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Feel Unappreciated

"I Feel Unappreciated"

This question is from a Group Therapy post in our TrèsSugar Community. Add your advice in the comments!

I guess I am naturally a giver. As in a person who is happy doing things for others and in the process am happy when the other person is. However I find this terribly exhausting when I seem to give and no one appreciates it. Am I just setting myself up to be miserable? How do you find balance between giving and receiving?

While I know my boyfriend loves me, I find that I do things for him that he may take for granted. Like sometimes when I go by a store and see a shirt I think would look good on him, I would buy it. But that never happens for me. I just feel really crappy. I know I shouldn't expect anything in return, but on some level it is bound to happen. I have stopped with random giving. But what else can I do?

Have a dilemma of your own? Post it anonymously to Group Therapy for advice, and check out what else is happening in the TrèsSugar Community.

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charfield charfield 5 years
I was in a similar situation as yours. Everyone expresses love in different ways. I recommend reading The Five Love Languages. I am not sure if you have a religious background, but if you set aside the religious aspects of the book, it is very insightful.
henna-red henna-red 5 years
I also want to say I particularly enjoy Helen's take here. So often the giving has nothing to do with stuff, but offering your appreciation to another.....pretty powerful.
henna-red henna-red 5 years
You have some good advice here. I'd like to add another suggestion. Since what you seem to be missing is the satisfaction of reciprocation, you may try turning your giving nature in another a soup kitchen, or food bank or other charitable action. You'll be involved with a community of people giving and a community of people in need. You will see needs being filled and can know you've made a contribution to that. Also, I don't know if this still happens, but I know hospitals, places where addicted babies, or hiv babies have been born sometimes look for people to come in and rock the babies. It can be hard, because there's a lot of crying, but kids born with some of these conditions need a lot of physical touch, rocking and comforting. And there just isn't always enough staff to go around for that. Just a couple of suggestions, to go with the others.
joycean joycean 5 years
I think what you brought up is really important, to be aware that no matter, it's normal to have expectations. Maybe your expectations are not that your boyfriend goes out and buys you a shirt too but a simple acknowledgment could be all you need. Is this something that you can communicate with him? Because in the end as human beings we all want to be acknowledged and heard, esp. from our significant others.
Padawan-Pri Padawan-Pri 5 years
I think you should save some of that appreciation for yourself. I used to be really giving and sharing (in my definition) as I earned more money than good friends and past boyfriends. I always thought they would see me as a caring thoughtful person if I picked up the bill, saw a particular scarf that would suit an ex-boyfriend's eye colour and got it etc etc. I agree that you shouldn't expect things back, but the fact is that sometimes you do want something - not a big thing - just something in return. Reciprocation. So I cut down on my giving, a lot, and you know what? Few noticed either way. It was stuff they didn't want, or those that cared it helped weed them out. In the end I save it for birthdays, special days etc and buy things for myself. Sometimes the act of giving is truly for yourself.
Pazuzu Pazuzu 5 years
I agree with Helen, maybe hes not into the gifts you give him. You need to know what he appreciates, my boyfriend loves mountain dew so I buy a couple when hes running low and stock the fridge. Half the time he doesn't realize I put them in, he just assumes he had some left. I don't care because I like looking out for him. I buy him shirts sometimes but I know he'll like, either a band shirt or a show,etc. I also think you're giving for the wrong reasons. No one is100% altruistic, anytime we do something we get something out of it. You get that warm feeling knowing you donated to a charity, someone smiles at you, those are rewards. You're not getting the reward you think you deserve. Tell him what you like, your favorite candy or something, hopefully he'll pick it up once in a while. My boyfriend gets me rolos and Mr. goodbars sometimes because I told him they're my favorite. Don't expect clothes or bigger items, just tell him your favorite band or candy.
Helen-Danger Helen-Danger 5 years
Here's an example from my life. I lucked out. My husband loves compliments. As long as I let him know he's the absolute king of my world and the most amazing man I ever met, he's happy as can be. The biggest gift I can give him is to tell him he's the best at something. So I make sure that my viewpoint puts him in that position a lot of the time, so that I can honestly praise him that way as often as possible. When I give him presents or pick up his towel from the bathroom floor for him, I do so realizing that he will appreciate it, but that his eyes won't light up the same way they do when I tell him the chili he just made was "FREAKING AMAZING!!!" (Which it was.)
Helen-Danger Helen-Danger 5 years
Maybe he does't want shirts. Since you want to be appreciated, you should tailor your gift to the recipient. He might prefer a genuine compliment more than physical stuff like a shirt. Or he might appreciate spending more time with you. Or...more sex. Depends on the guy. Next time you are in Barnes and Noble, take a look at the book "The Five Love Languages," in the Relationship/Self Help section. It explains that different people appreciate different sorts of gifts more than others. And those "gifts" are not always items bought at a store. The book says that what we like to give and want to receive differs from person to person. And that most of us tend to give what we want to receive, even though our inclinations might not match the other person's preference. So you give him stuff you see in the store because it shows you thought of him. But he might prefer a back rub and genuinely feel so-so about the shirt or whatever. Such a simple misunderstanding, but it wrecks so many otherwise good relationships!
Raynne413 Raynne413 5 years
If you are truly giving because you WANT to, then you wouldn't expect anything back. I'm a giving person, and I give lots of gifts at Christmas, but I probably only get something back 50% of the time. It doesn't bother me, though, because I give gifts to make others feel appreciated, not because I expect something back.
pax4pax pax4pax 5 years
You have a good attitude for life, but deepen it with being willing to give without expectation of return. If you give a friend a loan expecting to get repaid, that is not as much a gift as considering it gone forever. Perhaps this guy is just not right for you. If he is so callous as to ignore what you do for him, there is another who will appreciate it and return the favor, just because, he, like you, cares about others. Fine another person who finds joy in giving and you two will have a great time trying to outgive each other.
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