Virginia Ironside's Dilemmas


For the last three years, my husband has forgotten our wedding anniversary, though we've been married nine years. It is coming up again and I find I am already dreading the disappointment of him forgetting again. I know it's silly, and everyone says it's clear he loves me, but it means so much to me, and when he forgets we always have a terrible row. He says I should remind him, but if I remind him, then there's no point... he should remember of his own accord. I don't know how you can help me, but does anyone else feel like I do? Yours sincerely, Nollie

Virgnia says... Lots of women feel exactly like you. I'm not one of them – I've been known to forget my own birthday – but I know the agony of feeling rejected and presumably your husband forgetting your anniversary triggers those painful feelings with you. There are two things you can do. Train yourself not to feel the feelings. Or make sure he remembers your anniversary every year in future.

If you decide to remind him yourself, then you'll avoid the problem. Because you'll never know whether he would have remembered without your reminder anyway. Write ANNIVERSARY!! in his diary in big red letters. If he has a secretary (who does any more, I wonder?), dragoon her into reminding him for days in advance. If you don't want to do this, confide in a mutual friend how upset you feel when he forgets. Make sure you tell her the date. If she's a true friend she'll definitely secretly remind your husband.

But by not taking steps to avoid the annual hurt, you're actually complicit, if I may say so, in delivering the hurt. Why not take steps to avoid it? What you're doing now is saying, as it were, "Nearly every time I walk into the road blindfold, I get run over." The answer is to make sure, next time you walk into a road, you take off the blindfold.

The second method, to try to stop yourself feeling disappointed, is to tell yourself that the man you married isn't a chap who's drenched in sentiment. He's not a "fill the house with roses on your birthday" kind of guy. He wouldn't hire a chamber orchestra to serenade you on the anniversary of the day you first met. And would you really love him if he did? Because if he was that sort of person, he'd be different in every way. He'd probably cry in films, and pick up wounded worms from the roadside and bring them home. He'd spent a lot of the time at weekends visiting his friends in hospital, and he might well have a passionate temperament, including, of course, the occasional rage. True, a very sympathetic kind of man in many ways, but is it a man you want to live with? I'm exaggerating of course... but remember he may be a man of few words simply because his feelings are so powerful underneath he fears expressing them by making a song and dance of an anniversary. Who knows. Anyway, I hope these thoughts will make you feel more in control of the situation and less as if you're heading yet again for an inevitable car crash of disappointment.


Readers say...

Make it more fun

I think you need to break the unhappy pattern you have got into. This year you could try saying, a couple of weeks before the date: "It's our wedding anniversary soon. I think we should celebrate our 10 happy years together. Shall we both take the day off work and go somewhere nice/book a table at our favourite restaurant/go to the theatre – whatever you both enjoy doing. Make the arrangements and give yourselves a pleasant memory rather than a row. If you do this for a few years he just might start reminding you of the date.

Deb By email


I forget, too

I usually forget my wedding anniversary (and my wife's birthday sometimes as well). Some men are just like that. They don't mean that much to me as dates in themselves and I am always amused, never annoyed, when my grown-up children forget my birthday, which they normally do. What I have done is to ask a very good mutual friend to remind me, and she now sends me a text message a day or so beforehand.

Peter By email


Next week's dilemma

Dear Virginia, Before she died I promised my mother I would look after my sister. She's now 40 and I'm 45. The problem is that she rings me sometimes four times a day, complaining about her life, her husband, what a neighbour said to her... I feel I'm being used as a kind of free therapist! Her husband has been diagnosed as a schizophrenic, so she does have problems, but he has a good job and is perfectly nice to meet. Is there a syndrome my sister's suffering from – unhealthy wallowing in impossible situations? She just seems hard-wired to be anxious. Yours sincerely, Jemima

What would you advise Jemima to do? Email your dilemmas and comments to dilemmas @independent., or go to Anyone whose advice is quoted will receive a £25 voucher from the wine website Fine Wine Sellers (

Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
Arts and Entertainment
tvExecutive says content is not 'without any purpose'
A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
London is the most expensive city in Europe for cultural activities such as ballet
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Marketing Manager - Central London - £45,000-£55,000 + bonus

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: The focus of this is to deve...

    Application Support - Enterprise Java, SQL, Oracle, SQL Server

    £45000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A well-established financial soft...

    Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Desktop, Surrey)

    Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Deskto...

    Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Desktop, Surrey)

    Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Deskto...

    Day In a Page

    Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

    Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

    The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
    Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

    Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

    A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
    Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

    Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

    Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
    Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

    Nick Clegg the movie

    Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
    Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

    Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

    Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
    Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

    Waxing lyrical

    Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
    Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

    Revealed (to the minute)

    The precise time when impressionism was born
    From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

    Make the most of British tomatoes

    The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
    10 best men's skincare products

    Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

    Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
    Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

    Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

    The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
    La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

    Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

    Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
    Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
    Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

    Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

    Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
    Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
    Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

    Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

    Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape