On my first birthday, after we started dating, he didn’t buy me any presents. All he did was post my photo on social media and wrote a long birthday message. It was sweet but those are words. Where was the gift to back those nice words? They were nowhere to be found. He just kept sending me messages, “Happy birthday my love. I wish you all the good things your heart desires. God bless you.” I was slightly disappointed but I gave myself a talk, “Maybe he is broke and cannot afford to get me a gift. That is why he is going out of his way to celebrate me with all these constructive words. Let’s wait for the next birthday.”
So I swallowed my disappointment and allowed myself to enjoy all his heartfelt wishes. I made sure he knew how much I appreciated his messages and posts. Then on his birthday I went big and bought him a very nice and expensive gift I knew he would like. And he liked it. He couldn’t talk about anything else but the gift for days. I was happy that I got him something that made him happy. I also felt I had established the act of gift-giving in our relationship so it shouldn’t be a problem for him to give me gifts in the future.
Our second year together brought in my second birthday. I was curious to know what he would get me. I was not expecting anything big or expensive. I just wanted a gift, even if it was something he made himself. I just wanted to know that he thought about me while my birthday was approaching and decided to give me something to make it memorable. I woke up that morning to no birthday texts. He did not post me on social media either. He did not even call me that morning.
I was concerned but I calmed myself, “Maybe he will call me or text me in a few minutes’ time.” I waited and waited with my phone in my hand but I got calls and texts from everyone but him. By afternoon, I still got nothing. I thought, “The day has not ended. Let’s wait for a while.” I waited till nightfall before I called him. The moment he answered I asked, “What happened? No birthday messages and posts online. You didn’t even call me.” “Oh, it’s today? I completely forgot about it. I am so sorry.” This is not something I would hold a grudge over so I forgave him. Nonetheless, I told him, “You forgot about my birthday so you have to buy me a gift to make up for it.” He agreed to do it but he never got me anything.
Every passing week, I talked about the fact that he had not gotten me a birthday gift. I even mentioned the gift he didn’t get me the previous year. I did all this in hopes that he would understand how much gifts mean to me. However, this guy didn’t take the hint. So I had to approach things directly. We were having a conversation just recently and I asked him, “Where do you stand on giving? Do you think it is important to give to others?” He shrugged, “I don’t know. I am not good at giving things to people because it puts a lot of pressure on me. I start obsessing over the fact that the person wouldn’t appreciate what I am giving them.” I know he thought he was making sense but I did not understand his point.
I wanted to let it slide and forget about all of it but come to think of it, he sends money to his mother on her birthdays. He buys presents for his siblings on their birthdays as well. So how can he tell me he is not good at giving? It sounds more like he doesn’t want to give me anything. And this is where I have a problem. I believe if he continues to do this and we get married, it will create a rivalry between me and his family. I would feel he cares more about their needs than he cares about mine and that wouldn’t be good for any of us involved.
I know he loves his family and has known them longer than me, and they are his blood. But I am also his girlfriend, the woman he says he loves and wants to marry. Shouldn’t I also have a place on his budget for my birthdays? I am not asking him to give me what he gives his mother or siblings, but I should also get what I deserve.
I believe these are some of the things most men don’t do and end up creating petty fights between their women and their families. After he told me he is not a good giver, I responded, “You just don’t want to give me gifts but that’s fine. Don’t expect anything from me on your birthday. This is how things are going to be until you change.” I want to know, am I right to feel this way? Or am I overreacting?