Dear Wendy: “I Don’t Like My Boyfriend’s Christmas Gift”

My boyfriend and I have been seeing each other about a year now. For Christmas he gave me a beautiful pearl necklace, which I appreciated very much; I understand the effort that he put in to picking it out for me. My birthday is coming up soon and he mentioned getting me a different color pearl necklace. I don’t want to seem like I’m not grateful, because I am, but I never wear jewelry and am not really a fan of pearls. Is there any way that I can hint to him that I don’t want him to buy me pearls (or really any jewelry for that matter) without hurting his feelings? I feel bad that he is spending so much money on something that I really don’t like or need. I plan on wearing this necklace to make sure he knows I appreciate it. Should I just act like I like it and let him buy me another or is there some way I can let him know that pearls just aren’t my thing? — Present Tense

I answered a similar question in February of this year and my advice to you isn’t much different. In the first letter, “Necklace-Hater” worried that the necklace her boyfriend gave her for Valentine’s Day might be a precursor of gifts she could expect to receive in the future (including an engagement ring some day). Although it was the “the nicest and most expensive piece of jewelry” she’d ever owned, it wasn’t her style at all and while she didn’t want to hurt her boyfriend’s feelings, she didn’t want to give the impression that this was the kind of jewelry/gift she’s usually into. I’ll tell you what I told her: if you want to avoid future gift dilemmas, let your boyfriend know now what it is you’d prefer receiving in the future.

Luckily, there are ways you can do that without insulting him or the gift he gave you for Christmas. Just let him know how much you appreciate the necklace and how nice it is to now have a beautiful piece of jewelry — from someone you love! — for those occasions you’d like to look a little dressier. Then explain to him that since you prefer to skip jewelry on an everyday basis and save it for special occasions, you can probably get away with only owning just the one pearl necklace. And then start giving him alternate gift ideas when you’re out and about together (or surfing online), pointing things out in store windows that appeal to you. You know what I do with my husband? When we find ourselves in a store full of cool stuff, I say to him, “If you ever need to find me a gift, you could pretty much get anything here and I’d love it.” And then I sometimes even go ahead and point out specific things I especially like. Even if he doesn’t end up getting me anything from those stores, he at least gets a better idea of my style and taste these days and that helps him pick out things I’ll like.

My boyfriend of five years has recently left for what he refers to as needed “time'” and “space.” I, too, asked for a break for a few weeks a year ago during my senior year of college. He called me and texted me constantly during that time and although his persistence was annoying at times, I found that his dedication showed that he truly wanted to be with me. When I decided that my needed time was over, I never looked back, but now I’m unfortunately left on the other side of the situation and I’m heartbroken. When I asked, he told me that he has not met anyone else and that he was not going to tell anyone about our break.

He asked me to spend Christmas Eve with his family like I do every year. He ended up ignoring me for the majority of the night and spent a good amount of time texting his friends on his phone. I kept a happy face which was broken when his mother told me that she was, “devastated” over our break up. He refuses to spend New Years Eve with me. He has told me repeatedly that “everything will be okay” and that this just temporary although I am not so sure this is true. He has a total fascination with his friends for the past few months and I have not been able to compete. Have I seriously been left for his immature friends, beer, and video games?! I am trying to keep my spirits up but I’m starting to feel like this may be a lost cause. Is this worth trying to save? — Trying to keep faith

When you took a break from the relationship a year ago, did you repeatedly promise everything would be OK? I’m guessing you probably didn’t, since you weren’t sure if everything would be OK. If one is sure things will turn out splendidly, why the need for a break in the first place? You take a break when you aren’t sure about things — when you need time and space to yourself to figure things out. That fact that your boyfriend is trying to placate you with promises that this break is only temporary and that he was fine with you coming to Christmas Eve, but definitely not New Year’s Eve, and he told you he wasn’t going to tell anyone about your breakup but he clearly told his mother, are all signs that point to things being fishy. Without knowing the details, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was something — or someone — he wanted to do over New Years without being tied down and committed to you. Or, he really wants to break up for good but is taking the wussy way out. Either way, he does not sound like a guy who is committed to working through whatever issues he having with your relationship. He sounds like someone who simply wants his freedom. Whether that’s a temporary thing, as he keeps promising, or something he wants for the foreseeable, my advice would be the same: MOA!

If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at {encode=”[email protected]” title=”[email protected]”} with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.

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