For the more sentimental among us, birthdays and showing the birthday person a good time is incredibly important.
In fact, the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit is ready to question a whole relationship over a disappointing birthday or anniversary.
It started with Redditor DifferentAwareness79, who was disappointed after her husband didn’t want to spend time with her at her birthday dinner, even though the meal was a gift.
When her husband refused to apologize, the Original Poster (OP) wasn’t sure what to think.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for wanting my husband to talk to me at my birthday dinner?”
The OP’s mother gifted her a birthday dinner.
“My husband (58 [Male]) and I (48 [Female]) went out to dinner at a cute little eatery for my birthday.”
“We’ve been married 25 years and rarely eat out. He doesn’t like spending money for restaurant food.”
“However, my mother, who knows how much I enjoy trying out new restaurants, gave me $100 as a gift and told the hubs she’d babysit so the two of us could eat out.”
The OP tried to make it a fun experience.
“It’s a beautiful little place, we scored a patio table, and because the hubs wasn’t talking, I started making up stories about the people around us, (for example, he’s a forensic detective and she sells expensive candles) just silly stuff.”
“He still was not talking.”
“By the time our entrees showed up, I realized I was essentially talking to myself and felt foolish, so I stopped talking too.”
“I’d lost my appetite, so I waited for him to finish and gave the waiter my card, sitting in silence.”
Then the OP realized what her husband was doing.
“When we’re driving home, I said, ‘I know you don’t like spending money on eating out, but it was a gift from my mother for my birthday. If you were going to ‘punish’ me by refusing to talk to me, I wish you’d have just told me, and I would have taken our daughter instead.'”
“He was offended and huffed, ‘I have nothing to apologize for!'”
“AITA for thinking he would be pleasant company?”
“I’ve definitely learned my lesson about taking him to dinner.”
The OP added a few more details.
“My husband goes silent and refuses to talk to me as ‘punishment’ when he gets upset. I didn’t realize this was what was happening until around the time the entrees arrived.”
“I guess I should have picked it up more quickly but I was excited about being out.”
“Also, no, he never said he didn’t want to go beforehand. I didn’t ‘force’ him to go.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some said the OP should have been able to have a nice time on her birthday.
“Ohhh no, no no no. I’m so sorry he made you feel guilty for enjoying yourself on your special day.”
“That was a very thoughtful gift from your mom and I hope you go out again, treat yourself, or take your daughter/mom and fully appreciate the experience. You deserve it.”
“I also kindly suggest leaving him. Happiness and compatibility is the key to a life well-lived.” – TrashMonster2020
“It’s weird to think of it as a waste of money. You’re getting your belly full and you can relax while someone else cooks it and you don’t have to clean up after.”
“He’s awful. Next time take someone else and he can stay home and be grumpy. What a big ol’ fuddy-duddy!” – coolbeanz68
Others questioned the quality of the OP’s marriage.
“OP, the fact that he didn’t even have to pay for it and still got mad and treated you that way on your birthday simply because it wasn’t something he wanted to do is pretty concerning.”
“I’m not one to usually sit here and throw abuse accusations or whatever, but that’s pretty effed up. Honestly next time I’d just go with your mom or a friend and leave him at home.” – pickledstarfish
“So you really love this man you’re with? I really hope you figure out your worth one day and leave him to find someone better. I would be so hurt if my husband did this to me.” – Accomplishedpeasnt
“God, I hate how much this reminded me of my dad. He used to do the silent treatment with me anytime I did something to p**s him off, which was pretty frequently because he never told me what I did wrong so I could know for the future. Nope, he’d just start pretending I didn’t exist.”
“Do you know how much that f**ks up a kid? To suddenly just not be acknowledged anymore? There were times I would question if I was even real or if I had died and he couldn’t see me or anything that would make more sense than my dad just suddenly refusing to acknowledge my existence for days or weeks at a time…”
‘It didn’t matter if I cried, or begged and pleaded, or apologized, or threw a temper tantrum trying desperately to just get someone to acknowledge me. I did something bad and therefore I didn’t exist anymore.”
“OP, him pulling the silent treatment is not okay. That’s not how adults resolve conflicts.”
“That’s how abusive people gaslight you and manipulate you and I speak from experience when I say I really truly hope that he does not pull this with your kids.”
“It’s bad enough that he does it to you, but you’re an adult and can rationalize what’s happening. Your kids can’t and believe me when I tell you that behavior can f**k you up well into adulthood.” – SpookyScarySteph
Some also recommended what the OP could get her man for his birthday.
“NTA. For his birthday may I recommend a basic book of manners and nothing else.” – deco9676
“For his birthday, I recommend divorce papers. Life’s too short to waste your time on someone who can’t be bothered to treat you to things you enjoy (even if they don’t) and then punish you with silence (for what? I don’t even know) on your birthday.”
“What a tool. How has this marriage lasted this long? What a selfish a-hole.” – NoBat7364
“There is a book called ‘The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Modern Manners’ OP can buy him.” – karaage_for_life
“Idk (I don’t know), I’d recommend a divorce lawyer. I’d rather be happy by myself than with someone who gives me the silent treatment as a punishment for taking him out to eat.” – Armored_Butterfly
The subReddit completely understood the OP’s mixed feelings after her birthday.
While it’s understandable that a person may not want to “waste” money on eating out, the meal was gifted, and the meal was for a special someone’s birthday. It seems like this situation could have been handled better all-around.