships are an addiction. The uncertainty, it’s like gambling in real time.

The will he / won’t he. Pick me / love me cycle. Make yourself a break up play list and listen every time you get an itch to call. Slowly it will get better. It will open you up to new possibilities, new changes you didn’t know you were missing. You know what these red flags . Start living your life for you.

A few weeks later, OP shared another update.

My hope is that this lengthy post will make amends for the "not-so-update update" that preceded. :) As suggested by most, a break up was necessary, and, it indeed it has now occurred, officially. However, I was not the one to do the breaking up, which is a bit of a turn of events.

After my post, I had to travel for work/school (I am a PhD student), and it turned out to be very helpful for me to distance myself from him and his family. Where and when I thought back to his mom and sister crying about our breakup (and of course I felt for them in moments!) your thoughtful comments reassured me that his family's tears for our reconciliation were more tactic-based than genuine.

I often travel for school. I'm a PhD student in STEM at an Ivy League, which, for better or worse due to the size and funding of the institute, entails many international conference presentations and the dissemination of research results.

There have been likely over a dozen such events over the course of my degree, and I have asked him to come to every one, discussing how his support in person would mean so much to me. His responses were always, "Oh I'd love to. I'll try." When I was at the meeting destination and he still was "trying," I'd offer to send him a ticket. I'd send him screenshots of tickets available for him to purchase.

I'd reassure him that all expenses were already paid for and he'd just have to worry about the flight expenses. But he never came. I brought up these scenarios this time I was away, and I asked him, genuinely, why nothing that was important to me, was of value to him. I realize this sounds hyperbolic, but I assure you, it breaks my heart to admit that it is not. He did not have an answer when I asked.

His response was merely, "nothing I say matters. What do you want me to say? Sounds like you have made up your mind about me not caring." I was upset, I was disappointed, but above all else, I realized I deserved more. He went radio silent for the next couple of days and the next time I heard from him was 3:00am.

A few days later when he called night before my presentations (that were scheduled in the morning) to "wish me luck." And I did not hear from him again. I flew back to our city a few days later and I called him the following day. We spoke, and he was clearly very congested. He told me he had not slept in days, and had to go into work but was feeling horrid.

I quickly went and picked up a vaporizer for him, picked up his favorite foods from two restaurants and drove to his work, to drop off the items and see him. He hugged me and reminded me that we hadn't seen each other in 10 days. In the moment, I missed him. I loved him. I was stupid and I fell for it again.

Fast forward 48 hours, and I messaged him saying it would be nice if we could spend some time together and talk about things. I let him know that while I enjoy spending time with his family (which was almost all of our significant recent in-person interactions) I felt it was important that we spend some one on one time with each other too. He responded with, "Ok. I'll plan."

I then asked if he had some time to perhaps discuss some ideas together and, I'm not sure why, but he went off the rails and said that I need "everything to happen immediately" and for me to "give him some time" and that I was "being unreasonable."

Something in me felt different, and so I pushed the topic and I stood up for myself. I called him out on his bluffs. I let him know that historically his "I'll plan" statements were dismissive in the sense that they would diffuse a situation but nothing would come of them. He said that I was lying. So then I reminded him of his many lies and inconsistencies in the relationship.

I know I should have just stayed quiet -- the old me would have. But I couldn't take the beating. See, he would often make these grand promises and never follow through. "I'll buy you insert designer brand jacket!"

"You should get the insert designer brand bracelet to go with your necklace! Let's go grab it one day." ..."That's your favourite car? Insert fancy brand I feel like you would look great in a black one. I'll buy it for you!"

For context and background, I've worked very hard for what I have and I've been fortunate to not have to ask him to buy me anything. In the 4.5 years we were together, I have bought every item of clothing, jewelry, and material item otherwise, that I have wanted. Including the car I drive. Where he had paid for a dinner, I would make sure I paid for the next.

If he refused to accept my paying at the restaurant, I would pay attention to things he mentioned he needs and I would pick those items up for him. I was never a financial burden because early on in the relationship, he told me his ex-GF of 5 years had been. He told me that he spent $40 000 on her apartment furniture and that she had his credit card for spending.

He told me that she had another $20 000 of his for her "spending account" for when they went out together. I believed all the other lies he told me, because why would someone lie about these situations and topics? See, I was not certain how hyperbolic and dishonest these scenarios were...these promises that he made me...until I tested them, last night.

I said, "hey, I have an idea as to how you can make up my missed birthday! Remember that car, jacket and bracelet you always talked about? Let's go grab those, please." He paused. And he asked me 3 times if I was being serious. I told him I most certainly was. I sent him a link to the items. He said Ok. And I said that I had a stipulation.

My current car was not financed. His current car is not financed. And so I wanted the car bought out. He said, "Nope. I'm not buying a $40 000 car in cash. Enjoy your insert my car. It's a beautiful car."

(For reference, I drive a Japanese car that he has made snarky remarks about and he says "beautiful" sarcastically because he has commented on how ugly the colour is. Although it's a newer model and reliable, it's not "fancy." And I'm ok with that. I'm happy with it. I enjoy my car. In comparison, he drives a German car that is older and more "expensive" by nature of its branding.

While my car is technically worth more than his...he always makes fun of my car and while I have asked that he stop, he tells me that I cannot take a joke.) I realize that there are some nuances here that likely point to his insecurities. After his sarcasm about my car, I really had enough. I said, "I guess the $40 000 you spent on ex GF's apartment was financed too. Noted."

And off the rails he went. His messages were as follows:

"Wtf. Bro where the fk are you getting all this sht. Her apartment was given to her by her work. Wtf are you talking. I never ever said anything along those lines. Now you are making me mad. Please stop here. I never said anything like that."

"Curses come out coz now I'm fkin mad. How many fkin times I told you she borrowed money for furniture which she paid back slowly. And yes my money was with her which I did take back. There was no mention of any 40K. Wtf. There was nothing for 40K. Wtf. Read what I said above and keep reading until it stays in your gddam head. I did not lie about this and I am not going to repeat myself over n over."

Thanks for the last 3 hours of fixing things. It was a fkin' waste of time. Stfu. Yeah I lied but you can't be wrong right. Stfu. Here take a picture. I don't need your this kinda love. Keep it to yourself. N go make someone else insane. Go take someone else's sanity. N then you lecture about love n fckin care. Enjoy your night now. Mission accomplished."*

I did not respond until earlier today when I messaged asking to meet. I then called asking about the same thing. He usually does not work late on Tuesdays and so I asked if we could meet and discuss things in person. He said, "You don't know my fcking schedule. I'm at work until late today. I don't want to see you or speak to you in person." "Who the Fck do you think you are?" (And that's when I hung up.)

A few hours later, I called again and I asked him if he would like to meet after work. I don't mind waiting. He said no. I asked him if things were over then, and he said "when were we together? You wanted to leave didn't you? So here is me letting you leave."

"You were the one that walked away. You broke up a few weeks ago, remember? When were we ever together? We didn't get back together. Let me remind you."

"We were over. You made sure we were over. So yes, we're over. You made sure of that." So then I said, "Ok, I understand. Thank you." I took a few hours to just have that settle in. And then I called his sister to ask if I could drop something off at their door and she could just make sure that it's placed inside. I wanted to drop off the "promise ring" he gave me because I feel there are no promises he has kept.

She did not pick up. I called 4 times. I messaged. I messaged his mom too. No responses or replies from either. I guess the tears were a tactic. Just like silencing me by ignoring all of my calls. I spoke with my best friend and she suggested just leaving him the cash-equivalent of the ring in an envelope with a note. But I don't know what the note should say. So any help or suggestions would be helpful.

Things are over and I know this is the best thing for me. I cried quite a lot this afternoon. I cried for his twisting of the narrative. I cried for allowing someone to make me feel "less than" for so many years. I cried at the time I lost. I cried at the love I gave and the ab*se I endured. But at least we're not together anymore...officially now.

TL;DR: Boyfriend's actions suggested he did not care about me. I tried to discuss this and he became violently (verbally) upset and broke up with me. I have a promise ring I want to return but I'd like to melt it (just as the trust was eroded this melting will be symbolic of those promises being eroded too).

I would like to then send the monetary value to him instead, with a note. Any suggestions for what I should include in the note, if anything at all?

The internet kept it real.

iamnoking wrote:

It's over, stop reaching out to 'return things'. It's just an excuse to drag this out. You need to accept it's over and start processing your feelings. And most importantly, cut off all contact with him and his family. You need to learn when to let go for your own mental health.

Personal-Ad-8077 wrote:

At the risk of sounding a bit harsh, you seem to get yourself involved with a lot of drama and don’t seem to know when to take a step back and say enough is enough. Just from the posts you have made, you’ve pointed out so many red flags from him, so many lies and broken promises. And yet you were still clinging on to the very end. Why?

Why continually put yourself in a position where you get hurt and lied to time and time again. It’s good to see you have booked a therapy session. I think you really need to work through why you allowed yourself to be treated so poorly, why you ignored all the red flags, why you allowed not just him but his family to emotionally manipulate and ab*se you.

You sound like you’re a smart person in your academic and professional life, but you seem to still have a lot to learn about what a health relationship is. I hope you take some time to heal, build your self confidence and put some boundaries in place for yourself before you start to date someone new.

WielderofAphorisms wrote:

Just FedEx the ring to his work and be done. No note is necessary.

soph_lurk_2018 wrote:

Just forget the ring. It’s another excuse for you to go to his house with the hopes that his family or he will talk to you. You started text bombing his mom and sister after he ended it and that is not ok. You need to stop.

This relationship should have ended a long time ago. It was toxic but it is clear you were unable to walk away. Your boyfriend ended the relationship for you. Leave him alone. Leave his family alone. Go no contact. It’s for the best.

A day later, OP shared another update.

I had a late night last night and shared a very very long post about what happened. I received many comments overnight into this morning and I realize that the comments fell into one of two categories:

• "How can you be so smart and yet have no self respect and remain so stupid when it comes to relationships?"(Yes, there's a group of us. We exist. Yes, introspection is needed and being pursued actively)

• "I understand that you were in an ab*sive relationship and it took you, arguably, too long to leave. I'm glad it's over for you and you can look forward to focusing on you, and healing."

I have read through every comment and every reply. Thank you for everything. I thought, there were points from my update last night that I wanted to highlight, and the remaining details shared had their moment, but, they don't have a fruitful space for me here, right now.

(They'll have a space in therapy sessions.) So thank you to everyone for the love and advice on the original post and the update that I was kindly reminded/taught in the comments, was indeed not a real update (I've learned now!) :)

To those kind individuals who sent me inboxed messages of concern, who even reached out to reddit out of concern for me, to those who drew parallels to their own situations, past and present, thank you for opening up your wounds and sharing your wisdom with me.

I realize that we may never meet in person, but I genuinely thank you. You're in my heart and I have so much love and respect for what you have persevered through and flourished despite.

So, here's what happened: I'm a PhD student in STEM at an Ivy League, which, for better or worse due to the size and funding of the institute, entails many international conference presentations and the dissemination of research results.

After my original post, I had to travel for work/school, and it turned out to be very helpful for me to distance myself from him and his family. Where and when I thought back to his mom and sister crying about our breakup (and of course I felt for them in moments!) your thoughtful comments reassured me that his family's tears for our reconciliation were more tactic-based than genuine.

The interactions with my BF while I was away were limited and unpleasant. When I returned I reached out to him to try and discuss the situation between us but the discussions turned volatile and verbally ab*sive.

Some lies he told were brought to light, his responses were disrespectful, and he broke up with me. I was immediately emotional and decided that the promise ring he had gifted me should be returned to him. I reached out to his family, whom I believed I always had a lovely relationship with, to ask if someone was home for me to drop something off that belonged to him. I called a few times.

I sent a text message. I received no responses last night. This was very uncharacteristic. I then thought to send the ring back, but I was not sure if it should be the monetary value of the ring or the ring itself. I posted on here asking about what the note should be, if there even should be one with the ring. So I posted a very long-winded update and I headed to sleep.

I woke up this morning and I came to campus and have been reading through your responses and the ones that are helpful are the ones that help me to realize that there is no point in returning anything. There is no point in spending more money, time, or energy on him or his family. There is no point in trying to help unreasonable people see reason through discussion or conversation. Truly, there is no point.

I have decided, upon taking your comments into consideration, that it is best that I store the ring away in some box, at the back of my closet, and maybe in some time, when I have distanced myself emotionally from the situation and worked on moving on in a healthy way, with much introspection.

(Yes, I realize this entails therapy that has already been booked), I can decide on what to do with the ring -- whether that's sell it and donate the money to a charity (thank you for that wonderful suggestion), or, throw it away.

Posting on reddit provides an unbiased space to share experiences and thoughts and while I'm relatively new to this space I appreciate all of the feedback and consideration from those individuals who were brash and honest, to those individuals who were unkind in their words, but mostly to those individuals who were honest, but kind in their interactions. The world needs more of you. Thank you.

In the meantime, as some kind individuals who inboxed me separately suggested, I will focus on myself, on spending time with my family and friends who love me. I will work on rebuilding my self-confidence. I will work on learning to love myself more so that I never allow something like this to happen again. Onto bigger and better things, right guys? With love, OP.

TL;DR: I posted a long update last night. I read the input of all the lovely folks on here and I decided that it's better to take that long-winded update out of this space. So in short, BF broke up with me. He was awful. His family turned out to be awful. It was an abusive relationship and I allowed it to erode my self-confidence and self-love. I'll work on rebuilding that now.

The promise ring that I had asked about returning to him? I'll keep it and decide on what to do with it (sell it/throw it out) at some point. In the meantime, I won't interact with him or his family - they are not "my people" regardless of how much I hoped that they were at some point. I'll focus on family, friends, school and me.

Just when it seemed things were concluded, OP jumped on with yet another update a month later.

Hi everyone,

My ex-BF (33M) joined the gym that I (33F) attend in order for us to "work out together" when we were together. I expressed my reservations at the start but he did not really care to listen.

Once he did start working out with me and I realized I was actually even more uncomfortable than I had even thought, I had some conversations about it with him when we were dating.

I asked if he could consider going to another gym for no other reason than we should have activities, time, and space that are our own/separate because space and individuality is important. He got into a huge fight with me and refused to leave the gym. This was still during his "trial" period, so he could have left without any financial penalty.

I was locked into a one-year membership at that point and still am. If I leave, I'm liable for a huge penalty so it is not financially feasible for me to leave/move gyms. Additionally, the gym is a boutique gym, so it only has one location. I have a very demanding schedule and can only head to the gym for a workout during one time in the day.

He also comes by at that time, even though his schedule is more flexible than mine. Last time I saw his car parked there after the breakup, I just left, but, it's not fair that I have to move my life around for him. The breakup was rough and we have not spoken since. If I do see him again, how do I handle it? Do I ignore him? Do I say hello and have a short conversation? This is stressing me out!

Edit 1: Thank you to all the lovely Reddit folks for their advice! For those wondering why it’s an issue to begin with, he was quite unkind when we were together (emotional abuse, manipulation), so it makes me uncomfortable to be around him.

Edit 2: An important detail: This is in fact his second active gym membership, he did not leave his primary gym when we were still together, and insisted on coming to this gym as well. Amenities are very similar. The gym I attend is 30ish mins out of his way, whether coming from home or work!

TL;DR: Ex-BF will not leave the gym I introduced him to and makes it a point to workout when I do. I cannot leave the gym because I am locked in for a year. When and if I do see him there, how do I handle it?

The internet had a lot to say.

PixieonAcid wrote:

Ignore him. Don't talk to him, don't look at him, don't acknowledge him. For all intents and purposes, he doesn't exist. If he tries to approach you and talk to you, tell him you're busy and you do not want to talk to him. If he continues, go to the staff and complain.

TogarSucks wrote:

Many gyms take complaints about women being harassed very seriously. Hopefully you won’t have to engage them much more than just saying “This person has approached me multiple times after I’ve told them I am not interested in speaking to them.”

HatsandTopcoats wrote:

Ignore him completely. If he approaches you, the only thing you say is: "Leave me alone or I'll report you to the staff." If he continues to bother you, you say it one more time, and after that you go and report that a man is bothering you despite you asking him twice to leave you alone. If it happens again, keep reporting him.

anon28374691 wrote:

If you can manage to go at a different time for two weeks and he stops seeing you when he goes, I think he will stop going. He’s just doing it to make you uncomfortable.

Hopefully, this will be the last of OP's updates on the situation - or in the very least, the last of her run-ins with him.

Sources: Reddit
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