Skip Nav
7 401(k) Mistakes All Millennials Should Avoid
How to Get Grabby in Your Career
The 1 Easy Way You Can Become an Investment Genius

You Asked: Why Does He Not Shower Me with Gifts?

Dear Sugar--

I feel incredibly selfish for thinking this, but it's starting to weigh on me a little. Is it wrong to wish that your boyfriend would buy you more gifts? I've been with him for 3 years, everything else in our relationship is great, except in those 3 years he has only bought me one gift (a pair of earrings) which was around 2 years ago. I was pretty disappointed when I didn't even receive a card from him on any of my birthdays. I took him shopping on my last birthday hoping he would get the hint from my "aw that's so beautiful" comments, but it didn't work.

My birthday is coming again soon and I find myself hoping that I don't get that same feeling of disappointment again. I love buying gifts for him and have spent a considerable amount of my wages on things he needs such as computer parts, mp3 player etc. I wish he would buy me something in return, even something tiny, and surprise me. I've tried dropping hints and joking around saying he should get me things but neither approach worked. Should I say something to him in a serious way about this, or am I just being overly selfish? I mean our relationship is perfect apart from this one little thing. --Giftless Gretta

To see DEARSUGAR's answer

Dear Giftless Gretta --

Three years and only one gift??? No, I don't think you're being selfish at all for being annoyed, I'd be pretty bummed out too, but I think it's more the lack of thought rather than the physical absence of a gift that is bothering you. There is nothing better than a heartfelt card or a bouquet of flowers just because so since your subtle hints aren't working, yes, I think you should tell him how you feel. Girls like to be pampered and showered with love and affection, gifts too, and guys are not mind readers so if he doesn't know you're upset, he won't know to change. Try saying something like this:

You know my birthday's coming up, and since you're not the best gift giver, a simple card would mean so much to me this year - or even a little something to open would really make my birthday special.

Try to keep in mind that no one's perfect. I would rather have an "almost perfect relationship" with someone that doesn't know how to shop for me than a relationship with someone that spoiled me with material things without any love to back it up. Hang in there and hopefully your little chat will light the fire he needs to make you happy on your special day.


Join The Conversation
everthewild everthewild 9 years
Don't hint. It doesn't work. But do give him suggestions. When you have that talk, explain why you'd like gifts, such as because in your mind it shows he cares and took time aside to get you something, showing that he was thinking of you. Then list off some stuff that means something to you, i.e. notes, flowers, jewelry, etc.
docjulian docjulian 9 years
Selecting presents is tough for boys (not only me), always a task. However, guys love the role of "generous boyfriend" - but they need hints. As he didn't understand the shopping trip, just tell him the truth: "I want more presents." That is definitely not selfish. Actually, austerity is no virtue that makes girls attractive. Always tell him your wishes. If he's smart, he will use the principle of intermittent reinforcement and fulfill these from time to time.
PinkNC PinkNC 9 years
Gifts are fun for anytime of the year. But it does not mean that if someone stops buying them, or gives them less, that they love you any less. Every situation is different.
Beauty Beauty 9 years
Like everyone says, you have to ask. I don't think most men get it. A few months ago, I took Mr. Bella to Agent Provocateur, a really fancy lingerie store. "Isn't this PRETTY?" I'd say, while holding up a frilly underthing. Yep, he did think it was pretty. But it was clear that he was not getting the hint, not even after I waved things in his face and batted my eyelashes. So, a few weeks later, I said, "Honey, remember when we went shopping? I've always thought it would be such a fun treat for both of us if you were to treat me to something from there." Well, gosh, he liked that idea, and the next thing I knew, he was asking about my bra size. I've found that you have to be more direct and ask for what you want. And it doesn't need to be expensive, either. Some of the sweetest gifts I've ever received didn't cost a dime. It really is the thought that counts. And be sure to give lots of praise when you do receive a gift. Showing him how happy and appreciated you feel will make him feel the same!
prinzes3006 prinzes3006 9 years
awwwwww, that sux! I'd feel bad too if my man never gave me a gift. Ever since I've been with my boyfriend, he's always bought me a gift for every occasion, even just because. The only funny thing is that sometimes he picks out the ugliest things (sometimes) lol! But I really do appreciate what he does for me, he's such a good guy (sometimes). lol! I think you should tell him the truth and how you feel, because he'll just think that everything is fine and feel he doesn't need to by you any gifts for the reason that you never say anything.
workin9to5 workin9to5 9 years
On our second Valentine's Day, I picked him up to go out for dinner (he didn't have a car back then) and he handed me this sugar cookie one of his female roommates had baked that he had taken a bite out of, and jokingly said "Happy Valentine's Day!" But didn't give me a card, flowers, or anything else. I threw the cookie on the ground and got pissed. Probably not the best way for me to deal with it. was my chance to tell him that I expected a card, and on birthdays and Christmas I would like a gift. Nothing fancy necessary, but yes, a gift. He never messed up another gift-giving opportunity after that. He still isn't the best gift-giver, but he definitely tries and he ALWAYS gives me sweet cards with personal, romantic notes he's written for me in them on every birthday, V-day, anniversary, and Christmas. So, the moral of the story is: tell him what you want or you'll never get it.
Cami-Green Cami-Green 9 years
I went through this same thing with my husband. He just didn't grow up getting gifts from his family or having his birthday made a big deal. I just had to explain to him how I did and that he needs to see how I treat him on his birthday as a pattern of how I want to be treated and to follow it. I literally had to spell it out and say I want to open a present and blow out candles on all my birthdays. He has taken the suggestion very well and has done a good job. He now teases me and says I demand presents for every holiday, even Easter and St. Patrick's Day. Of course I wouldn't mind it :)
d_ford d_ford 9 years
Men are thick and if you don't tell them they will never get it. I feel for you in this situation. My ex never really bought anything for me in the 2.5 years we were together. He didn't have tons of money so I did understand, sort of, but it did annoy me. Near the end of our relationship he started making TONS of money, yet I still received money. Soon after he started dating his current girlfriend he showered her with Tiffany jewellery, designer bags, etc. It pissed me off to no end that she was reaping the benefits of what I had stood by. Doesn't matter now, since I am happily married, but I feel for you.
arrhythmia arrhythmia 9 years
i agree with the general consensus: tell him about that little rearing monster in you wondering about his gift giving ability! i used to be bothered that my boyfriend never gave me any cards, especially when he expressed how much he liked my cards and actually framed them. so i asked! he told me that he felt intimidated by my cards and never felt that he could articulate his feelings the way i did. maybe your boyfriend is intimidated by your fabulous gift-giving talent? :D if so, just tell him you're ready to go shopping with him whenever he's ready to! :)
pinupsweetheart pinupsweetheart 9 years
You have to remember men do not think like women do. They are just not as thoughtful as women would. Hints DO NOT WORK. You have to tell him what you want. Be honest. I have been telling my boyfriend flat out that I want a Apple laptop for my October birthday for the last 6 months or this fantastic hookah set I saw two months ago. There is a 99% chance I might not get the laptop, but I pointed out the exact hookah I want that I know will fit in his price range. If you want something on your birthday, such as flowers sent to your work, a romantic dinner, a great gift……then SHOUT IT OUT. Tell him "Sweetie, I would LOVE to try that Italian restaurant for my birthday. Can you make reservations?" or "So and so got the most beautiful flowers sent to work for her birthday, they made all the women in the office jealous." Mark his calendar or leave a sticky note to remember to leave that day free for you. If you are too shy to come out loud and clear and tell him what you want, have a good friend do the dirty work for you. He may not know what to buy you and needs to help from a girlfriend that does. Bottom-line is some men need help in this department; sadly, you have to be the one to express what you want. If you don’t, you are going to be stuck with another bad birthday
sass317 sass317 9 years
When my husband and I started dating I finally realized what it was like to have a guy that REALLY tried to pick something I would actually like. It was really great to not have to fake liking gifts- and I know he picks them himself- I work in retail and I was horrified when a woman came in to buy a gift for her son to give his gf for her birthday- her son is 26 years old! The guy I was with before him did a terrible job- it was so obvious that he went to the store, told a salesperson how much he wanted to spend and bought the first thing they showed him and gave no thought as to whether I would actually like what he was getting. I think its crap that you have gotten him nice things and holiday after holiday you are disappointed- I cant imagine what Christmas time must have been like when he opens his nice mp3 player and hes all, "thanks babe" and then has nothing for you. Thats just inconsiderate- not even some silly handmade card or anything. You need to sit him down and talk to him- even if its a money issue- hes making no effort at all.
lintacious lintacious 9 years
is there something we're missing? is money an issue? has he ever mentioned not liking gifts in general? does his family not do gifts? does he not give anyone a gift period? i would come out and address it, like ask if he doesnt like gifts and either you both should stop giving them or agree to always do something on certain holidays. my ex and i agreed on price limits (we were students) and that valentines day was mandatory, sweetest day was dumb. that type of thing.
paigu paigu 9 years
I have the same problem! Whenever I confronted my BF about it, he would say, "Oh, I just wasn't thinking." Then he'd pretty much go out the next day and buy something pricey but totally meaningless, like jewelry that is really flashy that I would never wear. I've constantly had these talks with him, and you know what, he really doesn't think to ever buy gifts, not even for his mom or dad on their b-days. UGH.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
Are you his first girlfriend? This guy may just not know what to do. But the only way for him to learn is to tell him. It really seems to me you're more after thoughtfulness rather than material goods, so try to emphasize that when you talk to him. If he's a good guy he'll put some effort into it.
ink-on-paper ink-on-paper 9 years
does anyone have a problem with guys not putting much thought into what they get you? it seems as though my boyfriend just buys me a birthday gift just because i asked for it. i want to be suprised and see a little bit of him in the gift he gives, not just a movie or book, but tell me why you got it for me.
juliemyjewel juliemyjewel 9 years
WTF?! Tell him to buy you a gift, in no uncertain terms! You deserve it! Please let us know what he says.
Lila-Fowler Lila-Fowler 9 years
wow i feel for ya. i used to be envious of my friend's relationship, because her boyfriend would get her flowers for no reason, and take her out to nice places, and take her on vacations to the tropics. but that's not the point. girls love gifts. you should tell him-- this is what i want for my bday. just something small at first--- not an mp3 player or anything. how many previous relationships has he had? if this is one of his first relationships, he might not know how treat a girl yet--- which is not bad, you just need to work with him on it.
StefaPie StefaPie 9 years
Nobody knows how you feel or what you want unless you tell them. Hinting and sort of dancing around the subject wastes time and doesn't get anything accomplished. Tell him exactly what you want, that you want birthday and holiday gifts, and that if he needs help you'll give him a (very detailed) list of things that he can pick from. (it's not about the item, it's about them thinking about you in a way that isn't about them too.)
Greggie Greggie 9 years
I agree with commenter 1 - ASK. Talk to him about it. I find that a lot of men have been burned with women telling then they bought the wrong thing, seeing their thoughtful gifts returned, etc. Find out what his block is before assuming he just doesn't care.
Cher Cher 9 years
Wow... 3 years and only 1 present ever? What about Christmas, Valentines Day, Birthdays?!!?! I would be so unimpressed since I buy/bake something for him every holiday! I would blantantly ask why he doesn't do anything for you for these days cause something is up!!!
lovelylei lovelylei 9 years
I feel the same way!! I drop all these hints and even TELL him how much I would love just a little ring from him or anything to actually WEAR and not EAT. he usually gets me sweets and that's nice and all but I've even asked him to stop giving me food, that I would really appreciate something else. he says he's afraid that whatever he gets me, I won't like. and while that is possible.. anything would make me happy. I would love to wear a necklace or a bracelet and be able to say that my boyfriend got it for me.
yoan190 yoan190 9 years
If you want something, just tell him instead of giving him hints. Don't be ashame of asking something you really want. You could start it by, "I want this thing for my birthday present from you." ;-)
Best Birthday Presents For Toddlers
What Should I Do With Extra Money?
Things to Send Other Than Flowers
Why It's So Hard to Leave an Abusive Relationship
From Our Partners
Latest Career & Finance
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds