Author Topic: Give it to me straight - am I a bit*h?  (Read 10934 times)

mustachepungoeshere

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Re: Give it to me straight - am I a bit*h?
« Reply #50 on: October 16, 2017, 07:48:16 PM »
DH is poor gift giver.   He thinks a lot about the person, then explains the reasoning for a specific present, so it is sweet.  But the gifts are bad and overpriced.  He also waits until the last minute to get something, often.  (ok. Maybe not last minute, but the week for before christmas, day before or day of birthday).

After sweetly saying thank-you and using the gifts over the years, I finally put my foot down.  Flipped out.  No more presents with electrical cords.  No more tech gadgets.  Nothing over $150, that I haven't previously suggested.

Past presents as examples:

An iron -- because he saw how frustrated about ironing I was, and how much I disliked it.  (Two thirds of the ironing was for his shirts.   The true gift would have been for him to take over ironing his own shirts before we go out for dinner with my parents, or just hang his shirts to dry)

A vacuum  (don't buy your wife a vacuum at Christmas, just, don't... buy it and bring it into the house on a non-holiday and wrap something else)

A wine cooler.  (uses power and I tend to buy a bottle, drink a bottle, so only 1 bottle at a time in there.)
A plug-in coffee mug for the car $30, fell apart after 5 uses.  Instead of a Contigo insulated coffee mug (on my gift list, not tech enough)

A car wash "ionizer"/ soft water sprayer -- because I got a "new to me" car the prior year that I liked, but he noted that I seemed to like washing cars because I would wash his, too, every month or two (he never did it, it drove me nuts if I had to take his dirty car sometimes).  He wanted to get a present that related to something I must be excited about (the new to me car).

Here is a beauty -- I asked one year for a CD walkman with headphones ($25), to use while walking the neighborhood.   This was pre-ipods.   He bought a $480 mp3 player, circa 1998.  Sound quality was.. not great.... In today's money, that would be a $650 tech gadget.   

We, too, had wholly joint finances at the time.   I was usually the only one working, and tightly budgeting the grocery bill and scrimping on my work wardrobe to afford extras, like a nicer fridge or to pay for my night school, and he ends up buying tech gadgets.  Gah.

Took me 6 years to flip out.  Put my foot down.
Best choice ever.

Oh these are gold!

It's not just about money, but not paying attention or putting in the effort.

For me, there was the year that I didn't get a Christmas present because I wanted to go whale-watching and he said that would be my present. But we never went. When I mentioned it he said, "Well you never organised it."

Last year, for my 30th, he gave me a pathetic excuse for a birthday card. I love beautiful stationery. I have a box full of cards, and I love picking something beautiful to send to friends and family. I have a fountain pen, personalised address labels, rubber stamps, washi tape, the whole deal. I'm that person. He knows this. He bought me a hideous pink card with a picture of a bumble bee. It said, "Bee happy." I didn't want a gift because I had a party instead, so it was just the card. Woo...

I didn't say anything at the time, but came across it six months later and reminded him, he was embarrassed. Gave me the usual spiel about how busy he is, etc. The supermarket that we can see from our driveway, where we goes every week to buy food, sells cards.

obstinate

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Re: Give it to me straight - am I a bit*h?
« Reply #51 on: October 16, 2017, 10:17:22 PM »
He's salty his gift wasn't liked. I would be too. But I recognize that as my own male fragility. If you buy someone a gift that they do not want, there's a failure at some point in the gift buying process. The only active participant in the process -- the one who bought the gift -- is probably the one who fucked up. That's a harsh reality, but far less harsh than what many people have to deal with every day. He is old enough that it would be reasonable for you to expect him to pull up his big boy pants and accept this fact.

You asked at the beginning if you're a bitch. Based on this one event, I'd say, no, definitely not. That said: if you want to coddle him and spare his feels, say, "thank you so much, honey! But I don't think I really need the cellular bits of this watch, so, let's take it back and retire a day earlier. :)" Not that you need me to tell you what you've probably had to do more than once in the years of your marriage. If you don't want to spare his feels, it seems like you've done just fine. Which strategy will work out best for you in the long run depends on what kind of man he is, and what kind of man he is daily choosing to become.

partgypsy

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Re: Give it to me straight - am I a bit*h?
« Reply #52 on: October 17, 2017, 06:29:39 AM »
DH is poor gift giver.   He thinks a lot about the person, then explains the reasoning for a specific present, so it is sweet.  But the gifts are bad and overpriced.  He also waits until the last minute to get something, often.  (ok. Maybe not last minute, but the week for before christmas, day before or day of birthday).

After sweetly saying thank-you and using the gifts over the years, I finally put my foot down.  Flipped out.  No more presents with electrical cords.  No more tech gadgets.  Nothing over $150, that I haven't previously suggested.

Past presents as examples:

An iron -- because he saw how frustrated about ironing I was, and how much I disliked it.  (Two thirds of the ironing was for his shirts.   The true gift would have been for him to take over ironing his own shirts before we go out for dinner with my parents, or just hang his shirts to dry)

A vacuum  (don't buy your wife a vacuum at Christmas, just, don't... buy it and bring it into the house on a non-holiday and wrap something else)

A wine cooler.  (uses power and I tend to buy a bottle, drink a bottle, so only 1 bottle at a time in there.)
A plug-in coffee mug for the car $30, fell apart after 5 uses.  Instead of a Contigo insulated coffee mug (on my gift list, not tech enough)

A car wash "ionizer"/ soft water sprayer -- because I got a "new to me" car the prior year that I liked, but he noted that I seemed to like washing cars because I would wash his, too, every month or two (he never did it, it drove me nuts if I had to take his dirty car sometimes).  He wanted to get a present that related to something I must be excited about (the new to me car).

Here is a beauty -- I asked one year for a CD walkman with headphones ($25), to use while walking the neighborhood.   This was pre-ipods.   He bought a $480 mp3 player, circa 1998.  Sound quality was.. not great.... In today's money, that would be a $650 tech gadget.   

We, too, had wholly joint finances at the time.   I was usually the only one working, and tightly budgeting the grocery bill and scrimping on my work wardrobe to afford extras, like a nicer fridge or to pay for my night school, and he ends up buying tech gadgets.  Gah.

Took me 6 years to flip out.  Put my foot down.
Best choice ever.

ooh, I totally emphathize. The stuff you listed, god I would hate that crap. My ex would literally go out shopping on Christmas eve, to get me and the kids presents. So, the kids would get comics (not even ones they necessarily even were looking for) while I have gotten things like yes an iron, a toaster, and an alarm clock. And he would usually put them under the tree and not even wrap them. The kids would have made lists months ago, I also would drop hints, even had an accessible list that he could look at for ideas, but he never used or looked at those lists. So yes then there was disappointment and hurt feelings. There were also many years he hurt my feelings by not acknowledging certain holidays (mother's day "you're not my mother", Valentines "it's a Hallmark Holiday").

One thing he did do towards the end, was to get me some not too expensive but nice loose tea, and chocolate. That's why in the last couple years of our relationship I suggested we just do stocking stuffers for each other.
He also learned (but it was too late for our relationship in general) that for me one of the nicest gifts was to clean/pick up the house and have flowers in the house. No matter what occasion or even for no reason you will have my heart to do that.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2017, 07:22:47 AM by partgypsy »

Jenny1974

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Re: Give it to me straight - am I a bit*h?
« Reply #53 on: October 17, 2017, 06:57:09 AM »
Well, I would do the same thing so . . . . if you're a bitch . . . you have company!  My DH works for AT&T so he's constantly bring crap home we don't need.  Finally, after about 17 years of marriage, he's figured out I don't want that crap.

topshot

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Re: Give it to me straight - am I a bit*h?
« Reply #54 on: October 17, 2017, 08:16:29 AM »
Here's an off the wall suggestion. It may be that his "love language" is gifts so that is how he shows love to others. Your "love language" may be acts of service so gifts don't do as much for you as they do him. I'd recommend reading Gary Chapman's "Five Love Languages". It's very quick and there's a quiz you can take to show what your primary love languages are. It's pretty eye opening and will likely change how you view your relationships with others going forward.

talltexan

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Re: Give it to me straight - am I a bit*h?
« Reply #55 on: October 17, 2017, 09:36:08 AM »
Hate to say it, but reading the listing of gifts, you may be teetering on the brink of bit*h territory.

Goldielocks

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Re: Give it to me straight - am I a bit*h?
« Reply #56 on: October 17, 2017, 10:11:51 AM »
Hate to say it, but reading the listing of gifts, you may be teetering on the brink of bit*h territory.
Talltexan,  I think (guessing wildly and applying my own feelings to the situation) that a large problem is OP has 100% joint finances, and is a MMM reader, so having someone buy her a $400 watch, same type, every year, WITH HER OWN MONEY, is driving her nuts.   If this was a $50 Timex, there would be no argument.    I think the upset is partly about a mismatch in money values, which many here can relate to.


Take it to the next level of spending...
What would you do if your other half bought you a car as a gift, a car that you did not choose or need, by signing you (jointly) up for 5 years of car payments, and thus, you can't put in the second bathroom that you had personally saved over the last year for?

elaine amj

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Re: Give it to me straight - am I a bit*h?
« Reply #57 on: October 17, 2017, 11:06:09 AM »
Hate to say it, but reading the listing of gifts, you may be teetering on the brink of bit*h territory.
Talltexan,  I think (guessing wildly and applying my own feelings to the situation) that a large problem is OP has 100% joint finances, and is a MMM reader, so having someone buy her a $400 watch, same type, every year, WITH HER OWN MONEY, is driving her nuts.   If this was a $50 Timex, there would be no argument.    I think the upset is partly about a mismatch in money values, which many here can relate to.


Take it to the next level of spending...
What would you do if your other half bought you a car as a gift, a car that you did not choose or need, by signing you (jointly) up for 5 years of car payments, and thus, you can't put in the second bathroom that you had personally saved over the last year for?
I'd be annoyed if my DH bought me a $50 watch haha! Our watches are in the $10-20 territory around here.  Unless it's a gift from my Father at which point it does not come from my bank account so I just accept and enjoy.

If one partner likes to spend more on gifts and finances are joint, then the best option is likely for each to get a "fun money" account and use that for gift giving. That way, the spender can "save up" for fancy gifts and it won't come from the vacation budget - especially if the other spouse has been denying herself meals out, lattes, etc to add to that budget.

I'm too practical and we quit giftgiving a long time ago. It's our money anyway and we buy what we want when we want it. I'd like to convince my mother to quit gifts too but she LOVES getting expensive gifts (although prefers to choose them herself). Makes no sense to me so I am gave up - she tells me what she wants and I buy it. I think this year I am going to try to convince her not to buy anything for DH and I. Something small for the kids to open on Christmas is sufficient.

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talltexan

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Re: Give it to me straight - am I a bit*h?
« Reply #58 on: October 17, 2017, 02:51:27 PM »
Hate to say it, but reading the listing of gifts, you may be teetering on the brink of bit*h territory.
Talltexan,  I think (guessing wildly and applying my own feelings to the situation) that a large problem is OP has 100% joint finances, and is a MMM reader, so having someone buy her a $400 watch, same type, every year, WITH HER OWN MONEY, is driving her nuts.   If this was a $50 Timex, there would be no argument.    I think the upset is partly about a mismatch in money values, which many here can relate to.


Take it to the next level of spending...
What would you do if your other half bought you a car as a gift, a car that you did not choose or need, by signing you (jointly) up for 5 years of car payments, and thus, you can't put in the second bathroom that you had personally saved over the last year for?

Your example is a car that I did not need.

OP lists gifts like an iron and a vacuum and makes it sound as though they are at least marginally useful. OP tries to make the case that the inherent utility of these gifts actually makes them unsuitable, which undercuts the value of usefulness in a gift. Seems like an impossible standard for husband of OP to meet.

A more interesting example would be: my car is obliterated by an alien death ray 36 hours before my birthday, so my spouse takes the insurance money as a down payment and signs me up for an eight-year lease of a Mercedes Benz (when a used car purchased for that down payment would suffice to meet my need). Indeed I would be horrified to receive such a gift, but the scale of this gift is so far beyond any of the ones that OP lists.


Goldielocks

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Re: Give it to me straight - am I a bit*h?
« Reply #59 on: October 17, 2017, 03:53:05 PM »
Tall texan,  I think you mixed up OP and me, that's fine.  I gave the iron and vacuum as examples of poor gift giving choices of my DH, not the OP.  Not because the items have no value but because, essentially:

a)  Both items were tools to make a chore that was HIS chore, easier for ME to do.  For example, another chore that I refuse to do is to pick up dead animals.  Don't ask me why, but I refuse, and there have been several times (maybe 5) in my life where this was required of someone in home.   If he had bought me a useful present consisting of gloves and tongs to make it more palatable for ME to pick up dead animals, it would still suck as a gift because he would be transferring a distasteful job that HE is responsible for, onto me.

b)  A gift should show a bit of thought of what the recipient would like. 

Quote
but the scale of this gift is so far beyond any of the ones that OP lists.

That is my point -- it is about different values.  Elaine amj would hesitate over the $50 watch, I don't like $100+ presents that I can't use or need, you set the standard in the $000's.   

The OP's DH in this thread may think $400 is a nice, generous present but OP thinks anything over $150 should be discussed first.  This alone detracts from the "gift" value of it.

talltexan

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Re: Give it to me straight - am I a bit*h?
« Reply #60 on: October 18, 2017, 07:43:03 AM »
Well-argued, and I apologize for confusing gifts you list with the OP.

I think we'd all agree that getting on the same page about household finances includes getting on the same page about gifting expectations, both within the family and to people outside of the family.

I hope I can take some of the things you guys have said and produce a good gift outcome for my anniversary that is coming up in about two weeks.

simonsez

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Re: Give it to me straight - am I a bit*h?
« Reply #61 on: October 18, 2017, 09:30:49 AM »
Seems like the OP has the situation under control.  I think many situations boil down to the Platinum Rule, which could be construed as a condensed version of the love languages. 

The rule - Treat others how they want to be treated.

Learn what makes the other person tick or is a no-no and proceed with actions/inactions.  This is easier said than done and is why spousal relationships take constant communication/maintenance.  Have a partner that reciprocates the gist of this rule and you're golden good to go.  The Golden Rule is a solid starting point but all too often projecting your preferences onto someone else does not always work.

I generally despise surprise gifts (receiving gifts is my lowest love language).  If required to participate in some sort of gift receiving ceremony, my natural reactions are best when the gift I receive is something from a short list I have distributed in the past.  These gifts are typically very practical.  My wife is the polar opposite.  A tchotchke out of the blue keeps her elated and somehow makes her think I am the most thoughtful person ever.  I actually love giving her gifts but acting in accordance with how we would want to be treated with regard to gifts would not work.

If you don't know what your partner's preferences are from observation or any other contextual clues - ask!  Money is a sensitive modifier.  The more money involved with a type of gift, act of service, etc. - the better it is to double-check (slyly if need be).  This is probably more apt for the OP's husband.


Syd

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Re: Give it to me straight - am I a bit*h?
« Reply #62 on: October 18, 2017, 10:02:11 AM »
I'm so pissed at all the people that said that, yes, your reaction makes you a bitch.

We're on the mr money mustache forum - the guy that talked about hedonic adaptation, and yet people don't understand that you don't want to consume shit again and again.

Buying an apple watch every year seems so stupid to me.

Are most people clowns here?

Freedom2016

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Re: Give it to me straight - am I a bit*h?
« Reply #63 on: October 18, 2017, 10:30:16 AM »
So this is a scenario that played out almost exactly in a Louis CK sitcom: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003PDSPRE?ref_=imdbref_tt_wbr_piv&tag=imdbtag_tt_wbr_piv-20

Watch starting at 6:25.

Basically: Louis brings his wife red roses. She hates red roses. They get in a fight where she accuses him of not listening to her (she has said before she doesn't like red roses!), and he accuses her of being ungrateful - because he went out out of his way to do a nice thing for her.

So the deal is that both things can be true and both things are worthy of discussion. She doesn't feel heard, and he doesn't feel recognized. So there are two topics in play and thus two separate conversations to have.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2017, 11:00:24 AM by Freedom2016 »

caracarn

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Re: Give it to me straight - am I a bit*h?
« Reply #64 on: October 18, 2017, 12:01:23 PM »
I'm so pissed at all the people that said that, yes, your reaction makes you a bitch.

We're on the mr money mustache forum - the guy that talked about hedonic adaptation, and yet people don't understand that you don't want to consume shit again and again.

Buying an apple watch every year seems so stupid to me.

Are most people clowns here?
Just another example of the forums going soft is all.

Who even needs a watch?  I've not had one for thirty years.  If I want to know what time it is I look at all the other things that tell time or I look up at the sky and see where the sun is and figure out about what time it is.  No idea, maybe it's because of not wearing a watch, but I can usually be within 15 minutes of the actual time when anyone asks me what time it is, so I just use my internal clock.  It freaks people out that I can be that accurate without a watch.

But answering the OP, I'd just work on the reaction.  Tactfully explaining why you do not want another expensive watch versus flipping out would make the message a little easier to digest perhaps.

AlanStache

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Re: Give it to me straight - am I a bit*h?
« Reply #65 on: October 18, 2017, 01:02:17 PM »
OP: Is there any way your DH thought you were dropping hits about wanting the new watch?  And old GF and I had a thing years back where she was miffed for a week about what I got her until we talked about it and I quoted back to her three things she said that were b-day hints to get the thing she got.  She was not intending to drop hints but hearing them she had to agree they came off that way.  No clue if that happened here or not but is a possibility; and hits could be interpreted as permission to spend the money.

Case

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Re: Give it to me straight - am I a bit*h?
« Reply #66 on: October 19, 2017, 12:19:49 PM »
I'm turning 40 next month and tonight, my dh surprised me with a new Apple Watch as a gift. I flipped out. The main reason I flipped, is because he got me the 2nd generation Apple watch LAST year for my birthday too. We don't typically do "expensive" gifts for each other and I am very practical (much more practical than DH)....so I wasn't exactly "thrilled" when he got me the watch last year....but I sucked it up and thanked him and ended up loving the watch.

But ANOTHER one? Sometimes I think he doesn't even know me AT ALL. We've been married 15 years. He thinks I will love the cellular option on the new watch because I am a runner and don't like running with my phone. I'm sure that would be great. But I don't need or want another expensive tech gadget.

So I asked him to return it.....and he thinks I'm being nasty and ungrateful.

So give it to me straight.  Are we required to accept every gift with a smile?

I will add, we are fine financially but we certainly need to watch our spending. And we just rescued a puppy....another expensive item (that we are all thrilled about).

We would need more details to make the call.  There are lots of little social nuances that determine whether your action was good or bad.  It would depend on your personality types.  If you have a relationship where the two of you are very blunt with each other and that makes up most of your actions, then no.  If you two are more sensitive and need to be nicer to each other, then yes.  The fact that you state "I don't think she he knows me AT ALL" says a lot.  On the other hand, he got you this gift last year, and you ended up loving it.  This might have encouraged him to keep doing this sort of thing.

Just have an open honest discussion with him.  Most likely yes, you were a little bitchy, unless this really was a gift for himself.  It sort of sounds like he did some research and tried to do something sweet.  You should at least recognize his efforts and express appreciation of them, but state that you don't want to spend money on an expensive gift like that.

Villanelle

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Re: Give it to me straight - am I a bit*h?
« Reply #67 on: October 25, 2017, 02:26:06 AM »
I'm so pissed at all the people that said that, yes, your reaction makes you a bitch.

We're on the mr money mustache forum - the guy that talked about hedonic adaptation, and yet people don't understand that you don't want to consume shit again and again.

Buying an apple watch every year seems so stupid to me.

Are most people clowns here?

It seems most people said it was bitchy, not that she is a bitch.  There's a difference.  Also, I'm one of those people, and I said that she should not keep the watch.  So I'm not sure what's clownish about that.

A few posts up, someone suggested that it was "coddling" to soften the blow with some appreciation before telling him she won't keep the gift.  I think that's asinine.  Graciously accepting a gift is basic manners to me, not "coddling".  "Thank you, I appreciate the thought, but I have no use for this/it doesn't fit/I already have one/I think I look jaundiced when I wear yellow/whatever."  That's pretty simple.  I actually chuckled out loud at the notion that someone sort of chuffed is somehow a reflection on the "type of man they want to be", and is some special snowflake that needs to be handled with extreme caution.  I guess if wanting someone to be polite makes me needy, then I'm a needy bitch.  I'm pretty cool with that! 

I've returned many gifts from DH.  And sometimes he gets a little sad about that, but mostly he's fine with it because I let him know that while I appreciate that he wants me to have X thing and felt it was worth stretching our usual frugal ways, *FOR ME* there utility for the price just wasn't there, so I would return it.  But I'm polite and I graciously acknowledge the effort that went in to the gift regardless of whether I keep it or not.  That's basic manners to me, not coddling. 

obstinate

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Re: Give it to me straight - am I a bit*h?
« Reply #68 on: October 25, 2017, 10:08:06 PM »
A few posts up, someone suggested that it was "coddling" to soften the blow with some appreciation before telling him she won't keep the gift.  I think that's asinine.  Graciously accepting a gift is basic manners to me, not "coddling".
I'm the person who said that. I'm not convinced it's asinine. If this is the first time he's missed the mark with a gift, I'd encourage the recipient to accept it gracefully. From what I can see in the OP's post, this is not the first time a her husband has put little thought into his gift-giving. I think if it's a pattern, expressing some frustration is reasonable. There are more and less productive ways to do that, but I think that the act in and of itself is neither bitchy nor makes someone a bitch. Many other women on the thread have expressed similar sentiments and described similar experiences.

Granted, I'm reading between the lines, but so is anyone who tells me I'm wrong (besides OP). This was just my reaction based on my perception of the subtext.

talltexan

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Re: Give it to me straight - am I a bit*h?
« Reply #69 on: October 26, 2017, 11:59:19 AM »
I get to call someone a bitch without consequences so rarely...

Seriously, OP, I think you have some pretty good advice here about understanding the deeper issues...it's fundamentally about meeting and understanding how your spouse thinks. Best of luck with jointly finding a solution.