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Been married 20 years, we've been going to counseling because for the last half dozen years I've felt increasingly unimportant and neglected, she doesn't seem to think twice about me but cries every time something like this comes up and apologizes profusely. She is not cheating on me, we don't argue, she's not verbally abusive, she's just self-centered and downright thoughtless, which is what we've been going to counseling for - that obviously isn't working.

Yesterday was my 50th birthday, and I got a big, fat, absolutely nothing. I got a card and a small cake (we're both on a diet), my teenage daughter lives at home with us and my 84-year-old dad came over to have some cake. He brought me a present that was pretty cool, and then my daughter looked at my wife waiting for whatever, and nothing came. She's seventeen and she got mad as hell and read my wife the riot act later that evening. We talked, yet again, at bedtime about it, she cried a lot, apologized yet again, and left me to lay there pondering what the hell I'm doing by repeatedly punishing myself - this has become a serious pattern with her.

Her excuse for having done nothing and gotten nothing was as follows, "I'm going to get you something, I just haven't gotten it figured out yet." I collect prewar Lionel electric trains and have since I was ten - honestly, what's there to figure out? We started talking about my 50th birthday three months ago and I told her I didn't want a party that would involve food or many members of my family, but I'd rather have something with my friends at a neutral location, a coffee shop or a fun game night somewhere (Cards Against Humanity, something like that). I discussed about a dozen possible gifts I'd like when she asked about them, told her where they could be gotten and how much they should cost. And once again, she did absolutely nothing except pick up a cake on the way home from work at the local grocery store. I am seriously mangled this morning.

This has become the norm. For the last five or six years, she hasn't done anything I would consider "special" for me, at all, for any occasion. Yet she insists she's never meant to hurt my feelings or disappoint me. She told me last night she's "scared to buy me a present because she's scared she'll get the wrong thing." After I've given her a list, literally, of things I would like and places where they can be bought? So instead of getting the "wrong thing" the answer is to get nothing at all?

I don't know what to do - I love this woman, but I feel like she's becoming an expert in inflicting pain through mental abuse. Her 50th birthday was an epic blowout, planned by me for over a month, our 20th anniversary a couple of months ago was, again, a big deal and she ended up falling asleep on me that night (no sex) in a fabulous luxurious suite after a major expensive meal and a night on the town. I spent $400 treating her like a queen that night, and she wanted to "rest" when we got back to the room, she fell asleep, then she snored the whole rest of the night. I bought her a nice watch for our anniversary, I got nothing. And that's how it's gone - I'm absolutely sick of it.

Sorry to rant. Needed a place to vent. If I sound like a spoiled brat, I apologize. I'm not expecting a new Jaguar or something like that for every occasion, I would just appreciate some recognition that I have worth and am thought about - she seems incapable of that now. :confused:
 

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Just because you like parties and gifts, doesnt mean she does.

She is trying to tell you that you are not meeting her emotional needs but is being passive aggressive about it.
 

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I don't know about the emotional needs thing. He said he did a big 50th birthday party for her. If that is not demonstrative then I don't know what you would call it.

Seems like she just doesn't give a sh!t about birthdays and holidays and such. Some people just don't. I'm not big on celebrating my birthday. But she sounds boorish and selfish to me. Time to decide if you want to stay married to her.
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Actually, wrong conclusions - she absolutely loves parties and gifts, so long as they're pertaining to her or are important to her. She's something akin to Martha Stewart in regards to throwing Christmas parties at our house - we usually have two or three each year and they're meticulously planned huge affairs (all planned and done by her) with loads of baking, fancy foods, and you name it.

Likewise, she volunteers to host parties for just about every person we've ever known (seemingly) who's having a baby shower or wedding shower or anything of that nature - she loves to travel, she loves to throw parties, she spends months planning her Christmas galas. My birthdays, however, always sneak up on without any notice whatsoever and take her completely by surprise. This doesn't occur with friend's birthdays or our daughter's birthdays, just mine. :confused: And again, it's not just birthdays, it's pretty much anything to do with me. And yet, she insists it's not intentional, she loves me, and she can't stand the thought of being without me - I DO NOT understand!!??!!
 

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My ex was like that. In his case I would say it was thoughtlessness.

I just ended up working around him. First, I stopped expecting gifts....ever. The few I got were a nice surprize.

For my 40th bday, I talked about making plans for a few months prior. He wouldn't agree to my ideas, or commit to anything. So I planned a Girl's Night Out. As the date drew closer he started whining about not being included. So I said he was welcome to join us.... he declined. The next day he said how depressed he was that we didn't "do anything together". By then, I could only shake my head.... he had chances.

My point? Some people just don't get it. It's not the fanfare we want (altho it seems that they certainly like fanfare when it's THEIR turn!).... it's recognition, consideration, SOMETHING.

So make your own plans.... invite her or not. Be determined to have a good time with or without her!
 

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Dump her. She cares more about Martha Stewart and "impressions" (over her entertaining skills, party planning, Christmas parties) than she does YOU!!

Let's see.... YOUR 50th birthday (once in a lifetime celebration) or some "perfectly placed" Poinsettias for a holiday party with virtual strangers, via "Martha's advice"...

Easy!! Away with you, Wench!!
 

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I think you are over-reacting. A card and a small cake (being mindful of your diet) is not "nothing". Plus hosting your dad.

It was a nice intimate family party.

Based on your reaction, lack of appreciation, punishing her, "shame on her" fest with your daughter... I can't blame her for being scared to even try. :(
 

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Yes, I agree she should have gotten you something for your birthday but I think you are being a bit dramatic. You sound like a wife not a husband.She sounds like she is sorry. If everything else in the marriage is fine then this to me sounds like a little problem. My husband and I aren't into giving gifts for birthdays. We take each other out for a nice meal. When I have asked him in the past what he wanted for his birthday he always says just a nice dinner. His last birthday he surprised me by asking for a guitar so I bought that for him. Other than a nice dinner neither one of us expects anything for our birthdays.
 

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Without reading your background, is it safe to assume that you do a lot of things for her? I'm assuming you are thoughtful for a lot of items - holiday based and during normal days - for her while she does nothing to return the favor.

IMHO, you are reinforcing the behavior that she exhibits towards you. You continue to tell her that you are hurt by her lack of attention to your needs, yet you still go all out for her.

Something has got to change. I'd say, time to do the 180 and focus on yourself instead of worry about her at all. Focus on your daughter. Maybe go out to places - just you and your daughter and leave her to fend for herself. Remember though, the 180 is about you and is not supposed to be about getting your spouse to come back to you. However, a lot of times the spouse will try to get into your good graces when he/she suspects a pulling away.
 

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Maybe she is just absent minded. Is she meeting all your other needs? Sexual etc...
She isnt absent minded, she remembers and puts forth effort for other people, just not him. Pretty sh!tty, in my opinion. Loco, you are not sounding like a spoiled brat at all. She does this on purpose. I am so sorry she did you like this on such a milestone day for you. And that she did the same on your 20th anniversary?? Yeah, this is for sure on purpose, and it stinks. What is the rest of your relationship like? Is she this selfish about other things?
 

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Yes, I agree she should have gotten you something for your birthday but I think you are being a bit dramatic. You sound like a wife not a husband.She sounds like she is sorry. If everything else in the marriage is fine then this to me sounds like a little problem. My husband and I aren't into giving gifts for birthdays. We take each other out for a nice meal. When I have asked him in the past what he wanted for his birthday he always says just a nice dinner. His last birthday he surprised me by asking for a guitar so I bought that for him. Other than a nice dinner neither one of us expects anything for our birthdays.
Respectfully, that's a load of crap. Loco mentioned in the thread that his wife LOVES to put on HUGE GALAS and celebrations. That fact she will do this for everyone except him is quite telling. He SHOULD be pissed.
 

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Respectfully, that's a load of crap. Loco mentioned in the thread that his wife LOVES to put on HUGE GALAS and celebrations. That fact she will do this for everyone except him is quite telling. He SHOULD be pissed.
THANK YOU for all the rational posters on TAM!!

Loco, YOU DESERVE BETTER!!!!
 

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Dump her. She cares more about Martha Stewart and "impressions" (over her entertaining skills, party planning, Christmas parties) than she does YOU!!

Away with you, Wench!!
Maybe the most important thing I have to say to Bild is that this needs to be a viable, realistic option, and that's more of an emotional exercise than an intellectual one.

My wife is much the same (though things continue to slowly, sometimes glacier-like, improve). I had to detach to the point where stuff like this no longer hurt, and I had the clarity of mind to calmly look at the pluses and minuses of staying in the marriage. I decided to stick with it, for reasons of my own.

Ironically, my detachment lad to improvements in the marriage. My wife would never admit it, but I think she was aware of it and it shook her up.

Divorce remains a possibility, though, and will always be. I've gotten over the emotional "hump".

I really, really recommend Robert Glover's "No More Mr. Nice Guy", even if you're adverse to self-help books, as I certainly was. It helps immensely with getting the clarity I think you need to make decisions regarding this marriage.
 

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Actually, wrong conclusions - she absolutely loves parties and gifts, so long as they're pertaining to her or are important to her. She's something akin to Martha Stewart in regards to throwing Christmas parties at our house - we usually have two or three each year and they're meticulously planned huge affairs (all planned and done by her) with loads of baking, fancy foods, and you name it.

Likewise, she volunteers to host parties for just about every person we've ever known (seemingly) who's having a baby shower or wedding shower or anything of that nature - she loves to travel, she loves to throw parties, she spends months planning her Christmas galas. My birthdays, however, always sneak up on without any notice whatsoever and take her completely by surprise. This doesn't occur with friend's birthdays or our daughter's birthdays, just mine. :confused: And again, it's not just birthdays, it's pretty much anything to do with me. And yet, she insists it's not intentional, she loves me, and she can't stand the thought of being without me - I DO NOT understand!!??!!
I can't form conclusions without data brother. You could have mentioned that in your original post instead of browbeating me.

Stop doing things for her. Stop being nice. Read Married Mans Sex Life Primer. Read No More Mr Nice Guy. The things you have been doing aren't working. Switch tracks.
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My ex-wife was like that too. It got worse every year...I would give more, she would give less, till she gave nothing at all. Really makes you feel worthless, and it's from the one person you want to make you feel like you are special to them.

I feel for ya, man. I really do. It never got any better for me. The 180 helped me cope and prepare for the eventual split, even though I was secretly hoping it would cause her to actually start trying; it didn't.

The woman I am with now makes me feel special every day. I KNOW that I am appreciated. It's a nice feeling....actually, nice is an understatement...it's absolute bliss.

I would try the 180 and see what happens. You'll probably be like me; secretly hoping it will cause her to start trying, but she likely won't. At least you'll be prepared to take your life where you want to go, whatever you decide.

180..live it.
 
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