I have communicated my expectations of a relationship with him and he agreed that we should make more time for each other. This past weekend he made an effort to book some days off for us to spend together. When we first, met I told him birthdays are very important to me. On my birthday yesterday he was the first one to send a text, and he called me in the morning. He asked what my plans were and I told him I would be having a massage from 10 to 12. Since my birthday was on a weekday, I expected him to plan something for after he gets off work. But he didn’t. I cannot be alone on my special day. Last year I made a decision to leave my then-new boyfriend because he also stood me up on my birthday.
I wonder why I attract people who will not go out of their way to make me happy. I am tired of rejecting people, but I also know I will be more miserable if I do not. I am not an extravagant person; having him around to spend time with me would have been enough and made me happy. I sometimes wonder if love just isn’t for me… Please tell me if I am being unreasonable. — Tired of Being Stood Up on My Special day
You’re being unreasonable. You barely know this guy. You’ve been out three times and you expected him to plan a birthday surprise for you? That’s not the way it works. What would have been more reasonable is if you planned something — like, with other friends you hopefully have in your life–and invited him to join you to celebrate. Leaving your entire birthday celebration up to him — someone you’ve gone on three dates with — is unreasonable… and, frankly, sad. You’re 31. Have you never organized something for your birthday? Have you never invited a few friends to join you for drinks or a bite to eat? That’s what a grown-up who doesn’t want to be alone on her “special day” does. And maybe if you’re in a more serious relationship, you tell your significant other what you might like to do on your birthday and let him plan the details. But you sure as shit don’t leave the details up to someone you hardly know, who hasn’t expressed any interest in planning something for you and probably has no idea such a thing would be expected of him so soon after starting to date.
Rejecting someone because your very unreasonable expectations weren’t met and justifying that by arguing how “miserable” you’d be if you didn’t reject him and then declaring that maybe love isn’t for you is so overwrought and bizarre that I urge you to check yourself, get a grip, and grow up. As people age, their lives become fuller and busier. I really don’t think that seeing someone whom you’ve just started dating “only” three times in one month is that infrequent. And if he’s requested days off to spend time with you and texted and called you first thing on your birthday, it sounds like he’s interested and trying to make some effort. Maybe you’re looking for excuses to avoid a relationship. Maybe the idea of being rejected is so hard to handle that you do the rejecting first before you get your heart broken.
You need to be honest with yourself, and if you aren’t ready to date, then don’t. But don’t convince yourself you’re being “selective” by rejecting anyone who doesn’t kiss the ground you walk on the second you enter his life. You can have love, and you can have a healthy and happy relationship… but not by acting the way you have been. Set realistic expectations, communicate your expectations, and be understanding when life’s demands and obligations compete for a loved one’s time and attention, and then you’ll be in a much better position to have the love you say you want.
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.