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Pete256
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12 May 2022, 11:51 am

I've read many online posts from NTs along the lines of "My partner never celebrates my birthday, they don't care about me". One example: How-would-you-feel-if-your-spouse-did-nothing-for-your-birthday (Quora)

The "uncaring" partners are often extremely obviously autistic. The NTs and their sympathisers may or may not be aware of this.

My question is: Has anybody cracked the "NT birthday code"?

I get that birthdays are a way to communicate loving feelings to our partner, and to "forget" them, "avoid" them or otherwise get it "wrong" makes it seem like we're telling them we don't care about their feelings or value them in our life.

But what if that's not true? What if I do care deeply about my partner, and have made efforts many years to celebrate them, but due to a lifetime of failures and a combination of low self-esteem, procrastination, anxiety, etc. ad nauseum. I'd just as rather not attempt to do anything, because that way I can't fail and get my feelings hurt.

Are those all just lame excuses? You bet. Is that selfish of me? Definitely. Am I putting my feelings before theirs. Sadly, yes. If that amounts to "not caring" about my partner then I must admit I'm guilty. But it doesn't feel like that. I feel like I do care about them. I want them to be happy, because that makes .me happy I want to celebrate them and show them how grateful I am that they're in my life.

But how?

P.S. I'm aware the attitude of this post is distinctly putting the blame on my NT partner instead of taking responsibility for my autistic shortcomings. Please disregard that aspect. I need help to overcome my issues, that's what I'm asking for.



kraftiekortie
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12 May 2022, 12:47 pm

I guess what I would do is:

If somebody says what their birthday is, put it in something like "reminders" on your phone.

If you are friends with people on Facebook, Facebook has a program which reminds you when people's birthdays are.



klanka
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12 May 2022, 2:03 pm

If it's only one person that's not too hard. I guess the first thing would be to simply order a cake and see what else has to be done after that.



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12 May 2022, 4:45 pm

kraftiekortie wrote:
I guess what I would do is:

If somebody says what their birthday is, put it in something like "reminders" on your phone.

If you are friends with people on Facebook, Facebook has a program which reminds you when people's birthdays are.

^^^^
This


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techstepgenr8tion
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13 May 2022, 9:49 am

I probably haven't, ie. I'll still wish people close to me a happy birthday, sometimes inconsistently, but I notice that Facebook and other social media really make it difficult - ie. I've got birthday notifications coming in every other day. When it's like that it almost turns to spam and you end up less likely to say anything to anyone.

One thing I did this year on a whim for Easter is bought a bunch of friends rather expensive chocolate gift baskets, or I at least bought one for my parents and myself, one for my dad's niece, one for a close friend of over twenty years and his family, and another for a different friend of over twenty years and his family. My family is difficult to buy gifts for though - my dad doesn't want anything, my mom doesn't want anything, they often still buy me little practical things like socks and I try to think of things I can buy them but most of the time the best I can do is food of some kind, gift cards, etc..

I could be wrong about this but I get the impression that if you don't do anything for a birthday but say you buy a nice gift for Mother's Day or Father's Day or find a different occasion to buy them a gift like Easter or Christmas, and you inconsistently give gifts - that probably undoes a lot of what would otherwise seem maybe a bit cold, unless that is your in a sexual/romantic relationship, that's where I really can't advise you (you could say I've been in relationships for maybe... two or three months out of my entire life).

I know of some people in my family who'll send everyone cards, not just kids but adults as well and kids who've grown up, they tend to be in the over 50 group and I'm still not sure how to understand what drives it other than they want to stay in touch, feel like they have some small amount of excess to give, and their lives may have already slowed down significantly where they aren't hanging on every dollar or every minute to get themselves out from under someone else's thumb financially. That might not always be the case, there might be people under quite difficult circumstances doing this, but it could be as well that the drivers perhaps are even more a sense of urgency in that case to stay in touch with the family.

I get the sense though that the NT world is a rather paranoid place to be, it's often not assumed that if things go quiet that someone just got busy, there are some guy friends who can drift apart for twenty, thirty years, see each other, have a blast, and there's no hard feelings but I also can't help but feel like said guys are also in some sense one foot or at least a few toes onto the spectrum themselves even if there isn't much to that effect that people would call them out on (they might be very type R personalities in the RAISEC sense and not particularly high in neuroticism unless it's swearing at tools in the garage).


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13 May 2022, 9:52 am

There is nothing wrong with throwing your own birthday party, especially when your spouse "forgets" your birthday.



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13 May 2022, 8:50 pm

I forget my own birthday/age half the time.


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13 May 2022, 9:06 pm

I have issues remembering the exact date of birthdays, but I usually tell people "Happy Birthday" and buy/make something small that I think they'd like. People seem to appreciate that enough.


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ThisTimelessMoment
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24 May 2022, 8:47 am

Birthdays arr tricky. I find there tends to be a build up of tangled emotion about an upcoming important birthday that completely pushes me into immobility. When i was 7 or 8 i remember excitedly telling my dad, who had just got home, what we (mother and i) had got him for his birthday. I promptly got the living s**t beaten out of me. I think my feeling about birthdays was not helped much by that.


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03 Jun 2022, 6:48 pm

My husband and I don't bother celebrating each other's birthdays, nor do we give each other anything for Valentine's or Christmas/Chanukah. Some people find this weird, but in my (our) opinion, holidays and gift-giving are for children. We happily pile up presents and bake cakes and so on for the kids. Well, I do. I don't know if any of that would happen without me here!

The important thing is that my husband and I AGREE on this. We both think that buying presents for each other is a waste of money and that birthdays are a reminder that the cold heartless maw of death looms one year closer...

It sounds to me like what you need is to come to an agreement with your spouse that works for both of you. Are you sure your spouse wants to celebrate her birthday in the first place? If so, what sort of celebration does she want? If she says something like, "I want you to be spontaneous and romantic and sweep me off my feet," you may have to respond with something like, "I am not capable of doing that because I am autistic, but I can bake a cake/take you to your favorite restaurant/give a foot massage/something else nice."

Perhaps your wife could make a list of things she likes that would make for good birthday things, like "I like X chocolate brand, pink roses, sappy birthday cards, movies, and Thai food. I hate cake."

I have found thay NTs really value presentation, so ALWAYS WRAP THE PRESENTS. And use real wrapping paper, not the Sunday comics. Get some ribbon or a bow on there, too. If you can't wrap, many stores offer gift-wrapping as a service.

Likewise, it is almost always more important that the cake look nice than it taste nice. Find out if she prefers chocolate or vanilla and just get one with lovely icing flowers at the grocery store and have them pipe on her name.

Do two or three things from her list and make them look nice and you should be set. :D



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03 Jun 2022, 6:57 pm

Pteranomom wrote:
I have found thay NTs really value presentation, so ALWAYS WRAP THE PRESENTS. And use real wrapping paper, not the Sunday comics.


I'm not an NT so that kinda changes things, but it was discovered that I ended up getting absorbed in reading comic strips I liked.
The Gift?
Huh?
:D


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08 Jun 2022, 3:08 pm

Cut through the mights-and-maybes and ask the person what their preferences are. It might seem blunt, but it's one ask for potentially years of being able to deliver what they, specifically, want. And you can pass it off as "everyone likes particular things, and I want to know what means the most to you".



kitesandtrainsandcats
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08 Jun 2022, 3:18 pm

Dial1194 wrote:
Cut through the mights-and-maybes and ask the person what their preferences are. It might seem blunt, but it's one ask for potentially years of being able to deliver what they, specifically, want. And you can pass it off as "everyone likes particular things, and I want to know what means the most to you".


Now that makes sense.


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08 Jun 2022, 7:46 pm

I have a high-functioning autistic son who lives several states away from me. I also have some autistic characteristics, and I HATE having to come up with presents for people because I always am ashamed of the ones I pick (and I don't like people throwing me a party because I might not be in the mood for people stress that day, and you have to stay until everyone else leaves, yuck!)

But back to my son.. he never does anything for my birthday or any other holiday--I may get a text message--and I never really understood. About a year ago I told him that I expected something from him, I think it was a phone call at Christmas. I didn't get it and then he called me, on the phone (rare) and sort of explained it. He feels a lot of pressure and anxiety when he knows he "should" do something like that, and it's to the point that he *can't.*

After he said that I still didn't totally understand, but I know he doesn't lie (not that I know about anyway) and it was a big effort for him to call and try to explain. So I told him I would just let it go, and I did. I try to be a good mother.

Now, after reading the original post, I think maybe he's afraid he'll "do it wrong." It's good to make some progress in understanding. I wish I could tell him that there's no way he could do it wrong, not with me.

Pete256, maybe this tells you something about what you could do. If someone really loves you, then any effort at all will please them. You could even tell them about your fear of failure, if you haven't already, and then they could understand.



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14 Jun 2022, 5:04 pm

Birthdays have not been important to me since I became an adult. I NEVER had a birthday party unless it was my extended family like grandparents, aunts, uncles, & cousins which was only a couple times. Otherwise it was just me & my parents as a kid. I do like getting cake & when I was a kid getting presents but as an adult I would have to get most anything I'd want myself. My parents quit giving me presents after I graduated high-school. Mom started giving me money for my bDay & Christmas after I moved out but when I was living there as an adult she figured letting me live there for free was enough; I could only afford to pay my parents rent when I was working & I only had federal minimum-wage type jobs so I couldn't afford to give my parents much when I was employed.

Birthdays are not a big deal to my parents either. My mom's birthday is Christmas day so her birthday has always been majorly overshadowed. My dad's bDay is actually the same day as mine, just 30 years earlier & I never saw him really care about his bDay. I guess it's possible some of it with my dad is that my bDay overshadowed his & birthdays are much more important to kids anyway.

I'm horrible with dates & while I know the date of my bDay, I might not even process that it's coming up after the month starts & I notice what month it is. Things just don't click or I forget after. My girlfriend sometimes reminds me that me & dad's bDay are coming up :oops:

Like me Cass has always had few or no friends so she always mostly just celebrated her bDay with her family. She knows & understands me enough that she does not expect me to really do anything for her bDay. Her bDay is the beginning of next month & she's thinking about spending it visiting her family. She spends a couple nights a month with different family members. They won't really come here to visit her(or very seldom do nowadays). Her family cant really accommodate having me go over & we have a couple pets, one of which has serious health issues & needs special care so I'll stay here instead of celebrating with her but that's alright with me :wink: I bought some things for her at the end of last month(or rather I paid her back) that she wanted but could not really afford, didn't cost a lot. I should remind my mom in a week or so that Cass's bDay is coming up cuz mom sends her money. Cass doesn't do much for my dDay either except sometimes takes me out to eat or makes me a cake & I'm fine with that :mrgreen:


I'm under the impression that guys in general forget birthdays, holidays, & important special occasions. It's VERY common in shows, especially sitcoms & adult cartoons & it is always the husband/boyfriend who forgets or just does something very cheap, easy, & half-fast with no thought at all. I don't recall ever hearing a guy on a TV show/movie or any guy in real life ever complain about his wife/girlfriend forgetting his bDay, Christmas, or their anniversary. I'm pretty sure this is a guy thing & the only relationship with autism is that autism is thought by some to be an extreme male brain. Women are defiantly thought to be the more sentimental gender. There was a Christmas ep of The Simpsons focusing on different characters including Moe & at the end Homer tries to get Marge a gift that Christmas Eve night. Of corse Homer did not find anything but Marge's gift for him was a gift for herself for him to give her cuz she'd knew he'd forget & not get her anything. I think a lot more women should use that approach for their guys instead of expecting their guys to be different than most & then getting mad at em when they f#ck up like most other guys would.


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14 Jun 2022, 8:37 pm

I had the so what it's my birthday attitude during a lot of my adulthood. But since my diagnosis and surviving cancer, the attitude is I grateful to be still here, to have survived another year.


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