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I mean there is something to be said for someone kinda just going down the aisle at Staples and knocking random items into their basket and calling it a day. You'd almost be better off giving someone a gift card. There's a right and wrong way to be useful gifts. While his questioning did seem much more of a passive aggressive quip than an unfiltered curiosity, I can kinda understand him thinking, "Yeah, I get it. I'm a student."

 

Still, I couldn't imagine not just shrugging my shoulders and thinking, "OK, she's not the best gift giver." I'd look to whatever else you provide that's sentimental aside from gifts rather than bemoan the gifted stationary. But I also couldn't imagine my partner threatening to cancel a trip over the matter.

 

Think you both have to stop and think a bit more before talking.

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I was PISSED and hurt that he would scrutinize and compare like that. I even told him I'm cancelling my trip and I'm not coming to see him (it's not only Christmas but my birthday around that time).

 

I'm not playing any games.

 

Sorry, but you are. You're hurt and you're punishing him for it. That's game-playing, even when your partner's acting like a dork.

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I mean there is something to be said for someone kinda just going down the aisle at Staples and knocking random items into their basket and calling it a day. You'd almost be better off giving someone a gift card. There's a right and wrong way to be useful gifts. While his questioning did seem much more of a passive aggressive quip than an unfiltered curiosity, I can kinda understand him thinking, "Yeah, I get it. I'm a student."

 

Still, I couldn't imagine not just shrugging my shoulders and thinking, "OK, she's not the best gift giver." I'd look to whatever else you provide that's sentimental aside from gifts rather than bemoan the gifted stationary. But I also couldn't imagine my partner threatening to cancel a trip over the matter.

 

Think you both have to stop and think a bit more before talking.

 

Going down the aisle at Staples was not the only gift he received. I didn't list every single item. I think my cancellation was more about other times he's critical that I'm kind of tired of at this point.

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I can see what you mean, but I'm also protecting my feelings at this point.

 

Will it actually protect your feelings, or will you feel full of regret and very unhappy if you don't go?

 

If the former, and you feel fed up with his criticism generally and, well, him acting like a dork... think about ending the relationship. LDR's take A LOT of commitment and it's more difficult to smooth over difficulties than if you're together physically.

 

If the latter, you will actually be hurting yourself as much as you hurt him; sometimes our efforts to protect our feelings cause us even more pain.

 

Think about all this very carefully, and be very honest with yourself before making any decisions.

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My husband gives me awful gifts that he thinks I can use. One year, 30 screwdrivers. The following year, tools and 3 cuisinarts. And I never let him live it down. My point, he is the love of my life, and I still tell him if I don't like his gifts. As rude as his line was, he is telling you his preferences. Think of it this way. Would you prefer instead of a diamond engagement ring, he got you a fancy refrigerator? I know that's an extreme example, but sometimes you are hoping for something more romantic than screwdrivers and legal pads.

 

I guarantee he's been dropping a billion hints for other things, and you haven't picked up on it; concert tickets, a play, anything, you dressed up in sexy photos. But legal pads, a flash drive and stylus pen sounds like you grabbed whatever was on sale at Staples. I wouldn't cancel your trip. I would apologize for over reacting. These are building blocks on learning what he likes. Do not be like my husband that just ignores what his spouse really wants, and even tells you what they want.

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I was insulted because the only thing from the store was the legal pads. The other items (some not listed) had to be ordered and the pen and flash drive have the specific university's seal and name on it. There was thought put into it. There was even a gift card for him to get something extra that he wanted. It was an ungrateful response. I'll think about how I want to proceed with this. Right now I'm unsure. LDR's are definitely hard.

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I was insulted because the only thing from the store was the legal pads. The other items (some not listed) had to be ordered and the pen and flash drive have the specific university's seal and name on it. There was thought put into it. There was even a gift card for him to get something extra that he wanted. It was an ungrateful response. I'll think about how I want to proceed with this. Right now I'm unsure. LDR's are definitely hard.

 

What you seem to be missing is that for a lot of people, a bunch of office supplies and a gift card IS kind of a cold, offensive, and a totally thoughtless "gift". Like something you give to your office secretary or co-worker, not your SO. You are so wrapped up in how you feel, that you are totally oblivious to noticing how he might be seeing this. If this is how you act often, it's no wonder that he is often telling you that he doesn't feel heard. You AREN'T hearing the message at all.

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What you seem to be missing is that for a lot of people, a bunch of office supplies and a gift card IS kind of a cold, offensive, and a totally thoughtless "gift". Like something you give to your office secretary or co-worker, not your SO. You are so wrapped up in how you feel, that you are totally oblivious to noticing how he might be seeing this. If this is how you act often, it's no wonder that he is often telling you that he doesn't feel heard. You AREN'T hearing the message at all.

 

As I mentioned above, everything purchased wasn't listed, but the bigger point is it's not ok to pick apart a gift that someone gives. I have received gifts I don't like, we all have, but the response and the timing of it is the bigger problem.

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I can see this from both sides, in a sense, but more from yours as I was raised to graciously thank people for gifts, particularly since gifts are NOT an obligation; nobody is entitled to get one. I have, of course, been on the receiving end of some pretty crummy gifts -- ones that were either really tacky, or were things I'd never use/wear, or things that had no connection to my interests or needs at all. I ALWAYS say "thank you," even if I have no intention of every using/wearing/eating the gift, and if I don't want it, I re-gift it, donate it to charity, OR -- in rare cases -- simply throw it away (though this is a last resort). Sometimes, I feel like people just buy a bunch of stuff on sale (icky, cheap bath products, off-brand candy/food items) and give them out to everyone they know, and honestly, I'd rather they save their money and not give me anything, so with particular people in my life (an aunt who used to give really odd, un-usable presents like Elizabeth Taylor's White Diamonds perfume and body lotion, which smells like something my grandma would have worn!) I just say "Hey, so-and-so, thanks for the gift, but you really don't need to spend money on me! Just a card is nice. I just enjoy hearing from you!" This is what I did with my well-intentioned aunt, and it has worked nicely. She will occasionally send a Starbucks gift card, which is perfect. THAT I can use!

 

I believe that, when buying gifts, we should always be thinking about the recipient -- what he or she wants, needs, can use, etc. -- and NOT what we *want* to get for him or her (thank God for Amazon wishlists, especially with my stepchildren!) However, I also believe that, whenever possible, we should simply accept gifts graciously and do whatever we need to do, even if it's giving them to charity or taking them back. I'd have a really hard time telling someone, "Your gift sucked!" I like fun stuff -- jewelry, purses, makeup etc., but I LOVE practical stuff -- kitchen things (I have an awesome set of mixing bowls, a tea kettle, and a trivet on my wishlist this year!), and I LOATHE knick-nacks like statues, porcelain boxes, fancy vases, etc. -- too many things to dust. My fiancee and close family know this about me, so they tend to get me stuff I like, even if it's not stuff I asked for. The key is communication, letting people know what you like and what kind of gifts make you feel special, and I think the best solution, when someone's birthday or another event is coming up (I'm talking significant others and close family here), just ask them, "Is there anything in particular you'd like for Christmas? Do you want something you can use every day, or would you like something more sentimental?" Better yet, ask them for a wishlist at the store(s) of their choice! (I know it seems impersonal, but...man, it works. It has saved me a gazillion times with people who are difficult to buy for!)

 

Long story short: I think your boyfriend's question was a bit inappropriate. Clearly, you put a lot of thought into the gift, and it IS stuff he can use, so it seems he's being a little pouty and ungrateful. However, at the same time, I think this is a good indicator that you both need to communicate better. I don't think that just cancelling your trip is the answer unless you really want to break up with him/don't want to fix things. Try having a heart-to-heart with him about your feelings, ask him his, and try to avoid getting defensive (he should avoid this too). Just hear each other. And, perhaps, develop a strategy for gift-giving in the future, whether it's wishlists or some other way you can convey your wants/needs.

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As I mentioned above, everything purchased wasn't listed, but the bigger point is it's not ok to pick apart a gift that someone gives. I have received gifts I don't like, we all have, but the response and the timing of it is the bigger problem.

 

Yes, you keep pounding YOUR point of view and do not seem to consider any others, just get defensive. Can you please take a deep breath and consider just for 60 seconds that maybe, just maybe your bf actually has a point that you have tendency not to hear what is being said to you and stick stubbornly to what you think is right and that's that? I mean you are point blank demonstrating it here even though plenty of various strangers are bringing up a different viewpoint to your attention, along with the fact that you cancelling the trip is really a spiteful overreaction.

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I always graciously say thank you to people I am not in love with, and do not plan to spend the rest of my life with. Now, if I love and trust you, and happen to plan the rest of my life with you, I would not be mum if I didn't like your gift, cuz then it just goes on the bottom of my closet in the back with the other gifts I don't need or don't like.

 

I just think you both should talk about expectations and needs. But I don't know how this guy is the rest of the time. People's love languages are different. The best way to figure out your a person's needs is to share with each other what they are. Sometimes taking a moment, and think, is he being a "di*k" or letting you know what he prefers? Is he always hyper critical of everything you do, from what you wear, to how you cook? Were you already looking for a way out, and this was the final straw?

 

My husband would never say he hated a gift someone gave him, but in private, he tells me. I think you have to also think, do you want someone who is honest, or someone who is afraid to tell you how they feel.

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I can see this from both sides, in a sense, but more from yours as I was raised to graciously thank people for gifts, particularly since gifts are NOT an obligation; nobody is entitled to get one. I have, of course, been on the receiving end of some pretty crummy gifts -- ones that were either really tacky, or were things I'd never use/wear, or things that had no connection to my interests or needs at all. I ALWAYS say "thank you," even if I have no intention of every using/wearing/eating the gift, and if I don't want it, I re-gift it, donate it to charity, OR -- in rare cases -- simply throw it away (though this is a last resort). Sometimes, I feel like people just buy a bunch of stuff on sale (icky, cheap bath products, off-brand candy/food items) and give them out to everyone they know, and honestly, I'd rather they save their money and not give me anything, so with particular people in my life (an aunt who used to give really odd, un-usable presents like Elizabeth Taylor's White Diamonds perfume and body lotion, which smells like something my grandma would have worn!) I just say "Hey, so-and-so, thanks for the gift, but you really don't need to spend money on me! Just a card is nice. I just enjoy hearing from you!" This is what I did with my well-intentioned aunt, and it has worked nicely. She will occasionally send a Starbucks gift card, which is perfect. THAT I can use!

 

I believe that, when buying gifts, we should always be thinking about the recipient -- what he or she wants, needs, can use, etc. -- and NOT what we *want* to get for him or her (thank God for Amazon wishlists, especially with my stepchildren!) However, I also believe that, whenever possible, we should simply accept gifts graciously and do whatever we need to do, even if it's giving them to charity or taking them back. I'd have a really hard time telling someone, "Your gift sucked!" I like fun stuff -- jewelry, purses, makeup etc., but I LOVE practical stuff -- kitchen things (I have an awesome set of mixing bowls, a tea kettle, and a trivet on my wishlist this year!), and I LOATHE knick-nacks like statues, porcelain boxes, fancy vases, etc. -- too many things to dust. My fiancee and close family know this about me, so they tend to get me stuff I like, even if it's not stuff I asked for. The key is communication, letting people know what you like and what kind of gifts make you feel special, and I think the best solution, when someone's birthday or another event is coming up (I'm talking significant others and close family here), just ask them, "Is there anything in particular you'd like for Christmas? Do you want something you can use every day, or would you like something more sentimental?" Better yet, ask them for a wishlist at the store(s) of their choice! (I know it seems impersonal, but...man, it works. It has saved me a gazillion times with people who are difficult to buy for!)

 

Long story short: I think your boyfriend's question was a bit inappropriate. Clearly, you put a lot of thought into the gift, and it IS stuff he can use, so it seems he's being a little pouty and ungrateful. However, at the same time, I think this is a good indicator that you both need to communicate better. I don't think that just cancelling your trip is the answer unless you really want to break up with him/don't want to fix things. Try having a heart-to-heart with him about your feelings, ask him his, and try to avoid getting defensive (he should avoid this too). Just hear each other. And, perhaps, develop a strategy for gift-giving in the future, whether it's wishlists or some other way you can convey your wants/needs.

 

Thank you so much! These were really great suggestions! A lot of people do wish lists for Secret Santa and things like that so why not do it with a significant other? I agree, our communication needs to be better. He's SUPER expressive about what he thinks and feels ALL THE TIME, me, not nearly as much. I've already cancelled the trip though. I'm in the middle about us staying together or not. It's not just this situation that's making me feel that way.

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I was insulted because the only thing from the store was the legal pads. The other items (some not listed) had to be ordered and the pen and flash drive have the specific university's seal and name on it. There was thought put into it. There was even a gift card for him to get something extra that he wanted. It was an ungrateful response.

 

You don't have to justify your gift to anyone. It's obvious from your first post that you didn't skip down the aisle in Staples and sweep random items into your cart. Whether he liked the final result or not, your intention was to get him something that he would appreciate. Unfortunately, he didn't seem to appreciate it. More unfortunately, he was ungracious. Even more unfortunately, you reacted to his lack of manners in a silly way that doesn't even address the actual issue. And most unfortunately, you have past, unresolved resentments building between you over time.

 

Is that what you want in a relationship?

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Agree. It seems more like the tipping point than the incident in itself.

I sounds like his questioning of the gift that was the final straw for her. It wasn't solely about the gift and his reaction. It was an accumulation of criticisms.
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I sounds like his questioning of the gift that was the final straw for her. It wasn't solely about the gift and his reaction. It was an accumulation of criticisms.

 

Agree. It seems more like the tipping point than the incident in itself.

 

Also agree.

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I haven't read the entire thread, but whether you like the gift or not, it's simply common courtesy to say "thank you". Having said that, I can certainly see where you're coming from, as well as his answer being tacky and uncalled for.

 

If between this and other similar factors within the relationship, it may be time to reconsider where this is going.

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This thread demonstrates gift giving is fraught with peril!

 

It can be a kindness, or it can be a test, on both sides.

 

It's tricky to be able to give without wanting or expecting appreciation in return. I think the polite thing is to say thank you to the gift giver, but manners are not universal or necessarily common sense. My ex felt that expecting a thank you is giving-to-get, and not in the true spirit of giving. Yeah, he might say thank you for something he didn't want, yet he felt it was insincere saying it and didn't like going through the motions. He'd rather remove himself from what he saw as over commercialism.

 

If he did receive something he truly appreciated, he clearly conveyed his thanks.

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Thank you all so much. Your suggestions and comments mean a lot. Maybe he wanted more of a sentimental "boyfriend" type of gift and mine may have seemed like things that could have come from anybody. On the other hand, anything I have received from him is special to me regardless of what it is. Apparently it's different view points. I'm going to do some soul searching because there have been lots of other times over the past year and a half where he's been critical about the things he does/doesn't like. I've tried to accommodate (as we all do in relationships) so this gift criticism was kind of a last straw. I'm in the middle about which way I will go with this, but I know I'll figure things out soon.

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The title of this question just struck me.

 

Simple question - which it was, as a matter of fact, not complex at all.

Ungratefulness - I don't know, nobody does. It sounded to me like he was grateful in a pragmatic way. Why judge your BF like that, though? It seems like looking for trouble

 

As is often true, the GF and the BF have the same problem: looking for proof that the other one reallyb does care. The BF gets this gift and wonders why it isn't more intimate. The GF gives the gift and wonders why he isn't over the moon about her generosity.

 

Both of you have a deeply held belief that youre not good enough, making it difficult to believe your SO appreciates you. In need of validation. you look for proof of affection in every little gesture. Life gets heavy amd joyless when even nice acts feel like failure.

 

Read about Insecure Attachment styles in romantic relationships. It may help .

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