Ask Amy

Tuesday, April 21, 2009 at 8:16pm

DEAR AMY: I forgot my 18th wedding anniversary. I have no excuse.

My wife and I had previously discussed it, but when the day arrived, I completely forgot. I discovered my sin when I opened the coffee cabinet that evening and discovered a "happy anniversary" note she had left in front of the coffee can. I was devastated. She was already in bed asleep.

I did notice that she was acting coolly toward me that evening as I was cooking our dinner. I asked her what was up, and she claimed that nothing was wrong.

My question to you is: Doesn't she share some of the blame here? One of us has to be the first to say, "Happy anniversary." She could have done so when we were intimate that morning.

We talked a few times during the day, and she never once mentioned it.

The more I thought about that fact, the more upset I became because, after all, I missed my own anniversary too. She was in a position to do something about it but was waiting for me to make the move.

I realize that many women seem to place greater significance on birthdays and anniversaries, but those things just don't rank very high on my priority list. I've even forgotten my own birthday. I know it's a husband's job to not pass up an opportunity to make a woman feel special, but isn't this a 50/50 partnership?

Doesn't she owe me the same apology that I gave her?

— Anxious Anniversary

DEAR ANXIOUS: Your letter provoked much discussion in my household, as I'm sure it will in many others.

The consensus is that you are right to take responsibility for your own forgetfulness. You are also right that your wife handled this poorly.

My insight into a woman's motivation on her anniversary is that, on some level, she is eager to relive and replay the joy and drama of her engagement day, which is so often orchestrated and initiated by a man. This is why a wife waits for her husband to remember the day.

However, when you asked your wife what was wrong, she should have told you.

You can understand that she felt hurt and also a little embarrassed that this landmark day slipped your mind — but she also tossed away an opportunity to experience the joy of remembering your wedding day together.


DEAR AMY: This is in response to "Reader in Florida" who is a 56-year-old woman considering dating a 28-year-old man. Your answer that if the situation were reversed, "the world would be congratulating you for scoring a young partner who is into you," was slightly unsettling.

I would hope the world still had enough sense to not think so favorably of a man that old hooking up with someone so much younger. It doesn't make it any less untoward for a woman that old to hook up with someone so much younger either.

— Scandalized

DEAR SCANDALIZED: I believe this situation falls into the category of two consenting and unattached adults choosing to have a relationship where the biggest risk is that they'll make fools of themselves (as older men sometimes do when they hook up with much younger women).

When it comes to matters of the heart, I'm a believer in gender equity and equal-opportunity foolishness.


DEAR AMY: I read the letter from "Cold in California," a woman married for 13 years who is contemplating leaving her husband.

I was nearly ready to leave my husband too. He was angry, as "Cold in California's" husband is.

He had been in counseling for nearly a year to no avail, and I had given up, got my finances in order and was ready to go. Then a friend suggested he might be depressed.

The signs of depression in men can be different than they are in women. Anger, finger-pointing and looking for confrontation can mean a man is depressed.

I printed out some information and showed it to him. He had nearly every symptom. He went to his doctor and is now on an anti-depressant.

I'm so glad to see him enjoying life again. We are planning our 25th anniversary and second honeymoon for this May.

—Grateful Wife

DEAR GRATEFUL: You are correct that anger can be a sign of depression; it is shocking that your husband's counselor didn't recognize this.

Congratulations to both of you.

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