Is it wrong that I don't want to get my boyfriend a birthday gift this year?

United States
January 9, 2010 8:37pm CST
Here's the deal: My boyfriend is four hours away from me. It's a long story, but basically we met online and have been together for three years. He continuously leaves and returns to where I live, sometimes to go home to his family, and these last two times to go to school [his family lives seven states away from me, now he is in school four hours from me]. We've had our issues, caused by both of us, but when he was here last we were wonderful, no fighting or anything. Now that he's gone, he's stopped calling or texting me, and I feel a little sad at this, since I always make time for him, even if I have to sacrifice something just to talk to him. But I still love him, and want to make him happy. But basically this is why: For my 18th birthday, in August, he promised to get me something special. He refused to tell me what, as he wanted it to be a surprise. Then he told me it would be late, and I was fine with that. It's now January, and still nothing. But he still won't tell me anything about it, because he says he will still get it for me. He's paid every two weeks by his school, and would have money to get it if he wanted to. He has yet to do so. This February is his 21st birthday. My parents recently divorced and I cannot find a job, though I've been searching for months. We moved in November, and my mom and I are moving again in February, before my boyfriend's birthday. The problem is my mom gets barely enough money for us to survive on, and I will start college only a week and a half after his birthday. He isn't coming home for his birthday, which I'm alright with, because he can't. He will also miss Valentines Day, which I also understand. However I just don't have the money this year. I have to buy my college uniform, lab jacket, and those things alone will cost me nearly 200 dollars, plus the supplies I need to get. I feel bad, but at the same time I don't. I really need to go to college; He should understand, because I didn't stop him from going to his trade school. He doesn't know I don't want to get him anything this year. Mostly it's because of the money situation - I just can't afford it. I was just going to buy him a card for his birthday and Valentines day, as their the same weekend, to show him I still care and love him, and didn't forget about him. Am I a bad person for feeling this way? Should I spend some of my college money to get him what he wants - a gift that would cost me around fifty dollars? Or should I just tell him I can't afford it this year, and I hope he understands, since he didn't get me a gift for my last birthday and I understood? [I don't feel that he's going to get me anything, but I don't want to say anything because he's touchy and I hate fighting with him. When he's sad I feel sad too.] I feel bad for this, but I just don't feel like I should get him something this year. I already spent some of my college money on him for Christmas, and I couldn't really afford that. I love him so dearly, but my going to college is very important to me, and if I can't afford what I need I can't go. What would you do?
2 people like this
10 responses
@anyabee (363)
• Philippines
10 Jan 10
it doesn't have to be an expensive gift. you can make something for him or give him a card. i wasn't able to give my bf a Christmas gift because we're from different countries and sending a gift will be very expensive. but he understands and i didn't expect anything too... :)
• United States
10 Jan 10
I was going to make him something, but I don't know what I could make him that he would actually like. I made him a dvd for Christmas, and he loved that, but I'm out of ideas as to what he would want. I understand the shipping costs, when we lived across country we couldn't send things either.
@anyabee (363)
• Philippines
10 Jan 10
hmm... knit him something? :D sorry, i love to crochet and do stuff. but, you will have to send those too...
• United States
10 Jan 10
Haha, I've always wanted to do that, but I don't know how to. =[ I don't have the supplies either. I wanted to get our prom picture [he came to my senior prom, even though he never went to school there] and frame it specially for him, but I can't afford a frame. I'd make one, but I wouldn't know where to start! Shipping won't be an issue because I can send it with a friend who goes to the same school as my boyfriend, and will be home that weekend.
@SomeCowgirl (32255)
• United States
10 Jan 10
I think that he would understand. After all he is already in college, and I'm sure he was a bit nervous and weary of the fees for starting off in college himself. He may still be paying things for college, and thus having to postpone said gift. I think the best thing for you to do is just call him up and say "Hey (endearment ro his name, whatever you prefer), I've been thinking, I feel bad about this but am not sure that I can afford to get you anything for your Birthday. I want to, but with mom and dad splitting up, and mom not having much money I don't want to ask her, I'm also a bit weary of spending college money. So I also thought that you may also be worried about the same things for yourself, so why not just skip our birthdays this year?" Did he get you anything for Christmas? If so you could say. "besides I really liked what you got me for Christmas, and it's enough for me. I'll get you something when I can, but It may not be until our anniverary or next christmas." Well That's just an outline, you can tweak it to your liking, and the way you think would be best presented to your bf. I hope this helps. Hubby and I have the opposite problem. His birthday is coming up and he wants to get ME something for HIS birthday, of course I've told him I'm going to get HIM something for MINE. Lol.
• United States
10 Jan 10
Haha, that's funny. =] Well, he's not in college. He didn't graduate high school so now he's in a trade school [called Job Corps] to get his GED and a college trade. He didn't have to pay a cent, in fact they pay him twice a month, almost fifty dollars. We both got each other something for Christmas. I would love to get him something, and I just feel so bad that I can't afford it. I have enough laundry money to get him a card and possibly send him a bag of his favorite candy. [My aunt agreed to let me do laundry at her house a few times if I use my own detergent.] I told him it was fine if he just forgot about my last birthday, and called off the gift if he couldn't afford it. I understand not being able to afford things, and I told him I'll love all the same. But he's still planning on getting it, he says. Putting it off is a good idea, execpt our anniversary isn't until November, haha! Possibly I could give him it for his graduation instead [once he finishes in a few months they have a small ceremony, similar to a high school graduation he tells me]. Thanks for the idea! I appreciate your comment. =]
1 person likes this
@SomeCowgirl (32255)
• United States
10 Jan 10
*smacks hand against head* Ofcourse I knew what trade school was, for some reason I was thinking it like tech college, but yes I know about the job corps. I think you can join as early as 16, if I'm not mistaken. It sounds as if he wants to get you something, but maybe it's real big, and he can't afford it right away, or he's spending his money on other things that he wants, and is still determined to get you something. Since you've been together for you said four years? Maybe it's a ring! Sorry Romantic at heart here! Yes November's a bit to wait, and too close to Christmas for too big of a gift. Hmm.. Hubs and my anniverary is in September, both when we met, and when we got married.
• United States
10 Jan 10
Aw, that's cute. =] We just passed the three year mark, and it's been really tough. But hopefully when he finishes he'll take a break before he goes back and we can spend some time together, since I'll have my own place then. Well I doubt it's jewelry, but you never know. For our first Valentines day, he got me a necklace. It was two hearts enter-twined with our names on the hearts and our birthstones, and it came with a chain. I wore it until this last summer, when the jewels fell out. For Christmas he got me a pair of small hoop earrings with white stones covering them - I love them dearly. However I know it's not a ring, as he's told me that he feels it's too early for a promise ring, and if he gets me a promise ring it means he won't leave me, because he never breaks his promises. He's taking is safe and slow, which is fine with me, because he's had some nasty girlfriends before. I would love a ring though. Actually I would love a date - we've only been on two dates in our three years together and I've had to pay for both. Hopefully sometime before we get married we'll go on a real date, haha!
1 person likes this
• Boston, Massachusetts
10 Jan 10
it's okay. if you don't feel like giving one so be it. don't pressure or even s tress yourself about this one. think of something unique that will not cost you much. if you have pictures together make a collage. make a sweet dedication and it will be more meaningful to him. i don't think he is materialistic to be expecting something from you for his birthday. sing him a love song on the phone. text him every hour some sweet nothings and lovely quotes. lots of things you can do without spending anything or much. goodlcuk and happy birthday to your boyfriend!
• United States
10 Jan 10
Thank you for the wonderful ideas! I like the texting every hour idea - since he loves to text and always has his phone on him. =]
• Boston, Massachusetts
11 Jan 10
great that you like the texting one. so start it 1am until 12midnight the next day! he will be crazy about it. he too will be looking forward what will be your next love message to him on the following hours. pamper him with all the love in the world through text. it's more that giving him a gift. unique!
@shaggin (48399)
• United States
10 Jan 10
That was a very long disscussion but a very nice one. I enjoyed reading it. You made sure we knew all the details to try to give you the best advice possible. I think your boyfriend is rude to promise you a gift and then never keep his word. Even if he realized that he couldnt afford to get you a gift in the long run he should still just tell you that hes sorry to prolong it but cant afford a gift then you wouldnt feel like he was lieing to you. He doesnt have to tell you what the gift was but he could at least could just tell you the truth. Not only for the fact that he didnt get you a present you just cant afford to buy him right now so you should worry about it and if he really cares he will understand.
• United States
11 Jan 10
I hope so, I still haven't been able to talk to him except through text messaging, so hopefully soon we'll be able to talk. I decided to make him something for Valentines Day though - a little coupon booklet of things such as: "One Free Back Rub" and "One Free Dinner Alone - Dishes included!" . I hope he likes it, as it's all I can really do for now. Yes I wish he'd admit it too. I don't mind, I know that sometimes there will be more important things than birthday gifts. I just don't want to leave his boring, as it's his 21st and that should be special for him.
• Philippines
10 Jan 10
Honestly there is nothing wrong with what you are planning to do. Surely he will understand if you will tell him. Now what I may advice to you is that there are many ways for you to make him feel that he is special on his birthday. O course you already know that. Let me ask you something. Is there a part of you that is thinking it's okay no to give anything on his special day because he did not give you anything in your special day? So that you can call it quits?
• United States
10 Jan 10
No. He has never gotten me a birthday gift, for the 3 years we have been together. If it honestly bothered me I would have left him. I love him more than anything he could buy me. I always try to get him something though, because he's far from home and I know the little thoughts count. But this year I can't afford more than a card, which I feel bad about. But I have to do what's best for my future, I believe. I wish I could do something special, like make him a cake and his favorite dinner, like I did last year. But he's too far away and won't be home for months, so I have to limit it to something I can send through the mail. Thanks for your response!
• Malaysia
10 Jan 10
This is really simple..you can't afford it. Money is the real problem here but don't let it affect your relationship. This can be solve by thinking rationally. You got no money, don't buy anything. Just tell him you can't afford anything for him at this moment, but you still love him. That is what matter the most. Good Luck!
• United States
10 Jan 10
Thanks for commenting. =] I just don't want to hurt his feelings. Our relationship hasn't been the best until recently and it's his 21st birthday, he wants it to be fun and special. I want him to enjoy it too, even if he won't be here.
@skyhawk3 (63)
• United States
11 Jan 10
Wow talk about a difficult situation,i actually read the whole thing ! i say just so problems won't start and to prove you're a nice person you should get him one against all odds and against all problems facing you, just put everything aside and be the person you know you are, a caring loving girlfriend that even though she has problems will still care for her boyfriend......... Later, do the right thing.............=)
• Nigeria
10 Jan 10
life is all about making choices. what really matters is making the right choice. if ur boyfriend doesnt really understand ur plight, then know he is selfish. u got t think about ur future.
@honey023 (57)
• Philippines
10 Jan 10
Hi Ticklemebreathless. Good day. Let him know about the situation. I think he would understand if you cannot give him a expensive gift for his birthday, anyways it's the thought that counts. If he will not understand then it hes anymore. Good luck.
@mejust (34)
• Indonesia
10 Jan 10
A gift is not measured by its price but more to the meaning of it. If at this moment you do not have enough money to buy your boyfriend expensive gift then just buy him something cheap but it has special meaning to him. A card like the one in your mind can be a wonderful alternative gift. Just don't use your college savings to buy gift for your boyfriend because it is important for your future. Tell him the truth about your money problem and If your boyfriend care for you then he will understand your current situation.