There are certain things you just expect your partner to remember — like your birthday, your anniversary, and the story of how and where you met. And when they fail to remember these oh-so-important details, you may very well feel disappointed or frustrated (or, let’s be real, furious). For example, if your partner forgets how long you've been dating, it’s totally normal to feel bummed out. But don’t panic — because according to Maria Sullivan, dating expert and VP of Dating.com, it doesn’t necessarily indicate something negative about your relationship.
“It can definitely be upsetting if your partner forgets how long you’ve been dating because you automatically begin to jump to conclusions and question whether or not you and your partner are on the same page about your relationship,” she tells Elite Daily.
One of the reasons why this can be distressing is that you might assume that they DGAF about your relationship. But that’s not necessarily the case — because there are many other reasonable explanations as to why your partner’s memory isn’t quite as sharp as yours regarding your relationship timeline.
“People aren’t perfect,” explains Sullivan. “If your partner forgot the amount of time you have been dating, it’s always best to take a step back and see what factors could have contributed to your their forgetfulness.”
Consider this. Was your SO going through a stressful time when you started dating — or are they going through one now? Stress and anxiety can take a toll on your memory, so if work has been especially demanding or they’re dealing with a family emergency, then that may be why they can’t quite recall how long you’ve been dating for.
Sometimes, it’s the complex nature of your story that affects their ability to remember the timeline correctly. For example, my boyfriend and I began hanging out in early November. It wasn’t until the end of January that we had the DTR talk, but during those first three months, neither of us were seeing other people. Obviously, this complicates things a bit. When people ask, “how long have you been together?” we usually shoot each other a look, uncertain about how to respond. Are we supposed to count November through January, or no? So, if you dated for a while before making things official, it could be that your partner’s not totally sure of when you technically became a couple.
Another reason why your partner may have forgotten is if your bond progressed very slowly or very quickly in comparison to their other relationships. This can warp their sense of time, making it difficult to recall precisely how long you’ve been together. For example, if you and your current SO were exclusive for a while but didn’t start referring to each other as boyfriend and girlfriend until six months in, then it may feel like you’ve been dating for a shorter period than you actually have. If you met your partner’s parents after just one month of dating, then it may feel like you’ve been a couple for longer than you have.
Speaking from personal experience, this is a very real phenomenon. After my mom’s house was devastated in a fire, my boyfriend and I drove down to Connecticut and ended up living out of hotels for two weeks, trying to find my mother a new home while also supporting her through a number of health issues. We had only been dating for two months. So, needless to say, between all the challenging problem-solving and decision-making, we grew very close in a very short amount of time. And as a result, it often feels like we’ve been together for much longer than we actually have. This is why it’s crucial to consider the nature of how your relationship progressed — because it can affect your SO's ability to remember how long you’ve been dating.
The bottom line is, just because bae is scratching their head over when you started dating doesn’t mean they don’t care about you or take your relationship seriously.
“It isn’t necessarily a bad sign if your partner forgets — and it doesn’t automatically mean something is wrong in your relationship,” adds Sullivan.
Still, if it bothers you that they don’t remember, you can certainly say something. That way, you can gain a deeper understanding of why they’re having trouble recalling, which may provide some much-needed reassurance. Plus, you’ll give them an opportunity to step up to the plate and show you how much they cherish your bond in other ways.
Rather than attacking or blaming your partner, try confronting them with a question and simply letting them know that it concerned you. For example, you might say: “Hey, is there a reason why you can’t seem to remember how long we’ve been dating?" Then, Sullivan recommends taking note of the way in which your SO responds. Do they make an effort to comfort you, or do they get defensive?
“The most important factor is how your partner reacts to the situation,” she says. “If they aren’t apologetic or understanding about the issue, that might be a red flag. But if they genuinely forgot the exact timeline of your relationship, I wouldn’t run for the hills.”
While it's definitely understandable if it bothers you that bae doesn't recall when you started dating, just remember that there are a variety of valid reasons why their memory may be failing them. You know the old expression “time flies when you’re having fun?” Maybe, just maybe, your boo has been having such a blast with you, that it’s hard for them to put their finger on when your story began. And who can be mad about that?