I’ve lived with my common-law partner for seven-plus years. During this time, his son married and had two lovely daughters, now ages two and four.
My partner and I have done regular weekly babysitting, helped the couple move twice, had them over for family dinners, and countless other acts of parental support.
It's a small thing, but my birthday was forgotten. An apology was extended over a week later.
My partner's birthday is 10 days later.
It was acknowledged with a gift, a cake, and a handmade card from the grandchildren thanking him for all the "adventures" he takes them on and all the wonderful things he does for them.
It's not the fact that his son and wife forgot; it is what this oversight signifies.
The "real" grandparents are important. Although I'm just as active in the little girls' lives, the time and thoughtfulness I’ve extended to them isn’t valued.
The grandchildren are young but now should be the time to teach them to show appreciation and gratitude to all those who care for them.
My partner doesn't understand how upset and hurt I am by this. In fact, he didn't even notice that they’d forgotten my birthday.
How do I proceed with both my partner's lack of understanding and his children's lack of appreciation?
Your partner is as much at fault here as his son and wife.
They at least apologized, and also have the excuse of being in the busiest time of their lives with small children, jobs, and extended family.
Even if your partner was effusive about your birthday, he should’ve noticed the absence of cards, calls, gift, etc. from his adult son… especially in light of your involvement with the grandkids,
But “not noticing” and distancing from your hurt may be his go-to position to avoid conflict and blame.
Tell him it doesn’t work here.
He needs to explain to his son how wrong it is to not acknowledge the caring and participation you bring to his children.
Your generous giving of time and energy makes his married/family life easier, and adds to the children’s sense of being loved and secure.
You’re not an add-on to his grandfather role. You deserve equal appreciation to him.
Since the couple apologized, move forward.
Hopefully, so will your partner, by making sure this never happens again.
FEEDBACK Regarding the young man whose female cousin became flirtatious then repeatedly groped him (July 6):
Reader – “You suggest that if she goes after him again, he should call the police.
“I believe that, because he’s a male, the police would tell him to deal with it and walk away. But at worst, it could blow up in his face.
“If the female got upset about his calling the police, I believe she’d scream “sexual assault,” he’d be charged, and his life ruined. She’d get all the sympathy.
“Her behaviour that night may’ve been zany or youth-hormone driven, but it could also be indicative of a mental problem and, if so, she could do anything.
“I suggest he document the event and any future events, tell someone who can back him up if needed, and avoid her staying over again. Or avoid her altogether.”
Ellie – Unless men who are sexually assaulted call police, the different judicial attitudes towards male and female “victims” will prevail.
In this case, she’s a close cousin; he wanted only to stop her (and apparently did). If there’s a second attempt, he must call police.
Reader’s Commentary “I’m an introvert who carried a lot of anger. At one work place, I felt humiliated by a supervisor’s "orders.”
“My frustration came from my failing to continue my higher education.
“The reasons: Sudden cancellation of the program, having a second child, husband laid off, etc.
“I still regret that I avoided contact with my boss due to anger.
“But anger again controlled me due to a past sexual abuse.
“A co-worker appeared flirtatious, though he kept his partner’s photo in his office.
“He showed interest in me, and in somebody else much younger than me. He also breached personal space with all females.
“I reacted with anger I couldn’t control. I’m sorry for the way I behaved and the hurt I may have done.
“I’ve since decided to forgive anything wrong that was done to me.
“The book that helped me, is by Gary Chapman, Anger: Taming a Powerful Emotion.”
Tip of the day:
Families, especially parents, should honour and appreciate all who are loving and helpful with their children.