Dammit. Why does a 1-yr anniversary have to be such a big deal?

Ok, so the Fangess and I are celebrating 1 year of us seeing each other. I guess you could say we beat the odds, because what started out as something light with no strings attached has evolved into a serious relationship thats doing just fine. We really dig each other, and we’re both aware that this could go the distance, but we’d rather take it one step at a time. (I’m 26, she’s 25).

The 27th (this Sunday) is our first anniversary. And therein lies the problem.
I do understand that 1 year is a milestone in a relationship, and we’ll go out for a really nice dinner, maybe hit a nice club, go home, exchange gifts (bought her really nice, (aka expensive!)earrings from Tiffany, muchos $), and then… you know :o …
She, on the other hand, wants to turn this into a really major event. She wants to head out of town for the weekend (to a bed and breakfast or something), and have the works. This is a little impractical, because I have to attend a friend’s wedding on Sunday during the day, and well,… this month has been a bit of a bitch, financially (car insurance, a couple of gizmos, annual medical checkup, you know… the usual! :rolleyes: ). I tried explaining this, and she’s being cool about it, but i can tell she aint exactly thrilled.
My biggest reservation, though, is that I absolutely DE-test conforming to ceremony because it’s its the socially ‘done’ thing. I dont see why one arbitrary day has to be given such reverntial status that it becomes inconvenient and impractical. To me, doing it because it has to be done defeats the purpose.

Dopers: Am I being selfish / unreasonable / unromantic? If so, what do you suggest I do?

I don’t think you’re being selfish. Is there any way that you could make the out of town plans for another time? Possibily for New Years Eve or something? Would she go for that? After all, you’ve got plans for the wedding and all. She’s known about the wedding for awhile, right? I hope you can work something out, since every relationship is a ‘give and take’ type thing.

This week is got two 1 year anniverseries for me. Today actually is my 1 year anniversery from graduating US Army basic training. Two more days and it is the 1 year anniversery I got engaged to Mrs. Otanx.

For my basic graduation my celebration involved ummm… working. For the engagment we arn’t planning anything. I do have a suprize for her, but she might read this so can’t say anything. She was supposed to be recovering from surgery, but got canceled (That is a pit thread waiting to happen). Neither one of us are big on the go spend money and celebrate for any reason. We do like you are planning for some occasions. Go out somewhere nice for dinner, and stay at home mostly.


Thanks, nonacetone. Yes, Ive told her about the wedding, but she says we can make it back home in time for me to go for the wedding, which is technically correct. We already have plans for New year’s eve: the SO and I are taking a 3-day trip with a bunch of close friends.
Her take on the whole thing is that this day is ‘special’, and the only way to do justice to it is to go ballistic and do stuff thats not de rigour. This is where I disagree. I do subscribe to the whole ‘give and take’ thing, but then again, I dont want to be pressured into doing this just because its standard operating procedure, so to speak. To me, dinner+club+gift+intense bed-boogie is great.

Or you could do what me and my husband did for our ten-year anniversary - that is to almost completely forget!

I finally remembered at about 2pm that day, while were were shopping in town, and said, “OH! Today’s our anniversary!” and he paused a minute and said, “I remembered this morning, but then I forgot again.”

Not romantic, but at least the forgetting was mutual, and we had just bought a house!

Our marriage is not demonstrative but it is filled with respect, care, devotion and a quiet love that is the absolute rock of my life. We also have two children, a house, two cars and a business, none of which we could have achieved by ourselves.

So you know bells and whistles are not ultimately necessary - the true test of a marriage is whether your friendship will stand the test of time.

Though it must be said that I am NEVER averse to presents and a good bonking…

Almost completely?

My SO and I have NEVER remembered. I think we’ve been married about 14 years and I know it’s in November, but buggered if I remember the date without looking up the marriage certificate.

What’s with the need to celebrate the anniversary of things? It happened in the past. Let it go man :smiley:

I hear you, Caught@Work :smiley: , but like nonacetone said, its about give and take. Since my SO does want to celebrate an anniversary it would be a little selfish of me to dismiss it completely, but I feel like the line needs to be drawn somewhere without hurting her feelings.

Much like with weddings, too many people seem to confuse The Relationship with the ceremony/party that honours it. They’re two completely separate things.
(Needless to say, I’ve never understood the ‘you must do (X) because it’s an anniversary’ mentality. )
My husband and I do make sure we get away for a weekend every year around about the time of our anniversary (some time within about 2-3 weeks either side of it), but we don’t get fanatical about the day because the ‘having quality time together’ thing is far more important than the specific date.

Summary: the date of the anniversary means nothing. The relationship means everything. If you can get your girlfriend to understand that, you might actually start to enjoy Anniversary time.

Well, the important thing here is not that celebrating the one yr anniversary of going out is a huge deal in American culture. I’m sure you can find more people who don’t go away for the weekend for the occasion than who do. Possibly more people who don’t mark the occasion than who do. Heck, we marked the one year anniversary of our marriage by eating the top of the wedding cake and collapsing on the couch in front of the TV in utter exhaustion.

The important thing here is that this anniversary (and likely other anniversaries, birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Groundhog Day…) is a big deal to your SO.

You’ve got a valuable piece of infomation about how to make her happy. Make a big deal about such stuff. If you really think she’s fabulous and want to delight her, go away for the weekend. And plan to keep doing stuff like that for the rest of the occasions.

On the other hand…you could decide that this makes her too high maintenance and start noticing other ways you guys are not a match.

Or you could decide that even though you love her passionately, you are not going to be a happy camper spending your life making a big deal about occasions, so you just aren’t going to do it and she’s going to have decide if that makes YOU not a match.

But this is not about “conforming to social expectations”. It is about HER expectations.

Well, I think her expectations *are *social expectations, carlotta. We didnt do jack for Valentine’s Day either, but at the time the relationship wasn’t serious, and although she did bring it up on the day in a pretty by-the-by kinda way I think she was doing it to test the waters. (You know, if I’d said no, she’d have retorted with - “Oh, I was only yankin’ yer chain anyway, ya big palooka! Har har.”). But I bet my ass that if I’d played along we’d have done the usual chocolate-flowers-dinner-dancing-sex routine.

I dont want to be the grinch in this relationship, so this time we’re doing the accepted anniversary routine anyway.
The bottom line is, she’s not high maintenance per se, but definitely merits a Medium. Ive always been a very ‘this-be-my-space-trespassers-they-be-shot’ guy, and she tries to respects that, and we seem to have a working compromise going.
This time around, I’m not sure whether I should play along despite the inconvenience, or whether I should dig in my heels.

No matter how well you argue it or how much people on the internet agree with you, toning down the celebration isn’t going to make her happy. This is, for whatever reason, important to her. Make your decision on that basis, not whether you think it should be important to her.

I consider “degree of reverence for holidays” one of the compatibility factors in a relationship.

Maybe not in the holiday itself, but I just don’t think I would be attracted to the type of person who makes a big deal out of arbitrary dates.

I’m not saying that if I found a woman who was perfect in every respect, but wanted diamonds every Valentine’s Day, that I’d toss her away. The thing is, I don’t think such a woman exists. I think the person who annoys me in her treatment of holidays will annoy me in her treatment of other things.

So, while a disagreement over a single holiday isn’t enough to cut & run on a relationship, I have to believe that these types of personality differences MUST manifest themselves in other ways. If that’s a constant struggle (whether it’s because of money, or because you think it’s stupid, or because there’s a good game one), then you need to look at the whole committment more completely.

Maybe I’m just being cynical, but it seems to me that the anniversary is a totally artificial, noumenal construct which makes it possible to take a relationship (or a historical figure or event, for that matter) for granted the other 364 days of the year, thus making it possible to live a normal, happily oblivious life dedicated to addressing the (generally not so) urgent matters of the moment.

For example, 2005 was the 150th anniversary year of the publication of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass (with the canonical poem and, arguably, epic wankfest***** “Song of Myself”, which many young Americans end up reading in high school or college, whether they want to or not, and it’s generally the latter, innit?). The ensuing spotlight of attention thrown onto LoG thus functions to relieve what miniscule pressure which could be said to have existed for most of us who are not English professors to devote any further thought to it for the next 50 years – by which time most of us former liberal arts majors will be blissfully dead, or failing that, senile.

See how this works? Aren’t anniversaries wonderful? :smiley:

*****This being my initial, privately held opinion of it when I had to read it. Of course I learned to mouth the usual pieties about it in class, and I think I do appreciate this poem for what Whitman accomplished in it (to a degree, anyway), but it’s not something I’ll turn to for pleasure or edification in the future.

That must’ve been a big cake.

My advice: go along wth the Big Deal weekend. Then a couple weeks later, have the same conversation with her that you’re having with us. Plain English. Make it about the future, using the past just as an example, not as a way of keeping score.

You two have a rough spot in your compatibilities here. If you can both acknowledge it for what it is, and can both agree to some explicit compromise on this point, and can both recognize (and remember) that the other is compromising as well, then this can be a minor feature of your future relationship landscape.

If you don’t talk about it or can’t reach agreement, then this bump can become a festering sore that will create misery about once a month as one or another occasion comes up, year after year after year after …

And if you can’t talk about things in general as I’m suggesting, you’ve got the basis for a fine expensive wedding followed in a few years by a fine expensive divorce, whth very little real marriage in the middle.

Your choice. My advice is to make a deal and then stick to it. If you both can’t deal or can’t stick, well …

Huh. Your idea is exactly how Mr. Snicks and I celebrate our anniversary every year, and that’s plenty for me. I’d do the weekend thing maybe on one of the biggies - 10 year or something - but at 1 year? Nope. And you’re not even married.

Wow - she’s got much bigger expectations than me.

I have an observation which can be expressed in two words: “maintenance” and “high”. Put them in whatever order works best for you.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that–plenty of relationships that require a lot of work, uh, work–but I’d just recommend that you to keep that in mind before you “go the distance.” I failed to do so and the result was not a successful one. And if she can’t accept that fiscal limitations, not to mention a previous one-in-a-lifetime (one hopes) social commitment, may require some amount of compromise or restriction without going into sulk mode…well, that doesn’t exactly carmelize my pan of sugar. It may not be the most romantic attitude, but a relationship is more than Captain Romance o’erperching these walls with love’s light wings.

And I can’t help but take the opportunity to throw in a tangential Thomas Moore quote:
“Romantic love is an illusion. Most of us discover this truth at the end of a love affair or else when the sweet emotions of love lead us into marriage and then turn down their flames.”

Jus’ sayin’…


Clearly you two have different ideas about anniversaries. That much has been covered. However, you may also want to think about the symbolic nature of this, and whether to her, this is a test of how much you love her or reassurance that you do love her.

I guess you could say that our relationship is pretty healthy. I’m not the easiest person in the world to be with, but Fang-ess does a bang-up job. There’s a lot of behind the scenes stuff she deserves cred for - she’s NOT high maintenance (mebbe a medium, though), she gives me room when I need it (most of the time), she understands that I’m a free-range sleeper, she looks at me attentively (and nods, even) when I’m banging on about something inane or esoteric, and accepts things about me that I know are hard to live with, and most importantly - she’s my friend, and doesnt judge me.
Errrr… I think I’m having an epiphany… Ive answered my own question, havent I? :smack:

So… I guess the Big Deal Weekend, as **LSLGuy **put it, isnt really a big deal. I’ll speak to her about it over coffee tonight, and let you guys know what happened. My take is that I’d rather celebrate the relationship than celebrate the day. If she sees it my way, hooray, everything’s great and Bob’s yer uncle. If she doesnt, then I think like nonacetonesaid, its all give and take, and this is my turn to give without being an emotional scrooge.

Thanks, all. Your advice and insight helped me get some perspective.

Let her go on the trip and you stay home. Then you both win.