Crappy Birthday

 (NOW: You can read Dategirl every day on the Daily Weekly!)    Dear Dategirl, This has been a very hard year for both my husband and me, so I feel stupid even writing you about something so trivial, but yesterday was my 35th birthday and he completely forgot it. We have a 3-year-old daughter, and early this year I miscarried our son. I fell into a deep depression and took a leave of absence from work. We weren't rich before, so this was a big financial strain, lessened somewhat by not having to pay for day care. Thanks to medication and therapy I was able to return to work, though at a lower salary. My husband has been a trouper throughout all this, but we haven't had sex in months. My sister knew how upset I was about my birthday, so she called him and he picked up some flowers at the grocery store on his way home from work. Yippee. He knows he screwed up, but I also think he's sick of me and was maybe getting back at me in a little way. Do I make a big deal out of this, or am I being an idiot? —Birthday Brat? I'm very sorry for your loss, but am sending you a virtual high-five for taking steps to feel better. Yet regardless of how far you've come, you're obviously still pretty raw from your horror, which you need to take into account. And the fact that you guys aren't having sex either is fairly grim. You may not feel as though either of you wants to right now, but I'm betting he actually does. You two need to feel close again, and sex can help that. It also has all sorts of benefits; for one thing, a hormone called oxytocin (not OxyContin) is released during orgasm, which causes a flood of affection for the person helping you get there. Oddly enough, it's also released during childbirth, so you fall in love with your baby instead of pitching it out the window for having caused you so much pain. I get that when it's been a while, it can be hard to know even how to begin talking about sex again, but maybe ask your therapist if she'd consider seeing the two of you together. Or find someone totally new. A neutral third party can be incredibly helpful. Now back to the birthday. Yes, it sucks that he forgot it, and maybe it was a lame, passive-aggressive retaliatory swipe. Maybe he feels as if he wasn't allowed to mourn because someone had to pay the rent. Perhaps he's annoyed that he hasn't gotten his dick wet in months. Or maybe he just plain forgot. Because quite honestly, one of the first things any heterosexual lady needs to learn is that if you want something from a straight guy, you need to tell him. It'd be nice if he knew exactly what to do/buy/say, but most (not all) are 100 percent clueless in that department. Don't take it personally, and don't yell, pout, or bitch. Instead, sit him down, tell him your feelings are hurt, and let him know what you want him to do about it. Dinner out? A kitten? A new pair of sweatpants? Whatever it is (except sweatpants—that was a test), let him know. Tell him you are giving him a 48-hour window to make it up to you, and while he's at it, he should set aside an hour or two to give your poor, neglected vagina some attention. Tell him you're willing to return that particular favor by lavishing some love on his willy as well.

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