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Ask Aunty Pam

Dear Aunty Pam,

I’ve got a conundrum!

I’ve been seeing ‘Jim’ for about two months now and so far, so good. Nice guy, quiet, good natured, very even keeled. The problem is that he has a birthday coming up in 2 weeks and when I asked him what he might like to do, he replied, “I don’t do birthdays.” He says his family never did that much around birthdays growing up and to him, it’s “just another trip around the sun.” I find that a little sad, but if that’s the way he feels, so be it. The bigger problem is that my birthday is exactly one week later, and I LOVE birthdays. I’m probably the only female who doesn’t mind getting older and I’m like a kid about my birthday, I look forward to it, love birthday cake, going out, the whole 9 yards.
Jim knows my birthday is right after his but he hasn’t said anything about it. He hasn’t asked if I’d like to go out somewhere, or do something and I’m not sure how I feel about that. Part of me is kind of hurt. In the meantime, one of my dearest friends has asked if she can make me a birthday dinner (we’re wary of going out with the virus) and I haven’t yet accepted because I’ve been sort of hoping Jim would say something. What do you think I should do? Say yes to my friend or wait and see if Jim comes up with anything? And do you think this is a warning sign that Jim might not be the right guy for me, or am I making this too big a deal?
Birthday Blues

Dear BB,

My word, this one is a two Prosecco problem…
I’m sort of glad you asked that final question because I must say, rather like the heady nectar now pleasantly buzzing around Aunty Pam’s grey matter, that musing did occur to me.

The way I see it, BB, is that no one can accuse Jim of being anything other than truthful. He’s told you he doesn’t do birthdays and clearly they weren’t a big part of his upbringing. I agree, that’s quite sad, but you’ve only known him a couple of months and as time goes by he might divulge more of his childhood to you that would explain why this was the case. Poverty? Single parent household? Apathetic parents? Abuse? All we know is the pleasure of birthdays is foreign to him and it may well be that neither is he comfortable partaking in them for other people. That includes you.
So now we come to you, Birthday Girl. You’ve let me know two things: that you LOVE birthdays and the fact that Jim hasn’t even mentioned your birthday has left you feeling hurt. Is this a warning that he’s not the guy for you, you ask? Wellllll, I’m not saying there’s enough red flags to sew yourself a quilt, but if you and Jim continue onward you need to realize this date will rear its head once a year in a hurtful manner. It will be unfair to gripe about it in the future if you go into this relationship with eyes wide open. So if you can deal with that, have at it.
But wait…there’s more: I’m going to pretend I’m a therapist and lob this ball at you to run down as well: If Jim’s background left him avoiding birthday celebrations, Aunty Pam is going to speculate that this won’t be the only issue you might run into. The childhoods that mold us into who we are generally don’t turn out just one quirk. I mean, sure, there’s every chance that Jim is a fully functioning, emotionally healthy and caring guy who simply doesn’t partake in birthday celebrations…yeah, I don’t think so, either. Have a lovely dinner with your girlfriend, instead.
Cheers, dear!

Aunty Pam