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Shortcuts: “I Fell In Love with a Teenager!”

It’s time again for Shortcuts. For every question, I’ll give my advice in just a few sentences, because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great, being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go.

From the forums:

Over summer vacation I met this guy and we started talking. We had a lot in common and, once vacation was over, we still continued to talk and text since we live in different states. We became friends, but before too long we both felt something more and started a long distance relationship. We we both fell head over heels for each other and then the unthinkable happened: I found out his age and can’t believe I fell in love with a sixteen-year-old! I’m twenty-four and don’t know what to do. My feelings are very strong for him and I want to stay with him. Am I wrong for that? — In Love with a Teen

 
Yes, he’s a child. MOA. Find someone age-appropriate who, preferably, lives in your own state. Go on a date some place where an ID may be required — like a wine bar — to weed out any teens.

I’m stuck between my current boyfriend Zach, my ex Brad, and my other ex Ty. I’m so confused about who I wanna be with. Zach is a rich boy who is super sweet but there’s no spark. Brad is a boy I dumped because I thought he was cheating on me when he wasn’t. I really liked him, the relationship was great, we had a house and he was a firefighter and he truly loved me, but then there was Ty. I was seriously in love with him and it was like the kinda country boy relationship every girl dreams of, but he suddenly broke up with me because he said he was scared to fall in love. Ty is amazing, but I just can’t forgive him for what he did. He always says he loves me, but I feel like he’s using me because he’s always texting other girls and trying to get with them too. I’m 18 and I don’t know what my heart wants and I need unbiased advice please. I’m trying to not break anybody’s heart. — Three’s a Crowd

 
So… Zach you have no spark with, and Ty you can’t forgive (plus, he’s always trying to get with other girls anyway). I’d tell you to stick with Brad because “the relationship was great” and you have nothing bad to say about him, but you dumped him and seem more into Ty anyway. So, I say go for Ty. If nothing else, being with someone who doesn’t give you the love you want might make you appreciate a solid guy like Brad in the future, when you’re older and more mature and better prepared for an adult relationship.

My 40th birthday is next Friday. When it’s my husband’s birthday, I always ask him what he would like to do and I meet his wishes. But for my birthday, he has decided to invite my in-laws to our home for the whole weekend and to attend a “ball” on Saturday night (the ball is a fundraiser for his high school alma mater; he is constantly attending meetings and gives $3,000-$4,000 to this high school). He is fully aware of the day of my birthday and knows that it is my 40th. Is it strange that he makes other plans suiting his needs for my birthday? — Unhappy Birthday Girl

 
He sounds like a jerk, but you’re the one letting him get away with behaving that way. Just because YOU are thoughtful enough to ask what he wants to do for HIS birthday obviously doesn’t mean he will return the favor. You need to speak up and say, “Hey, my birthday is next week, and it’s a milestone one and I want to do something special. With you. And, no, a fundraiser for your old high school doesn’t count.” Tell him you want Friday night to be a special night for YOU (no in-laws) and if it’s too late to make next weekend about you and your birthday, tell him you’ll accept something special the next weekend.

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

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{ 84 comments… add one }

avatar Morgan January 10, 2014, 9:15 am

LW1: Dunno what the age of consent is in your state, but if it’s 18 rather than 16 I really hope you haven’t exchanged pictures. MOA. He’s 16. Two totally different life stages. Plus, you know, the whole not yet a fully formed and matured human being thing.

LW2: If you are choosing between boys, the answer is no boys. Let Zach go because the heart wants what the heart wants, even if he’s the best option of the bunch. You’re 18. Be single for a while, and maybe date a few guys casually (not ones you have this history with, because, guys you have history with are never casual) until you figure out what you want and need from a relationship. End your current relationship but don’t immediately start a new one.

LW3: WWS. You need to let him know that ignoring your birthday for his convenience is not acceptable. Hell, maybe he thinks those would be things you’d find fun on your birthday (because they’re things he’d enjoy on his, maybe?). You need to tell him that these plans are not your idea of a fun birthday.

avatar lemongrass January 10, 2014, 9:21 am

1. No
2. None
3. Communicate

Boom.

Red_Lady Red_Lady January 10, 2014, 3:19 pm

Now that’s short!

Lindsay Lindsay January 10, 2014, 9:25 am

LW1: That’s creepy. If you’re a woman, then I assume you would find it gross if a 24-year-old man was going after a 16-year-old girl. Fun fact: It’s as inappropriate for anybody.

LW2: I second the advice that if you have to choose, you should choose none of them. Wouldn’t you rather be with someone that you actually knew you wanted to be with, rather than the guy you came up with after the process of elimination?

LW3: Getting mad at someone because they haven’t guessed what you want them to do for your birthday doesn’t make sense to me. People tend to place a lot of weight on others being able to figure stuff like that out on their own, but honestly, picking up on hints or assumptions is much less crucial to a healthy relationship than communication. So, just tell him that you’d like to decide what to do on your birthday and be vocal about letting him know each year.

GatorGirl GatorGirl January 10, 2014, 9:40 am

LW2 all I could think was that you should have a show on MTV or the like because dramadramadrama. Not a good sign…

avatar lets_be_honest January 10, 2014, 9:46 am

Aside from the obvious, how do you get into a relationship with someone without knowing how old they are?!

Stonegypsy Stonegypsy January 10, 2014, 9:54 am

Oh good, I wasn’t the only one wondering that!

avatar Shadowflash January 10, 2014, 10:35 am

Seriously! The kid has to still be in school–didn’t things like “the cafeteria” and “class” and “high school” come up in conversation!? There’s no way it didn’t unless he *deliberately* went out of his way to hide it.

avatar Kelly L. January 10, 2014, 11:28 am

I guess he might have said “class” and such and she thought he was in college? Otherwise I got nuthin’.

bagge72 bagge72 January 10, 2014, 10:44 am

Monica didn’t know.

avatar bethany January 10, 2014, 11:06 am

Bagge wins DW today.

avatar Daisy January 11, 2014, 11:09 am

Yeah, he was a senior!

avatar iseeshiny January 10, 2014, 9:49 am

There are words for 24 year olds who date 16 year olds. None of them are very nice, and for good reason.

Stonegypsy Stonegypsy January 10, 2014, 9:58 am

LW1: How did you get this far in without knowing he was 16? You are 8 years older than him. Which is, coincidentally, half his age. Really think about that, and then MOA

LW2: You’re 18, that’s pretty young, still. Why not just be single for awhile? Date around, meet new people, don’t get into anything serious. Or, don’t date at all and just enjoy being single for awhile. None of these guys is right for you.

LW3: I dunno… talk to him? I always just tell my husband what I want to do for my birthday, like 3 weeks in advance. He doesn’t really think about that sort of thing.

bagge72 bagge72 January 10, 2014, 10:03 am

LW1: Ask him to erase those naked pictures you sent him, and you do the same, because you will go to jail for it, and you know you did send some, what 16 year old wouldn’t ask for them, and he will brag and show them to everyone until you get caught.

LW2: You’re 18 and already had a house with somebody, and have 3 boyfriends in such close proximity to each other? You need to slow down, or just get pregnant with Ty. BTW you sound very down to earth…

LW3: He’s throwing you a surprise party that he wanted his parents to be involved in, and the ball is just a cover for that, and it is working, because you are going to be so surprised, and happy.

Cassie Cassie B. January 10, 2014, 1:07 pm

I thought the same thing for LW2… how is it possible to be only 18 and have had a serious enough and long enough relationship with someone to have lived with him, and he’s not even the current guy?! LW2, you need to just not hop into other relationships or date anyone for a while (6 months to a year, minimum). Learn to be okay just being by yourself.

avatar Steph January 10, 2014, 2:49 pm

OMG. Completely agree!. I think I’m just afraid she won’t understand that Wendy is being sarcastic and actually go with Ty. As soon as I read a letter and the LW describes a problem with a “boy”, my brain automatically shuts down.

avatar jlyfsh January 10, 2014, 10:07 am

Where did you meet this guy on summer vacation? I have so many questions. Like is he old enough to drive? Did you discuss where you were ‘staying’ while on vacation. Did he have a curfew? It just seems so strange. Like when I think of a 16 year old on vacation, I can’t imagine them having that much freedom to fall in love with a 24 year old. Like did he ask his parents to borrow their car to take her out? Obviously I’m projecting my own experiences with family vacations here! I’m just so confused. And yes it’s wrong to stay with a 16 year old.

And yeah adults have to learn that if they want to celebrate their birthday they have to speak up. Getting mad at him for not reading your mind is not fair.

avatar lets_be_honest January 10, 2014, 10:13 am

Summer vacation a/k/a summer camp…

avatar Banana January 10, 2014, 1:07 pm

Maybe they met when she was his camp counselor.

avatar shanshantastic January 10, 2014, 10:15 am

Can I add “Shortcuts” to my headache journal as a trigger? Seriously, this amount of head-smacking has to be contributing…

LW1: MOA and tread VERY carefully in the future. Don’t talk to this child (yes, CHILD) anymore.

LW2: The only way to win this game is not to play.

LW3: WWS. You have to speak up about what you want, because clearly your communication style and your husband’s differs. Maybe Bagge is right and he’s planning a surprise party, and maybe that would be okay with you but for the cover, which is legitimate but clearly upsetting. And if it isn’t just a cover? Make your wishes known and then once your birthday is over and there’s nothing else going on you need to sit down and have a real conversation about how you want to handle special occasions going forward.

avatar lets_be_honest January 10, 2014, 10:19 am

Things that usually happen to people who want the perfect birthday without telling anyone what that entails:
1. Disappointment on your birthday.
2. There is no 2.

GatorGirl GatorGirl January 10, 2014, 10:25 am

right? That was my biggest question after reading that letter; did you TELL your husband your disappointed or just write to DW? Because he isn’t a mind reader. He doesn’t just intrinsically know you want XYZ for your birthday. So, speak woman!

Also, birthdays are lame. IMO of course.

avatar lets_be_honest January 10, 2014, 10:33 am

Well, we all know you are wrong about birthdays being lame, so I won’t even address that…

But yea, just say how excited you are for it and what you want to do since its “your day.” Its really that easy. I only think people are jerks when they totally forget the birthday or are told what the birthday guy/girl wants to do and doesn’t do it. I LOVE birthdays, but I still have to actually say what I want to do for them to make them good. Plus, who wants to end up disappointed on their birthday?!

avatar spaceysteph January 11, 2014, 10:24 am

I’m with you on this GG. I don’t understand why grown ass adults are so into their birthdays. Its just not a big deal.

For my birthday I expect: my husband and parents and a couple close friends to remember it, my husband to take me out to dinner (on the date or on a reasonably close approximation if the date is inconvenient) or at least cook it/clean up after it for me if we stay in.
I’ve never once been disappointed by my birthday. Low expectations, the key to happiness.

Lindsay Lindsay January 10, 2014, 1:02 pm

Yep! I used to get sad because my friends would have friends throw them awesome birthday parties, and then I realized, hmm, why don’t I throw MYSELF a birthday party? Then, I did, and had an awesome time.

Roxy_84 Roxy_84 January 10, 2014, 2:36 pm

Agree! I had a perfect birthday last year…because I threw it myself!

othy othy January 10, 2014, 10:24 am

LW2 – If someone tells you they are ‘scared to fall in love’ but then breaks up with you and texts other girls to try and hook up with them, he’s not ‘scared to fall in love’. He’s scared *you* will fall in love with him, and that you will expect things like a committed relationship and monogamy. And then he won’t be able to pursue other girls.

avatar Shadowflash January 10, 2014, 10:30 am

LW1: This will probably be a controversial opinion, but: no, I don’t think you’re wrong for *feeling* this way. To quote another poster, “the heart wants what the heart wants.” Feelings, generally, aren’t “wrong”, because wrong implies that you could control them and make them “right” and you can’t. That said, FEELING AND DOING ARE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS!!! Often, the difference between a healthy person and an unhealthy person is self-control. Rein in the wayward Juliet thoughts and let the jailbait go.

LW2: What is this, a soap opera? Frankly, I can’t believe you’re a) even considering leading Zach on, b) even considering leading Brad on, and/or c) even considering ditching two perfectly good men for an irresponsible boy. I agree with the others: MOA from all of them. No hearts will be broken that weren’t already there.

LW3: Unless people develop psychic powers as soon as they tie the knot, there’s no reason to believe your husband knows exactly what you want. Also, reciprocity just for its own sake (“I always bend over backwards to accommodate him, why doesn’t he do the same for me?”) is a poor way to conduct relationships. People show love in different ways. Ergo: TALK TO HIM.

avatar iseeshiny January 10, 2014, 10:55 am

Totally with you on emotions vs. actions.

avatar mmcg January 10, 2014, 12:47 pm

I’m trying to be generous on the feelings versus acting piece… but the fact that she didnt immediately recoil in disgust and basically asked Wendy whether or not she could still pursue him is where I exit that train.

avatar iseeshiny January 10, 2014, 2:40 pm

Yeah, it’s pretty icky. No argument there.

Cassie Cassie B. January 10, 2014, 1:12 pm

Mr. B and I have been working on our psychic couple powers for a few years now. I hope he senses how disappointed I am with how it’s going.

avatar Miss MJ January 10, 2014, 10:42 am

LW 1: Go for it. True love is worth jail time and the lifetime label of sex offender, amirite? No, seriously, quit Letourneauoing this thing and MOA immediately and do not contact this guy ever again. This isn’t the beginning of a love story for the ages.

LW2: You’re 18. Date all three of them. Date none of them. Date other people. Date no one. Do all do the above repeatedly until you find someone that doesn’t make you wonder if you would rather be dating one or two other people. You obviously aren’t ready for and don’t want a real serious relationship. So don’t have one. It’s okay to not have one serious boyfriend. Really. I promise.

LW3: You could do what everyone else has suggested and just tell your husband that while you’re glad he’s got lots of school spirit, you’d prefer to spend your 40th birthday celebrating something other than his high school glory days. Or, and I’m only half kidding, go to the fundraiser, and when someone starts thanking folks for coming or making other announcements, go up, grab the microphone, and, with a tear in your eye, thank your husband for throwing you such an amazing 40th birthday party, say how you can’t believe everyone came out just to celebrate with you, and if there is a raffle or silent auction or the like, be sure to thank everyone for all the lovely birthday gifts before walking out with the most expensive item.

avatar bethany January 10, 2014, 11:09 am

Your response to #3 is one of my favorite things ever.

Jess Jess January 10, 2014, 11:11 am

I agree with Bethany. LOVE the idea for LW3.

avatar ktfran January 10, 2014, 11:47 am

I concur as well. I’m smiling just thinking about it.

Jess Jess January 10, 2014, 11:10 am

The 3rd letter brings up a question for me. How do you all feel about hosting/planning your own birthday gathering? Like, is that “gauche” or unclassy?

I usually plan my own thing because its an excuse to get people together and because I don’t want to burden anyone else with planning something so unimportant (I’m not talking about the big milestone birthdays, just the little ones). This is usually about 8 of my closest friends to meet up at a bar/restaurant where people can have a full meal or just drinks. And I always stress no gifts.

I don’t know but it just seems to me that it would be a heck of a lot easier to say, “I want a party so I will plan a party” and then get exactly what you want with the people that you want RATHER than wait around for someone else to do it or to try to control things behind the scenes.

Just my 2 cents.

avatar gwensoul January 10, 2014, 11:13 am

I don’t think there is anything wrong unless you are expecting gifts or doing something really extravagant. A dinner out or house party no big deal (at least I hope not since I do that too!)

avatar iseeshiny January 10, 2014, 11:18 am

I think it depends on whatever your circle of friends generally tends to do. When I was in college, our group of friends got together and planned something for the birthday person, like with a cake and everything. In my current group of friends, it’s just accepted that we all meet up for drinks on birthdays, generally at one of the same three places.

Personally I think you have picked the best stress-free, drama-free way to go about it.

avatar lets_be_honest January 10, 2014, 11:21 am

My friends will plan their own things, usually something like you are describing. No one does gifts really, unless its a big birthday. I think its fine.

GatorGirl GatorGirl January 10, 2014, 11:24 am

I personally don’t see anything wrong with this approach. We typically do a FB group message that says something like “Friday at 8 we’ll be hitting up the beer bar for drinks in honor of GGuy’s birthday. All are welcome to join!” We don’t usually go the party party route- like cake and streamers and such, but I also don’t think that route is *wrong* either (to self host)…as a grown up the expectation for presents is so low.

avatar lets_be_honest January 10, 2014, 11:32 am

Right? Adults don’t usually feel like they HAVE to give gifts to friends or that they expect gifts, unless its like a big party for a big birthday. I’ve never felt obligated to bring a gift to a birthday dinner, but we usually do split the cost of the birthday boy’s bill.

GatorGirl GatorGirl January 10, 2014, 11:36 am

Yeah we usually split the cost of the birthday-er. I’d probably give a gift if an invitation was mailed to me and it was a truly hosted event (like they paid for dinner and/or drinks) but other wise we usually just buy the birthday person a drink and call it a day. It’s more about getting together than the money spent, IMO.

mandalee mandalee January 10, 2014, 1:41 pm

See, I feel like *most* adults I know don’t have to give gifts, but in my newly made circle of friends- birthday gifts are a given and expected, which is a first for me. I attended one friend’s birthday after knowing her 6 months and there was a pile of birthday presents on a table at her party (at an ice rink, but that’s another story) and I felt like an ass for showing up with nothing. The last time I bought someone a present was in junior high maybe, besides my absolute best friends/parents. So, I think some groups of adults do actually expect gifts for birthdays, and unfortunately, these people are my friends. lol They are amazing beside that, but giving gifts to adults for insignificant birthdays annoys me for some reason.

avatar lets_be_honest January 10, 2014, 1:44 pm

Haha, at an ice rink too? Did they serve fruit punch also?

That’s pretty awkward, but I would’ve been in the same boat. How much do they spend on each other? I hope its at least little gifts like candles or something.

mandalee mandalee January 10, 2014, 2:26 pm

Yes at an ice rink and this year it’s a trampoline park I think? No fruit punch but there was some hot chocolate haha Definitely re-creating a childhood they never had maybe? who knows.

It was super awkward and it probably ranged from $15-40 gifts, that were opened at the party, bridal shower style, while I sat there feeling annoyed and embarrassed. Also, said friend is a terrible gift giver, which makes buying her a present all the more frustrating. Like, how about we both keep our money and just buy you a birthday drink and you can not give me a shot glass game I have no use for when mine rolls around?

avatar lets_be_honest January 10, 2014, 2:31 pm

I feel like this is what regifted was invented for and it sounds like she needs a shot glass game on her next birthday.
So strange!

avatar NavyWife January 10, 2014, 3:05 pm

Too funny! An ice rink?!! Your story reminds me of a party my friend was invited to…a combination birthday/watch-the-royal-wedding gathering. My friend didn’t know the hostess super well, but was new to the church and decided it was a good opportunity to meet some new people. As it turned out, the party was held at the birthday girl’s PARENTS’ home (and her parents were there!) and activities included some arts and crafts (one was making fascinators, like British women wear) and talking about American Girl dolls. My friend made a joke about the dolls and got the side-eye from the other guests (they were later taken on a tour of the birthday girl’s room to see her American Girl stuff). There was no booze, and my friend was generally horrified and made up an excuse to leave shortly after dinner (that her parents cooked). She said it was like parties she attended in 5th grade (and we are closing in on 30).

avatar lets_be_honest January 10, 2014, 3:07 pm

These stories are hysterical. I think we should all throw ourselves parties like this next year just to make our friends super uncomfortable.

mandalee mandalee January 10, 2014, 3:17 pm

LOL talking about American Girl Dolls and arts and crafts! I would have died. With some alcohol, I could have made it through that, but a dry, weird birthday party? No thanks.

Yes, LBH, I almost want to have a ridiculous birthday party next year that is so out there and requires gifts that everyone decides we’re over birthdays and the madness ends.

Jess Jess January 10, 2014, 2:32 pm

Yeah it does vary. I tend to give and receive gifts with my very closest friends. We usually do something that’s like $20-$25 dollars (often a gift card). Sometime for fun, we give the gift card in the amount of our age –which is kind of fun. It’s also fun to ask the cashier to put your card in the amount of $32 dollars or whatever the age is. haha

avatar lemongrass January 10, 2014, 11:25 am

My friends don’t do anything for birthdays. I haven’t had a bday party since I was 16! I don’t think there is anything wrong with throwing yourself a party though. I’m planning on a surprise one for Mr. G’s 30th next year.

avatar lets_be_honest January 10, 2014, 11:32 am

I had a surprise 30th and it was AWESOME. One of the best nights ever. Mr. G will probably love that.

CatsMeow CatsMeow January 10, 2014, 11:33 am

I usually plan my own!…no gifts, obviously. Last year I did a Facebook invite that just said, I’ll be here at this time, come join me for birthday drinks. For my 30th, I did something slightly more “extravagant” – but my guests got free entry into the bar and drink tickets on me. I just like having an excuse to get everyone together!

My birthday is Monday. I don’t think I’m doing anything special this year, though. I’m going out to dinner with my family tomorrow, having a “karaoke party” at my friend’s house either tonight or tomorrow with maybe 3 friends…and next weekend a “slumber party” with 2 of my girl friends. I had to split it up between Springfield and St. Louis, ha.

avatar ktfran January 10, 2014, 11:53 am

My birthday is Tuesday. Happy Birthday!!!!!

CatsMeow CatsMeow January 10, 2014, 12:27 pm

Happy birthday to you, too!

avatar bethany January 10, 2014, 11:34 am

As we get older and busier, I think birthdays are a great excuse to get together with your friends. I see nothing wrong with it!

avatar ktfran January 10, 2014, 11:52 am

Pretty sure I just planned my birthday party, as I do every year. Well, it’s not really a party, per se, but an outing that just happens to fall the weekend before the big 3-4.

It’s a good excuse to get together and try one of the many new restaurants I’ve been coveting for the past six months. I also don’t expect presents, or anything, at all.

I absolutely LOVE birthday’s. I love my own and I love celebrating others. I like to make a big deal out of them. So, when I do this, I know I’m doing something fun and spending the evening with people I like.

Jess Jess January 10, 2014, 5:16 pm

I’m glad to know that I’m in the norm then! I have friends that do the same but I HAVE heard a few friends mention that they wouldn’t feel comfortable planning their own birthday gathering. Usually the ones that say that are the ones who are married and conveniently have a spouse to delegate to. I’m married now too (6 months and still love to say it!!) but still plan my own bday stuff. Last year I didn’t do anything since I was 3 months away from the wedding and was already embarrassed by the number of events that focused on me.

avatar Banana January 10, 2014, 11:44 am

LW3: maybe he forgot it’s your 40th birthday because you’re acting like a 5-year-old?

Okay, maybe not extreme, but still, what everyone said: talk to him. You’re 40, you should know how to communicate with your husband. Some people just aren’t birthday people, and don’t realize it’s more important to others. And it sounds like his school engagement in general bugs you a little — so freaking talk to him about it.

mylaray mylaray January 10, 2014, 12:15 pm

LW3: Last year for my birthday, my now husband didn’t get me anything for my birthday. He’s not a gift giving person, not into birthdays, etc, and I’m okay wth that, but when his best friend pushed him for not getting me anything, I started to get upset because I felt like there was now this expectation. So then he ended up buying me something but it felt forced and neither of us were happy. I love throwing birthday celebrations (maybe because that’s similar to what I want) but I’ve learned my husband doesn’t want that for his own birthday. And so instead of doing what I want for myself for him, I communicate what I want for my birthday and he communicates what he wants and even though he wouldn’t want a big party, he threw one for me last week for my birthday, knowing that’s what I want. Sometimes we do things for people (like throwing someone else a big party) when in reality, that’s what we want for ourselves, but we never communicate that. So talk to him and tell him what you want.

Cassie Cassie B. January 10, 2014, 1:16 pm

Did you get a mug?

mylaray mylaray January 10, 2014, 2:08 pm

Haha, a mug wouldn’t be so bad!

avatar joanna January 10, 2014, 12:22 pm

LW3, maybe your husband is planning you a surprise party and ya know, actually wants you to be surprised!

avatar Banana January 10, 2014, 12:27 pm

For the record, that’s why I personally hate surprise parties. It’s great for someone who LIKES them, especially if they at least know they’re getting SOME kind of celebration for their birthday, and they just don’t know the details. But in my experience, surprise parties always involve a ton of drama leading up to them in which everyone tries so hard not to give away the surprise that the person being celebrated winds up feeling like everyone forgot her entirely. The only time my friends threw my a surprise birthday, in college, I wound up crying the whole afternoon because I was homesick and no one remembered it was my birthday (and I don’t even CARE that much about birthdays! but even then, it feels bad to feel forgotten entirely), and I was angsty that even my then-boyfriend didn’t seem to care. A friend took me out to coffee, where I told her I was so upset I was considering breaking up with him, and then when we got back to my dorm, everyone — including my bf — was there. She’d taken me to coffee so they could set up the surprise party. I felt like a dick, though my friends did learn that I’m not a surprise party person, after that!

avatar Lucy January 10, 2014, 12:28 pm

Agreed. Surprise parties suck.

GatorGirl GatorGirl January 10, 2014, 12:38 pm

Yeah, surprise parties suck. My BFF’s SIL’s insisted on throwing a surprise bachelorette party and baby shower (two different parties) for my BFF who has said 400 times she does not like surprise parties. Oh, her wedding shower was a surprise too and she was PISSED since she had not showered and was wearing sweatpants when she showed up. So yeah, surprise parties are the worst.

avatar Morgan January 10, 2014, 12:47 pm

Re: surprise parties (if it is a surprise)

My freshman year we planned a surprise party for my roommate, knowing that she generally was a surprise person (threw them all the time, had them before, etc). Didn’t go so well. She sent a super sad text about feeling alone on her birthday and would anyone go to dinner with her. We were stuck so we all went to dinner and then one friend contrived to get her to stop at CVS with her on the way home so the rest of us could run home and set the party up. Turns out th key is to have something smaller planned for the birthday (dinner or lunch with one of the people in on the surprise is a good one) as well as the surprise.

avatar mmcg January 10, 2014, 12:55 pm

Exactly. I’m not a surprise party person at all… but what would make it worse is feeling ignored all day long by close friends and family. You can have a surprise party in the works and still say happy birthday, give a card, whatever… doesn’t ruin the surprise!

avatar lets_be_honest January 10, 2014, 12:56 pm

Perfect! Yea, its cruel to make the person think everyone forgot all day.

avatar Banana January 10, 2014, 1:01 pm

EXACTLY! You can plan a surprise party and keep it a surprise without making someone feel like their birthday was entirely forgotten, leading up to it.

avatar lets_be_honest January 10, 2014, 1:08 pm

My brother actually called me saying he only had a minute because he was at the hospital (across the country) but wanted to wish me a happy birthday. I was glad he even had the time to call. An hour later, all my friends and family (2 sisters who had to travel to come just for the night) surprised me…and then my brother popped out of the bathroom! And inevitably, I’m getting teary remembering it.

meadowphoenix meadowphoenix January 10, 2014, 2:46 pm

Or you don’t actually like parties, and you are extremely introverted, and you’ve let everyone know for weeks when they started acting suspicious that a surprise party would be unwelcome and anxiety filled, and then you feel loan-sharked into being grateful that people threw you a party you didn’t want. Yay!! My 16th birthday!

Lindsay Lindsay January 10, 2014, 5:18 pm

It’s bad enough when people accidentally make someone feel forgotten because of a surprise party, but it’s even worse when people do it on purpose. Like where if they other person is convinced that NO ONE remembered, they seem to think that their surprise was a success. It’s just mean.

avatar Lucy January 10, 2014, 12:27 pm

LW3: I can still (barely) see my 40th birthday in the rearview mirror, so I feel qualified to advise you here.

If you didn’t tell your husband well in advance that you wanted something special done to mark your 40th, then you’re not behaving like a 40 year old adult. You are married to this man. Surely you know by now whether or not he is the kind of guy who will, on his own, go all out to mark your birthday or not. Some people just aren’t like that. I told my husband almost a year in advance what I wanted to do and where I wanted to be for my 40th (Morocco, in a rented house full of our friends). Otherwise I might have gotten a last-minute dinner reservation (love those 6pm seatings). Don’t fight who your husband is, and don’t expect him to change.

LW1: I assume he deliberately concealed his age from you. Something similar actually happened to the daughter of a friend. You’re not wrong for feeling this way (there’s no such thing as a “wrong” feeling), but you would be very, very wrong to act on it. Cut off communication with this child immediately. And if things went any further than they should have before you found out, find a lawyer and put him/her on speed dial.

avatar lets_be_honest January 10, 2014, 12:40 pm

DAMN! Nice 40th birthday! I think I need to rethink what I consider a super fun birthday celebration.

avatar lemongrass January 10, 2014, 12:45 pm

No kidding.

avatar mmcg January 10, 2014, 12:28 pm

I feel dirty just having read 1 and 2… be alone ladies. You clearly need the time

avatar starpattern January 10, 2014, 1:08 pm

Holy crap LW1. Snap out of it. Aside from the fact that wanting to stay with this kid would make you a HUGE creeper, what could you possibly have in common with a 16 year old? When I was 24, I bought a house. When I was 16, I once blew an entire paycheck on Good Charlotte t-shirts.

findingtheearth findingtheearth January 10, 2014, 1:14 pm

LW1 & LW2 – Come on guys, their feelers are important!! Seriously though, LW1- there are some serious consequences that could occur if anything inappropriate happened at all. I also want to know what a 16 year old said and did that made you not realize he wasn’t 16.

LW2 – Spend some time on your own and figure out exactly what you want from life. And then go do that. If you meet a man along the way (or a woman) then bonus points.

LW3: Talk to him. Tell him what you want. WHY IS THIS SO COMPLICATED??

avatar MsMisery January 10, 2014, 1:32 pm

LW2- I say go for the rich guy. I mean, you obviously live in a place like Port Charles or Oakdale so you might as well look nice.

Skyblossom Skyblossom January 10, 2014, 3:18 pm

LW3 I have the sense that you’re saying that instead of celebrating your birthday he has scheduled two other things on your birthday to avoid celebrating it. I’m not sure he intends for you to go to the ball with him, I get the sense that he is planning to go to the ball on his own and he is leaving you at home to entertain his parents. If he is intending for you to go to the ball then go ahead and go with the understanding that the two of you will do what you want to celebrate your birthday the next weekend. Maybe he loves to show you off and can’t wait to be seen with you. If his intent is to leave you at home with his parents while he attends the ball then don’t go along with that plan. Tell him it’s your birthday and you’d love to spend it with him but if he doesn’t want to spend it with you he can stay home with his parents and you’ll go out with friends. I’m wondering if your real question is whether or not your husband is having an affair? You’re wondering if he is making plans to meet up with someone else and leave you at home with his parents. If that is what you’re wondering don’t go along with that plan and try to get the two of you into marriage counseling.

avatar Lucy January 10, 2014, 4:03 pm

It didn’t even occur to me he might be going to the ball on his own! If that’s the case I would make plans to go away with a girlfriend, or ten, for a 40th celebration vacation, and let him manage his parents on his own. And put it on his Mastercard.

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