“Do I expect too much from my husband?”
Tomorrow is our 25th anniversary. Actually, it is now 1:30am so TODAY is our anniversary.
Over a year ago I began talking to my husband about what we might do to celebrate it; have a party, go away alone together, take a special trip, a big gift, etc. Over the past year I've brought it up a few times. A month ago I tried several times to get him to have a serious discussion about plans, have both of us participate and make some progress. I bring it up, he says, "Oh, yeah, hmmm, I don't know, what do you think...." and then we get distracted or I just give up trying to involve him. Finally, I said, "Our 25th Anniversary is in a week and I don't want to spend the day alone, doing nothing and feeling sad." I clearly expressed my desire for to communicate and together plan what we'd do for it and I didn't want to be the only one bringing it up and doing the planning.
I spent lots of time online looking into trips -- or even just an overnight in a hotel in our town. I emailed some ideas. Then I came down with a bad sinus infection and have been very sick for the past week. I gave up planning. A few days ago he said, "I made reservations for dinner at Franco's (a very nice restaurant)." He didn't ask if that's what WE'D like -- he just decided that's what we're going to do.
I appreciate that he made the reservation but we often go out to dinner for a birthday or anniversary -- I really wanted to do something special for our 25th.
Yesterday was a national holiday -- so he had the day off. At dinner last night I asked him if he was thinking of taking the day off of work. For what, he asked me. For our anniversary, I said. He acted like I had just gone too far and was upset that I "expected" that. Actually, his reaction upset me more than his having to work -- like I was being a ball and chain, expecting something ridiculous.
He left the dinner table and walked around the house, slammed the front door hard and when he came back he was close to tears. He said he's tried to do everything he could think of to make me happy, take care of me, especially while I've been sick (I have a chronic illness plus frequent sinus infections, colds, etc.) but he was exhausted. He said he doesn't feel he can make any plans for us because I might be sick or my elderly mother might need some help.
He's been -- and always is -- very helpful, asking me if he can get anything for me, making a special trip to the store to buy me Fritos (which I crave when I'm sick, for some reason), etc. Generally, he is very "service" oriented. If I want something he will usually do it/get it/buy it. (Not luxuries or whims--but he makes dinner every night (he likes to cook), he often brings me coffee in the am or he'll make me an ice cream sundae for dessert, etc.). I wouldn't say he spoils me but he is very solicitous. But for the rest of the evening he'll disappear until he goes to bed. I feel like we spend very little one-to-one time with each other.
His excuse of not making plans because I'm always sick made me feel worse because I know my illness limits him.
Anytime I am angry or disappointed with him I find myself thinking how ungrateful I am because of all he does for me. Then I get into war within myself: yes, he does this and that... but I do that and this!
Can't I just be angry or sad or disappointed without weighing out whether I have a right to be or not?
He's been a good provider but he's not been great in the gift/important occasion department. When I've received little or nothing from him for Christmas or Birthday, he has mentioned that he buys me presents all year long--meaning that I buy things for myself with money he's earned. (I've worked off and on but have mostly been a stay at home mom -- we have a daughter, and our son has Autism Spectrum Disorder.)
Other forums I've read excuse men for forgetting or being otherwise lackluster in celebrating occasions. I don't buy it. I don't think it's any harder for men to remember or plan or shop.
Am I being too unreasonable, too childish for being disappointed about, once again, having a lonely, unremarkable anniversary? I thought giving us a years notice and several reminders would assure us of a wonderful time celebrating 25 years. I didn't expect him to do anything on his own--I wanted to plan it together. But I was NOT going to plan it all on my own--especially not knowing his work/vacation schedule or how much money we wanted to spend.
We love each other, there's no doubt. We get along very well most of the time. We have fun and laugh together. We think alike in almost every way. However, we never have sex. There's no hot attraction between us--and really never has been. I feel embarrassed about my 58 year old, 10 lbs overweight, untoned body. He does nothing to make me feel sexy or attractive -- he can't even fake that he's insanely attracted to me. Sometimes I feel like a buddy more than a woman -- his sexy wife.
I find myself wishing he was more like other men--more aggressive (in ALL ways), more masculine (not that he seems effeminate), less passive, timid, insecure, afraid to make any waves or take a stand. He never, ever brings up something that bothers him about me, our relationship, something we should work on, what he wants but is missing between us... I wish he would participate in our marriage, have more than a lukewarm non-reaction to everything. Sometimes I wonder if I've married a wonderful, kind and caring man, but not the right kind and caring man for me -- the one who lights my fire and the one who'd fight for and protect me. Sometimes I feel like I'm the protector/defender in the family. Other times--most of the time -- I can't believe how lucky I am.
I feel like I need a reality check. A group of unbiased people who can tell me if I'm selfish and have expectations that are too high -- or maybe I need to move on?