Question: Paul and I (names are changed) have only been a couple for two months, so I figured it might be too soon to get him a really personal gift, but I wanted to get him something for the holidays just to show I care for him. I got him a new case for his phone. He seemed to really like 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 coming, and I’m not materialistic, but I’m worried that he won’t give me anything for this day, either. In my past relationships my boyfriends always showed affection with gifts. I think under the circumstances since we are a couple, a small token to show he cares, would have been appropriate if we are more than just friends. I’m kind of freaking out about this. Should I get him anything for Valentine’s Day or a card? The whole situation is so awkward. I don’t know what to think!
What should I do?
This is something that really bothers people and it’s one of the most popular questions we receive on the dating and relationship website, Leather and Lace Advice. So here’s my perspective and I hope it will help anyone who is in this situation:
People can really be mis-matched when it comes to gift giving styles. In my work as a relationship advisor, I’ve found many people who just don’t like to give gifts, and they don’t like to get gifts, either.
But some people just are clueless when it comes to how to buy a gift and give it to someone.
You’d think this would be easy, but if you grew up in a home where gift giving wasn’t done, or no big deal, knowing what and how to give a gift can be intimidating.
These sorts of people can become so indecisive and confused, they shop for hours, maybe days, and still go home empty-handed. You don’t get a gift, and you don’t really know if they put any effort into it…but they did.
For most people, especially couples that are dating, a gift is a token of affection to treasure, no matter how small it is.
The issue is what message you’re sending with your gift. Giving a gift can mean anything from “thank you” to “I appreciate you” to “I love you.”
Consider the woman who gets a box of chocolates for Valentines Day and bursts into tears because she’s on a diet and her boyfriend knows it. Or the woman who gives a man she doesn’t know well a personal gift and he wonders if she’s moving too fast.
If you have been dating someone less than six months, an appropriate gift is one that s/he won’t be able to read too much into. Books, computer and phone gadgets, tickets to a play or a concert, that kind of thing is fine.
Even a card with a handwritten note of affection, or a music mix for his/her iPod or Phone, is great, These things don’t cost anything other than the effort but they’re personal without being over the top.
Paul might not really understand what is appropriate to give to someone he cares for, but hasn’t been with for a long period of time (so he just didn’t get you anything to avoid sending the wrong message).
Then again, Paul might also be one of those people for whom getting and giving gifts is just no big deal.
If he isn’t into you, you’d know it from the other things Paul says and does.
So if you feel that things are otherwise good with Paul, but you’re upset about this issue, be proactive.
Be honest, because honesty is what makes a good relationship, and tell him that you hope that even though the holidays are over, you would love it if the two of you can celebrate Valentine’s Day in a big way. That is also a good time to tell him that you feel that for you, the giving of gifts, even if they are small tokens, is not only appreciated but important to you.
Paul may be clueless or not care about gifts, but if he wants to be with you he will do it to please you.
Make it easier by walking around and pointing out things you like that aren’t expensive (favorite books of poetry, favorite music, a fun toy, cute scarf..). Then when the next opportunity for giving gifts comes around, Paul will have an idea of what he can get you/
Actions speak louder than words. If after all this, If Valentine’s Day passes without a nice dinner, flowers or anything else from Paul, then I’d assume he’s more into himself than you. Start looking for a new boyfriend. Check out the Video Tip I made on YOUTUBE on this topic!