General Question

Pandora's avatar

Am I being a wet blanket?

Asked by Pandora (27855points) January 15th, 2011

I found out by accident today that my husband has planned a week vacation for us and was planning on surprising me on my birthday.
Needless to say I got upset.
1. For one because this is the second time he has done a big purchase behind my back. (I know he was trying to surprise me.)
I always consult with him and he hates it if I spend big cash on him as well.
2. I really hate it when people spend large amounts of cash on me.
3. He doesn’t remember what I did say I wanted for my birthday.
4. My birthday isn’t such a big deal. I’m just getting older.
5. I prefer a bunch of little gestures to one big expensive one.
Any how, I feel poorly for blowing his surprise but it really did catch me off guard and I reacted badly.
I’ve always been a very practical person and I just can’t justify this trip for a number of reasons. If I go with it, it will only be to make him happy but I know I will not be able to fake the happy response he is looking for.
I would like to see what some of your opinions are especially from any guy who may have an inside view into a males mind.
Am I justified or just being a wet blanket.

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42 Answers

cockswain's avatar

If I planned that for my wife and she hated it and didn’t simply appreciate the thoughtfulness of me trying to plan the details of a week for us to be together, I’d be very disappointed.

filmfann's avatar

My wife does this to me as well. I don’t like surprises, but she likes to surprise me.
You just have to let them be happy thinking they have made you happy.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I think you should just go and enjoy yourself! You only live once. ;))

incendiary_dan's avatar

I dunno. From a financial sense, it could be a big no-no to make such an expense. I don’t know about your financial situation, though. Whatever the case, that part at least is perfectly legitimate.

lillycoyote's avatar

It’s hard to say without knowing more about your relationship but I would start by taking items 2, 4 and maybe 5 out of the equation for the time being. Those are really your issues, not his. Unless his extravagance and ignoring your wants are part of a larger pattern of behavior for him I would just go with his intent, which I assume was to maybe treat you to something that you might be reluctant to do for yourself, for the both of you. It sounds like he just wanted to do something really special for you on your birthday. Maybe it doesn’t mean that much to you but maybe it means a lot to him. So, my first instinct would to appreciate the gesture and enjoy yourself and your time with him.

Pandora's avatar

Part of the problem is that when I am gone for a long while the dog suffers from severe seperation anxiety. I’ve tried a lot of different things but medication is not an option. He breaks out in hives and tears his skin apart. The last trip I took where I was gone for 2 weeks took a long time in him recovering. I hate it when my good time causes him stress. I wouldn’t mind a mini trip like for a weekend or something like that but a week can mean a lot of misery for him. I always think of my mother in laws dog. She went away on a trip and he died because he stopped eating and drinking all together. He also suffered from seperation anxiety. How can I have a good time knowing he may be suffering. I know many people will say he is just a dog, but he’s still a living breathing animal. I just feel it would be cruel.
At the same time, I feel my husband may feel unappreciated or that he comes 2nd to the dog.
There is also the fact that I don’t feel very financially secure in todays market. I’ve always been a worrier but the finanicial status of our country could mean, money today, broke tomorrow.
I’m not the gambling kind. We are ok financially for now but illness or unemployment can easily dry up someones savings in the blink of an eye.

YARNLADY's avatar

Wet Blanket is not the word I would use. It sounds to me (number 3) like you need some serious marriage counseling.

Pandora's avatar

@YARNLADY Than a great many people need marriage counseling. Doesn’t mean its something he does often. Usually he remembers what I asked for but I think in this case he probably shoved it aside thinking it wasn’t a grand enough guesture. I just wanted a cool speaker system to put my ipod in that doesn’t require any cables or wires. I love listening to music a lot and I hate earphones of any kind or stupid wires or plugs. This system allows you to carry it around and you don’t have to worry about batteries either. Only the ipod needs to be charged.

cockswain's avatar

@YARNLADY A man forgetting something his wife told him is not cause for “serious marriage counseling.”

YARNLADY's avatar

@cockswain No, but all the things listed together with the actual insult is.

Pandora's avatar

@YARNLADY (scratching my head.) What insult?

cockswain's avatar

I’m wondering the same thing. Buying your wife a vacation, even if not ideal, certainly isn’t insulting.

mrrich724's avatar

To answer your question directly, yes, you are being a wet blanket.

Pandora's avatar

@mrrich724 Thank you for the direct answer. LOL

blueiiznh's avatar

I have been in similar situation many times in the past in trying to suprise someone with nice gestures who hated suprises.
It is not a pleasant feeling.
Is it a place the two of you discussed going to at some point in the past?
If it is, then you are being a wet blanket and being hypocritical when he is simply tryping to please you.
If it will cause a financial burden, then you should have been consulted on the cost, otherwise, leave the cost part out.
How do you know he didnt remember what you said you wanted for your birthday? Just because you said you wanted a specific thing, may not mean you get that or can’t get something else done for you.
Reacting badly when someone is simply trying to please you is of concern.

Nullo's avatar

I do not know anything about the state of your finances, but if we assume that your husband is good enough with money to know that y’all can afford the trip, then you are definitely being a wet blanket.
I’ve never felt right about asking for specific gifts; I figure that they ought to be a surprise. Sure, people are going to strike out more often, but it keeps gifting from becoming a mere reallocation of assets, and besides, it’s more fun.
Birthdays are about celebrating you, not your age. The years are just to keep track of just how grand your existence has been so far.

Pandora's avatar

@blueiiznh It is someplace we did agree to going to at some point but it was to be for our 30th anniversary. But you are right about my reaction. Unfortunately sometimes I react without thinking when I am caught completely off guard. We have a savings that is suppose to be for emergencies only. We were saving for the trip that wasn’t to be till next year. We agreed not to touch emergency funds except for emergencies.
@Nullo, You’ve made excellent points. Love the birthday comment. Never looked at it that way. Awesome comment. :D

blueiiznh's avatar

@Pandora then if those kinds of funds were used like that without being consulted, you have a right to question and react in some concerned way. I take back my “wet blanket” comment.

Jeruba's avatar

I’m sorry for your distress, @Pandora, and I do think this situation may be a bit difficult to salvage now. But I’m having a little trouble putting it together.

Your profile says “Happily married for 28 years.” That’s long enough for a guy to know how his wife feels about (a) spending money, (b) surprises, (c) birthdays, and (d) the dog.

It’s also long enough for a woman to know how to talk to her husband when a problem erupts. Especially since a happy marriage implies good communication.

I don’t see how any of us could be better equipped to advise you after spending a few minutes’ thought on your problem than you could be after 28 years of living with this man. I think you just have to follow your own best instincts, given your sense of relative priorities in the relationship and given what you know of him, of yourself, and of the nature of his intentions.

Pandora's avatar

@jeruba Sometimes you need someone to hear from people who are not emotionally involved. Even though we are, yes happily married doesn’t mean that the same problems arise at every all the time. If they did than that would me we learned nothing from the past and should be seeking couseling. Nor does it mean that we will never bump heads. Yes he should know those things about me but if you knew what I was like almost 30 years ago and who I’ve become today, than you will see there have been a lot of changes. It comes from growing.
Have you never been in a situation where you feel you may have over-reacted and you simply want some unbiased point of view to see what you may possibly overlooked?
Happily married doesn’t mean your a perfect human being. I never claimed to be a perfect human being nor do I expect my husband to be. All marriages have their minor bumps in the road. To me this situation is a tiny little bump. Not really a big deal but I needed to try to see things from his perspective to see if I was being rash.
Sometimes I shoot first and then ask questions later. I’m not perfect and he knows that too.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Pandora—After 28 years, you tell your husband what you want for your birthday and he forgets. I consider that an insult.

Disc2021's avatar

I’m not married, I haven’t been married nor do I share finances with a partner – nor do I even live with a partner, for that matter. Maybe I’m just being naive but if you want an unbiased opinion, I’m going to give it: I’d probably be in awe in the same situation.

While you guys both had an agreement not to touch the emergency saving’s funds, maybe he just wanted to see you smile larger than you have ever before. Maybe so much, that he was willing to go above and beyond, even to a degree that he shouldn’t have just to achieve that goal. I’ve been in the same situation – where I thought I was doing all of the good in the world to make someone happy and in the end, I was doing completely the opposite. You’ve already expressed here that you don’t think your birthday is anything special – isn’t too much to suggest that perhaps he knew this and wanted to do something incredible to make it special?

I also see things from your perspective and I do understand the way you feel. He did break an agreement and perhaps he wasn’t considering the dog. However, it seems all the guy was trying to do was to make you happy by turning your birthday into something unforgettable.

Again, maybe this is just my lack of experience or nativity speaking – I have yet to even grasp the concept of being with someone for over 28 years. I think a happy medium could be reached somehow.

nebule's avatar

I don’t think you’re being a wet blanket as such hunny pot x We all desire different things and have different expectations of course. I personally would love a surprise like this and I’m not all that into big surprises either! But obviously the money is a concern and perhaps bringing the trip forward for your husband is a good thing but a bad thing for you… I think ultimately his intentions were most likely to be very genuine and loving and he will probably be disappointed that he’s upset you if you tell him? I’m presuming from what you’ve written that he doesn’t know you know about it yet?

However, like other’s have said, it’s really difficult to judge something like this without knowing you both intimately… for all we know he could have brought the holiday forward for very selfish reasons shrouded in a surprise for you… but we don’t know him… I think it’s perfectly OK to feel a little disappointed but perhaps see both sides of the equation…and wait for his ‘explanation’... and fwiw I completely disgree with @YARNLADY ..just because someone forgets what you wanted for your birthday (if indeed that is the case) it’s certainly no reason for counselling…. not when they have clearly made efforts to do something else for you… which arguably is a lot “bigger”....

shrubbery's avatar

Maybe he couldn’t wait for the anniversary. Maybe he had it all planned out to make you so happy and just had to do it now. Love should be about wanting to make the other person happy, not just wanting them to make you happy. He is obviously trying to make you happy, now go and try to make him happy by enjoying the trip. Get someone the dog already knows to dogsit. If that can’t be done then compromise and ask him if you could perhaps just cut the trip down from a week to like 5 or 4 days instead.

Cruiser's avatar

I would appreciate the fact that your husband understands that now matters and you should like @lucillelucillelucille points out Life is too short to not grab the brass ring now while you can. Tomorrow doesn’t always come.

funkdaddy's avatar

The dog, the money, and whatever else you want for your birthday can all be fixed.

So it seems the real question is: Do you want to go?

If so you should go and have a great time, your husband cares about you and is trying to do something fun with you. He probably feels you could both use the vacation.

If not, let him know as soon as you can. That’s the trusting thing to do. It’s probably best to have an alternative gift that you would enjoy, preferably including him somehow.

I hope this doesn’t overstep what you’re asking but I’ve seen a couple folks here hint at what their reaction would be, but not really spell it out.

My wife is much more practical than I am, she doesn’t like surprises either but mainly because she feels like they are pressure situations where she has a chance to “mess it up”. She thinks either her reaction won’t be right or her actions leading up to the surprise will mess up the big reveal. She puts those pressures on herself. All I’m looking for is happy. It can be confused and happy, happy with a touch of “we need to talk about money”, or even “I’m happy but I have too much on my mind right now, we’ll talk later”. It doesn’t matter.

I don’t know about your husband, but I plan vacations with my wife to see her smile and come alive while we’re doing new things. It’s about putting all those worries away for a couple days and just enjoying time with each other. Everyone else you know is back home, it’s just me and my best friend.

If I planned a great surprise trip for my wife, and her reasons for not wanting to go were our pet’s anxiety, the money (that we have, but was earmarked for the same trip at a later time), and that she’d rather have something more practical, I wouldn’t be angry, I’d just be defeated.

I’d try to put on a big smile, say “that’s ok”, and trade the trip in on a vacuum or a long nightgown and slippers, but quietly I’d be wondering what’s wrong.

Is it the money? I’ll work a lot of extra days for a couple really good ones.

Is it the dog? Couldn’t we figure something out there?

Is it me? Maybe she just doesn’t want to have an uninterrupted week with me?

If you’re not going to go I hope you’ll figure out before hand why you don’t want to go and just let him know.

Is it possible you don’t want to go just because you weren’t in control of planning the details? The destination is somewhere you want to go, the company is someone you want to go with, and you had already made plans for the finances. The only thing that changed is that he planned it without you.

That’s the conclusion I’d come to in my head. I would hope my wife would be honest with me, let me know, and then would plan a wonderful trip that she did want to go on with me.

Happy early birthday, I hope it goes well.

john65pennington's avatar

You’re a wet blanket all the way.

You should be delighted that your husband still cares enough to arrange this surprise for you. there are so many married couples that seem to just drift away, after many years of marriage and couldn’t care less about each others birthday. i went on a domestic call, where a situation almost like yours, took place. the woman was the victim. she had planned a romantic trip to Mexico for their 30th wedding anniversary. she overspent on the trip and this caused their bank balance to go into the red. a heated conversation took place and the woman slapped her husband in the face. so much for the trip to Mexico. point her is just like your situation.

Be happy and content with your hubbies surprise. enjoy it and thank the Lord you have someone that still loves you so much to surprise with this vacation.

jca's avatar

As far as financially, it’s hard for me to determine the issue without knowing more about the expense that is going to be incurred on this trip and your financial situation, which is all not any of my business and i don’t expect you to tell me or Fluther, but i’m just saying it’s hard to determine if you’re being too anxious or not.

The dog issue- is the dog an only dog? you know dogs are pack animals and when they live with no other dogs, their pack is gone and that causes anxiety. if you have another dog, and you guys leave, they have part of their pack hierarchy. If you ever watch shows about destructive dogs, dogs who go nuts chewing up the house when humans leave, one fix that is often suggested is getting another dog.

In my humble opinion, if you can afford this trip, which only you know if you can (and your hubby probably would not have planned it if you really could not afford it), you should enjoy yourself, because you do only live once. When you’re knocking on the Pearly Gates, God is not going to say “you need a few more vacations. Go back.” Be flattered your husband feels so warmly toward you that he planned this especially for this occasion (and no, I don’t feel its an insult like @YARNLADY thinks). Just my opinion – go and have a good time. Get a dog sitter or a second dog and dog sitter.

john65pennington's avatar

I totally agree with Lucille. you only live once on this planet. do not sweat the small stuff and enjoy your trip. everything else will work itself out on its own.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I once planned a very special evening away from home for my hubby and me. I rented a hotel suite, ordered my hubby’s favorite meal from his favorite restaurant and set it all up on pretty crystal plates that I took along. I bought a nice bottle of champagne that I had chilled, had soft music going, scattered rose petals all over the suite and the bed, and was wearing only a negligee when he arrived.

I had left my hubby little clues in different locations of our house, his truck and a couple of places for him to drive for more clues, sort of like a scavenger hunt. The clues were all sexy notes, taped to either a romantic CD or a silky pair of panties. While he was “hunting”, I got everything set up. All he said when he got to the hotel room was “This is weird.”

I had gone to so much trouble to surprise him with a romantic evening, and with three little words, he ruined it. It seemed like he didn’t care at all that I had done all this to please him, and his reaction deeply hurt my feelings. It was like a slap to the face. I love him desperately, but I still remember how miserable I felt that night.

You should really tell your hubby that you appreciate the gesture and how much you love him for being so thoughtful to plan such a nice surprise.

Disc2021's avatar

Though it’s quite sad, thank you so much for telling that story… you said everything I was trying to say, just so eloquently. I know that feeling of going “above and beyond” for someone, only to get that smack in the face in return. Sorry to hear that and again – had it been me in his situation, I probably would’ve back flipped in joy a few times when I finally reached the final destination.

Response moderated
Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I don’t think you’re being a wet blanket. It’s your birthday, you shouldn’t have to do anything just to make your partner happy if it wouldn’t make you happy as well. And as far as having to be ‘delighted’ that your husband ‘still cares’ – please, we all need to expect that out of our partners – just because other marriages are giant FAILS doesn’t mean we have to give our partners huge medals for planning a surprise as if it’s some kind of an extraordinary feat.

Pandora's avatar

Thank you all for your reply. We talked it out some more and I made it clear that I do very much appreciate the gift. As pointed out, I do not want to wait for the so call right time because it may never come. When my dad was ill, he and my mom put things off because he was also more concerned with saving because he knew he didn’t have a lot of time left and wanted to leave us financially secure. After he passed away her biggest regret was that they didn’t go away on more vacations before he died. They did take one last trip together but by then he was feeling poorly and couldn’t enjoy it much. She wished they had gone sooner.
As pointed out, we never know what life will bring so I’m going to try to enjoy the todays a little bit more, especially while we both physically can.

Nullo's avatar

Glad that we could help!

Jeruba's avatar

Does this mean that you’re going to go?

Pandora's avatar

Yep if I live till then. ;D

Disc2021's avatar

Glad you’ve came to that conclusion!

blueiiznh's avatar

I disagee with the justification of using emergency funds because one person wanted to suprise the other person and you “only live once”. If you can’t afford it, then there is no reason to do it. What happens when the emergency funds are really needed when you get back from you fun trip that you didn’t have a decision on. You will regret going. All he had to do was communicate about the funds prior to executing. Getting buy in (even if you don’t know all the details), is common curtesy when it involves mutual resources. @john65pennington Your comparision of your domestic call to me shows the very reason why communication is needed. Someone not being able to control themselves like that is a different thing and needs to be dealt with, so there are two different issues in your comparission.
I still think using emergency funds for this was controlling and not living up to an agreement.

marky205's avatar

This is coming from a person that is having a hard time in marriage right now.
OF COURSE you are being a wet blanket. Are you freaking kidding me!?!?!?
Unless you will go into debt from this, which would be a deal breaker for us, you are being extremely inconsiderate to your freaking man.
What’s more? Is that women want all freaking contradicting things. They want a man to “take charge” but then let the women “wear the pants.”
So what you are telling your husband by acting this way is that you don’t trust him to make decisions. He is too stupid to plan something for you.
This is why I feel like a lot of guys are overweight. My wife is a complete douche about stuff like this. I hate her for it. I can’t plan anything because she always says she’s too tired or whatever.
So I end up hanging out with my best friends Ben and Jerry. Because no matter what I plan with them they are always game. This is sort of getting off track.
The point is. You are kind of being a witch because you are getting upset over him making your birthday special. Like it would have almost been better if he did nothing at all because you would still get upset but then he wouldn’t have had to do all the work he did to set things up.
You should be really happy. Anyway my 2 cents. Happy new year. I hate my wife. I am sitting here alone while she is asleep. It’s fantastic

blueiiznh's avatar

@marky205 Please read all the posts (even if they are 3 years old) as opposed to your rant over your issues.

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