Having a very selfish birthday?
December 8, 2009 1:48 PM   Subscribe

Should I celebrate my birthday alone in a nice vacation spot or with my bf back at home?

My bf and I will be heading to a nice vacation spot for the holidays this year. Since my birthday falls at the very tail end of our vacation, I was hoping to stay in the vacation spot a day longer and spend my birthday there. Unfortunately, my birthday also falls on the very first day back to work after the holidays. My bf is adamant that it is very important for him to be back for work rather than stay an extra day on vacation. (He is the sr mgt at the company and they will be doing a kick-off of sorts after the holidays.)

If I let him know he should go back in time for work, but that I will be staying an extra day on vacation (despite having to spend it alone, without him), would this be a selfish request?

I know that he'll find my request strange and will not want me to be alone on my birthday, but I'd like to see what the common sentiment is on balancing self (wanting my birthday to be in a nice spot) versus the relationship (going back early because of my bf's work situation and celebrating with him that night).
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (21 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Your birthday, your rules. That's always been my general outline. I don't get like this on any other holiday or occasion but definitely have this feeling about my birthday. This can include not wanting to travel on my birthday or, yes, wanting to be alone.

So I'd say "Hey sweets I want to spend my whole birthday with you but since that's impossible how about we have a you+me birthday celebration the day before and then I'll just chill out on the actual day and you can go back to work without having to plan another celebration that evening and you can focus on the kick-off. I don't mind being alone on my birthday at all but I'd like to do something special with you, doesn't matter what the day is." or something. Just make sure it's clear you're not mopey about work and okay with the amended plans and that should be decent, I'd hope.
posted by jessamyn at 1:52 PM on December 8, 2009 [4 favorites]

I suppose if celebrating your birthday on the actual day is very important to you, then all you can do is to float the idea to him and see what happens. But couldn't you do the major celebration in your sunny vacation spot the day before (or two days before, or whatever), and then have a more subdued dinner or something with your boyfriend back in civilization after he gets off work? It'd be the best of both worlds I would think.
posted by dnesan at 1:52 PM on December 8, 2009 [3 favorites]

Hey, you'd be alone on your birthday anyway, since he'll be at work.
posted by notsnot at 1:54 PM on December 8, 2009 [4 favorites]

Since you're asking for a balancing response, I've always found that spending time around people I care about is a better use of my time then celebrating what I view as a largely arbitrary day. YMMV, but does it matter more that you're marking another year of age or marking another year with your S.O. and friends and family by seeing them?

I'm not sure there's a right answer, but a birthday can represent many things.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 2:08 PM on December 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

What would you rather do on that day? Go with that.
posted by craven_morhead at 2:15 PM on December 8, 2009

If it were me, I'd stay. You should be relaxed on your birthday and it sounds like being alone in a nice place will do that for you. Celebrate your birthday eve with him and he can be all nice to you then.

I'd spin it like this, you have your birthday off so you might as well stay in this nice place since you're all the way out there already. And then on your birthday you can go do things that he didn't want to do there.

I think we might be birthday twins too. Mine's the Monday after the holidays.
posted by mrsshotglass at 2:30 PM on December 8, 2009

Personally, I'd rather be with my SO on my birthday than with strangers in a beautiful vacationland, but that's just me. Are you being selfish? I don't know you and how important this is to you, so I really can't say.

It is your day, but put yourself in his shoes. What if the roles were reveresed and you were the one that had to work and it was his birthday? Would you be ok with it? How would you feel?

Also, you planned the vacation together. You staying an extra day means he's now traveling home alone. I don't know if it's a single flight, or a trip with a layover somewhere, so I don't know how big this would affect you, just something to think about when you make your decision.
posted by NoraCharles at 3:04 PM on December 8, 2009

Eh, I am usually alone on vacation on my birthday. No significant other along = yeah, you don't get to share, but you also can't argue or fight or anything else, and you have more stuff to talk about when you get home. You can focus 100 percent on your birthday and not people-pleasing or anything else.

I say go for it.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 4:01 PM on December 8, 2009

Go home! It's the company that matters, not the place >:)
posted by the_ancient_mariner at 4:09 PM on December 8, 2009

It's your call, but it sounds selfish to me. If there is a particular thing you are wanting to do that can't be done during the other days, then my reaction would be different. But just to hang out one more day just doesn't pass the gut-test for me. Obviously, though, your birthday, your call.
posted by 2legit2quit at 4:12 PM on December 8, 2009

Would you enjoy some alone-time on your birthday? If so, stay. Celebrate your birthday with your bf the night before so that he gets to participate, and then take the day of your birthday to do whatever you want solo.

The only thing that would give me pause is him having to travel home alone, which could be kind of sad and lonely if you two had originally planned to take this trip together.
posted by desuetude at 4:15 PM on December 8, 2009

Yes. Stay, and if it's possible have yourself a few treats, a massage or spa treatment, a special lunch, all that kind of stuff. It isn't selfish. You'll see the boy again in a day, after all.
posted by zadcat at 4:48 PM on December 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

Take the extra day as you will, but spend your birthday with your bf.
By which I mean, define "birthday" as the day you spend with people that you love focusing on being kind to you. Hotel staff hardly count.
posted by Tobu at 5:07 PM on December 8, 2009

Can you compromise by flying home with your bf, then take off work on your actual birthday and do whatever floats your boat in your home city. Pamper yourself with a spa visit, a day of museum hopping or whatever you'd enjoy most in your own home town or even just a day by yourself in your own abode with a stack of favorite flicks, favorite treats, favorite bon-bons, fancy self pedicure, etc, etc, etc.
posted by marsha56 at 5:58 PM on December 8, 2009

I think the question is do *you* think it would be selfish? If you send him home and spend the day alone in the beautiful place, will you truly be able to enjoy it to the fullest? Or will spend the day worrying about whether you did the right thing or how your bf is feeling about the fact that you'd prefer to spend your special day without him?

A compromise might be to stay on the extra day, but return home by the time he gets out of work so that you can spend the evening together. But I agree with desuetude that having to travel home separately does take some of the fun out of vacationing together.
posted by platinum at 6:16 PM on December 8, 2009

I'm 100% in the "it is NOT selfish to want to spend vacation time by yourself" camp. For many people, cultivating an enjoyment of being able to spend time in solitude (not alone, there is a difference) can be a very emotionally healthy thing. For a few of us, it is a vital component of our life that replenishes us.

My husband would laugh at this question because he would tell you that spending a day by myself in an exotic or interesting locale is EXACTLY what I would want for my birthday. It doesn't mean that I don't love spending time with him, or that I don't find him fun to be with, etc. I do! AND I need a few days off every year to just wander without expectation or having to check in with someone else. To be completely lost in my own thoughts and indulge myself totally as to when and where I want to eat, sleep, read, walk, listen to music, sightsee, and so on. I have enjoyed vacations by myself in seven countries in Europe, some lovely cities in Canada, and around 9-10 states in the U.S. I've gotten massages, taken trains, hiked, shopped, picnicked, sketched, taken photos, written in journals, explored towns, you name it. By myself. It was awesome.

I love missing my husband when I'm away on these adventures, and snuggling up to him when I get back. I wouldn't trade that feeling and those rejuvenating experiences for tons and tons of cash.
posted by jeanmari at 6:57 PM on December 8, 2009 [3 favorites]

Oh, I agree that solo vacation time is NOT NOT NOT selfish if it's something you enjoy.

(Yes, you will have friends and relatives who think it's weird or suspicious. Breezily say "y'know, different strokes!!" and skip off to people-watch in a cafe or take a long meandering walks or photograph interesting cracks in the sidewalk or whatever floats your boat.)
posted by desuetude at 7:23 PM on December 8, 2009

Once you stop believing blowing out birthday candles has special powers, it's time to stop orchestrating your own birthday celebration and allow people that care about you take the reins. Come home with your bf, let him make it a special day for the both of you. (And shame on him if he doesn't.)
posted by sexymofo at 8:24 PM on December 8, 2009

How can it possibly be 'selfish' to spend your birthday how you want. It would be selfish if it were your boyfriends birthday and he wanted to spend it with you and you'd rather stay on vacation an extra day.
Its your birthday, its supposed to be all about you. Its the one day of the year when being selfish isn't selfish. If you would prefer to have an extra day of vacation alone than be back home with your boyfriend then you stay on vacation an extra day.
posted by missmagenta at 9:29 AM on December 9, 2009

Once you stop believing blowing out birthday candles has special powers, it's time to stop orchestrating your own birthday celebration and allow people that care about you take the reins. Come home with your bf, let him make it a special day for the both of you. (And shame on him if he doesn't.)
posted by sexymofo at 8:24 PM on December 8 [+] [!]

Hm, I think that it's actually very *childlike* to expect that other people will put on a party for you and to get mad if they don't. Adult = taking the reins for yourself.
posted by yarly at 10:14 AM on December 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

It sounds to me like you don't really want to spend your birthday without him. But if you think you'd enjoy the extra day vacation, stay! (besides, if he really is that busy would he really have time to celebrate with you if you went back?)
posted by HFSH at 11:26 AM on December 9, 2009

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