I hope you respond to this before Christmas.
I am in a long distance relationship, we met online in January and it has been great adventure so far and I am hoping it will continue to be. Okay let’s cut the chase…With Christmas coming up, I am the kind of a person who buy gifts for the people I care about and I would like to have something special for my girlfriend.
Someone may ask so what? Okay. Please hear me out here. I gave my girl a gift as just a gift , then a gift on her birthday. She has never given me anything material, which I am not complaining about. But I don’t want to over-do things and appear as a gift lady or something. Should I gift her this Christmas?
Your dilemma is not uncommon, and I could really make a case either way. So let’s do that.
1.Get her a gift because …. you’re getting gifts for others you care about, you aren’t seeking a present from her as validation of your relationship, and you are the type of person who takes joy from giving gifts to others.
How did you celebrate your birthday, assuming you’ve had one since you started dating? If she didn’t buy you something but instead did something for you — say, she flew to see you or made you a romantic home cooked meal, that’s an equivalent gesture to a present and you’re on more even footing in terms of giving and receiving presents. Some people aren’t material people but if she gives you a lot of time, attention, homemade items, or if she’s always coming to see you (thus incurring expenses) your relationship is less unequal than you say.
If you’ve got the perfect little gift in mind — something that she’ll love, but isn’t too pricey — go ahead and buy it. Let her know when you give it to her that it’s something that made you think of her, and you wanted her to have it. Give it without expectations or attachments to outcomes.
If you don’t have a present in mind, but do want to do something for her, perhaps you can gift an experience for you to enjoy. This way, the focus is less on her; it’s more on celebrating you as a couple, and you can skip the guilt trip.
2. Hold off on a gift this year because …. you’ve already given her several gifts and she hasn’t given you anything in return, you’re worried about her taking the wrong message from it, and you’re doubting your impulse.
If you met in January and got together shortly after, I’m a little surprised that she has not given you any gifts at all during that time. That’s almost one year — and your question now begs the question of what, if anything, to do for your one-year anniversary.
This might be a good time to broach that topic together, especially since you two are long-distance. Discuss how and when to celebrate your anniversary, and do some gentle poking around the subject of gifts. I would not buy her a gift for Christmas and another for the anniversary, given her lack of reciprocity and the short distance between the two (I assume — but hey, maybe you made it official in March and then you have a little more time).
You may find out something that explains her lack of reciprocity — like, money’s tight and traveling to see you is all she can afford. If she seems emotional about not giving you anything, it might be more compassionate to curb your impulse this Christmas season.
Or she might not enjoy the holidays. There are many people who don’t enjoy this time of year. Days are short, there’s an expectation of cheer and socialization that can tax introverts, self-reflection is encouraged (and if your life doesn’t look the way you want it to, this can sting), and LGBTs especially carry trauma around family or friends who don’t support them wholeheartedly. If your girlfriend isn’t really into Christmas — and if you aren’t sure, ask how she is celebrating the holidays — a gift may blow back on you.
Do you have a question for Lindsey? Send an email to the editor, [email protected] with “Q for Lindsey” in the subject line!