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I'm not materialistic but....(42 Posts)
couldn't he get me one nice, thoughtful gift for xmas!
Have been mulling about posting for fear of sounding ungrateful,materialistic or frankly hearing that my dp is a tight arse or just doesn't care.
I have been with him for 5 years now. we don't live together due to our careers (he's a farmer) and I have worked my way up in my career to be able to afford a life for myself and dd (not his). While this works for me in a sense as my priorities became dd's education, my elderly parents and being self sufficient, there are times I wish we could be under the same roof and possibly married. I am conflicted at times about this as sometimes I feel what if i had to go through a separation with finances/heartache etc. so for the majority of the time I just enjoy our relationship. once a week I see him. He is not great at showing his affections but says I am the woman for him and has never been happier. I am everything he'd want in a woman. So, my problem is:
For birthdays and christmas I have always made a point of getting something throughful,useful and personal. I do this with everyone. Monetary value isn't important to me, 50p v £50.I rarely spend money on myself as I can't justify or I will find soemthing for dd or him that I would prefer to use it on. He is frugal with money. Lost a considerable amount years ago in a separation and has made him wary of spending on unnecessary items. Puts alot of value now on bargains/saving. I get this, but when it comes to gifts he also finds it difficult to purchase without it having a purpose to it.
For my birthdays I will usually be given a selection of items by email and told to pick. Fine it's practical and I won't be disappointed. Valentines is not considered a gift purchasing occasion. I let that go.
So my question is. If you were given a box of chocolates for Christmas would you re-evaluate your relationship. It sounds crazy I know, but to me this is what you might give a neighbour for minding your cat while you away/ or sick in a hospital bed/ or your child's teacher at xmas.
I hate that I am deciding my relationship on this but it's a fundamental flaw in someone that can't see how insulting this is when they have been given such thoughtful gifts. I don't know what to do here. I have discussed this with him before, sarcastically when i received a replacement gutter for my house as i was in need of it as my xmas gift.!!!
Help please, am I being unreasonable after 5 years.
If it's important to you YANBU.
However have you sat down and discussed it with him calmly and rationally?
Explain to him how it makes you feel and that you would really love gifts he's put though into that you would like instead of need. See if that goes anywhere.
Thoughtful gifts during gift giving occasions are important to me too. But don't expect him to know if he's never been of that mindset.
Seeing each other once a week for five years sounds more like an appointment than a relationship.
Though the guttering is - original.
It doesn't sound as if you are central to each other's lives - but perhaps his gifts would be equally disappointing even if you were.
It sounds crap. In fact your relationship sounds more like friends with benefits. Do the two of you speak to each other in between times?
Honestly if all I got was a box of chocolates from my boyfriend of 5 years I would be getting rid. Its not what he says its what he does and reading between the lines he comes round weekly for a shag. Frugal or tight? I wouldn't be too bothered about the not knowing what to buy he could have asked you - chocolates as an extra fine but your only present?
So your gifts are welcomed but not much in return?
Terrible and ungrateful.
Nothing wrong with being sensible about money but I and many others spend more on works secret Santa presents!
You are right being upset. He isn't interested in sharing much with you and is a taker.
So how does he show he cares for you? Does he fix things for you or give you practical support? Lots of people, including women, aren't great at thinking of gifts or being 'thoughtful' in that regard. Was he different with previous partners? I expect not. It's about who he is, not how he feels about you.
Also it sounds like you both hold the other at arms length having been burnt before. Both of you have chosen to avoid taking a risk on relying on each other because of previous experience. That's fine if it suits you both. But maybe you'd prefer to seek a relationship where living together is feasible.
I also agree with above on actually talking to him about it rather than making a sarcastic comment.
I haven't read it and can't remember what it's called but it's something like the 4 different ways people show love. For you putting thought and effort into gifts is how you like to show love but for others it is giving a foot rub or sorting out the guttering. Maybe read it. It might be useful in explaining to yourself and to him how you feel.
Not everyone feels the same about gift giving and some are better at it than others. What is your criteria for thoughtful? It sounds like you want the gift to convey a sentiment that you think is lacking in your relationship (namely him not being emotionally demonstrative) and if so, can a inanimate object really do that?
If you're expecting that your type of 'I can't justify spending on myself and I'd rather buy for him or DD' martyrdom to be reciprocated, then you're being unreasonable. I'd rather not receive gifts, than have to deal with all the PA expectancy that accompanies them these days.
OP, read your posts again because it really sounds like that the relationship dynamic no longer works for you and the 'lack of thought' you associate with your gift, symbolises a deeper difference in compatibility, that you're no longer willing to tolerate.
If a previous separation turned him into a tightarse, I'd say the chances of him marrying you and you being happy are pretty slim, to be honest.
In fact you don't sound terribly happy now.
thanks for all the replies.I don't want to be blindsighted and make excuses. I also don't want to start unravelling a complete relationship where i do love and care about this man and pick at everything and think it's not good enough. I do agree that sometimes you have to find someone that thinks the same. But also you can be opposites and accept faults and other things make up for it. there is give and take.
fuzzy - i have dropped hints, i'm not great at it as feel someone should do something because they want to. he knows i put effort into things like this, my father was awful also but he cared deeply for my mother and wanted to make her happy in other ways so i suppose i do excuse as i have seen it's not always in the gifts and gestures. He is an old fashioned kinda country man and hard to break years of his own habits and thinking.
gruach/anomaly - while I agree that my relationship with him is limited in that we are long distance, with work and my own responsibilities I don't feel it's an appointment nor friends with benefits and does make me sad that someone reading would distinguish that from what i have written. we talk daily, very much in each others lives and have gone through many ups and downs. He doesn't just arrive for sex and considerate it handy. He could easily have someone nearby and handy for that and not have to put the effort into a long distance for so long.
waffly - yes we can hold each other at arms length when issues arise that bother us. I suppose the past relationships have created that problem. I am just as much to blame at times. But we know each other so well so rarely will a day go by that we don't know the other is bothered by something and will tease it out and discuss. Often I find it has helped enormously and makes us ever closer. It's only through incidents that people find if a relationship is strong enough to get through. But I do find it hard to trust anyone and I know that this can effect how close I get at times when I worry. I might have to bring a topic up, he does have enormous patience and will discuss if i'm worried over something.
liney - that touched a nerve. maybe you are right, maybe somewhere inside i'm trying to convince myself that family/career/dd are too important to risk on this relationship or any. as i had said sometimes it suits me and other times i look at couples and think i want that. I am 40 and so is he and i know that time is ticking away and I have to evaluate everything and the presents to me are my instinct telling me i should be valued more. I'm just afraid of trying to make him be someone he never will be and should accept that on the whole we have a great relationship that in time when the time is right it could be more permanent. I don't know now after reading the responses and feel quite confused and unhappy. I think i have opened a can of worms now.
There is one thing that stood out for me in your post which is that you don't spend money on yourself. You say that you spend it on your daughter or partner instead. Now what's that about? Is the issue over the present because he either hasn't noticed this or has noticed and thinks that is acceptable?
Regardless of whether you decide to talk to him about gift buying, I do think you need to have a good think about why you are putting yourself last after all these other people in your life.
I got a Christmas present from my DH this year for the first time in 13 years. I always get him presents but it has become the norm and he allows me full access to his Christmas chocolate and beer supply! He is a brilliant DH and all round good egg in every respect though and it has become a standing joke between us. You are feeling the way you do for good reason IMO. Perhaps it's time to re-evaluate it and start a bit of dating. He doesn't sound that into you to be honest and so in your shoes, I would act accordingly, actions speaking louder than words and all......
What stands out to me is that you only see each other once a week. Fine if that works for you, but it does show you are not really part of each other's lives. So the weak gifts are just an extension of that.
I don't spend alot on myself as I suppose there isn't alot i need. i have got out of the habit since have dd of going out and getting hair done and pampering. My mother was the same, did everything for everyone and i do see now she resents it as left with nothing for herself to do now. i don't want to end up that way.
I can't move as i don't want to upset dd education and situation for anyone. i can't risk it. she comes first. I suppose because I continue this way until she is more independent and finished school he feels there is no point in putting a ring on finger or deciding future right now. so continues as we are. do i end it and think because of distance right now, that it will never be and let go of a relationship that could have a future later on. i'm afraid to let go in case neither of us come back then.
there are many women here that have partners that work away and don't see each other, does this mean they aren't completely part of each others lives too?
i am taking all this on board, interesting to see how some people view different aspects of a relationship. i don't want to make excuses so this is very helpful.
p.s i wouldn't date others. i just couldn't and would have to truly end and be over him before i'd date again.
Next Christmas or birthday email him with some things you might like. Tell him that you know he struggles for ideas & hasn't got much time & here are some suggestions to help him out. Some people are clueless when it comes to buying presents.
People whose partners work away usually have a bedrock of a previous shared life on which to base their LDR. You're the judge, though, of whether what you have is a part-time relationship, or a full one with time apart.
Firstly I don't necessarily see different gift buying habits as a 'flaw'. Just because you are always thoughtful regarding gifts does not mean that he should or can recripocate in the same if that's not the way he is. Whilst I've been with an ex who was a dreadful gift buyer (Starbucks gift card and a bargain bucket Frankie Boyle DVD one year- that's afterthought for you) I get it. It's frustrating. Even more so when you know that if you stopped being thoughtful about their gifts they wouldn't give a flying f* nor would it prompt them to act differently. why? Because gift giving is not their thing. By contrast my DP is ace at buying things I'd like - its lovely to just relax at Christmas knowing I won't disappointed with his choices. OP if this is a deal breaker - get out, it won't change and I agree with PP who says he's unlikely to offer you more in terms of a relationship as a whole in the future. He sounds a nice guy but not for you.
OP, my OH and I don't live together for complex reasons (caring for others as lone parents mostly type reasons) and we see each other properly at weekends and bits and bobs in between. We do feel part of each other's lives, to a very significant degree.
He bought me daft things at Christmas but they were thoughtful. Like a baking tray - a nod to my addiction to MN ('all I got was a bloody baking tray' thread last year) - and an ankle bracelet I liked. And a box of chocolates that I can share with DS. That's it. Daft but nice.
You sound quite down, and I'm sorry about that, as you also sound absolutely lovely and smart and giving.
I married a farmer. In our first year of marriage I unwrapped a few presents from him to me with each one getting weirder and weirder. Worked out that he just wrapped up what was left in his mums present cupboard. Every year now I tell him what I'd like - normally a significant amount of champneys vouchers!!!
The farmers I know aren't thoughtful present buying types at all, it never bothered me.
liney can i ask you then, why do you continue if you at the moment have no commitments to settledown together, this i struggle with, i want a means to end. I'm that type of person. have been told before that I should just let things happen naturally, but i'm a do-er and frustrates me if i'm doing something that isn't beneficial or doesn't have a means to end.
thank you for the lovely comments also as sometimes i feel maybe i expect too much.
expat - i'm not settling as such, i mean he is great in other ways, we do get on great and it works at times as i have a lot going on myself in my own life. but we do include each other in what's going on and help and support. we have both gone through major trauma & bereavements in 5 years.
Lord - i have hinted and before he has mailed with selection of clothing/gifts that he thought would be nice, but xmas and my last birthday he just kinda lacked thoughfulness. The relationship hasn't changed, just this really. it's a trait I find hard to accept. He loves getting presents from me, will laugh and tell me to note that for him, but just isn't bothered doing it in return.
silver- i do hate to generalise about farmers as i'm sure they aren't all like this, but certainly if parents before them have been this way there is alot to be said for following a father's behaviour. His father is worse! V selfish in alot of things. it's almost self entitlement attitude. Mind you his two brothers are different so that blows that theory out the window.
I still don't know. looking at it from all angles and re-evaluating and if i do a yes and no column there are reasons for working at this relationship.
but a few have commented on how they feel he will never change and isn't for me. That breaks my heart.
OP, because he is very affectionate and I get a lot out of the relationship. And we do plan for the future. The DCs will all be adults in a couple of years.
I just wanted to say that I wouldn't judge a whole relationship on whether someone was good at buying presents. I love my dh dearly, but I struggle to get him nice things because I find him hard to buy for. As a result my presents to him are a bit boring. He leaves Christmas shopping to the last minute, it doesnt mean a lack of love.
Judge him by how he is with you. Wjether he looks out for you and demonstrates caring. I actually think the guttering is a good example of this - he thought about what you needed and got it. It is very easy to buy jewellery and standard 'romantic' gifts and I think we have to stop equating those with love.
nonidentify - helpful and demonstrating his caring side by doing things i need doing is lovely, but he's a practical man and very handy and these things would drive him mad to see when he comes to my place. so it's practical more than looking after me.
I don't know, i just feel now after reading responses that i am settling and fooling myself that everyone elses lives are more important so mine has to stay stagnant and he's not having to make decisions either like selling myself short. i don't want to say goodbye to my 'best friend' too.
threefishes - did you even like frankie boyle?
Nope. Never once expressed any interest in Frankie Boyle whatsoever. Also the Starbucks card - there is a Starbucks on the site he works at so genuinely zero effort or thought. As I say by contrast my DP is ace at present buying insofar as he gets me things I actually enjoy receiving. I'm not materialistic either - was previously married to an extremely wealthy man where money was no object - but it mean more what I get now. So I totally get it.
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