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Valentine's Day mishap

SoonerManSoonerMan Registered User regular
edited February 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
Well, I think the day went off without a hitch. I gave her (my girlfriend) a dozen rozes and a good amount of gifts. It wasn't so much just because of Valentine's Day, but it was also our anniversary as well which is why I felt the need to "go all out." I also took her to the Olive Garden, and she sort of implied she had something of the same effect of the things I got her (a lot or something to the magnitude of what I did for her.)

Well she told me this before she realized I did so much, and when I gave her the rest of her gifts as we were driving to the restaurant she says, "Wow, I kind of feel bad. You went all out and I really didn't." Lo and behold she gives me a really cute little stuffed puppy dog (her nickname for me is Puppy.) She also had a balloon with a Gatorade attatche to it sent to me, which was incredibly sweet of her.

So what is the problem? I like to think I'm not superficial, but as I went to sleep it just kind of hit me that I spent around $130 on her (which I do not regret) and a small fraction was returned. I didn't want to bring it up, but she kind of guessed around at why I seemed a little withdrawn the next day. Let me reiterate that I loved how things went and the night was amazing, but obviously I was still looking for more. Also, when she came back from Italy I kind of had to pay for my birthday outing (she was gone on my birthday and we made it up by going and watching Clerks II. So looking back on it, I'm kind of "wtf?'' seeing as I again out did her and treated her well on her birthday. Took her out, so on and so forth.

She is upset with herself, before she realized it was bother me and I really didn't want her to know that it was. She's kind of going through some stuff with her mom right now, so I can expect some weirdness here and there. Now its not so much that I did so much for her and I, "ZOMG! I want her to buy me something that is expensive!" I'm just kind of confused. Was it ok for me to spend so much given how significant the date was? Is it ok for me to feel a little, "Meh." about everything? I do not want it to seem that, "Well. I did this for her, so she has to return the favor equally..." I guess I either expected too much or... I don't know. I think telling her how to make it up to me defeats the purpose of her wanting to do it, you know?

I'm sure I come as a conceited, superficial asshole. If that's the case let me know.

Rah, Oklahoma! Rah, Oklahoma! Rah, Oklahoma~! O-K-U!
SoonerMan on

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    ZekZek Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    You should have worked this out with her beforehand. It's not her fault that you're treating it like Christmas for Couples and she just thought it was a fun little holiday. IMHO your expectations were excessive, but either way you shouldn't have assumed that she would have the same view of the holiday as you do.

    Zek on
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    Brodo FagginsBrodo Faggins Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I wouldn't worry about it. My girlfriend and I had the same thing happen to us, except it was her paying more than I did, and neither of us cares (although I do feel somewhat obligated to take her out to a nice dinner sometime.)

    Brodo Faggins on
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    benz0rsbenz0rs Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    What Zek said. You saw it as more significance than she did. Next time, just go over how you guys view these holidays and special days.

    benz0rs on
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    Sir Red of the MantiSir Red of the Manti Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Did you both have fun? Was the evening enjoyable? If so, then don't worry about your wallet, it'll fill itself again in due time.

    Sir Red of the Manti on
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    rockmonkeyrockmonkey Little RockRegistered User regular
    edited February 2007
    well it also helps to know how old you are, how serious the relationship is and how long you've been dating.

    You mentioned it wasn't just valentine's day but also your anniversary so I'm assuming that is at least the 1 year mark. I don't think around $130 including presents and dinner for the both of you and whatever else was excessive at all.

    I know how you feel in regards to the fact that you don't EXPECT her to go and dump a lot of cash on you but just something equal in thought on her part would be nice. At some point it can seem like she isn't even trying and is just along for the ride. You may even catch yourself doing selfless little things for her on a daily basis and realize she doesn't return the gesture.

    I mean she put thought into your gift with the whole puppy -> puppy thing but you don't sound like you're in high school anymore and if its over a year of serious dating it is more typical (from my experience) that the guy may spend more money and get the girl typical gifts (jewelry or something) while the girl usually opts for something that means a lot to the guy. Doesn't have to cost a lot or be hard to find, just something that he would enjoy but hasn't bought it for himself yet and it shows that she actually pays attention to what you as an individual are into and that means a lot.


    Ok the meat of the problem (imo) could either be that she:

    1) doesn't have the money to spend and so she does thoughtful little presents and so she was on the low side while your's was on the upper middle to high side causing the whole thing to be awkward.

    2) she just doesn't know how MUCH she should spend on a guy and what kind of present to give that is romantic. She may think a video game or a book would make her look bad because those aren't cute/romantic gifts when in fact they just might be special to you.

    3) She is lazy and isn't putting the same level of effort into your relationship as you are and may not even realize that parts of it are almost one-sided.

    rockmonkey on
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    ArminasArminas Student of Life SF, CARegistered User regular
    edited February 2007
    A similar event occurred during my anniversary with my ex-girlfriend (we broke up several months later).

    The scenario is the same except with different things and locations...but essentially with the same end effect. I felt a little jipped for having gone all out and poured in days of time to find the right little gifts. I meant it as a surprise which may have been part of the issue, she had no idea I was doing anything for our anniversary so she was surprised as hell when I pulled out these things I had made and found the exact watch she had broken in the first month we were together. That aside!

    I think the problem was that I was, in a way, expecting the same amount of effort and thought to be reciprocated yet it was impossible because it was a surprise. Today, even though we've broken up and what not, I still feel a little sad that she didn't do anything that day and I realize that it's an unrealistic expectation. But if you're to learn anything from this, learn that relationships should never come down to a scale you need to balance. "Oh, you went down on me last week, let me go down on you this week" or a "I got you this gift that's equivalent to X hours and Y dollars, now where's mine?". I put it bluntly without fancy words or scenarios to explain it because that was something that began to pull my relationship apart when I started feeling that she wasn't putting as much time or effort into the relationship as I was.

    This isn't to say that your relationship is completely toast if you're experiencing the same feelings I did. Rather, (if i were you) take this as an opportunity to communicate with your partner. Openly explain to her exactly how you feel even if you think it's selfish. If you poured in this much time and effort for her, you're at least somewhat selfless and perhaps deserve to be selfish once in a while too. Tell her what you told us. No wait, don't tell her exactly what you told us. But at least explain your feelings and tell her to take it with a grain of salt. And do not try to trump each other on days of gift giving, it can easily spiral out of control and turn into a stressful rather than a cheerful occasion.

    I've found that though you may spend an exorbitant amount of money on your partner, the same might not be returned. It's up to you to find out how much you're comfortable giving without getting any kind of "return".

    Arminas on
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    VirumVirum Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Honestly, Valentine's day is more of a "for her" holiday IMHO.

    I spent $100 on flowers for a girl and didn't get anything; I didn't feel gypped at all.

    If it's a big problem (esp. if it's bothering her) tell her the best gift she could get you are some of these.

    I think you are getting too caught up on material things.

    Virum on
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    hoodie13hoodie13 punch bro Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Virum wrote: »
    Honestly, Valentine's day is more of a "for her" holiday IMHO.

    I spent $100 on flowers for a girl and didn't get anything; I didn't feel gypped at all.

    Yeah... Count yourself lucky that you're with a girl who believes in giving anything to the man for V-Day at all. My girlfriend sprung that on my a couple years ago, and I was kinda unprepared. You should be spending way more than her. It may sound sexist, but thats pretty much how the holiday works.

    Now, you mentioned that it was your anniversary too. The gifts she gave you seem appropriate for that. I say don't worry about it.

    hoodie13 on
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    Locust76Locust76 Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Well, you give gifts to give gifts, not to receive gifts of an equal monetary value in return.

    You didn't have to spend $130. I spent €30 and achieved the same effect as I would have if I had spend hundreds, minus the "you went all out" effect.

    Locust76 on
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    FawkesFawkes __BANNED USERS regular
    edited February 2007
    SoonerMan wrote: »
    So what is the problem? I like to think I'm not superficial, but as I went to sleep it just kind of hit me that I spent around $130 on her (which I do not regret)

    Yes, if you don't regret it, what is the problem? Either:

    a) you do regret it, or at least regret that you didn't have a similar amount spent on you (which since that would = your expenditure, would technically mean you had recieved a normal return for your money, instead of losing it)

    b) you don't regret it, in which case, what are you complaining about? If you like to think you aren't superficial, and don't regret it, then...don't be superficial and don't regret it.

    The real question is, is your relationship worth more than $130? If so, then never bother your mind again about this, if you love the girl, who gives a damn, it's a one-off and at least she got some pleasure from it. If not, then you should probably wonder what you are doing with her.

    By the way, if you want to avoid a similar situation ever again, why don't you try ditching the money = love philosophy. I find it quite disturbing (but not too surprising) that almost everyone on this thread seems to take that as a given, but fact is that flowers & gifts & cards have absolutely nothing to do with romance, and everything to do with Hallmark's bottom line. If your girlfriend is so materialistic that she would be pissed at not getting the requisite expenditure for Valentine's day, she doesn't really care much about you. If she isn't, a little forethought & some imagination (or conversely a wild spur-of-the-moment gesture) will say a hundred times more about your feelings than the generic flowers + dinner + prezzies = kiss kiss formula, and needs only cost the price of a bottle of champagne, petrol to beach / field / rooftop, lighter to start a fire with. While we're at it, diamonds: not so rare, not so valuable, and anyone who spends several months salary on one has too much money, too little sense, or both. Be careful, or it could be you!

    Fawkes on
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    JansonJanson Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    hoodie13 wrote: »
    Yeah... Count yourself lucky that you're with a girl who believes in giving anything to the man for V-Day at all. My girlfriend sprung that on my a couple years ago, and I was kinda unprepared. You should be spending way more than her. It may sound sexist, but thats pretty much how the holiday works.

    No, it is not. That is bullshit. Any girl who pulls that kind of shit really needs to be taught a lesson.

    That aside...

    OP, I completely agree with Zek. It may seem less romantic in future to say something like 'so, what price range are we spending on each other?' but it'll make things less awkward for everyone.

    You've mentioned you've already made her feel bad, what more are you expecting? Maybe she can't afford to immediately make it up to you. Now if she'd gone on a $500 shopping spree on herself the very next day or something I could understand your reaction, but as it stands, you don't really have anything to complain about. If she's feeling guilty, that's going to be enough.

    I'll also add that whilst you went for the generic roses + dinner, she did at least put some thought and personality into the gifts she gave you.

    Janson on
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    SilverWindSilverWind Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    It seems that even though you are aware it is materialistic to be unhappy/troubled at the fact that your girlfriend didn't spend as much on you for Valentine's Day and your birthday, you are unhappy/troubled nonetheless.

    She did seem to put some thought into what she gave you; consider whether or not your expectation that she spend an amount more similar to your own is realistic and ultimately what you want out of this relationship.

    Talk things over so that in the future, stuff like this doesn't happen again. Does she expect you to get her roses/treat her to dinner? Does she think it is excessive to spend so much? Especially if you still feel sore about it, it needs to be aired out and addressed instead of left inside.


    edit: I'm a person who thinks everything should be 50/50 unless it's a 'you treat one time, I'll treat another time' thing. But then again, I'm also a 'don't get me roses or chocolate on Valentine's' type person, so it's really up to the couple's personal philosophy...

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    EggyToastEggyToast Jersey CityRegistered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Yeah, that's the rub. You say you don't regret it and that you're happy you did it. But if that was actually the case, you wouldn't feel the way that you did.

    If you take someone out, and you do a lot of stuff for them, you should not expect anything in return. Otherwise you're trying to prove something, or you're fishing for something. There's plenty of guys who get pissed off if they spend a lot on a date and the girl doesn't reciprocate with sex, for instance. And there's plenty of people where one person always spends more money.

    There's usually a reason for why an event or relationship is lopsided. Either one person makes more money than the other, and feels like enjoying it rather than simply saving, or perhaps they just really like the idea of going out with the person. And the other person, when they plan an event, focuses on staying in, as that's what they prefer.

    Whatever the reason, it's obvious that you're upset by the disparity. Don't be -- it'll only make you resentful if the relationship becomes more long-term or intertwined. What if she makes a long phone call and you end up paying that phone bill ? Then you spent more and you didn't even get anything out of it :D

    Anyway, how do you fix it? Resolve yourself to spend more realistically in the future, learn to spend responsibly without caring about reciprocity, or talk to her about what's bugging you. Note that if you spring something like "I spent all this money on you and you spend $5 on me" is a good way to get someone very angry at you -- if you spend a lot on someone, you should realize that part of the gift (back to you) is that the person is surprised by an awesome thing/event.

    EggyToast on
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    tony_importanttony_important Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I spent about $150 in total on my girl friend this year.
    She baked me cupcakes. She never cooks, so I was blown away by the gesture.

    Also, we need to band together as males and create "Annual Give Your Man Stuff That He Likes" Day.

    tony_important on
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    TheungryTheungry Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    how would you feel if she had spent $500 on you and all you spent was $130?

    Discuss expectations in gift giving situations. De-prioritize material shit. You'll be happier.

    Theungry on
    Unfortunately, western cultures frown upon arranged marriages, so the vast majority of people have to take risks in order to get into relationships.
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    Dread Pirate ArbuthnotDread Pirate Arbuthnot OMG WRIGGLY T O X O P L A S M O S I SRegistered User regular
    edited February 2007
    You could consider talking it out or apologizing by way of organizing a money-free date. I think it would be a nice way to say "We do not need money to enjoy each others company, let's talk things out." Make a meal at home, walk around downtown, something to get good feelings going and to smooth arguments over.

    Dread Pirate Arbuthnot on
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    ObsObs __BANNED USERS regular
    edited February 2007
    Try not to focus so much on spending money on "her" as much as you should for spending money on "both" of you.

    Obs on
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    SoonerManSoonerMan Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I realize the guy should be chivalrous and pay more than the girl does, so on and so forth. I also realize my expectations for this were a little high and such, but I'm not going to say it was completely unrealistic. She's a reader, so I bought her a book. Her CD player broke, so I got her one. I remember I kept on saying stuff about Guitar Hero since I'd been playing it at a friend's house so it's not like she had NO clue about what to get me.

    Her mom and her are pretty well off, so it's not that she can't afford it or anything. I work as a burger flipper to get most of my cashes. That's not important though, really, but it was just in response to what a couple of people said.

    For the most part, we try to do the "this time you, this time me" thing but rarely works out. Like I said I have no regrets in treating her to dinner or just a night out occasionally. I love doing that for her, but occasionally it's nice to have the same thing, right?

    The material stuff... I don't think it like that. I mean me doing stuff for her, involves money... I know it does not equate to love but me doing it for her shows her I do care for her. I'm not the type of person who can easily think of things to do that are simply sweet so I just treat her to things, since I'm inept at ideas.

    SoonerMan on
    Rah, Oklahoma! Rah, Oklahoma! Rah, Oklahoma~! O-K-U!
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    EggyToastEggyToast Jersey CityRegistered User regular
    edited February 2007
    You shouldn't have to be sweet to her, but you also shouldn't jump in and buy her stuff.

    For instance, it's nice that you got her a cd player, but why? Do you think her parents (or herself) would not have bought her one? As for the "treating" thing, you need to both keep track and be playful if it's really bugging you. Keep track in your head, and when you go out, say things like "oh, oh, I believe it's your turn :D"

    Also just because a mom has money doesn't mean the kid has any, especially for giving gifts. That, and it's really a bad idea to think of valentines day as a gift-giving holiday. it's fabricated, in teh first place, and it's really meant to show affection -- not receive gifts. That's birthdays and xmas. And less and less so as you get older (which makes me believe you're still rather young).

    My wife and I have been together for over 7 years, married for less than 1, but we haven't given xmas or bday gifts to each other in years. Or, if we do, it's something that cost $10 or chocolate or something like that.

    And no, the guy should not be more chivalrous. People should pay (or give) according to their means and how they feel about said gifts. Gender has nothing to do with it, unless you're trying to impress someone. And that's the whole point of paying more frequently -- the act of impressing someone serves as an ego-boost to the giver. That's why you often hear people say that they love giving gifts; it's because they love the reaction when they've got a good gift, and they feel they're good at reading people.

    The first xmas after I got a real job, I bought everyone in my family really nice gifts. I spent about 4 times more than I usually spend, and I loved it. I didn't expect to receive more, because I didn't tell anyone what I was getting. To me, I wanted to make a point that I really liked everyone and that it was great to give gifts as it was within my means finally.

    You're saying things aren't important, but you're bringing them up to help prove your points. You say you work fast food and she's well off, but that doesn't bug you. Well, it obviously does a little bit. Same with you buying things for her and even though you dropped hints, she didn't buy you anything. That you expect anything gift-oriented is either immature or your expectations are way off. It's also obvious that she felt bad about it, but you need to change your behavior, not hers. Don't buy her so much stuff if it bugs you, or save up and take her out when it's really something you both want to do. If you need to buy her stuff to keep her around, that's a bad deal right there. If you don't need to spend money for her to like you, then you should be fine -- you'll have more money and a girlfriend who still likes you the same.

    Anyway, you don't need to spend money on people to be sweet. You need to pay attention to them. The idea that girls like gifts exists because it shows that the guy was paying attention and thinking about them when they weren't around, but they like it more when the guy actually pays attention to them regardless of whether a gift is involved. Think about it -- if you take a girl to a restaurant, you have to talk to them the entire night and spend like $25. But if you let them pick a DVD to rent (or watch one you already own), not only do you spend the entire evening with them, but you also indulge their interests, for $5 or less. Generally "doing things" involves money, but since it bothers you, you should talk to her about it. Does she have a job? If she doesn't, she may get precious little actual spending money. You also haven't said how long you've been dating -- generally, spending a lot of money happens after two have been together for a while (or a short while but someone's trying to impress the other).

    EggyToast on
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    SoonerManSoonerMan Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Well I don't feel obligated into buying her stuff and it isn't necessarily to be sweet, but I do realize I'm doing it way too much.

    So... to change what I need help with. We both know we love one another but every time I have money I have to urge to f'ing spend it as soon as I get it. How the hell do I stop this? I know someone will say putting it in the bank, but I do. I always put money in the bank, but recently I'm been withdrawing just as much as I put in.

    SoonerMan on
    Rah, Oklahoma! Rah, Oklahoma! Rah, Oklahoma~! O-K-U!
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    monkeypoomonkeypoo Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I think the gift thing has been pretty well covered here. I'd also add that not everyone expresses their love in the same ways. None of which are better than another, just different. Some people show physical affection, some give gifts, some do special things, some are vocal, etc. You seem to be a gift giver. She may not be. So find out how she expresses her love to you. It could be in a way that you're not really thinking about, so once you figure it out, it will mean a whole lot more.

    For the finances. First, make a budget. How much do you spend on things? Be a little gracious with the amounts for a buffer zone. Then, leave only what you need in your regular bank account. Put the rest in a savings account or some other bank account. Make sure it's not "visible" or "quickly accessible". This way, when you go to the ATM or check your balance online, you only see what's in your regular, "to spend" account. It helps mentally. The budget is the big part though.

    monkeypoo on
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    BeckBeck Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Why not spend more time on her than money? By that I mean, do things that are both fun and free/not expensive. Bake cookies together, drive up to the lake, make her a nice dinner, play hacky-sack. You don't have to go to the Olive Garden to have a good time, and you don't have to spend money on her to show her that you care.

    Beck on
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    kingmetalkingmetal Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I'm confused about the issue here. are you mad at yourself for spending money on your girlfriend or are you mad at your girlfriend for not spending enough money on you?

    I'm with the camp that believes you shouldn't really have expected a lot in return and that if equality is what you really want in a gift-giving situation that it should be discussed ahead of time.

    now, if this issue is about a lack of fiscal responsibility then you should open a savings account and write out a budget for yourself. I realize that's boring and kind of obvious advice, but if money is the real issue here then I can't really think of a better solution to this problem.

    you haven't really convinced me that you girlfriend really slouched on V-day. she had a gatorade delivered to you. I don't even know how that works, but it must have taken at least some amount of pre-planning. you also seem to appreciate the puppy, so I count that as a win as well. I have no idea what else you bought her, and I'll even assume that you got her twice as many gifts that were just as thoughtful, but she still obviously put what I would consider a fair deal of effort into making you happy.

    so, what's the deeper issue here?

    kingmetal on
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    SoonerManSoonerMan Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Well, I would have never held my girlfriend accountable had I not blown my last paycheck on her expecting something of equality from her. So I'm going to pin this on myself for putting my expectations up there, and in doing so I realize I have got to stop the cash flow to her. Not because she is leaching or anything, but just because I need to save my money more.

    SoonerMan on
    Rah, Oklahoma! Rah, Oklahoma! Rah, Oklahoma~! O-K-U!
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    EggyToastEggyToast Jersey CityRegistered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Yeah, do a budget. Set aside X dollars each month and make it "untouchable." Set goals for yourself, such as "Save $500 in 6 months," and try to meet that.

    The problem with saving and budgets is that most people see money as a way to get something fun. While that's mostly true, it can also be a fun thing to have in and of itself -- it creates more options the more you have. You're essentially using the money you have for instant gratification.

    Part of the reason I think you're kicking yourself over this is that if you hadn't bought, say, a cd player for your girlfriend, you could have bought yourself Guitar Hero. While money does directly translate into things, you should think about it as a thing itself. Anyway, to get into the mindset of not spending all of your money, sit down tonight and write out the things you know you need to spend money on -- cell phone bills, other bills, gas for a car, whatever. Then take out, say, $30 in cash. That's your "extra money" for the week. Use it for lunch, dinner, whatever, but it'll make you think "gee, if I spend it today, I won't have it later in the week." It might be hard to start, but after a while you'll find yourself planning for expenses and thinking about how spending money now affects the next few days, weeks, etc.

    Don't get stingy, as you should enjoy your income, but pay attention to it. That's the best way to keep track of money.

    EggyToast on
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    Mr_GrinchMr_Grinch Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I spent about $150 in total on my girl friend this year.
    She baked me cupcakes. She never cooks, so I was blown away by the gesture.

    Also, we need to band together as males and create "Annual Give Your Man Stuff That He Likes" Day.

    Isn't there already a (ever so slightly unofficial) "Steak and Blowjob" day?

    On subject though, my girlfriend told me she doesn't "do" valentines day. We've only been going out about 3 months now but that, combined with not "doing" valentines day still didn't stop me going all out. She got presents, theatre tickets + a card with a poem I knocked up made together from lyrics of her favourite musicals (She's a musical nut).

    I got nothing.

    Did I feel gutted? Not really, to be honest I would have liked a card but I didn't expect one. She already told me she hated the day so I knew. As it is I see it is entirely down to the person how much they spend. Your girlfriend's gift was thoughtful and you both had a lovely day together. I wouldn't let it trouble you, the amount she spends is in no way related to how much she cares for you.

    Mr_Grinch on
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    SynonymousSynonymous Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Mr_Grinch wrote: »
    Isn't there already a (ever so slightly unofficial) "Steak and Blowjob" day?

    See, this is why Valentine's Day should be co-ed. Valentine's Day, at least, is supposed to celebrate love and cherishing your partner. That holiday's all "I'm just feigning that love garbage; you're really just a Hoover and a Weber to me."

    I dunno. As a female myself, I wouldn't think of getting bazillions of presents from my partner while I gave him nothing. A lot of this has to do with one's view of holidays in general and natural rockiness in feeling out your partner's views as the relationship develops. (One year, for example, I gave him a season box set of his favorite show; he gave me a paperback. For Xmas, we got each other a (single) DVD.) If, however, she expects, to your surprise, for the holiday to be one-sided, this might point to a gap in how you each view gender roles and point to trouble down the road.

    Synonymous on
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