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My birthday passed and the guy I am dating called me to say happy birthday. I spent the day with friends and enjoyed myself because he was away with his son. No big deal. However, when he came back, I had hoped (expected) we would do something to celebrate. A dinner, maybe flowers or a small present. When he did none of those things, I calmly brought it up and told him what would make me feel loved. I’m confused about his response because he said that me having expectations makes him not want to do anything at all. That buying flowers would be inauthentic to who he is.

It was my intention to communicate how I feel loved and to not build resentment…can’t get mad at him for not reading my mind. So where is the line between being a demanding woman who places expectations that make a man feel belittled and communicating needs so her partner can love her in ways she receives love?

Alexandra

Dump him, Alexandra.

If there were a dozen different ways he could have handled this, he chose the absolute worst one — the one that invalidated your feelings, the one that missed the point, the one that doesn’t do anything to fix the problem, but only solidifies and enflames it.

If there were a dozen different ways he could have handled this, he chose the absolute worst one — the one that invalidated your feelings.

You’re not a demanding woman to tell the guy you’re seeing that your birthday is special and it would be nice to be acknowledged. He’s just an insensitive asshole for doubling down on his do-nothing stance.

The only nuggets of truth to glean from this are that, as you said, men are not mind-readers, and that the more unrealistic your expectations, the more it makes men not want to give. Which would be valuable if you were the one who handled this wrong. You were not. Let go of the selfish gaslighting man and find a guy who either picks up on your emotional cues naturally, or, at the least, is open to learning how to please you when you express yourself.

That is literally the very least you should expect from a man. Don’t quit until you find it.