When an introvert and an extrovert decide to get married, it’s a happy occasion, but those looking on might wonder if things will all be unicorns and rainbows behind-the-scenes.
How the couple handles events, for example, could prove to be a point of tension in the long-term, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor vinfox felt that he made it clear that he wanted a quiet and relaxed day for his birthday this year, complete with just him and his wife spending time together.
Feeling like he had been clear about what he wanted, the Original Poster (OP) was surprised when his extroverted wife later organized for him exactly the opposite of what he had asked for.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for making my wife cry because she threw my birthday party wrong?”
The OP was clear with his wife about what he wanted for his birthday.
“My wife is a lovely person whom I love very much and we have a strong relationship. She is, however, agreed by all parties, very emotional and prone to tears. That’s fine, I knew what I was signing up for, it’s just relevant context.”
“Recently, I had a birthday. My wife asked what I wanted to do for it. I said that I would really like to just have a quiet day, mostly at home: wake up late, have coffee, play some video games, and the two of us could go for dinner.”
“If we needed to do anything else, we could get a massage. She tends to prefer parties and big events, while I like to relax. If she just got dinner reservations somewhere lowkey and, maybe even wore something sexy, that would be perfect. I wouldn’t want anything else.”
He was surprised when his wife told him what they’d be doing.
“That can be hard for her to understand, I think, because it’s so different from her preferences, so she set up a big party. She told me the morning of that she had invited some people over to celebrate.”
“I said, ‘Oh, okay, that’s not what I was expecting, who is coming?'”
“I think she could tell that I was a little disappointed, because she started to get kind of defensive, saying it’s just a few of our friends and they want to be with me on my birthday, etc.”
“And that’s fine, it’s not a big deal, it isn’t like I hate parties or our friends, so I said okay, and we went about the day.”
His wife was upset when he wasn’t as excited about it as she was.
“Some friends and a couple of family members started arriving around noon and people stayed until about 6:00 PM.”
“It was nice to see people, no major issues, just not what I would have chosen for a big day off type of thing. I tend to like to relax and reenergize on weekends and find events like that when I’m the center of attention draining.”
“My wife seemed a little on edge, though, and that night while we were cleaning up, she asked how my birthday was.”
“I said it was pretty good with a little bit of a shrug. Admittedly, that wasn’t the most effusive praise, but I don’t like to be dishonest. It was fine but not spectacular.”
“She got really upset and burst into tears, telling me she had worked hard on it, and it’s so challenging when I won’t participate or tell her what I want.”
“I said that it’s okay, it’s not a big deal or worth being so upset over, and I appreciated the effort she went to and it was nice to see people, but I felt like I had been pretty clear about what my preference would have been and it seemed like she didn’t listen to me.”
“That made her even more upset, and she said she couldn’t believe she did so much for me, and instead of thanking her, I made her cry (though I had thanked her earlier in the day).”
The OP felt conflicted.
“The conversation didn’t make much progress from there that night, but it still feels like a sore spot for us. She has been annoyed with me the past few days for ‘ruining’ my birthday.”
“I don’t want to be ungrateful but don’t really feel like I should be apologizing here. Am I just being stubborn?”
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 reassured the OP he was not wrong to want what he wanted.
“Sounds like you were very clear with what you wanted and your wife just ignored it.”
“I would reiterate to her what you said here, it’s not that you don’t appreciate her but you explicitly told her you wanted X and she gave you Y. Perhaps some couples therapy would be useful since it sounds like this comes up often.”
“NTA and happy birthday!” – Internal-Bowl-3956
“As someone who cries easily, I hate it when people say any time a woman cries, she’s being manipulative. That being said, your wife sounds extremely manipulative.”
“First, you DID tell her what you wanted. In quite a lot of detail.”
“Second, you didn’t make her cry. She did that on her own. If the issue is truly that she cries easily, she should be mature enough not to blame others for that. (Let’s not forget that the reason for her crying is you not thanking her enough for disregarding your wishes.)”
“Third, she’s the one who made the mistake, but you’re the one getting punished? Yeah, she can get out of here with that mess.”
“NTA.” – thecatinthemask
“NTA. Your wife made your birthday about her. You told her, clearly, what you wanted. She chose to do what she wanted and was then upset because you didn’t like it. She sounds exhausting.” – WingShooter_28ga
“You said, ‘She got really upset and burst into tears, telling me it’s she had worked hard on it and it’s so challenging when I won’t participate or tell her what I want.'”
“But you told her exactly what you wanted and she refused to listen and did the complete opposite. That’s on her, not you.”
“Maybe she’ll remember this for next time.” – CrystalQueen3000
“NTA, you did clearly say what you wanted, she did not listen. You were not nasty about it either, just sincere.”
“I hate it when someone wants to be praised for something that was unasked for. I think you have nothing to apologize for.” – Prangelina
A few pointed out the OP was the AH, simply because he knew who he was marrying.
“When he wasn’t effusive enough, she guilted him by bursting into tears. Full-fledged manipulation! But then again, he likes that. He knew what he was getting into.”
“So, yeah, he’s the a**hole since she was only fulfilling her part of the relationship bargain, creating scenarios so she can cry, just for him. Happy Birthday, Bro! You’re not very appreciative of all the work she did to sob just for you. It was just the way you like it. YTA.” – Fit-Elephant-4900
“YTA. Suck it up, mate. She tried to do something nice for you because she loves you, you know she is ‘prone to tears,’ but you had to have a crack at her anyway. Maybe she should have ‘listened,’ but your hermit preferences might be a problem for her, too. If you want to stay married, you’re both gonna have to communicate better.” – New-Faithlessness524
“YTA (minor) for your response, but she was wrong to not listen to you. In my experience, people who throw you a party do so as an expression of love. If that’s how you express love, it’s hard to feel like you are communicating how much you appreciate someone when you do very little special for them on a day that’s supposed to be their special day.”
“You’re married, so this can’t have come as a surprise. You need to have an idea of how you’re going to navigate this situation. You don’t s**t on it while the cake is still fresh.”
“Maybe you could have tried to say something that acknowledged her hard work and how you appreciate her. You’re not lying to her by saying you liked it, you’re displaying your appreciation for her (which I would hope isn’t a lie, otherwise you have way bigger problems down the road than an unwanted party), and you have a whole year to drive home that you don’t want to do s**t on your birthday but relax and get dinner.”
“She did disregard your wants in order to fulfill her own, but it was at least an act of affection. Tell her you appreciate her, you could have handled it better, you love her and you’re sorry for being rude.” – Bombocat
“Look, this seems to be a case of ESH. Your wife sucks for the reasons already spoken of by countless other comments; she doesn’t get to hold it against you that you didn’t like your birthday celebrations.”
“But, and I say this as a fellow introvert who has incredible difficulties reading social cues, sadly you will get comments from friends and family for celebrating your birthday like it’s just a lazy Sunday with a little bit of frills at the end. Or rather, your wife receives the comments. No one will tell the birthday boy that his idea of a good time is boring. (Again, I’m saying this as someone who has the same idea of a good time!)”
“Your wife didn’t throw this party for herself like a lot of other people think: if she did, she wouldn’t have asked you about your thoughts. Instead, I believe she threw the party because it is The Socially Accepted Thing To Do. And she kept it as low-key as she could (some friends and a couple of relatives). But again, when you’re not into it, you’re not going to hear the comments about it, your wife is.”
“She was probably rightfully frustrated, and she is wrong for taking it out on you, but next year, tell her that you want any celebration for family and friends on an evening before your actual birthday and lasting no longer than a couple of hours so that you can celebrate your birthday on the day itself the way you want to, and tell her that if she plans anything on the day itself, you’ll not attend it.”
“It’ll take the pressure off her to please others who want to make a big deal about it, it’ll prepare you for the socializing, and it’ll keep your birthday free of social engagements. And if she really was malicious with her birthday party, at least you warned her that you wouldn’t be doing it again next year.” – unofficialShadeDueli
“ESH. Your wife for clearly not respecting your wishes when you had made it abundantly clear what your ideal day would be, and you for being cold towards her when you know deep down there were other ways you could’ve communicated your disappointment without a fight ensuing.”
“I won’t go as far as some commenters to say that your wife was being manipulative, but as someone who does react that way too (easily crying), I hope I can provide some hopefully unnecessary context: I hate when that’s thrown in my face.”
“I promise you, I can’t control it, and it’s likely neither can she. Let me guess: she also cries at the drop of a hat when she’s happy? Or frustrated? Or she saw a cute dog? Because, same.”
“It’s not intentional, and it’s never seen as a tactic to manipulate. The tears just flow. I was recently watching ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ and cried every time someone got married. I promise it wasn’t to manipulate the pillow I was hugging.”
“Ultimately, you know her and your marriage better than we do, so only you can decide what the next course of action is: either you stand your ground on this and fight about it for a few more days until someone eventually caves, or you talk it out for the next few days until a compromise is reached. Or you get divorced. This is Reddit and I’m disappointed no one has suggested that option yet.” – DarDarBinks98
The OP’s fellow Redditors could understand why the OP was upset by receiving a birthday celebration that was the opposite of what he wanted. Hopefully, the couple would be able to work this out, so they both could get the birthday celebrations they wanted on their own special days.