I Got Him a Gift But He Didn’t Get Me One…Now What?
Guest Post from Leatherandlaceadvice.com
*Editor’s Note: Gift-giving can bring up all sorts of issues in a relationship! As co-editor of the dating, relationship, and intimacy advice website Leather and Lace Advice this is a question we get from readers all the time. There is a special agony you feel when it’s a special holiday, birthday or anniversary and your special someone doesn’t honor you and the occasion with a card or gift.
If this has just happened to you, or if you know someone who is really upset about this issue, this may give you some perspectives you can use from both a woman’s and a man’s point of view. Feel free to share this post and on social media. Tell us what you think! ! (Alison Blackman, Editor in Chief, advicesisters.com & leatherandlaceadvice.com)
Question: Dear Leather and Lace: I’ve only known John for three months, and I knew it was probably too soon to get him anything very personal. But the holidays are here and so I got him a travel case for his new tablet. He loved it! But he didn’t get me anything in return– not even a card or something small. Does this send the message that he just isn’t into me? Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and now I’m worried that he won’t give me anything for that, either. I am not greedy, but I think a small token to show he cares, would have been appropriate since we’re supposedly more than just friends. I plan to get him a card for Valentines’ Day but not a gift. The whole situation is upsetting me and it’s so awkward. How do you suggest I handle it? Since he didn’t get me anything, does that mean he’s not into me, just cheap or what??
Sign Me: Gift-less Girlfriend
Some people just don’t like to give gifts, and they don’t like to get gifts, either. And there are some people who are so confused about how to shop for a gift for someone special that they literally become frozen with indecision and end up offering nothing at all!
For most people, a gift is a token of affection to treasure, no matter how small. Offering a gift comes with many different meanings, from “thank you” to “I appreciate you” to “I love you.”
Three months really isn’t a lot of time to become a couple. But at holiday time, even casual couples like you and John might want to show you care with a small token (as you did with the tablet case).
The fact that John didn’t reciprocate doesn’t necessarily mean he doesn’t see a future with you. He may just not have known what would be appropriate and he didn’t want to send the wrong message and offend you with something that wasn’t romantic enough. He might also be one of those people for whom getting and giving gifts is just no big deal.
Truthfully if John wasn’t into you, three months is enough time to know that from the things he says and does. So if you feel that things are otherwise good with John and you are worried about Valentine’s Day, be proactive. It might be a bit forward, but in the next couple of weeks tell him you know V-Day is coming soon and can you pencil him in your brand new 2017 calendar for a romantic dinner on that day (or something else only dating couples would do).
I wouldn’t mention the fact that he didn’t give you a gift for the holidays, nor would I plan to give him more than a card for Valentines Day. But you might at some point before February 14th ask him in conversation how he feels about gifting, in general. Maybe bring up the fact that someone you know is having a birthday…how does he feel about birthday gifts?
If you find out that he really doesn’t like to give or get gifts, you need to tell him that you do and that for you, a gift is a way to show affection, and it is important to you. If he is interested in pursuing the relationship, he will quickly realize that he will need to enhance romance by occasionally giving you a “token” of his affection.
Should John mention that he wanted to get you something but he didn’t know what would be right, next time you are out and about, point out things you really like. That way, if he does decide to cough up a gift for Valentine’s Day (or another occasion) he will already know that you love poetry books, or anything with cats on it, or whatever it is that you really like.
Actions speak louder than words. If after all of the above, Valentine’s Day passes without a nice dinner, flowers or anything else from John, cut your losses. He’s not that into you. Start looking for a new boyfriend.
Although not totally distinct categories gifts are generally given either as an obligation or as caring.
Obviously, there are some people who are so oblivious to the outside world that they never even think about gifts. They fall into two categories, the absolutely brilliant and otherwise nice ones who if you remind them will actually get you a spectacular gift, and the second (and larger) group which doesn’t care about the world or you.
Then there are people in this world who feel all gifts are obligations, that to give a gift means taking from themselves.
Some people classify these people as cheapskates, but the issue lies deeper than that.
It’s likely that these people were deprived of love and affection as children and given material things to compensate by guilty parents. To give away material things is to give away love.
The final group are the narcissists who would never consider the feelings of anyone else. If they get a gift, great. Forget about you!
Gifts are like hugs. They acknowledge our existence and worth, and they make us feel warm and happy. Cards are a token, they allow us to express the same sentiment and evoke a similar feeling in cases where a gift would not be appropriate, be delayed or be too extravagant.
I don’t agree with Alison who has cut him some slack. I think your boyfriend is self-absorbed as he didn’t acknowledge you or your worth to him.
That is totally unacceptable. This man is cold and will never be capable of loving you in the way that you need.
The world is big, scary and cold as it is, so why not find someone you can care for and who cares about you?
If I were you, I’d ask John to take you to a very nice Valentine’s Day dinner. Since he owes you a present, you can at least collect it as fine food. Unless your birthday is later in February or March, I’d dump him the day after Valentine’s day. Otherwise, you might do it the day after he takes you out for your birthday.
Then, I’d dump him the day after Valentine’s day. Otherwise, you might do it the day after he takes you out for your birthday!