You say you tried to talk with him about how you felt, and he didn’t understand. It is likely that when you talked to him he felt blamed or criticized for failing you, which would result in a defensive, as opposed to understanding reaction.Discussing an issue after someone has screwed up is always difficult because, no matter how well you approach the discussion, it is easy for a person to feel attacked for having done something wrong in the past, that he can’t fix. Thus, he is left feeling to blame with no escape hatch–the birthday is over and he can’t change what he did.So, what can you do? Use my XY formula and make a suggestion for the future.According to my research, the following formula is the most effective way to discuss your hurt feelings. Remember to stay cool (the cooler you are the less defensive he will be). If you want to be heard and understood, you must make sure that he stays cool.So, start with the disclaimer. This is the sentence that lets your partner’s ego off the hook. ‘I know you didn’t mean to hurt me’ or ‘I am sure you didn’t realize how important celebrating my birthday was to me.’ Bottom line, protect your friend’s ego, so that he will stay cool and nondefensive.Next, use my XY formula. But, I felt X (state whatever you felt– hurt, disappointed, etc.) when you did Y. Realize that for very defensive people you will need to reword the sentence so that the word ‘you’ isn’t said at all. For example, I felt hurt when my birthday was forgotten (instead of when you forgot my birthday).Finally, add the suggestion for the future. This is especially important when discussing a past screw up. Because the future suggestion gives the other person a chance to redeem himself. Remember, no matter how tactfully you presented what upset you, a man needs guidelines for how to correct his behavior in the future. The suggestion for the future would sound like: In the future, it would make me very happy (or loved or special) to have my birthday remembered).Putting all this together sounds like this,’I know you didn’t realize how important birthdays are to me, but I feel very disappointed when my birthday is forgotten. And, in the future, it would make me feel so happy if my birthday was remembered.’So, that’s the best formula for presenting your feelings in a way that your boyfriend can hear and understand.Good luck. And, tell me what he gives you for your next birthday present!