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Why Do Men Forget Anniversaries?

Updated on January 19, 2013

Do you have trouble remembering special dates? Birthdays, holidays, wedding anniversaries? To find out why do men forget some things and remember others, let’s look at which dates men remember, and which dates men forget.

Doctor: “When is your birthday?”

Patient: “3rd September"

Doctor: “Which year?"

Patient: “Every Year!”

Our Birthday

Every one remembers their own birthday. Which is interesting because, although we were definitely there, most of us can’t remember what happened!

So why do we remember our birthdate?

Well, presumably it’s because we celebrate it every year with our family and friends, and it is a key part of every form we ever complete. If we forget our birthday, we could never get a passport or a driver’s licence, get married, buy insurance, go fishing … you get the picture!

Holidays and Other Celebrations

Most of us can remember these holidays and celebrations:

  • Christmas Day: 25th December
  • New Year’s Day: 1st January
  • National ‘Birthdays’: e.g. U.S. Independence Day: 4th July, Canada Day: 1st July
  • Valentine’s Day: 14th February
  • Remembrance Day: 11th November

Why do we remember these? Well, they are ingrained in tradition, they fall on the same date every year and, for most of them, we get rewarded with a day off work!

Most of us celebrate other holidays and religious festivals, such as Easter and Thanksgiving. These events are important to us spiritually, emotionally or just because we get the day off work to spend with families and friends! We know roughly when they occur but, because the dates vary every year (e.g. the first Monday of September, say), very few of us know the actual dates.

The same is true of Mothers Day and Fathers Day because the date varies every year.

The one thing that all of these celebrations have in common is that they are widely celebrated and the greeting card industry would never let us forget! Unfortunately, when it comes to our own wedding anniversaries, we have to rely on our friends to remind us!

Other People’s Birthdays and Anniversaries

Most of us can remember birthdays for those who are close to us: family members, close friends, spouses. But it becomes increasingly difficult as the relationship weakens and most people resort to calendars and Facebook to remember friends’ birthdays. As for other people’s wedding anniversaries, these rapidly become forgotten and are not traditionally celebrated by non-family members except perhaps the 1st, 10th, 25th and 50th.

Why Do Men Remember Some Things and Forget Others?

Based on this research, it seems that the reasons men remember certain dates are:

  • Repetition: The event falls on the same date every year
  • Duration: The longer we have been celebrating an event, the easier it is to remember
  • Importance: How important is the event, and what is the penalty for forgetting?
  • Tradition: The event is religious or part of popular culture.
  • Celebration: The more people that take part, the more likely we are to remember
  • Reward: Receiving gifts, or getting a day off work, appears to enhance memory!

Wedding Anniversaries Should Be Memorable

A wedding anniversary seems to meet almost all of the criteria for a memorable event.

It falls on the same date every year, it is traditional to celebrate it and we receive gifts. It is the most important date in a relationship and many say it was the happiest day of their lives.

Not only that, but the penalty for forgetting can be quite severe!

So Why Do Men Forget Their Wedding Anniversary?

The answer isn’t clear but I suspect that it has a lot to do with:

  • Duration & Repetition: By definition, we don’t start celebrating wedding anniversaries until after we get married, so it is a new date for us and takes a while to become ingrained. So, if there’s any good news, it’s that the longer we stay married, the more likely we are to remember!
  • Support: Also, if we happen to forget, we have to rely on our friends to remind us. So for men, that means having to rely on other men to remember their wedding anniversary – imagine the chance of that!

I also think it would help if:

  • We were given a day off work to celebrate our wedding anniversary
  • We had to use our anniversary date on all government forms
  • Our friends would help us to remember by celebrating with us
  • We receive thoughtful gifts to show that we’re appreciated

And Why Do Women Remember Anniversaries when Men Don’t?

Good question. Answers anyone?

Personally, I think the answer revolves around the emotional time and effort that women invest in planning and preparing for the wedding, that they are generally more romantic than men, better at celebrating life’s important events and have a stronger network of friends that help them to remember.

Of course, I could be wrong – I usually am! I’d love to know what you think – please leave a comment below.

Celebrate Your Anniversary!

I am proud to say that I have never forgotten my wedding anniversary in thirty years of marriage, and I’m sure that there are many more men out there that have a similar record. Likewise, I’m sure that there are some women that have occasionally forgotten their anniversary. Regardless of your past record, you can put it right going forward.

So, if you have trouble remembering your wedding anniversary date, you’re not alone! Look it up, write it in a calendar, set up a reminder, do it now!

And, if your anniversary is coming up soon, it’s easy to celebrate in style. Let me show you how at Wedding Anniversary Ideas.

I hope you found this article on Why Do Men Forget Anniversaries? interesting. Here are some related articles that provide suggestions on other aspects of your wedding anniversary celebration, including:

Thanks for visiting. And if you're planning a romantic anniversary trip to celebrate your wedding anniversary this year, then here are some great destinations for Romantic Getaways for Couples.

Happy Anniversary!



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    • geoffclarke profile image

      geoffclarke 4 years ago from Canada

      Hi David

      Thanks for commenting and sorry to hear that your woman does not share your need to celebrate your anniversaries. What does she do on your birthday? My advice is to keep celebrating your special day and hope that eventually she'll get the message that it is important to you!


    • profile image

      david apple 4 years ago

      Why is it said that it always the men that forget anniversaries? I have been with the same woman now for sometime, every time our special day comes around, she doesn't say a word or do anything to remember when we met. I on the other hand surprises her with a card and small token or something that she mentioned she needed/wanted. She on the other hand claims she remembers, however she doesn't believe in cards and the day is not a big deal to her, her being with me should say how much she cares for me..

      Perhaps I am missing something?

    • geoffclarke profile image

      geoffclarke 5 years ago from Canada

      Hi Josie

      It sounds like you have every reason to be mad! A good rant might help your husband remember next time! Having said that, perhaps next year you should give him some strong hints a few days before to help him remember your anniversary.


    • profile image

      josie 5 years ago

      today is our 3rd year wedding anniversary and my husband didn't remember it "AGAIN". Last year, he forgot about it as well as this year, do i have any reason to be mad?

    • geoffclarke profile image

      geoffclarke 6 years ago from Canada

      Thanks Sherry - congrats on 32 years!

    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 6 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      I'm a woman, and I forget my anniversary almost every year, so does my husband. So, it's OK, nobody's mad. Our anniversary is between Christmas and New Years, so it kind of gets lost in the shuffle. I actually remembered it this year, but I still had to do the math to see how long we've been married (32 years).