Many women have been at the receiving end of the apparent inability of men to remember important dates in a relationship. Explanations are numerous and varied - ranging from the favorite one of men being essentially thick-headed to merely feigning forgetfulness so that they can escape having to spend money on gifts. Whatever the truth is - and this will differ from one guy to another – it is his partner who in the end is left feeling hurt by the seeming insensitivity of her man. If this has happened with you more than once, here are few tips on coping with a partner who cannot remember important dates of your relationship.
Men think differently
Instead of assuming right away that your boyfriend meant to forget your birthday, consider the fact that men are genetically wired to think differently. As long as he is courting you, you are a challenge to him and he will make every effort to remember each and every detail of the relationship. Once it is understood you are his girlfriend, he is immediately taken up by other “challenges” like getting that promotion or repairing the home air conditioning system. According to relationship experts this trait goes back to the time when men were taken up by external threats like hunting game and defending the homestead from marauding tribes. Even though today such concerns no longer exist, men continue to be more focused on the outside world and its pressures as compared to homely concerns which are more like an area for rest and refuge. As a result men can become so focused on things outside of the relationship - work, sport, hobbies/interests that they tend to become forgetful of other things like important dates in their relationship. Women on the other hand are more attuned to the world of emotions and feelings and thus events which related to these are worked inextricably into their subconscious. This is why despite leading equally busy lives, they tend to remember details like important dates. Understanding this basic difference between how you and your partner thinks may help you to put things in perspective and forgive him the next time he turns up with a lame excuse on why he forgot to make restaurant reservations for Valentine’s Day dinner.
Take practical steps
However such theories, whether evolutionary or genetic, are cold comfort for women who are left high and dry by their partners on important dates like anniversaries and birthdays. In order to ensure that this does not happen again, it is best you take certain proactive steps. Buy your partner a calendar and mark all the dates that you want to spend together in bold, red ink. When you choose a gift for your partner, settle on a personal organizer or cell phone which has features to remind him of forthcoming important dates. The results will be two-fold – one on hand you will have made a nice present to your boyfriend and on the other he will no longer have any excuse of forgetting important occasions in your relationship.
Being forewarned is being forearmed
If your partner has a genuine habit of forgetting about important dates, don’t be squeamish about dropping heavy hints when such occasions are approaching. For instance you could point out that "since next Friday is Valentine’s Day, I thought we could try that new restaurant.." or "for our wedding anniversary on October 17th this year I think I'd like..." in all probability, your partner will thank you for these periodic reminders.
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Allow him to make up for it
Even if you decide to forgive your husband for his goof-up, it does not mean that you shouldn’t get a celebration out of him. If he has forgotten your birthday, select an arbitrary day and declare that for this year only, that is your “birthday” and this time he better take you out dancing and dining. Also suggest playfully that if he comes up with a fantastic birthday gift for you, you just might agree not to ‘forget’ his birthday in turn. More importantly however, help him along next year by making plans you would enjoy and including him in the decision-making process. While this is not the most romantic of all approaches, it is one way of keeping the channel of communication open and the special upcoming occasion in his mind. And it is much better than sitting quietly and agonizing whether this year he would again forget your birthday or your
Separate the grain from the chaff
If you are periodically at odds with your partner because he forgets important dates, maybe bringing a wider perspective on the issue might help. Decide the really important dates in your relationship that you both should celebrate together. It could be your wedding anniversary, Valentine’s Day or even the day you went on your first date. However dates like when you first emailed him or the first time he gifted you with a bouquet of roses are more difficult to remember and surely not worth having a fight over. Indeed if you insist on celebrating every other ‘firsts’ and ‘dates’, the novelty of the occasion will quickly wear off and the celebrations won’t seem so special any more.
See if it is part of a pattern
If this was the third or fourth time your partner forgot a special occasion like a birthday or anniversary, look closely at what else is going on. If you notice other signs of emotional withdrawal like repeatedly keeping you waiting if you have to go somewhere together, not sharing his thoughts and feelings with you if he used to before or losing interest in physical intimacy with you, perhaps you have a bigger problem at hand. Your husband may be deeply troubled by some aspect of his life – he may be having problems at work, worried about his parents or unhappy in his marriage. Also watch out for signs of dependency on cigarettes, alcohol or other harmful substances which are often wrongly used as a way of coping with stress. While it would certainly help if you could convince him to address the problems at the source of his emotional distress and thus forgetfulness, remember that you can do only so much. Eventually it is your husband who will have to take the initiative to sort things out if he and your marriage are to be happy.
Finally it is better to use a mix of practical and diplomatic means to address his habit of forgetting important dates rather than give way to tears and conflict. And unless there are larger issues at play, the essential thing to keep in mind is that your partner loves and cares for you the whole year through.