Here is a recent question from a reader:
Some general thoughts about gifts:
- When a man is trying to woo a woman, feels romantically toward her or is in love he will typically give her romantic ‘heart type’ gifts.
- Flowers, candy, jewelry, romantic cards or love letters, dinners are all “heart” gifts.
- Practical gifts like appliances, books, pen sets are not from the heart, but from the head and can be a sign of passionless intentions or that a relationship is fizzling out.
- An exception is if the practical gift is something you really wanted/needed and he mixes it with other romantic gifts…then well, enjoy the toaster oven, he is still hot for you.
- Another exception is that while some men are not gift givers, nor romantic they may still be very devoted, loyal husbands. I have a friend who married an engineer; he takes practicality and logic to a new level. He’s never bought her flowers and if she’s lucky enough to get a gift, it’s non-romantic. Think gift card. But he is a good father, kind, steadfast and honorable. Her car is always filled with gas; she never lifts anything heavy, he kills all the bugs in the house and generously occupies the kids so she can cook dinner undeterred. She doesn’t dwell on what she’s missing. If she wants something, she goes and buys it herself.
But that is her.
There is nothing wrong with wanting your birthday and holidays celebrated in romantic ways. If to you that means dinners, flowers, gifts, and cards, so be it. Just like there is nothing wrong with a man who wants a buxom, blond bombshell.
Trouble begins when a woman picks a non-romantic man, marries him then cries every year at her birthday when he lets her down or the man who marries a flat chested brunette and nags her to bleach her hair and get a boob job.
Your job is to simply pay attention and decide if THIS man as he is will make you happy.
Okay, so what’s Cheap Necklace Man’s story? Based on the above generalizations, that he gave a piece of jewelry is a good sign, but the fact that it was obviously very inexpensive compared to what he normally spends is something to consider.
This is a sensitive issue. I want to stress that while it appears that money the issue, it really is not. It’s attitudes toward money, generousness and intentions that are important things to know about a man before you marry him. The only reason money becomes a part of this equation is because of the obvious disparity in his usual spending habits.
Without knowing more about the man and relationship, I advised her to ask these questions:
- Is it possible his feelings have changed? Has the relationship cooled? Is his gift mediocre because it matches his feelings toward you? Pay attention to how he behaves in other areas of the relationship.
- While he has money and enjoys spending it, it’s possible he only really enjoys spending it on himself. Hey, it’s his money and he can do with it what he pleases, but if you are considering him as marriage material you can probably expect more of the same. Will you be happy if he splurges on himself but is stingy when it comes to your birthday, Christmas or Valentine’s Day?
- Will he be the type of man who monitors what you spend and only wants you to make purchases on things he deems worthwhile?
- Does he use his money to control? I once dated a man who was wealthy and paid for everything but who liked to joke that he “paid the cost to be boss”. In other words, it’s never what YOU want, it’s always what HE wants.
- You mentioned he is vain and buys a lot of clothes and enjoys showing them off to you. These can be signs of insecurity. If he is he may be so busy focusing on himself and his insecure feelings he may not be tuned in enough to you to make your special day a priority. This may have something to do with the fact that his poor planning prevented him from getting you what he knew you really wanted.
- Is he wonderful in every other way? If he remains a lousy gift giver but has many other important qualities you want in a man, it may be okay with you to smile sweetly and proclaim “I love it!” then secretly sneak off to exchange or return his presents.
You are the only one who can evaluate what is happening in the relationship and how happy all of his qualities and quirks will make you. There is nothing shallow or greedy about your concern. It really is not about the amount of money he spent but about what his obvious lack of effort has meant to you.