Carolyn Hax: Speak up over your about-to-be-forgotten birthday?

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So, I’m wondering, at this point, is it better to let things play out on the off chance there is a surprise in the works? The worst case here is that she enjoys the weekend, then feels bad when she realizes her oversight. That feels passive aggressive, but playing out other scenarios in my mind, it seems like the best case. Worst cases are me ruining a surprise, her not enjoying her chance to get out because she feels bad, or both of us not enjoying a hastily pulled together plan that rests on something she feels bad about.

For the love of all that is holy, uncouple birthday recognition from happiness. Nobody wins with that coupling, not even 7-year-olds.

Birthday acknowledgment is useful only as a window into the workings of a relationship. If they’re fine, then missing a birthday is fine — and if they’re not, then it’s not. Embrace that and feel the weight just float away.

Then figure out what you want to do for your birthday, and suggest it to your girlfriend. Waiting to see if she forgets only sets you both up to fail.

If you’re worried about foiling some plan, then don’t be, because 90 percent of them get foiled anyway. But if it makes you feel better, make your suggestion by text so she has time to cover for anything that needs covering for.

· Friend, you gotta pipe up. You can say, in a pleasant way, “Hey babe, did you know that Saturday is the 4th, ya know, my birthday? I was hoping to XYZ with you that day.” I would be horrified if my girlfriend sat silently by while I was the knucklehead that absent-mindedly went about my business on her birthday.

· Seriously, use your grown-up voice and own your day. Speak up or at least collaborate on fun plans — which can be reciprocated for your girlfriend’s next birthday. No one needs the pressure of having to read your mind. If your girlfriend is focused or distracted for good reasons, then what point are you making to see if she forgets your birthday? Seems kinda crappy to do that to a partner.

· That’s because it IS passive-aggressive, Birthday Person. Seriously. Remembering or failing to remember your birthday is not indicative of love for you or lack thereof.



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