He Cancelled My Birthday Plans… Need Perspective

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  • #641385 Reply


    I apologize in advance for this being long. There’s a lot of background info for this story.

    I have been dating a guy for about 2 months. We are exclusively seeing each other, and see each other typically 2 times per week. It would probably be more frequent, but he has a 6 y/o daughter whom he has shared custody of (he has her 50% of the time… M,T,W(AM only), e/o weekend). He has expressed to me that I will most likely not meet his daughter until things become way more serious. I am fine with that and respect it.

    Anyway… my birthday was yesterday (Friday). We had talked about when our birthdays were when we first started dating. He again asked me to confirm my birthday with him about a month ago, and he brought it up again last week. I wasn’t expecting anything from him for my birthday, as we’ve only been seeing each other for 2 months, but the way he kept talking about it, indicated to me that he intended to do something for it.

    This past Wednesday evening we were hanging out together. He asked me my plans. I said that I took off, but didn’t have any plans during the day time. My family was taking me out to dinner in the evening. He said he would like to spend time with me, but had planned to take his daughter to the shore for the day, and would I be available to spend the day with him on Saturday. I said I would, and he started making plans for a day trip to a little town about an hour away that has great shopping and seafood and lots to do. He talked about this to me on Thursday again and I started to get really excited to spend the day with him. However, I asked him if he was sure that he was okay with getting a sitter on Saturday for his daughter in order to spend the day with me. He said that since he was getting her earlier than usual on Friday, he was fine with it.

    Friday was my birthday. I received a text from him in the morning stating “happy birthday”. That was it. I’m not sure what I expected, but I guess I was expecting a little more than that, since he had made a big deal about remembering when my birthday way. We didn’t text again until late last night when he sent me a confirmation text about today (Saturday), saying he would be around to pick me up at 10AM.

    Well this morning at around 9:50AM, I hadn’t heard from him yet, but thought maybe he was running late. I texted him to ask him to text me when he was on his way to get me. He then responded “did you get my text? I have to cancel today”. I hadn’t gotten one, but I have spotty service, so I’m not doubting that he sent it. But I was shocked and a little upset that he hadn’t even called to confirm I’d received the message when I didn’t respond. I asked why he had to cancel and he told me that it was because his daughter didn’t want to go to the babysitters.

    I don’t have kids, and this is my first time dating someone who does. I feel like I’ve handled it and everything that comes along with it well until now. I was fuming. I was really, really looking forward to our trip, had spent about 90 minutes getting ready for the day, and then he cancelled for something that I didn’t feel like was a valid excuse (again, I don’t have kids, so I need perspective here). I think the thing that got me was that he didn’t seem apologetic, and he hadn’t even called to let me know… So I reacted really poorly.

    After he sent me the text saying that his daughter didn’t want to go to the sitter, I sent back a message that said, “wow, ok. Well I was really looking forward to today, so to say I’m disappointed would be a significant understatement.” He responded, “wow?”. I tried to backpedal a little bit because I felt bad for being passive aggressive, and I apologized. I haven’t heard from him since. That was only a few hours ago, but it feels like a lifetime. I’m not quite sure how I should handle this. I really like this man and he has been great to me until cancelling these plans. I’m scared that I blew it with my text back to him. However, I’m also still a little pissed off that a) he didn’t call me to confirm that I knew the plans were cancelled, and b) he didn’t even apologize about cancelling the plans or try to reschedule with me. Again, I don’t have a kid, so anyone who has one, please let me know if I’m acting crazy or if I’m justified. And in general, I’d just love your thoughts about how I should move forward with this.

    #641387 Reply


    I completely understand that you were upset/disappointed, but IMO if he only has her in the mornings during the week and every other weekend, he never should have tried to schedule anything with you on the weekend he has his daughter.

    He should have asked to make those plans on the weekend he didn’t have her (and celebrated your bday with you the following week), so that was a dummy move on his part.

    I’m a single Mom, my son comes first. You better get used to being in second chair, because, at a minimum that is where you will be until she is older, possibly forever.

    I don’t know why he would even have considered getting a sitter, TBH. Divorce/split homes are tough on kids. And trying to bring in some stranger to watch her when she’s expecting DaddyVery poor choice on daddy’s part, especially since you are only dating 2 months and there isn’t anything serious yet? Bonehead move.

    IF, he reaches out again (he may not), make it clear you will not plan anything with him on the weekends he has his daughter (until/unless you two become serious) and he is integrating you into HER life.

    He was wrong for how he handled it, but you have to understand that if you are going to date a single dad with young kid(s) things always come up last minute/unexpectedly.They get sick, things happen with the ex, nothing is written in stone anymore.

    Maybe you should look for a guy without children? If you hope to be the top priority, you wont be when children are involved, it’s that simple.

    #641389 Reply


    Hi-You said at first you were fine if he did not do much about your birthday,because you were only dating 2 months. Then,you were /are so upset with nothing more than Happy Birthday on the day and then the cancelled Saturday plans. So,kind of a mixed vibe from you here.
    I agree that he should have called to cancel and been very apologetic. He should have planned a re-schedule right away. His excuse about the daughter sounds a little lame-unless he carries a lot of “daddy guilt”. I think you should have conveyed your disappointment in a measured way and I am not sure why you said you were sorry to him. I get the “wow”,but it was not helpful here. Also,if he was supposed to come at 10ish-why did you text him about his whereabouts at 9:50? Odd, to my mind. Were you unsure he would really come? If service is spotty,how could he have called? Do you have a land-line?
    Overall-I am confused aboutthis situation. I would wait and go no contact and see if you hear from him. I am guessing that you may not. If he does call,ask you out again-just let him know nicely that though you understand his daughter needs to be a priority-a call when he needs to cancel would be appreciated. Please keep us posted.

    #641392 Reply


    The other thing I would say here is, you need to understand and set your own boundaries. Can you really be okay knowing you will not be his top priority?

    It’s okay to say no, and walk away now. You get a choice in this too. It’s still early days and you have only invested 2 months.

    If this is something you know you aren’t ready to handle..don’t wait to here from him. Reach out, say you realize you could have handled this better, and you also realize his daughter is/needs to be his top priority and you feel it’s best for you to bow out now, and find someone more on the same page/stage in life as you.

    I hate when women relinquish all their power and just wait on a man. I’m not saying you have to end it, but now is a really good time for YOU to consider if he’s possibly the right match for your (or not) and if not, you walk away.

    #641393 Reply


    And I almost forgot….HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

    You can salvage your weekend still. Reach out to friends and family, go out, celebrate and have the BEST TIME EVER.

    At the very least, forget about him this weekend and enjoy yourself so much you don’t even think of him.

    #641395 Reply


    The trouble with a text is people don’t hear tone of voice. Your “wow” and “signifanct understatement” sound quite aggressive. You know that already.

    I would have been annoyed too. Very annoyed! I find it best not to respond when annoyed and let the other person sweat a bit while you calm down and think of a sensible reply.

    I’d leave him alone. Let him come to you if he wants to.

    #641396 Reply


    You did NOTHING wrong.

    You wrote:

    I” sent back a message that said, “wow, ok. Well I was really looking forward to today, so to say I’m disappointed would be a significant understatement.” He responded, “wow?”. I tried to backpedal a little bit because I felt bad for being passive aggressive, and I apologized.”

    First of all, that text was not passive aggressive. You told him directly that you were disappointed. I don’t know why you backpedaled. To cancel on you the same day was INCREDIBLY rude. And the reason is totally not justifiable. Sometimes kids don’t want to do things like go to a babysitter. It’s not up to them and in my opinion letting them think they’re in control of decisions like this is really, really bad.

    As I said, you did nothing wrong. He acted like a rude jerk. He didn’t even call you to cancel? He sent a text? Please.

    What he’s shown you is you are not a priority at all, and his 6-year old daughter runs the show. Get out now. If he contacts you again I would tell him you didn’t appreciate being stood up and you don’t think you have similar ideas about what constitutes treating each other well.

    I think you dodged a bullet. I know you like this guy, but as far as I can tell, wow. I thought your first response was spot-on. That was the right response, not you backpedalling and feeling bad and apologizing.

    #641398 Reply


    I agree with Aida-she said it more clearly-but that is what I was saying mainly.

    #641400 Reply


    Phillygirl – thank you! I have weighed all of this, and I’m still coming to terms with not being his number one priority, but think that I can as long as we have good communication. He said to me right from the beginning, “my daughter will always be my number one priority, but I want you to know that you will always be a top priority to me.” Honestly, as a child of divorce myself, I wish that my dad would have put me first, and I really respect and like that about him. It definitely does take some getting used to though. I should also clarify, that he has her for the full day Monday and Tuesday, and she goes back to her mom’s mid-day Wednesday. I am at a point in my life right now where I am feeling ready to settle down and have a family with the right guy. I’ve put a lot of thought into him having a daughter and what that means, and feel that at this point in my life, I am ready for and okay with that type of relationship. However, today I am questioning that a bit.

    Peggy – I wasn’t expecting anything from him for my birthday, but when he started to make a big deal out of it, it set a precedent that it was going to be a bigger deal than it turned out to be. I guess I was a little confused by the fact that he made it seem like it was a big deal and then essentially did nothing. The 9:50 timing thing is because he lives about 25 minutes from me and has always texted me when he was on his way. I was expecting that I’d here from him by that time, hence why I reached out.

    #641401 Reply


    It sounds so bad in text though when you don’t know someone. He doesnt know if she’s sitting there a bit annoyed or is having a tantrum and smashing stuff. That’s why you should never, ever say anything serious by text. Especially to someone you hardly know.

    #641402 Reply


    Aida, you’re out of your mind. Do you have children? I hope not!

    Being a parent means “me/myself/I” are now replaced with the needs and best interests of your child-(emotional/mental/physical/psychological). You have NO idea what kind of trauma this child has been through due to her parents separation. And bringing in a stranger to babysit her,so daddy can go have some fun ON HIS SCHEDULED WEEKEND WITH HIS CHILD was f’d up of him. He could do it another weekend, but I don’t think it was meanness on his part, just stupidity.

    “The reason is totally not justifiabl”e????? WTF! Yes it is, he just should have handled it better.


    To any of you who don’t have kids and don’t care/understand the true nature of being a good parent..DO NOT DATE PEOPLE WITH KIDS!

    You will not/should not be the top priority over the best interest or needs of the child.

    I can speak form experience. I have very solid boundaries – there is a BIG difference between raising a spoiled brat that runs the house becasue you don’t parent, and balancing the real needs of your child. I can assure you I am not raising an entitled, spoiled brat, so I know of which I speak.

    And lets say she is upset just because Daddy is leaving? She is 6. It’s HER DESIGNATED weekend with her father, she has a RIGHT to be upset and object.

    To all you selfish people who think you ALWAYS come first. DON’T EVER HAVE KIDS. It doesn’t work that way.

    #641403 Reply


    Hi-M.D.-Thanks for the clarity. It is even clearer that he should have called to cancel even earlier. Very bad on his part. I also wonder-if he really texted or if you had not texted to ask of his whereabouts,if you would have heard from him. I hate to be so negative,but that is my take.

    #641405 Reply


    I don’t date guys with the “my kids come first” point of view. That doesn’t create a healthy relationship. I expect after a period of time to receive equal consideration. In a conflict situation, that means sometimes the kids have to be put first and sometimes I will be put first. Children are not property and the job of a parent is to raise them and let them go make their own way in the world when it comes time. In every case where I’ve met men who claimed their children were their lives, it was a dysfunctional situation and the kids were messed up somehow. It is NOT GOOD for a kid to know they have complete control of their parents. I know others think otherwise, that’s just my experience. There’s a happy medium where the children are not center stage but they are not being neglected either. I dated one guy in particular cancelled all the time over non-emergency situations with the kids and after the 6th time he did it I told him I felt that we were not right for each other. He argued with me and didn’t want to break up, but finally admitted guilt to having left their mother despite her constantly cheating on him over 10 years. The real issue was, he was afraid to be in a relationship because he was afraid of getting cheated on again, so he finally admitted he was using the kids as an excuse. We were able to be friends later and it took him three years of therapy to be able to clear his issues and get into a decent relationship. He stopped dating entirely for most of the time to get his act together, to his credit.

    This was not a cancel by text situation. He should have called and explained and apologized profusely. To me this is a big red flag that there are issues with his parenting and the child is spoiled. As you don’t have children, you want to know the parenting style and what the child is like, even if you don’t meet them for a while, as soon as possible. This may not be the right person for you. She doesn’t feel like going to the babysitter is pretty lame. These plans were HIS idea not yours. I don’t see anything wrong with your text, although I would have called rather than texted a response. You appropriately expressed your surprise and disappointment. It is a good thing this came up early, because if he is overly permissive and lets his daughter run his life you probably won’t want to be with him. See what he does to make it up to you, assuming he will do something and not just walk away.

    #641406 Reply


    Phillygirl, I see you’ve posted about having a very bad experience with your son’s father. I can see why you have your boundaries set so tightly to be protective of your son as you are a single mother and that is certainly commendable that you are a responsible parent. Thing is, for a lot of other people it isn’t as black and white. I’m guessing you don’t date a lot right now and I”m assuming your son is under 13.

    I don’t have kids and I’m happy to date men who have children and balanced lives and am doing so successfully. I can weed out those who for whatever reason need to put a lot of focus on their children quite quickly now.

    #641407 Reply


    His child being a top priority is all good, but not calling you, and letting you know that the plans are off is not good at all. Had he called you respectfully and apologetically that he couldn’t make it, none of this would have happened, and you would not have sent that text. It’s one thing to have other priorities, no one disputes that, a whole another thing is communicating and respect.

    #641408 Reply


    Phillygirl,if he was so concerned about his daughter (and he should be),why promise that time to M.D. in the first place? He messed this up all the way around. She ,the poster had a right to find him rude and confusing in this case. I think this whole thing between the two of them is just going to work for various reasons. Kids should come first,but there is a healthy balanced required.

    #641413 Reply


    I am not advocating for kids that have “complete control” over their parents. What I’m saying keeps being misconstrued and taken out of context.

    Kids DO come first, especially when they are young and always in a NEW relationship. Being a priority in someone’s life is EARNED. You better believe a man has to earn that right in my and my son’s life.

    When things are progressing to a serious, committed, long term stage of a relationship, of course your partner is one of your top priorities, but nowhere do you also stop being a parent. So this is how it works- the reasonable and necessary needs of the child come first. Do you know how many of my own needs had to be second to that of my child? I don’t get to sleep when he is very sick, yet I still have to go to work and take care of my son. Being a parent is the MOST sacrificial act you will ever make to another human on a 24/7 basis, unless you are a craptastic parent.

    I am one of the strongest advocates here for HEATHY, REASONABLE, SOLID BOUNDARIES, so no way do I endorse raising entitled, spoiled, bratty, indignant, or “the only important person in the home” mentality children. We teach our children good boundaries, respect, consideration, empathy, patience and understanding….by modeling these actions.

    My son is not my ENTIRE and ONLY reason for being. But he IS one of the most important and cherished pieces of it, and that is a TREMENDOUS responsibility.

    So I tend not to want to date people who don’t have kids, or who can’t appreciate/fully understand what that means to be a single Mom.

    My ex let his ex wife and kids run all over him…extremely POOR boundary setting. It’s one of THE main reasons I left him, so you better believe I understand the difference between good boundaries and being a doormat/dingbat.

    I really don’t think the OP is being fully honest or fair or herself. This doesn’t sound like the guy for her. She isn’t being realistic about this situation, and fully real with herself about her own needs/limits/dealbreakers. My 2 cents is she should move on (sooner rather than later) from this one.

    #641416 Reply


    NOT going to work

    #641417 Reply


    Peggy, did you not read where I said he was an idiot? I said he NEVER should have scheduled anything on the weekend he had his daughter. I said the explicit EXACT opposite. I also said he communicatedpoorly with the OP, and how he handled this WAS NOT OK!!!!! I think he’s an a$$.

    I also said I DON’T think this is the guy for her and I COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND why she is upset, and SHE HAS A RIGHT TO BE.

    This isnt’ the guy for her. It’s that simple.

    I have also learned how to determine men who are able to successfully balance being a parent, a man and a BF. I avoid ALL the rest (and that’s a lot!).

    Yes, my ex is/was abusive and very dangerous. Yes I have a young son. No, every situation is not the same and you have to realize and take that into consideration. There is no one size fits all.

    But is it also a FACT that there are too many f’d up people having kids and taking little to no responsibility,and also too many people who date those with children and think of the kids as a nuisance and secondary consideration and little else. NOT OK.

    #641444 Reply


    Kiddos are a big deal. I’m a single mom and I’m protective of them as well so I relate to your by.


    If he wants to sustain a good relationship with you, he will need to be more considerate. I’m sure he just went into daddy mode and reality hit and whomever said he needs to schedule on his non dad days is correct. Hopefully that situation can work for y’all until those worlds blend which should be in several weeks down the road.

    Talk to him; how y’all handle the situation foreshadows the maturity of your relationship as well. GO.

    #641445 Reply


    Sorry GO was GL!!

    #641456 Reply


    I agree with Aida. A parent should always put their kid first but it’s messed up of him to disregard you like that. He wasn’t even apologetic like he was expecting you to just be okay with being put off.

    I think it’s a cultural thing but that little girl sounds spoilt! No way I’d be telling my mom “I don’t want to go to the babysitter” when she has plans. It does seem like a dumb reason to me. At the same time, like others have said, he should’ve schedule your date when he knew that he wouldn’t be having his daughter or at least asked the mother to keep her that weekend.

    You either have to deal with it- accept that this guy will always be putting his daughter first or move on and find someone who doesn’t have children.

    #641458 Reply


    I am also a parent. When you become a parent your life is not your own…your life and how it is lived depends on how your children are doing. If your child gets sick you cannot attend a party…and everyone understands that…because your life is not your own anymore.

    What I can say is that this man may have believed you got his text….and that all was understood and ok. When you reacted by being upset he wondered who you really were….you put yourself ahead of his child….ahead of his judgment of the situation that you knew nothing about….you judged him. That does not sit well with anyone.

    I can understand that you did not understand. Until you are a parent there are many things you will not understand and that is just the way it is. No one is a villain here…just different places in life…

    #641481 Reply


    He dropped the ball. Sure, ‘kids come first’ but that doesn’t give you a jail free card in losing all social skills in dealing with adults. I don’t think you overreacted. It’s too easy an excuse to use. He should have called you and surely should have been more apologetic and offered to celebrate another day. A red flag in my eyes. If he doesn’t get that, there will be more episodes like this in the future.
    Happy Belated Birthday, btw.

    #641486 Reply


    Just stop with this guy and don’t date a man with a small child.
    I think there are more available men out there for you. You don’t have to sell yourself short.
    I feel like having a kid won’t give you a pass to be inconsiderate. Surely he won’t behave this way to his work mates or boss.

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