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AIBU?

To know understand how this happens - non gift-giving partners

72 replies

Rinoachicken · 25/12/2019 12:34

Not a TAAT but inspired by a number on this theme.

Every year there are threads by (mainly) women, hurt and upset because their (mainly) husbands have once again forgotten to get them a Christmas present, or couldn’t be bothered, or its something like a bag of tea etc.

And I am NOT talking about people who by mutual agreement don’t give presents. So please don’t bring that in.

But I genuinely don’t understand how you get to this point in your life/marriage?

Presumably when you first met, you got each other presents at Christmas, and presumably they were acceptable/thoughtful etc. So what happened? Did it just suddenly happen one year that the husband can’t be bothered? Why is it not a huge deal at that point? Why is it then allowed to continue year after year until the point where the woman is posting on Mumsnet wondering if she’s being unreasonable for dating to hope for a Christmas present?! FFS!!

Do women value themselves so little now that we don’t even believe we are worth something? Worth being thought about, cared about, worth someone who supposedly loves us taking just a small amount of time and effort to buy us a gift on what is the biggest gift giving day of the year in this country??!!

I am genuinely shocked and actually a bit depressed that up and down the country this morning are so many women who are trying to hide their hurt and upset, and in all likelihood will not confront their husbands and so it will happen again next year, until in the end they don’t even expect anything anymore.

How the fuck do this men even think for one second that this is ok?? And I don’t want to hear any bullshit about how ‘men find it harder to buy presents, are shit at it’ etc. Bollocks. They can shop for themselves when they want to, buy clothes, music, gadgets, whatever the fuck they want, FOR THEM. You would hope that at least SOME would be ashamed that they could not be bothered to make the effort (and if you shop online it’s literally the finest effort), that they’d have a long hard look at themselves and how they treat the person they supposedly love.

But I doubt it.

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?

256 votes. Final results.

POLL
You are being unreasonable
10%
You are NOT being unreasonable
90%
Rinoachicken · 25/12/2019 12:34

Title should be NOT understand Blush

OP posts:
Icanflyhigh · 25/12/2019 12:36

My ex-husband was one of these men.
Thankfully I now have a wonderful DP who spoils me as much as I spoil him.

OLDquestion · 25/12/2019 12:38

My ex husband was also one of those men. He was the same about my birthday.

Kayleigh12 · 25/12/2019 12:43

Ha I’m actually that woman this year! I’ve been there so much for him through a serious illness and he lost a parent. And I wake up to a bottle of booze and toblerone. Am I not worth more! I have literally given up months of my year to be there for him. Am I being a spoilt brat?!

Rinoachicken · 25/12/2019 12:43

Glad to see they are now exes!

OP posts:
JillGoodacre · 25/12/2019 12:45

We stopped buying for each other for birthdays and Christmas when we were so skint we couldn't afford to. We are now extremely fortunate enough to buy what we want or need whenever we are able to so don't bother anymore.

redexpat · 25/12/2019 12:47

Yes in the beginning I bought thoughtful gifts for him because I had a part time job and no responsibilities. This is the first year Ive been employed full time, plus we have 2 smallish dc, plus nieces and nephews. I dont have any capacity left. Im exhausted. So I asked him what he wanted and ordered exactly that. But we are quite direct with each other generally so I did say I need a wishlist or youll get nothing. He said I can get your ring fixed but then nothing more. If he hadnt have given me a list it would have meant notjing for him to open.

But I dont think thats the sort of thing you mean is it?

PettyContractor · 25/12/2019 12:50

They can shop for themselves when they want to, buy clothes, music, gadgets, whatever the fuck they want, FOR THEM.

Buying something for yourself is a completely different thing than buying for someone else. For a start, you only buy for yourself when you want it, because you know you want it, and have the money to buy it.


A Christmas or birthday present for someone else means buying something not because there's an requirement that's sudddenly appeared, or money is suddenly available, but because it's a certain date of the year. And you have to think of something they'd want. Almost by definition, something the average adult gets as a gift is going to be something they don't really want, because if they wanted it, they'd have already bought it for themselves. (Unless poor, of course.)

I think if adults are going to give gifts to adults, they should only ever give cash. Economists have proven that the giving of non-cash gifts destroys value, because their value to the recipients is less than the cash spent to buy them.

AmeliaE · 25/12/2019 12:51

I don't get it either. I know a lady whose partner never buys her anything despite her asking for a little present or a gesture.
She has put up with him since the very beginning because "it is too late for her to get another partner and have babies". She was around 28 yo when they started going out... It is not his only weird behaviour.
Lack of self worth, the old saying "relationships are never perfect" and biological clocks ticking are ruining many lives.

Rinoachicken · 25/12/2019 13:04

Almost by definition, something the average adult gets as a gift is going to be something they don't really want, because if they wanted it, they'd have already bought it for themselves. (Unless poor, of course.)

I could have bought all of the presents my husband bought me myself. But I didn’t because I don’t usually buy myself big boxes of chocolates etc for just me for no reason. And the other things are things that he has found and knew I would like and are really lovely surprises.

I think if you find yourself in a marriage where you can honestly not know what sort of things your husband or wife would like, that is a very sorry state of affairs. This is supposed to be the person you love and know better than anyone else, but you don’t know if they’d like this or that??!!

Economists have proven that the giving of non-cash gifts destroys value, because their value to the recipients is less than the cash spent to buy them.

Bollocks. The gifts my husband has given to me are beyond their value TO ME, because yeah he could have given me the cash to just get them myself, but it’s the love and obvious care that’s gone into thinking of them and getting them that is what makes them so special.

OP posts:
Rinoachicken · 25/12/2019 13:05

I suppose it makes a difference how you view gift giving in general. To me, it’s not just WHAT the gift is that’s important, it’s the actual thought and care and effort and love that has gone into it, which is worth just as much, if not more.

OP posts:
Rinoachicken · 25/12/2019 13:06

If you only see value in gifts based on their monetary or economic value then I feel very sorry for you.

OP posts:
M3lon · 25/12/2019 13:09

DH and I just really don't need anything. If you asked either of us what we want for christmas you are going to get 10 minute long blank stares while we try and think of anything. So then occasionally one of us actually has a good idea for a present and its almost never synchronous with the other person doing the same. So sometimes he's got something cool and I haven't, and sometimes (like this year) I got something cool and he hasn't.

We don't define our love in material items though - so it isn't a problem.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe · 25/12/2019 13:10

Did you just want an echo chamber, OP? You're very clear about what you '... don't want to hear' and are dismissive about what anybody else says that doesn't fit in with your narrative...?

GaaaaarlicBread · 25/12/2019 13:13

This is why I posted asking people what they were happy with because it was making me sad seeing such sad posts from woman who didn’t get anything or just received a teapot . It’s not a good sign

Rinoachicken · 25/12/2019 13:18

@LyingWitchInTheWardrobe I didn’t want the discussion being dragged off down the road of ‘well me and my husband never give presents and we’re happy’ - because that is blatantly not what I am talking about here.

I would love someone who always receives gifts from their partner, but doesn’t bother to get any for them to come and try and explain why they think it’s ok but that won’t happen.

OP posts:
Rinoachicken · 25/12/2019 13:19

@itsemily

Your thread really cheered me up Grin

OP posts:
Rinoachicken · 25/12/2019 13:21

@LyingWitchInTheWardrobe and I haven’t ‘dismissed’ anyone’s comments. I have however responded and disagreed where I have felt so inclined, which is after all what a discussion forum is for no?

OP posts:
Alanna1 · 25/12/2019 13:27

I don’t usually get gifts from my DH; I get him gifts. It’s fine! He deeply dislikes the commercialisation of Christmas and the amount of tat that gets bought. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t love me.

M3lon · 25/12/2019 13:31

I feel its like this. There are four types of people:

  1. Non-gifters - not interested in giving or receiving gifts
  2. gifters - interested in giving and recieving gifts
  3. piss takers - people who want gifts for themselves but don't like giving them
  4. donators - people who like giving but aren't interested in recieving


I actually think type 3 and 4 are pretty rare. I think most people are either 1 or 2.

The problem is when you have a mixture of 1 and 2 in your family, and actually I feel the fault lies more with the type 2 people who enjoy putting time into gifting but then are irrationally pissed off because others don't actually want the presents they've been given or to have had to put a lot of time into getting something in return.

The other isse is that (as with morning people v. evening people) one group has claimed the moral high ground in this battle (group 2 of course) when in reality the world (and its ever growing climate catastrophe) would prefer people to operate in mode 1.
MarianaMoatedGrange · 25/12/2019 13:35

My theory is that some men think that once their partner is married to, or living with them, they don't have to try any more.

I also think that many men with DC relegate the woman to more of a mummy role than partner, again they don't have to make an effort as 'mummy' will love them anyway.

A lot become jealous when DC arrive as the dynamic changes and the woman can no longer put their partner first, so they make their displeasure known in many ways - shit gifts or no gifts being one of them.

sonjadog · 25/12/2019 13:38

I think that pretty much sums it up. I am definitely a category one person, and I actively avoid spending Christmas with my relatives who are category two because they don't accept anything other that people are like them and I find buying their presents very stressful mainly because I don't accept the whole idea that spending money on an item shows how much I love and think about them. If you are in a position where groups one and two have to spend Christmas together, then I can see why there is so much conflict.

drspouse · 25/12/2019 13:39

Almost by definition, something the average adult gets as a gift is going to be something they don't really want, because if they wanted it, they'd have already bought it for themselves
Rubbish
I buy gifts people don't know they want and they buy similar for me. But DH also bought me stuff from my wish list to have the pleasure for both of us of something to open, and play with/read on Christmas day.

SusieMyerson · 25/12/2019 13:53

Do women value themselves so little now that we don’t even believe we are worth something? no I think (or hope) that most women would speak up and demand better. But if you believe mumsnet most women are martyrs and are perfectly happy to do absolutely everything for their man child. I don't know how these women function in day to day life I really don't.

ravenmum · 25/12/2019 14:09

Funny to read Kayleigh12's reply, that her partner has lost a parent this year and all she got was a bottle of booze and a Toblerone. My bf's last remaining parent died in November, and all I got was the bottle of booze (no Toblerone!), but I'm not disappointed.

It's all context, isn't it? I know my bf doesn't care about giving or receiving gifts. He expresses affection by being attentive, making food, checking I'm OK. I grew up not expecting exciting gifts, as my dad lived far away and never had the slightest clue what I might like. My bf gave me the booze after we'd just come back from a Christmas church service during which he'd sat there unable to sing the hymns for tears, as they reminded him of his mum. So I was feeling even less bothered than usual about gifts. Plus it was a nice bottle of whisky, which he knows I like.

I think the women who are sad about their gifts are usually already unhappy about something else, more serious, and the gift is just another symbol of that unhappiness.

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