Then Jack Happened

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Jack,

I think I’ve kind of painted myself in a corner with my girlfriend. Her birthday is coming up and I really haven’t made any special plans. I think I’ve screwed up because we found out that a friend of ours is throwing a big party for her husband a week before my girlfriend’s birthday, and my response was, “That’s pretty stupid, we aren’t kids anymore why are people still having birthday parties for themselves?” It went on from there but you get the idea. I believe what I said, I mean we are all in our mid-thirties, but my girlfriend reacted poorly. She said the party is just for everyone to have some fun so what’s the big deal? She seemed taken aback that I hated this birthday thing. I’ve only made a dinner reservation for us and didn’t really involve anyone else or plan anything else for her birthday so I’m worried I screwed up but I still think it’s dumb. First off, who is right here about birthdays? Second, if I’m wrong, what should I do to try and prevent the impending disaster?

Since you’ve realized that you are likely cruising for a bruising by not making bigger plans, logic dictates that you are in the wrong here, yes? Not every person wants birthday parties, a dinner for two is great for some people, and there are folks that don’t acknowledge their birthdays at all. All are fine but you’ve chosen to be with someone that enjoys parties and doesn’t have a problem having a get together with friends. You have to accept the person you are with or end it.

To your first question, which of us is right regarding birthdays, there isn’t a correct answer. Birthday parties are a subjective issue. There is no right or wrong, only people living their lives. I’m probably more in your girlfriend’s camp, what’s the big deal here? They are having a goof off, who cares the reason? No one appears to be acting like a birthday monster here. That doesn’t invalidate your opinion. You are free to like and dislike anything you want. I get it, we alls grows ups now, we aren’t children anymore, but remember that we aren’t talking about your birthday, we are talking about hers. If she was planning a large birthday for you, complete with a clown and some mini horses, and you expressed that you weren’t desirous of such shenanigans but she went forward with the funnel cakes anyway, then she’d be in the wrong. You can choose what you like. But this isn’t the case. You are planning an evening for the woman you are romancing that is very likely to end in disappointment or boredom. You say so in your question.

The birthday is the easier fix, invite some friends out, get her a cake, do some nice unexpected birthday stuff for her because she seems to enjoy that. Take her somewhere new and make an effort. Validate her and make her feel more confident that she is compatible with you. That is the simple start. If you can’t bear that, then you need to reassess the relationship. The bigger problem is your belief that your personal opinions on a subjective matter seem to be more correct or matter more than her opinions. You need to begin to do a better job listening, understanding and treating her with respect.  Keep your opinions but learn to respect hers as well. Sacrifice is necessary to keep you both happy. Give and take is critical to a successful relationship, and if you don’t start listening to her rather than telling her, you won’t have a girlfriend to worry about much longer.

All the ice cream cakes and bounce houses South Florida, all of them, just send your questions to thenjackhappened@gmail.com