Question: Last week was Valentines day and my boyfriend of just a little over 3 months did not buy my anything. I made him a special breakfast, bought him a cute little bear, made a card and found a really nice wallet that he loves and uses all the time now. I felt quite hurt when I did not get a single rose and that I have gone way overboard.
We went out for a nice dinner and I told him I was quite hurt because it was my first Valentines ever with a guy and I wanted it to be a little more special. I didn’t want it to be over the top but I didn’t think asking for a rose was too much.
I said I would still like a flower (they didn’t have to be rose) and he said he had ‘noted this’ and so basically he is not going to get me flowers. Its not about the flowers anymore, its more that I was really hurt and he doesn’t even want to try and make up for it. He tells me he loves me, yet when I was so down and out about something he wasn’t that concerned.
I have decided to let it go and move on but I am finding it hard. I am totally overreacting about this all thing? Thank you so much.
my honest answer: I’m in two minds about this one.
Yes, You’re Overreacting about Not Getting STUFF
Sorry, but I think Valentine’s Day is a load of commericalised bull****. We don’t need permission to tell one another how we feel, and we don’t need to do it on Hallmark’s schedule. I also think buying people things is little-to-no indication of how we feel about them.
For example, buying him a cute bear? I get the sentiment… but, just… why? What’s he going to do with it? It just sounds like clutter to me. I am really anti buying things just for the sake of it, or things serve no real purpose (unless they give great enjoyment, such as art for example). But a cheaply made little teddy bear? It’s not for me, and I think that may be colouring this whole answer (sorry).
The wallet sounded nice, and, that’s more my kind of gift. It’s useful, but it can also be a nice reminder of the thought and care you put into choosing it, everytime he sees it.
Was it too much for Valentine’s day? That is SOOOOO subjective. I don’t give (or receive) Valentine’s gifts with my husband, it feels too forced. However, other people expect (and receive) the works on Valentine’s Day, and if that’s what they like, it’s all good.
So there are no rights or wrongs here – it’s not that you gave to much, or he gave too little. You both gave what you felt was appropriate. The ‘problem’ is that you have vastly different expectations of what that is.
No, You’re Not Overreacting About Him Not Caring
The fact that you have explained that you were hurt by this, and that he seems rather unconcerned isn’t sitting too well with me.
Fine, if he said he had objections to the whole Valentine’s thing, or came up with some kind of reasoning. But to just ignore your concerns, sounds, well, a little cold.
And he said he was, ‘taking note’?
That sounds like the kind of thing I say to co-workers during boring meetings when what I really mean is, ‘I want you to shut up now, so I’m going to pretend that I am listening to your concerns so that we can move on already’.
But… he could just be stealth. Perhaps he’s planning to make you your favourite dinner one night, just because? Or he wants to surprise you with flowers, rather than give them when they are formulaic, and expected, and well, over-priced? Do you have any other reasons to think he brushes your concerns aside?
The thing is, it’s hard to express your Valentine’s disappointment to him without it sounding like, ‘Waaaaaaah, you didn’t BUY ME ANYTHING!’. And then you sound like a self-entitled materialist.
So, a better approach, might be to open up more of a general conversation about Valentines, and holidays, and gift-giving.
Different people, and different families, can have wildly different ideas about what are ‘appropriate’ amounts to spend and give. And it has little to do with income, I’ve noticed. It’s just a cultural thing. Either you’re big on holidays, and gifts, and giving, or you’re not.
And one thing isn’t superior to the other. It’s easy to argue, ‘Oh, we don’t need to give gifts to show people how we feel about one another!’.
But I’ve seen plenty of very vocal loving families going way overboard on the holidays, and plenty of people who are mean both with affection and their gifts. And yes, I’ve seen families who never show any appreciation for one another spending vast sums of money, and families who tell each other how they feel often buying next to nothing.
There is no clear correlation (either way) between gift giving, love, and appreciation, is all I’m saying.
It sounds to me like you each approaching this issue from different ends of that spectrum.
Perhaps you come from a family where you enjoy giving one another little tokens. Maybe he comes from a family where unwelcome trinkets are seen as a burden, and gifts are given less frequently. Or no gifts at all. I don’t know.
But what I do know is that when you start to spend a lot of time with someone else, someone who’s used to their own set of ‘rules’ and customs, it takes a while to find your own happy medium.
These are the conversations you need to start having. Relationships are the sum of the experiences of their participants. And the struggle of making it a happy relationship, is taking each of those constituent parts, and melding them together, to create a new set of rules and expectations that are which are neither yours alone, nor his alone, but uniquely yours as a couple.
And For Goodness Sake, Calm Those Expectations Down
You’re new to this relationship. (Perhaps all romantic relationships?)
This might be a good time for a quick Expectations 101 refresher.
Real lives and real relationships aren’t like ones you see in Romantic Comedies. Hollywood feeds us all (but women in particular), a lot of bull**** about how things ought to be.
It’s not all rainbows and roses. Go into a florist sometime and price a bouquet the size that TV would have you believe is ‘average’. I think you’d be surprised. Love isn’t about being taken to the right places, and being bought the right things.
I think you might have absorbed a few too many expectations from the media. What they are selling you DOES NOT EXIST. And if you’re ever going to be satisfied with a real relationship, in the real world, you need to understand this.
(I’d also encourage you to take note of the size of apartments depicted in New York city, especially as they relate to 20-something-recent-graduates in jobs that sound glamorous, but don’t pay glamorously; the height of heels TV lawyers can apparently walk around in ALL DAY, and then don’t kick off the second they get in the door; and the fact that, in your real life, friends and family likely won’t call in to your office (which is also huge, and with windows, by the way), in the middle of the working day for a quick D & M, without your boss, and every single person in your office thinking, ‘WTF???’). Hollywood, my friend. It’s entertaining. Realistic, it ain’t.
So please try not to take the romantic versions of these fallacies out on your boyfriend. It’s just setting everyone up for disappointment.
Was anybody else disappointed this Valentine’s Day?