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Would you be aggravated?

Posted by sue36 (My Page) on
Thu, May 31, 07 at 14:10

Would this bug you? My DH recently gave me an anniversary card that reads:
[front] "In Celebration of Your Love"
[inside] "Wishing you many more years in each other's arms."
"Happy Anniversary"

He insists this is a proper card for a husband to give a wife. He refuses to even acknowledge that this is a card someone would give to someone else celebrating an anniversary (he claims there is no such thing as someone giving a card to someone who isn't their spouse, so this HAS TO be a card to a spouse. I challenged him to head back to the drugstore and take a look).

He does not have a reading disability, so I have to conclude that he just cares so little that he didn't really read the card (even though he insists he looked at "several" cards and thought this was the best). But still, he insists the card is meant for a spouse. If he had owned up to the mistake and said "sorry" I wouldn't be so mad, but he insists the card is ok and that I am too fussy, which is ridiculous.

I am really peeved, and my feelings are hurt. He never makes a big deal out of birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, etc. He has also never given me an anniversary gift since we have been married. All I get is the card. I expect it to actually be an anniversary card a husband would give a wife. Is that too much to ask? Now he says he will never give me another card because I expect too much.

I am really PO-ed.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Would you be aggravated?

Exactly in whose arms is he wishing you spend many more years?

It's certainly worded oddly, and to be honest, I can't figure out what kind of a card it is. Maybe it's a card for a couple renewing their vows, but I'm not sure, and he probably wasn't sure either.

Just smile and give him a hug, and accept him for whatever he is. At least he tried.


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RE: Would you be aggravated?

Does your DH express his love for you every now and then? I think a spontaneous "Love you, hon" or a sincere hug & a kiss is worth far, far more than a perfunctory anniversary gift.

We don't celebrate each other's birthday or anniversaries or Mother's/Father's/Valentine's days, so a card would really be whooping it up for us. However, we're very affectionate with each other on the other days of the year, which is why we don't feel a need to jump through a hoop to prove our love on the "Hallmark holidays".

(DH did pull out the stops for our 25th anniversary though.)


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RE: Would you be aggravated?

Well, I've been married so long and been through so much that I don't think I'd be PO'd about it. And I'm also more like awm - we celebrate special occasions but the celebration rarely involves gifts or cards - especially not cards. However I have to agree - the card is definitely not one that is intended for a spouse.

Interesting that he thinks no one buys anniversary cards for anyone other than their spouse. I wouldn't conclude that he doesn't care. I'd conclude that he's clueless about greeting cards.


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RE: Would you be aggravated?

I'm sorry your feelings are hurt and I can certainly understand and sympathize, but I also think it's kind of hilarious. It reminds me of my grandma. She used to buy boxes of all-purpose greeting cards and send them out without reading them carefully, which I'm sure is what happened here (the not reading carefully part) and your husband probably is embarrassed and that's why he doesn't want to admit it but anyway, we would get the most off-the-wall cards.

She sent one for my mom's birthday once that we always remember: "Happy birthday to a very good friend." This was to her daughter. We thought this was so funny that my mom and I began exchanging inappropriate cards. One year I sent her a Mother's Day card that read "Because you've been like a mother to me....." And the tradition continues.


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RE: Would you be aggravated?

"One year I sent her a Mother's Day card that read 'Because you've been like a mother to me.....' "

wooderlander, that's hilarious!

Sue, gibby & wooderlander are probably right. Maybe your husband thought you'd be mad at him if he didn't get you a card, so he got you one, the one that was the least syrup-y of the batch.

And he probably does want you in his arms for many more years!

For many men, those commercial cards rub them the wrong way, but they feel like it's expected of them to buy one. Frankly, I always cringe when I have to pick a greeting card for somebody. The message is sappy & has an artificial ring to it, the art work mediocre. I'd prefer to write a note on nice stationery, but my family members would be hurt if they didn't get the *&^% Hallmark card! They think it shows how much I care that I went to a store & lovingly picked out just the right card for them.


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RE: Would you be aggravated?

I'm with you, awm03. Those greeting cards are booby traps! I can't stand the sweet sappy syrupy ones, but those seem to be the norm in DH's family. My family prefers the jokey ones, which I'm more comfortable with. But of course, then I worry that DH's family will feel hurt because they're not 'sweet' enough. Yuck!

Sounds like your husband didn't read the card critically and may have been suffering from "They're all awful!" syndrome and picked the least treacly card. I like Wooderlander's approach!


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RE: Would you be aggravated?

Sounds to me like someone in a hurry ran into the drug store, grabbed a card without reading it, took it up to the counter, signed it, and called it good! Thank goodness it wasn't wishing condolences!!


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RE: Would you be aggravated?

DH and I have been together for close to 30 years. We exchange card for anniversaries and birthdays. He always gets the mushy I love you kind and I usually get the funny ones.

For years I would stick the cards in a dresser drawer that was kinda of a catch all. One years I forgot to buy a anniversary card for him. Our anniversary is the day after Christmas. We had a house full of people and I couldn't get away. I went to the drawer and picked out a card I had given him years before and held my breath as he opened it. He didn't know the difference.

So for the next 5 or 6 years I just got cards out of the drawer waiting fore him to say something. It became a game to see how many times I could give him the same card before he would notice. He never did but about 3 years ago he came home on my birthday and said he had forgotten to get me a card.

He was so upset and I started laughing and finally told him about the cards. So now when either of us gets a card the first thing we ask is this a new one or did you shop in the drawer.

It's the thought that counts any ways!


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RE: Would you be aggravated?

OK, I have to chime in on this one...

First: woodlander, I love your story. What a delightful way to find (good natured) humor in the foibles and idiosyncracies that even the most beloved family members can have. I love that your family remembers your grandma in a way that is so affectionate and humorous.

I love my husband dearly. He encourages me, he listens to me, he makes me laugh and he's my best friend. And he blows it every now and then...like Mother's Day a few years ago. Since it comes on the heels of my birthday, I told him he really didn't need to make a big deal out of it. But he protested and insisted that he wanted to do something really special for me. Mother's Day came and went, though - no card. Nada. Then, about a week later as I was putting laundry in his drawer, I found a Hallmark bag that contained not one, but SIX Mother's Day cards. Turns out he'd had the best of intentions...before my birthday he'd bought six different "moods" of card, and figured he'd choose the one that he thought would make me happiest when Mother's Day came around, and was planning to include a gift card to a nearby spa. But that week he got swamped with work and a friend of ours had a personal crisis that he made extra time to be present for - forgot all about the cards in the drawer. Was I mad? Not at all - the look on his face when I "busted" him with the bag full of cards was worth more than any spa treatment. We had a great laugh together, and still do occasionally when we remember it. He shows his love for me in so many little (and big) ways throughout the year...that will always mean more than any three dollar piece of cardboard.


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RE: Would you be aggravated?

Sue, I can totally understand why you feel that way. The guy clearly bought a card out of obligation, without putting any time or thought into it - didn't even read it carefully, for gosh sakes! And he obviously thinks his love for you should be taken for granted. You could react in several ways:

1. See the humor in this, accept that he is not the romantic type, and let it go.

2. Stay mad about it.

3. Explain why it bothers you, and tell him specifically what you would like from him such as flowers, dinner at a nice restaurant, or a handwritten, heartfelt anniversary card. Then, let him make it up to you.

The way I figure it, if you were really secure in his love for you, and he expressed it in other ways, this would seem funnier to you, and wouldn't bother you so much. If you stay mad, he will be afraid that you will criticize any future effort on his part to express his affection, so he will avoid trying, and your resentment will just build. If you give him the benefit of the doubt, and tell him how to make it up to you, he may step up to the plate and surprise you - perhaps he just doesn't know how, or doesn't realize that it is important to you. Many men are naturally clueless about these things, and they just need a roadmap. If he shows that he wants to make you happy, you'll feel reassured. If not, you may have bigger issues in your relationship. It can be scary to acknowledge that, and maybe you don't want to go there. Your frustration obviously goes deeper than this one incident. There is a pattern of behavior that really bugs you.

Maybe I am over-analyzing this, but it reminds me of the recent thread by Judith asking if men are "naturally unromantic" - have you read that? I hope your issues are not as serious as that!


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RE: Would you be aggravated?

Ok let me tell you what I did to my DH a few years ago.

We'd been dating for a couple of years and he was away at Valentines. I had a huge boquet of flowers sent to him at his office in Texas and included in that boquet was a card that said "My love will be your's until the last bloom dies". The florist was supposed to put in one silk flower among the real flowers.

Two days later when the flowers died, he mentioned how it had been bothering him when he called me. Good gravy! THe dang florist forgot the silk flower so basically I said "my love will be yours for about two days bub!!"

He thought I was mad because he was out of town...I thought I was sending a touching tribute to our life together forever.

So your husband is an idiot when it comes to the cards :o) If he's ok in every other way, love him until the last bloom dies and call it a day :oP (Or send him the boquet I sent my DH and scare the heck out of him!)


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RE: Would you be aggravated?

That it so funny Igloo! Oops!


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RE: Would you be aggravated?

I basically did Needanap's choice number 3. He told me that he will never buy me another card because my expectation are "too high", that he is "done" and a several choice swear words thrown in (including the really bad one). I do wonderful, considerate things for him everyday, and he rarely does anything for me.

And no, I am not secure re: his love for me. Let's say it's been a tough 4 years of marriage.

But really, when you are expected to do one small thing, how tough is it to do it right? And if you mess up, apologize and give a kiss, don't claim it is the other person's fault somehow (it's ALWAYS my fault. Everything. Always.).

Yeah, there are bigger problems than a card.


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RE: Would you be aggravated?

Sorry to hear that, Sue36. My heart goes out to you. I hope you can get some marriage counselling or something, and get your relationship going in a more positive direction.


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RE: Would you be aggravated?

I'd prefer to write a note on nice stationery, but my family members would be hurt if they didn't get the *&^% Hallmark card! They think it shows how much I care that I went to a store & lovingly picked out just the right card for them.

Miss Manners has said that store-bought cards are a rude cop-out. That the *proper* way to send birthday greetings is to write a letter on your stationery, in your own hand.

I'm sorry there are bigger problems, Sue. I can see my DH perhaps focusing on the "in your arms forever" and thinking that's sweet without being cloying, and not really focusing on the other stuff.

I can sort of understand that it might not occur to him that people might buy an anniversary card for some OTHER couple's marriage. I also think it's weird for OTHER people to send anniversary cards. I consider my anniversary to be between me and DH. Maybe it's the kids' business.

But i have always thought it was weird to get a "happy anniversary" card from random aunts and uncle. And I think it's weird to go to my in-laws for a dinner to celebrate my anniversary every year. The big ones, yes. The 4th anniversary? Butt out.

(I did have to say quite sternly that ON our anniversary, we are not available; it is OUR time, and we are not including his parents in our marriage, they are NOT invited. Though I did finally give up on the idea of celebrating it in general with them, and we try to get over there for dinner sometime near our wedding date, but I try to ignore the anniversary aspect as much as I can. It just feels like a private celebration.)


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RE: Would you be aggravated?

Yes, sue36, I would be aggravated and like you, it's not just the card, it's the relationship issues behind it.....and the unwillingness to admit a mistake and to say "I'm sorry". It's taken me 26 years to just recently get an understanding of the issues at my house. I read up on "narcissism" and was stunned. It explained it all for me. You might try searching the internet and reading about it. Your words sound so familiar to me. It's a lot deeper than just selfishness. Brace yourself. Or email me for some sites. Sorry this is happening to you. It's very painful. It helped me a lot to see it for what it is. I really wish I had understood this personality disorder 20 years ago.....I would have made completely different choices. At the very least, I wouldn't have let it cause me to doubt my own reality, or to lose faith in my instincts.


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a quick tangent...

banana, I'm sorry for your situation - living with a narcissist can be nightmarish. One little caveat: I agree that it's an aggravating situation for the OP, too, but there's not nearly enough info here to be "diagnosing" narcissistic personality disorder. Sometimes seeing the realities of NPD for the first time makes us very attuned to the dynamics of the disorder, but I think we need to be careful not to project a disorder as profound as that on everyone who does something selfish or insensitive. The reality is, we all have a degree of narcissism in us. As I said, I'm sorry for your situation - you're facing a great challenge. If you'd like a couple of book references, I'd be happy to pass them on.


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RE: Would you be aggravated?

It was not my intent to imply a diagnosis of someone else's situation. I meant to suggest that it might be the case, and it could be worth reading up on narcissism. Perhaps I didn't word my comment very clearly. Or I can see that perhaps it was not obvious when I switched from answering sue36's question, to adding some of my own personal experience. And I threw in some sympathy for whatever is going on. Obviously I wouldn't know exactly what that is.

In any case, I stand corrected, I guess.

Re: Your obvious comments about not jumping to conclusions or how we all have some selfish aspects or that there is not adequate info to diagnose the situation--- I'd say that those things are pretty obvious to the average 6th grader, but ok, duly noted.

Clearly, I'm not in the mood to be "corrected", no matter the gentle face you put on it. Over-sensitive? Probably. I have my own know-it-all at home. Ironic how this came back around.


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RE: Would you be aggravated?

Hey banana - you are so right. In rereading my post, I don't think my comments were helpful or necessary. I'm sorry...I sure didn't mean to throw cold water on your insights, but I think I may have. Please accept my apolgy.


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RE: Would you be aggravated?

halfdecaf---thanks for your response. Apology accepted. And I see I could have been a better editor when whipping out my original response.


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