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Forgiveness is best for disappointment

He forgot their anniversary, but playing the blame game isn’t helpful.

QUESTION:

Could someone please help me understand why when HE forgot a very significant 20th Anniversary and I was, understandably, upset, I was informed that I was 50 per cent to blame for his forgetting in that I did not remind him! Is this his way of making himself feel better to shift half the blame? Or is it simply Men are from Mars…?

ANSWER: 

A partner’s ability to remember birthdays or anniversaries in not an indication of their love or commitment to the relationship. There are many possible reasons for a person overlooking an important date, including work stress, busyness, and worries about health, family relationships or money. Some couples do choose to mention and plan for important dates together before they happen and not wait to see if their partner remembers the date. Alternatively one partner may choose to plan a surprise outing as a demonstration of the value they place on the relationship and not expect anything in return. If a pattern has been established over the years that you each independently remember the anniversary the panel understands your disappointment. Blame is never useful, but in your husband’s defence he may have felt hurt and embarrassed at his oversight, and interpreted your response as “blame” when it was a simple oversight from his perspective. Often when people feel under attack they react defensively. A helpful response is forgiveness when we are disappointed and our expectations aren’t met, and of course an apology from your partner would have been an appropriate response.

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