In the grand scheme of things a birthday probably isn't a huge deal to most people. However, in my marriage I don't get a lot of intimate cuddle time (once or twice a month), we went almost 4 years once without physical intimacy (I'm an every day kinda person), I don't get taken out on dates, and my spouse rarely tries to surprise me. So I've been with my ADHD husband for a very long time, 17 years now. Over the years I've come to dread the holidays, instead of looking forward to Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, or my birthday I've actually begun to feel depressed as the dates approach. I've very clearly mentioned what I would like from my husband, that I want him to plan an event for us to do on my birthday. I've even given him numerous specific ideas throughout the years and for gift ideas I told him that he should check with my mother and two sisters or look at the Amazon Prime order history and wish list cart where it documents everything I've ever ordered for the last several years! I'm not one of those women who expects someone to read their mind, no, I've literally spelled it out and the ONLY thing I'm asking is for my husband to select one thing to do and implement it.
My birthday was last week and I got an ice cream cake (except that I've never liked them) and a funny card. I'm trying to reward positive behavior and I made a big deal out of both the cake and the card and was very excited about them and repeatedly thanked him! However, no event was planned and he didn't get a present for me. When I asked my spouse about it that evening...I did wait patiently in case there was a surprise so I didn't ruin anything. When I asked my spouse he said that he's been so busy in the last month with so much going on that he wasn't able to plan anything for us to do. He also said that he has no idea what to get me and becomes paralyzed when trying to decide.
We've started another round of couples counseling and have been to a few sessions already to work on our communication issues. I'm trying to use what I've learned and have read in various books. So I gently explained to him that I'm looking for him to come up with an idea because I feel like that is being thoughtful and it shows that he's put effort into understanding me and what I enjoy doing. I told him that when I have to plan my own parties, call friends and family to invite them, pick out and order my own gifts all the time that it doesn't feel the same and I might as well just buy myself the item and skip the "middle man" part of it. I told him that it's not so much about the gift or the event but it bothers me that in all of these years we've spent together it really doesn't seem like he knows who I am. That's what hurts.
This isn't the first time he's forgotten my birthday and after last year I really thought it would have stuck with him to do something different...I was wrong.
The unfortunate part is that even though I mentioned how I felt about my birthday this year he didn't do anything about it. He heard what I said but it didn't signal anything in his mind to try and make up or correct the situation. Okay, he's hurt my feelings but he could plan something to do tonight, tomorrow, next weekend and call it a belated birthday right? Nope. Over a week later and no signs he will do anything but let this get added to the ever growing pile of unresolved crap that we both get to drag behind us.
His birthday is in two weeks and I had several things in mind to get for him and a couple things we could do. Last year, even though he forgot to organize anything for my birthday I still put together a surprise birthday party for him with my family and his family showing up at a restaurant and we had a great time. I'm really bummed out right now, I don't want to do anything for him anymore and it makes me sad because I love being thoughtful. I don't want to feel this way and act spiteful because he's hurt me. I would like to let it go but it seems like I spend my life trying to let it go and get over the things that he's done or didn't do to me. I do try to understand him but when he says he didn't have time to plan anything I know that he's lying. He was busy yes and there was some stress last month but he did have time to play video games. He wasn't working 24/7, he does take a lunch break each day. He did have time to watch a couple of tv shows and read. So when he says that he didn't have time, I think he doesn't see me as a priority and is making excuses.
It's difficult to go through this with him because he's really intelligent and does a good job at work. He began taking medication for his ADHD a couple of months ago and I thought I noticed some improvement in his focus but I think all of that gets used up while he is at work. I told him that medication is only the beginning and that all of the books and research I've come across explain that he has to implement tools to help him stay on track, organized, and keep things together. We both work in IT, he's a software engineer and I train clinicians on healthcare software...we have every electronic device you can imagine but he's not using them.