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I [27m] surprised my partner [23f] with a cool scuba diving experience for her birthday. She ended u (by Sparky)

 Sparky (0)  (26 / M-F / Massachusetts)
24-Dec-18 1:30 pm
I [27m] surprised my partner [23f] with a cool scuba diving experience for her birthday. She ended up being too anxious to do it, so she had to watch me enjoy her birthday present without her. Now I feel like crap, how can I fix this?

Edit: Thanks for the replies everyone, I'm overwhelmed with the amount of attention this post has got. I spoke to her a little more this afternoon just to reassure her that I thought her reaction was completely normal and I wasn't mad or upset or anything. She seems fine now :) She has suggested / asked if we could do deep sea fishing together in the new year which sounds fun.

My partner birthday was a fortnight ago. She's brought up several times how cool it would be to dive with sharks, so this year for her birthday I stretched financially surprised her with two tickets to do a scuba dive at an aquarium where you can experience swimming with sharks and stingrays. She was pumped!

The deal is you arrive on the day, and they teach you everything you need to know to scuba dive. After a 45 minute safety presentation, we put on the gear and got into the main aquarium tank on a metal ledge to practice our scuba diving skills (clearing regulator, clearing mask) before diving down to the bottom of the main aquarium tank.
After putting on the gear, I noticed my partner was anxious so I tried to comfort her by holding her hand and being close to her. When we get into the water, the instructors started letting us go underwater to learn how it feels to use the regulator to breathe and learn the basic skills.

At this point I noticed my partner had been taken to the side by one of the other instructors, who looked like they were trying to calm her down. I kept looking over to try and see what was happening, but my instructor told me I needed to pay attention to what I was learning or I wouldn't be able to dive, so I did.

5 minutes later, I then noticed my partner and the other instructor were swimming around by themselves and my heart sank. I knew at this point my partner had decided the experience was too uncomfortable for her and she was panicky and she did not want to proceed. The other instructor was trying to let my partner see some of the wildlife anyway before she got out of the tank.

At this point I had to decide whether to proceed without my partner or not. I felt terrible proceeding without her (because this was supposed to be for _her_ birthday!), but knew that it would make my partner feel even worse if I didn't do the experience because she would have felt like she '****ed it up for the both of us'.

I ended up doing the dive, and it was a sad experience without my partner. The whole time I could only really think about how this was wrong, and I couldn't fully enjoy the experience. The worst part was that by this time my partner had changed back into her clothes and was on the other side of the aquarium wall, and we were waving to each other and she was taking photos of me etc. I just felt pity for her :(

After the experience I met up with her, she asked me to tell her all about it and how it was, I just said it was good then I tried to change the subject because I didn't want her to focus on what she missed out on. I told her let's go get some food and do whatever you want for the rest of the day.

She kept apologising for how she was 'too chicken' and how she ruined everything and wasted my money, and that once she felt panicked she didn't feel comfortable being underwater. I told her that everything was okay, I just felt terrible because I got to do this experience and she didn't and that I was sorry and that I completely understood and there was no way to know how you will feel about things before you're actually doing them. I feel terrible about this. I love her so much and was trying to give her a once in a lifetime experience that would be magical for her and she could look back on fondly, but it just ended up with both of us feeling like crap apologising to one another. I don't even feel like looking at the pictures she took of me. How can I make this better?

tl;dr Suprised girlfriend with scuba diving experience for her birthday, she was too anxious to do it and ended up wistfully watching me do it and now I feel terrible. How can I make it better?




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