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RE: birthday gifts

wakingdreams53

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jul 27, 2010
Messages
891
ETA: WOAH, this is much longer than I anticipated. I'm sorry in advance!

I'll preface all of this with: Birthdays are a big deal for me. I don't celebrate any holidays except for new year and to me, birthdays are an individualized form of new year. A new year of life. A new age to explore.

As per the last thread I posted, SO and I went on vacation to my parents dwellings for the week of my birthday. Leading up to the trip, he expressed that time flew by and he hadn't gotten me anything yet. Mkay, fine. I was 99.9% not expecting anything, since the entire trip was expensive and I had some fun activities in lieu planned. That hopeful 0.1% hit me when I found out that there really wasn't anything and we weren't doing the activities. I had been holding onto a crazed notion (which he himself implanted a couple nights before we left) that he was thoughtful and had a surprise for me. He told me that he wanted to take me to a jewelry store and get me earrings (since I'd been talking about having more than one pair, and I've been wearing my current one non-stop for two years--note: relatively non-stop, I clean them lol). Well that held me over, until the week had passed and that never happened. I got over it, I appreciated everything else we did together and that was that.

It didn't truly get to me until my mother started commenting on it, saying things like "not having time isn't an excuse, if he cared, he would have made time." :nono: Which isn't fair at all, but given the fact that a birthday is once a year... and I planned his gift a while in advance once I realized what I wanted to give him... BUT I accepted all of that. I accept that he and I are different, and while I can spend months in excitement to give him something, it doesn't enter his mind until the last minute. Then she said something to the likes of "A flower isn't expensive. He couldn't have woken up and brought you a flower?" Which then turned into a lecture on how men won't change, that you have to teach them or they'll never learn. After we arrived back in NY, my father called me, asked the same question "so what did he get you?" and jeez, as much as I lied as a child, I really ought to lie now. I got another lecture about how my father does not understand him or our relationship, and accused me of not being happy. :blackeye:

I can't talk to SO about it without hurting him. He's already been defeated by it, since he understands that he could have spend $15 and been fine. I know he does his best, but he was raised in a very different way than me; two different classes, two different cultures.

A terrible part of me is keeps hoping for a belated gift. Is it awful of me to want something? I certainly can't ask for anything because it'll bring everything back up. And I, shamefully, wore my heart on my face when he told me that he didn't have anything, therefore unintentionally hurting him. Maybe its the ceremony of it. He got me some great things during the trip: sunglasses, flip flips, a dress. I guess if he had bought them and gave them to me while saying "happy birthday," I'd be satisfied. But doesn't that just make me crazy?

I'm not sure what replies I'm asking for... mostly, how do I get this knawing feeling to go away? I'm really not a materialistic person at all, I guess I'm just missing the ceremony of it. All I wanted was for him to put some thought into it... well, I guess the thought was there, but the action was not. :(sad

It's been a week and I'm still relentlessly torn up about it. I can't talk to him about it, my best friend is in the middle of finals, and my mom doesn't have anything positive to say. So naturally, it doesn't help that I don't have anybody to turn to.

How do birthday gifts work in your relationship? Do you mutually exchange gifts when it's the bday (i.e. SO gifts you on your birthday, you gift SO on theirs)?
 

snoopkat

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Apr 2, 2011
Messages
203
wakingdreams53 - I totally get where you're coming from because I felt exactly the same way when my bf and I first started going out. My bf is thoughtful and sweet, but remembering birthday gifts is not his forte. It used to annoy me to no end when I would spend weeks trying to come up with the perfect gift and then get nothing in return. Like you, I like celebrating my birthday because it's MY day. So I get what you mean when you're upset that he didn't make the effort to get you a present for your birthday, after all you make an effort for his birthday so why couldn't he make an effort for yours?

I certainly don't think it's crazy to want your thongs (that's what we call flip flops here in aust), sunnies and dress to be a birthday present, i mean if he's going to get you those anyway, might as well make it your birthday present right? Intentions are all well and good, but they mean squadoosh if not backed up by action.

I don't know how long you and your SO have been together for, but in my case, the only way to get over this was for me to talk to him about it. Four years on, we've come to a point where w'e'd tell each other what we want for our respective birthdays. Some girls might find that unromantic and lack the spontaneity and surprise factor but I personally am not a big fan of surprises and that way, at least I get what I want. Perhaps you could do the same? It might be too late for your bday (or not, I don't know) but if you have a significant event coming up, just tell him casually that you've been eyeing (insert gift) and can he get that for you for (insert special occasion)?

If you're planning on spending the rest of your life with this man, you're gonna be facing much bigger issues than birthday gifts down the road so take this little challenge as practice and talk to him. Be honest without being hurtful, there're many ways to skin a cat :) Good luck and let us know how you go.
 

AmeliaG

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 8, 2011
Messages
880
Ouch! I think I'm like your BF. Gifts to me are a pain. I don't like a lot of stuff around the house so I'm very picky about what I buy and if I want something badly enough, I'll just buy it myself. I am the worst person to buy gifts for; don't bother asking me what I want. If I wanted it, I probably already bought it. I'm more of a special moments type of girl so if you plan a nice trip, take me out to a restaurant I enjoy, I'll value it a lot more and I don't have to return it. :bigsmile:

But if you want something different for your birthday then you need to talk to him about it. I wouldn't mention to him what your father or mother says though. Bottom line is that it doesn't matter that it bothers your parents, it does matter if it bothers you. So mentioning them can cause him to get defensive and lose track that its you that is being bothered.
 

gummy-bear

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Mar 30, 2011
Messages
103
I agree with the above posts that you need to talk to him. I don't think you're materialistic for feeling the way you do because like you said, all you wanted was something in celebration of your birthday. Telling him how you feel will make him understand and hopefully avoid this problem in the future.

For our first year anniversary my boyfriend got me a toaster oven. Yes I had mentioned that having one would be handy and I do use it quite a bit. My problem is that it would've been fine for any other occassion but for an anniversary it lacked any romantic appeal. In his defence I am a very practical person but for an anniversary present I wanted something a little less practical and a little more special, like flowers.

I talked to him about it. Told him how much I appreciated the toaster oven but wanted something a little more romantic for anniversary presents in the future. He completely understood and made up for it during Christmas :).
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Urgh, sore subject for me, so I figured I'd chime in too. I get it.

My entire life I've been huge on giving gifts - I *love* picking the perfect thing for someone, the excitement of watching them open it and seeing their happiness. LOVE it. Unfortunately, this is one of a very small handful of things that my FI just seems to fail miserably at. He's tried at times, and others he hasn't. Valentine's Day I didn't get so much as a single flower, but 3 years ago he sent me literally 3 dozen roses. This Christmas I got a nice jacket...that was 2 sizes too small (mind you we live together and do each other's laundry). So yeah, I get it. It makes you feel like you put all of this effort into something because you love them so much...if they aren't doing the same for you, is it possible that they don't feel the same way? Are they just being lazy/telling you a pretty story to make you think that they really did have a plan but because of XYZ they couldn't do it? The old "I've been trying to surprise you, I've been coming up with a plan, etc. but the surprise is ruined now!" kind of dramatic "talks" that area almost always just that - talk that never seems to go anywhere. It makes you stop believing them, or think that all they do is look at stuff but in the end you aren't important enough to take action.

I don't know honestly how to fix it. I've been hinting for literally a year about really wanting a right hand ring on the more expensive end, and on the less expensive end flat out telling him that I miss getting flowers on special days. Guess what? In the last 3 holidays that women traditionally get flowers, I've gotten...zero. Valentine's, birthday and most recently Mother's Day (I have two girls from a previous marriage and he did buy me a card though, so that was sweet). It's just frustrating when we tell them "hey this means a lot to me" and they seemingly get it, but do nothing to fix it. We don't want flowers because our guys are trying to fix something. We want them because they are trying to be sweet, thoughtful and make our day great. Why some men, who are otherwise fantastic, don't understand this I will never know. My FI got me an ipod and a flip video this birthday. He'd saved up a bunch of money and told me he was going to get me a ring. I felt badly and knew we were going to have to spend on my wedding band so I told him to save it. So he spent all the money on electronics...something cool, but not romantic/sentimental/exactly what I told him I wanted. As a side note, I do use the ipod daily and I love it, so I'm not complaining about it. It's just something I add because it seems like for whatever reason, some guys just don't have the drive to get us things that WE deem super amazing and sentimental vs. what THEY think is super amazing and useful.

Phew, um I guess I had a bit of a rant there.

The bottom line is, even with all of the pent up frustration, hurt feelings and wild imaginations, you know that he does love you. Maybe he can't really afford anything? Maybe he's like my FI and he figures that now that your birthday has passed, what's the point of getting something - that he already bought you things to make up for it. Is your BF the practical type? Is he less emotion driven decision wise or less sentimental? If so, chances are that's exactly what he's thinking/feeling.

Unfortunately, if you say anything you feel like you're an ungrateful, selfish person. If you don't say something, you stew on it and it interferes with your ability to be happy with your BF b/c there's an undefined (and sometimes unconscious) rift between you. :(

So I guess I'd talk to him, but just put it out there as "I know that you have spoiled me with buying XYZ on the trip, but I wish I'd had you save your money so you could have gotten me a birthday gift because that's something I'm really sentimental about/means a lot to me" and leave it at that. Don't bring your mom/dad into it, he'll feel attacked and talked about - then he'll get defensive and you won't get anywhere with the goal. Speaking of a goal, you need to have one before you start the conversation. If it's to get him to find something this year, tell him that. If you truly are okay with waiting until next birthday, tell him that. For whatever strange reason, nine times out of ten a guy will NOT read between the lines. It's just not in their nature, no matter how much they love you. :rolleyes:
 

wakingdreams53

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jul 27, 2010
Messages
891
WOW am I relieved. I woke up thinking "mkay, prepare to be bashed," but instead found that I'm not a crazed brat for feeling this way. Thank you all so much.

Snoopkat, we've been together almost 2.5 years. This is his third birthday with me. He's terrible at thinking up gifts and so I've told him-- anything you put a modicum of thought into. Naturally, that doesn't help him, but he knew that on my "list" I wanted: underwater camera housing, earrings, but most importantly, a simple bracelet. Backstory: we started dating in mid-January, so Valentine's Day snuck up on us very quickly. I hadn't expected anything at all and my jaw dropped when he gave me a silver bracelet. I loved it in all of its simplicity. I wore it 24/7. It's flaw was having a toggle clasp. In august when I was trying on clothes at a store, it somehow undid itself and is gone forever. ;( He knows how much it meant to me and I talk about it all the time, even though that was a year and a half ago. Before my birthday, I sent him different examples of personalizing it -- a charm, our names, etc. (since getting me the same exact one wouldn't be good, toggle clasp = my enemy :lol: ) So when he started talking about earrings, my heart broke because he clearly wasn't listening. Perhaps with equally terrible timing, I reminded him of the bracelet (now in hindsight, didn't really matter since we never got to the store anyway and I just hurt him instead). :sick:
Oh, and when I saw that you wrote "thongs" I immediately had to think "Woah! He didn't buy me those!!" So wait, if thongs are flips, what are lingerie thongs in aust?

Gummy-bear, re: toaster oven is how I felt my last birthday. He got me an external hard drive enclosure for my old hard drive. Sure is practical, although when my old HD didn't work and the enclosure spent the better part of 6 months with him, it felt like there was no gift. HOWEVER, he got me a beautiful card and wrote some sweet things which mean more to me than an HD or HD enclosure. That was he last tangible gift he got me. For v-day he got me flowers for the first time and that made me deliriously happy. So happy that I have some dried with his card. He knows how sentimental I am.. but my birthdays blatantly slip his mind. Oh, for my first birthday he had a beautiful picture of us painted by his friend. That was amazing, but I guess he set the "standard" too high...

Tammy I'm so sorry you're going through that! *happy belated mothers day and sends you virtual flowers!!!!*
I know it's not about affording something since a $0.99 card would be enough to make me happy. Time just slipped away. Problem is, we already talked about exactly what you wrote
tammy77 said:
"I know that you have spoiled me with buying XYZ on the trip, but I wish I'd had you save your money so you could have gotten me a birthday gift because that's something I'm really sentimental about/means a lot to me"
Then he basically said "So if I had spent $15 at the right time, I wouldn't have had to spend so much on everything else." And while he's right... that comment was hurtful too. I didn't ask for much, and I ALWAYS have money of my own.
It's just now after he already said that, it's hard to feel like hope isn't lost. On top of that, I made the mistake of telling him that my mom was hounding me about it (no specific details, but clearly I shouldn't have.) Now if I bring it up, it'll bring back those emotions again. Hurting him so I can "get what I want" is a nauseating thought. So I actually don't think I have much of a choice but to stew.

Well, stew... or plan a party with my friends or family and hope he'll get me a gift for that. Although that brings me back to sounding crazed. :loopy:
 

nkarma

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jul 13, 2009
Messages
636
Wakingdream, to address your issues.....are you upset he didn't get you something or are you upset because your parents are upset?

My mom is the type to be critical about issues such as these. We don't celebrate Valentine's Day because I don't want to and every year before we were married my mom made comments similar to your parents. Just because they would be unhappy if the other person didn't give them a gift, doesn't mean you will. I think society incorrectly equates romantic gestures with being in love. My husband doesn't have a romantic bone in is body but I know he loves me unconditionally.

If you are actually upset about this, you need to pick your battles and wording. Stuff like this happens often in relationships where something is very important to one person and not at all to the other. So let him know how important it is to you in the future to get a gift and have a big celebration for your birthday. I am sure he is a great guy and will try his best which still might not meet your expectations but will be something.
 

amc80

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 18, 2010
Messages
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I think you have the right to be upset. Birthdays are an important event for you and you were let down. But it sounds like birthdays aren't such a big deal to him...which is also fine. Just know that you probably shouldn't expect a whole lot of fanfare or a thoughtful gifts for the rest of your birthdays. You need to decide if you're okay with that. If you are, you give up the right to be mad at him every year.

Valentine's Day was about 2 months before my ex and I broke up. He told me he wouldn't have time to get me anything. He was a full time student. No job or other commitments. So yeah, I was pretty upset.

It's not about how expensive something is, it's about knowing that the person you love put enough thought into something in order to make you happy.

You should read the Five Love Languages or whatever it's called. I wouldn't be surprised if giving/receiving gifts is one of his lower languages, and one of your primary languages.
 
A

Anonymous

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wakingdreams53|1305136913|2918749 said:
Tammy I'm so sorry you're going through that! *happy belated mothers day and sends you virtual flowers!!!!*
I know it's not about affording something since a $0.99 card would be enough to make me happy. Time just slipped away. Problem is, we already talked about exactly what you wrote
tammy77 said:
"I know that you have spoiled me with buying XYZ on the trip, but I wish I'd had you save your money so you could have gotten me a birthday gift because that's something I'm really sentimental about/means a lot to me"
Then he basically said "So if I had spent $15 at the right time, I wouldn't have had to spend so much on everything else." And while he's right... that comment was hurtful too. I didn't ask for much, and I ALWAYS have money of my own.
It's just now after he already said that, it's hard to feel like hope isn't lost. On top of that, I made the mistake of telling him that my mom was hounding me about it (no specific details, but clearly I shouldn't have.) Now if I bring it up, it'll bring back those emotions again. Hurting him so I can "get what I want" is a nauseating thought. So I actually don't think I have much of a choice but to stew.

Well, stew... or plan a party with my friends or family and hope he'll get me a gift for that. Although that brings me back to sounding crazed. :loopy:
Hm, well I think that I'd be more concerned with his attitude about it than the lack of a gift. I'm sorry for the unkind comments. That makes it harder to feel like it's just a lack of understanding. :(
 

blacksand

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 31, 2010
Messages
889
You said you spent a week at your parents' dwellings. Does that mean you were staying with your parents, or just on property your parents own? If you spent the week with your SO and your parents, and they are now telling you they think you are unhappy, I would say it may be time to for a little reflection. Your parents (I'm guessing) know you well and (also guessing) have your best interest at heart. If they saw you and thought you seemed unhappy, maybe something isn't quite right. Of course, if you mean that you spent a week on some property your parents own, and they weren't there, and they're just meddling now, it's a different story.

I do think the gift issue is significant, and it's totally reasonable to be upset. If he told you he would take you to a jewelry store and then didn't, you have every right to be upset. If you had planned activities to do together and then he bailed on those, you have every right to be upset. It may well be that he doesn't value gifts, celebrations, etc. as highly as you do, and that's okay, but it's still a valid reason to think about whether the relationship is a good fit for you. Or maybe he doesn't really value your needs, which is an even stronger reason to be upset. I guess I just don't think you should be so quick to dismiss what your parents are saying, since they probably know you a lot better than any of us on PS.

If I'm totally off base, forgive me.
 

TooPatient

Ideal_Rock
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My birthday was in the first week of March. Money is really tight so I wasn't expecting anything and told FI that. He did insist that he'd bake me a cake though and even talked with me about what sort of cake I'd love this year. I spent several weeks thinking about that ooey-gooey-chocolate lava cake. Then the weekend of my b-day came. We'd both been sick the week before but were feeling well enough that we were both back to work and he'd even done a couple of long days to catch up. We did the shopping Friday afternoon and forgot the chocolate for the cake until we got to the parking lot. I mentioned it. He said that he was too tired to make a cake that day anyway and we could just come back on Sunday (my b-day) and buy the chocolate then. I offered to go back in and get the chocolate so he could just bake it when he felt up to it and not have to worry about going back to the store. We left without the chocolate. My b-day came and went with nothing more than a "happy b-day". A few days later he suggested that he'd make the cake the following weekend. That weekend came and went. It is now 2 1/2 months after my b-day. We did eventually buy the chocolate, but it sat long enough that I just ate it.
Yes. It bugs me. (getting sick happens. I get that. Being busy at work happens. I get that. BUT it still hurts.)


After a couple of pretty awful b-days I realized that they just aren't his thing. He tried but just didn't do well (spice cake -- I HATE spicecake, half dead ugly colored roses, etc).

I LOVE finding the perfect gift for him and baking a yummy cake with a nice dinner. The cake I talk with him about so he can choose the cake that sounds yummiest to him each year. Dinner he finds out about when we shop for groceries. The gift is a surprise.
I'm actually really stressed right now because I usually have his b-day gift figured out by December (at the latest) and am just doing the little details (wrapping, card, etc) at this time of year. (his b-day is in June)

My b-day....
I know to give him ideas of what I'd like. (jewelry, plants to put in the garden, etc.). He picks something general, and then we find the specifics together. Not a surprise then, but I get something I love and he gets to give me something I'll like (which matters to him).
It works (usually!) well and avoids any sort of hurt feelings.
One year we went looking at pendants. Looked at lots at several different places and when we found one that I liked and he liked, he sent me to the other side of the store while he bought it (so I knew it was one of a handful, but not specifically which one) -- I still get compliments on it (wear it every day).
Another year we went to my favorite garden/landscaping place and picked out a bunch of plants together. (sounds sad, but it was a LOT of fun and I really enjoyed myself)


Sorry for the long post -- I guess my point was that some people are just really interested in (and good at!) doing the b-day gift thing and others aren't (sometimes they just aren't good at it even if they are interested and try hard). You just have to find what works for you!
 

wakingdreams53

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Joined
Jul 27, 2010
Messages
891
Thanks everyone again for your replies.

nkarma, I was upset, but then got mostly over it, then with the onslaught of my parents commentary, I realized that it bugged me more than I let myself believe.

amc, I remember recommending that book to my ex when he was having issues with reciprocation with his gf. I accept that bf and I are different, but "not having time" is never an excuse for what's important. It's easy to just assume that it wasn't important.

Tammy, yeah, that's why I really don't want to start this up again, although naturally talking to him would be best.

blacksand you have a tendency to be right. I wrote "dwellings" because it was 3:30am and I read too much Anne Rice earlier in the day. We stayed with my parents, which is ultimately why I imagine my parents assuming I'm unhappy. It wasn't that I was unhappy, just uncomfortable. Of course SO doesn't want to be lovey dovey in front of my parents, but that made him appear lifeless to my father. It's all a matter of perception. Sure, there were times I wasn't happy (read: hormonal b*tch, original first vacation thread), but that wasn't our relationship, that was me.
Also, I don't take what my parents say as a grain of salt. I know they want what's best for me. The culture/class differences don't help. But I don't want to change bf into someone my parents think I "need." He loves and cares about me, helps me and we share the best time together. We share everything with each other (which is how I got into trouble, since I shouldn't have told him that my mom asked about the gift) and we really do "click." I don't hold stock in a nice car or a doctor/lawyer career. Culture difference is tough, but class is tougher. I was raised upper middle class, he was raised poor. I'm first (or second) generation Russian (parents are immigrants, but every political scientist says it differently), he's fourth or sixth generation Italian. We're clearly different, but we have many more similarities than not. Either way, I love him and that's what matters.
Last year BF practically broke up with me on my birthday. I was irrational (engagement crazed) and he was right not to want to take that from anyone. Then with all of this and my poorly controlled self this year, we nearly got there too. I remember saying, "Are you going to threaten to break up with me on my every birthday?" His reply, "Are you going to be this crazy just because its your birthday?" :???:

If I ask him to get something for me, he will. No questions asked. But it's a matter of him wanting to get me something on his own. So I don't even see how talking will help.

TooPatient, oof, that sucks-- good thing you had chocolate to comfort you. I think with my recent appreciation of jewelry, he's scared to pick something out on his own. Which sucks since I'd rather him pick something himself. I feel it tainted his desire to choose something on his own because his fear of "messing up." No matter how many times I explained that he can get me something from a gumball machine and I'd be happy.
I'm glad you two have worked out a system... but I'm the same as you. I had his gift planned out at least 6 months before. He had been talking about how he'd love to decompress his spine and would attempt to hang upside-down anything (failing). So I got him an inversion table. Sure, in a sense, its much more practical than sentimental, but the thought was there and he appreciated it (but he hated that I spent X amount of money on him). Birthdays clearly don't mean much to him, but he understands what they mean to me.

As I was writing the reply to blacksand, I realized that this really doesn't matter. We adore each other and as much as I'd love a trinket of any kind, unless I want to destroy a perfectly functional relationship, it needs to take a backseat to everything else. I should talk to him about having a get-together with some friends, if he decides to get me something, so be it, but it would be a double birthday (my best friend's birthday is exactly 2 weeks before mine) so there wouldn't be a "demand" for gifts.
 

TooPatient

Ideal_Rock
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Sep 1, 2009
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Honestly, I think you need to just forget about it this year. He realizes that he hurt you and bringing it up again will just hurt him more. (imagine the position was reversed -- say you forgot to pick up the special dessert he ordered for his parents' visit so he decides to host a joint party with another friend in order to give you a chance to make it up ---- I know it isn't exactly the same, I'm just saying I think you'd really hurt him and not accomplish anything useful)

For next year you might try a "wishlist" at different places. There are a lot of places now that you can log in to an account and add/delete things from a "wishlist" and then e-mail the list to someone. I have that at a few different places (jewelry, home decorations, etc) so if FI wants to do a surprise b-day gift (or a just because or whatever) he can log in to the account at one of these places and have a selection of stuff (ranging from well under $100 to $$$$$) that I really like so that he doesn't have to agonize about picking the "wrong" thing. I talked to him when I set these up (after he told me that he's always afraid to get "the wrong thing" even though I say there is no "wrong thing") so he knows where they are and the log-in information so he doesn't have to ask me to e-mail him a list and that I really DO like everything on there.


It really is a tough subject because is shouldn't matter but it really does. B-days, no matter how much we want to downplay them and how unimportant the physical "present" is there is just something about..... I don't know..... I guess feeling a little extra special for a day?
 

wakingdreams53

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TooPatient, I didn't mean it in an attempt to get him to give me a gift AT ALL. More like how people have a ceremony and reception on different days-- ceremony: being with my family, reception: a party with friends. That's all. Plus SoBe was mean and didn't let me in ANYWHERE because I had no ID (lost my wallet a couple weeks ago, I'm avoiding dealing with the DMV), plus I just really wanna go bowling lol.
I do really like that wishlist idea. But I'm afraid he knows what I want, just never allots enough time. He even reminded ME of what I mentioned that I wanted (special lens for my dslr), when I had completely forgotten about it. Jewelry-wise he has nice taste. So *shrugs*.

I do get what you're saying about not bringing it up. But a party is different... no?
 

UnluckyTwin

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Mar 16, 2010
Messages
317
I've been thinking about how to say this--including typing out my own stories to show that I relate to your experience--but I'll just be blunt, and I hope that you'll understand I mean no ill-will. Most of your posts here have sounded like you and your BF are on different wave-lengths about lots of things. And it sounds like most times, you talk yourself out of caring about those things. Inherently, there's nothing wrong with that practice--if you love him and he makes you feel good and enriches your life and the relationship makes you realize that some things are just not important, fine. But it's not a good thing if you care about things that you feel pressured to let go of in order to not lose him. The things we care about may not be able to be severed from our personalities without leading to suffocation or drowning or resentment down the line, and by the time you realize that, you'll be even more invested in this relationship and it will hurt even more to leave it. I urge you to consider your relationship and the things you care about and even to re-read that Five Love Languages book. Thinking about these things doesn't mean he doesn't love you or you don't love him. It's just making sure you're with the right person, that you've met someone who can meet your most important needs, and that you're with someone whose most important needs you can meet without having to become a different person. Best of luck.
 

TooPatient

Ideal_Rock
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I think you would be better off just getting together your group of friends for a "just because" sort of thing without any mention of b-days. Go bowling with your friends because you want to -- not because you didn't get a gift from him and you're trying to feel better.

FWIW, I do know how you're feeling and it sucks. But this is one of those things that can take some time to fall into what works for you as a couple. (FI and I have been together for 7 years this month)


Since I hadn't seen it before, I went back and read your vacation thread. Did he pay for the trip to FL?
 

AmeliaG

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Well, I was going to give your BF the benefit of the doubt until I saw your vacation thread. There's got to be SOME way he goes out of his way to make you feel special; even if its a way you don't normally appreciate, you just appreciate that he's trying to make you feel special.

Maybe I should read that book; I've honestly seen only 2 languages of love: gifts and experiences (taking you out to dinner, etc.) Just curious, when you read the book, did you figure out his language of love?

ETA: It sounds like you're a planner and he is not. Are you OK with that?
 

Circe

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UnluckyTwin|1305151460|2919035 said:
I've been thinking about how to say this--including typing out my own stories to show that I relate to your experience--but I'll just be blunt, and I hope that you'll understand I mean no ill-will. Most of your posts here have sounded like you and your BF are on different wave-lengths about lots of things. And it sounds like most times, you talk yourself out of caring about those things. Inherently, there's nothing wrong with that practice--if you love him and he makes you feel good and enriches your life and the relationship makes you realize that some things are just not important, fine. But it's not a good thing if you care about things that you feel pressured to let go of in order to not lose him. The things we care about may not be able to be severed from our personalities without leading to suffocation or drowning or resentment down the line, and by the time you realize that, you'll be even more invested in this relationship and it will hurt even more to leave it. I urge you to consider your relationship and the things you care about and even to re-read that Five Love Languages book. Thinking about these things doesn't mean he doesn't love you or you don't love him. It's just making sure you're with the right person, that you've met someone who can meet your most important needs, and that you're with someone whose most important needs you can meet without having to become a different person. Best of luck.
I don't spend enough time on LIW to be as familiar with the backstory ... but I'll admit, I had a similar reaction, if only to the fact that you keep talking about "hurting" him by talking about something that he did wrong in regard to you. The snarky comments about how if he'd just gotten you a b-day gift, it would have "cost less" don't really help, either.

I do believe that different people are on different wave-lengths about gifts and birthdays: me, I hate surprises, my husband, he loves them. So it took us a few years to get things "right" - for the first few years, he kept being taken aback by the degree to which I wanted to be involved in planning things and choosing my gift, and I kept bugging him by nagging him about what he wanted, or selecting the wrong surprise. But we both tried, y'know? And when one of us got things wrong, the other one didn't feel "hurt" by discussing it: we wanted to know where we'd gone wrong, so we wouldn't do it again!

IMO, even if the birthday has passed, yeah, it would be nice if he, a) apologized, and b) got you a belated and celebrating-your-presence-here-on-Earth something-or-other ... a card, flowers, or, yeah, that bracelet you've been longing for. And if he isn't, maybe think and be sure that this isn't representative of a trend of your preferences and comfort level taking a back-seat to his ... and if it is, if that's something you'll be comfortable with, forever. A good relationship is about mutual compromise, after all.
 

wakingdreams53

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TooPatient, yeah, you're right. The idea wasn't mine either way-- before my birthday my cousin wanted to go out and for me to invite some friends for my birthday. I hate to think that now it has to be tainted because my actual birthday was "tainted." I'll probably just go out w/ my cousin and that'll be that. And yes, he paid for FL (not lodging, since we stayed w/ my parents or the majority of food-- my mom and I cooked), but I admit it was a huge expense-- plane tickets, renting a car, etc.

UnluckyTwin, I appreciate your input. Of course I'd rather not have to contemplate my entire relationship over a trip and birthday. If I really wanted to, we could have gone to that jewelry store or done the things I wanted to do. I just didn't want to feel like pressuring him, so I never mentioned it again. I'm mostly walking on eggshells over this now because I acted like an irrefutable bitch during the trip. He didn't do anything to deserve that, but my emotions went high-wire when it became clear that he didn't care. You're right about the fact that we're on two different wavelengths, but that isn't always the case. I'm in no way meaning to defend his actions or even my own, just explaining. Mostly, this is because it was a vacation for him and not for me. Which seems backwards, since it was my birthday. But I felt compelled to show him around, make sure it was meaningful for him as opposed to just doing what I wanted/planned. Truly, I had planned to go to Florida anyway to be with my parents-- I go down every few months. After months of hearing BF complaining about his job and his stress levels, I thought it would be nice for him to get away. Had this been an "actual" vacation, I'm sure I'd see things differently. A large element/problem I've been having has been the constant feeling that I'm taking care of him... and with my parents gone and living completely alone, sometimes I want to be taken care of too...
But thats another melodramatic story (and I'm pretty sure PS is sick of those from me, heh)

AmeliaG, he's a mix of quality time and words of affirmation, but he shows his love through acts of service. I'm, clearly, gifts. Oh it's quite clear that I'm a planner and he's not lol, yeah I'm okay with that now that I understand where he's coming from.

Circe, you're right. Mutual compromise isn't quite there yet, but I truly don't understand him sometimes. Going back to what I wrote to UnluckyTwin, I feel like I take care of him-- that was actually one of our "fights" from the vacation. My mom made us omelette's, he saw how excited I was and said, "I want to make you this happy." To which I replied, "I'm this happy when I get to be taken care of." I admit, not my best wording or timing, but that broke him down. Then, to add to my terrible verbiage, I told him that I take care of him. He just couldn't understand how I was taking care of him. He had bought XYZ, he took off from work-- which he went on to saying how difficult that is, how little money he has and how this trip is a really big deal to him. THAT made him explode I couldn't get him to understand that the amount of money he spends doesn't equate to taking care of me. I just couldn't explain it and I can't explain it now.
(side note from hangout: your nickname was krisa? lol)
 

Circe

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wakingdreams53|1305159207|2919145 said:
Circe, you're right. Mutual compromise isn't quite there yet, but I truly don't understand him sometimes. Going back to what I wrote to UnluckyTwin, I feel like I take care of him-- that was actually one of our "fights" from the vacation. My mom made us omelette's, he saw how excited I was and said, "I want to make you this happy." To which I replied, "I'm this happy when I get to be taken care of." I admit, not my best wording or timing, but that broke him down. Then, to add to my terrible verbiage, I told him that I take care of him. He just couldn't understand how I was taking care of him. He had bought XYZ, he took off from work-- which he went on to saying how difficult that is, how little money he has and how this trip is a really big deal to him. THAT made him explode I couldn't get him to understand that the amount of money he spends doesn't equate to taking care of me. I just couldn't explain it and I can't explain it now.
(side note from hangout: your nickname was krisa? lol)
Side note first: heh, yep! And if you know that off the bat, odds are fair you're Russian ... which makes your parents reactions SO familiar to me. Gifts and celebrations are also a cultural thing, bigtime, so explaining that part of things might help bridge the divide. In his family, is everybody like him when it comes to special occasions?

And on to the meat of the matter ... I don't think you did anything terrible, honestly: from what you're describing, well, either your BF is extraordinarily sensitive to criticism, or ... well, or he's extraordinarily manipulative. What were you supposed to do, coo at him that he does make you that happy if he doesn't? I can't help but feel that a grown-up would make a note of it and just, you know, start doing it, instead of making you feel like a brat (and during a birthday trip that he forgot to observe, at that. I also don't think you need to explain what the difference is, at least not to me: as I see it (went back and looked at your va-cay post) you spent a ton of time planning things out, and he just took off from work and paid for his own vacation. The difference is that you were thinking of him ... and he was thinking of himself. That's a BIG difference.

Again, I know comparing relationships isn't the most productive thing, 'cause every couple is different, but my husband and I are from diagonally opposed cultures in a lot of ways: the only thing we have in common is the heavy drinking (kidding!), since I'm a dramatic Russian and he's a phlegmatic Swede. If we had stayed the same as when we got into the relationship, all the good intentions and attraction in the world, and we'd be divorced by now, because our responses to most things are worlds apart. And yet.

One of my husband's mentor's (who'd been married for, like, 50 years at this point) said that both members of a couple have to feel like they're each putting in 70% of the work if the couple is ever going to meet at 50/50. I think it's true. I spend a lot of time trying to understand his irrationality: he spends a lot of time trying to understand mine. From what you're describing, you're spending a lot of time trying to understand your BF ... and then trying to understand why he isn't trying to understand you. That just ain't right!
 

wakingdreams53

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Heh, my mom calls me krisa sometimes, but never in a particularly loving way. Her angle, as I'm sure you'd understand completely, that you're supposed to gift the MOTHER as well, if not more than the actual birthdayee. Definitely a culture thing, definitely would NEVER enter his mind.

He said that he wanted this week to be for me, for my birthday, and he did take me out and we did do very great things. There was just nothing directly "birthday" about it. As for his family, here's what I wrote earlier:
Culture difference is tough, but class is tougher. I was raised upper middle class, he was raised poor. I'm first (or second) generation Russian (parents are immigrants, but every political scientist says it differently), he's fourth or sixth generation Italian. We're clearly different, but we have many more similarities than not. Either way, I love him and that's what matters.
I don't think he's manipulative, just new to all of this. Nothing he ever gets his father is "good enough," so I'm sure he's got his issues there.

So what do you suggest I do?... since you're 100% right that I'm doing all of the thinking here. Since we do have all of the good intentions and attraction in the world... it's not enough...
 

Circe

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wakingdreams53|1305162747|2919216 said:
Heh, my mom calls me krisa sometimes, but never in a particularly loving way. Her angle, as I'm sure you'd understand completely, that you're supposed to gift the MOTHER as well, if not more than the actual birthdayee. Definitely a culture thing, definitely would NEVER enter his mind.

He said that he wanted this week to be for me, for my birthday, and he did take me out and we did do very great things. There was just nothing directly "birthday" about it. As for his family, here's what I wrote earlier:
Culture difference is tough, but class is tougher. I was raised upper middle class, he was raised poor. I'm first (or second) generation Russian (parents are immigrants, but every political scientist says it differently), he's fourth or sixth generation Italian. We're clearly different, but we have many more similarities than not. Either way, I love him and that's what matters.
I don't think he's manipulative, just new to all of this. Nothing he ever gets his father is "good enough," so I'm sure he's got his issues there.

So what do you suggest I do?... since you're 100% right that I'm doing all of the thinking here. Since we do have all of the good intentions and attraction in the world... it's not enough...
Ah - d'oh! Totally missed that, sorry! I have to admit, I'm not sure if that is a class difference, though, as I know plenty of people who are not well-off financially, who were still raised to believe that birthdays were a very big deal, if with more affordable presents. I don't know from Italian, I'm afraid, but, again, my primary impression is not of an undemonstrative people. I think this might be specific to your BF and/or his family ... and, frankly, while I can see him maybe having a hard time wrapping his mind around some cultural particularities (flowers for the person who went through the agonizing labor some twenty-odd years ago being only the tip of the iceberg), the fact that this is Drama: Year Two and he had plenty of warning from the sound of it ... well, that just makes him sound sort of oblivious, frankly.

I went back to find what you'd said, though, and another bit caught my eye: when you said,

"Last year BF practically broke up with me on my birthday. I was irrational (engagement crazed) and he was right not to want to take that from anyone. Then with all of this and my poorly controlled self this year, we nearly got there too. I remember saying, 'Are you going to threaten to break up with me on my every birthday?' His reply, 'Are you going to be this crazy just because its your birthday?'"

Youch. It does not have to be this hard. In my experience, when you find yourself having the same fight over and over and over again, it's a sign of deeply rooted fundamental differences in a relationship, and an inability to get past/around them. My honest suggestion? Couples counseling. I don't know how old you guys are, what your insurance sitch is, what your respective feelings on The Talking Cure are ... but I spent three damned years fighting a few fights over and over again with my husband, we went to counseling, and, hey, lookee there: we fight less. Completely and totally worth it, from where I'm sitting ....
 

sonnyjane

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wakingdreams53|1305159207|2919145 said:
But I felt compelled to show him around, make sure it was meaningful for him as opposed to just doing what I wanted/planned.
I just had to underline the word "I" in that sentence because I think it's really important that you realize it was your decision to turn your role on that vacation into that of a tour guide. He didn't ask you to assume that role, and I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have minded if he didn't see all the attractions Miami has to offer. I read your other post where you were complaining about him not being excited about your "itineraries" and plans, and the truth is, to put it bluntly, when I read those posts I thought not only that I wouldn't be excited for that vacation if I were him, but that I wouldn't be excited about that relationship. You mention in this thread that he almost broke up with you once because of the pressure you put on him about engagement. It really does seem like you are trying to mold him into someone he is not and that it's having negative effects on your relationship.

There is nothing wrong with not exchanging gifts. My husband and I, for the most part, will go out for dinner on a birthday, but we don't really do gifts. I usually get him WAY more stuff for Christmas than he does for me, but that's because I genuinely enjoy the act of giving, not the act of giving in hopes of reciprocation. I honestly don't care if he gets me nothing so long as he loves me and is a good husband.

This is really tough-love and not meant to be hurtful, but I agree with your parents when they say you can't change a man. If he's not the type to go out of his way to think of thoughtful gifts and gestures, he will never be that way and no amount of prodding on your part will change that. The question is, can you just accept that. If you can't, and it certainly sounds as if you can't, then maybe he isn't the right person for you.
 

Amys Bling

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blacksand|1305141770|2918864 said:
You said you spent a week at your parents' dwellings. Does that mean you were staying with your parents, or just on property your parents own? If you spent the week with your SO and your parents, and they are now telling you they think you are unhappy, I would say it may be time to for a little reflection. Your parents (I'm guessing) know you well and (also guessing) have your best interest at heart. If they saw you and thought you seemed unhappy, maybe something isn't quite right. Of course, if you mean that you spent a week on some property your parents own, and they weren't there, and they're just meddling now, it's a different story.

I do think the gift issue is significant, and it's totally reasonable to be upset. If he told you he would take you to a jewelry store and then didn't, you have every right to be upset. If you had planned activities to do together and then he bailed on those, you have every right to be upset. It may well be that he doesn't value gifts, celebrations, etc. as highly as you do, and that's okay, but it's still a valid reason to think about whether the relationship is a good fit for you. Or maybe he doesn't really value your needs, which is an even stronger reason to be upset. I guess I just don't think you should be so quick to dismiss what your parents are saying, since they probably know you a lot better than any of us on PS.

If I'm totally off base, forgive me.

I'm sorry, but I agree with blacksand. You are obviously upset, and this is a big thing to you. It isn't to him. honestly, think about the long haul... Are you happy with the idea that this may be a pattern for all holidays for your entire relationship? Talk to him, communicate, express your feelings and your expectations in your SO and your relationship, otherwise you may find yourself upset more often than not. Communication is the key, and it's not easy to just change the way you feel about certain things. If you are someone who values the "being thoughtful" gift giving, then you need to express that, otherwise you are setting yourself up for future disappointments.

I also have to agree with your parents that time and money isn't an excuse to not be thoughtful...
 

wakingdreams53

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Circe, it's more of his own family than all Italians. I think he really is just oblivious, because if he's not then he'd be ingeniously manipulative-- which he's not.
Couples counseling... hm, I'm not against it, but I know that we can work it out ourselves... at least I hope. Nonetheless, I'm sure I've made into something much bigger than what it really is. I have insurance, he doesn't. And I'm embarassingly young (although not by Russian standards), I just turned 20. He's 25, but more of a kid than me. There's definitely a maturity element to all of this (which I should have realized, but yet another lovely insight from mamochka). What weird to me is that we're never that bad... you know? I just let this "vacation" get to me before I was even on it. We never really fight, s just the fact that it got that bad so quickly is actually quite confounding... guess I have much to say to that counselor :wink2:

Sonnyjane, you're right. And before I continue, I'm all for tough love and I appreciate your response. I did this to myself. I did, however, let go of my plans and itineraries. We didn't see as much as I hoped and I compromised all of that because I wanted to just have a good time with my bf. The engagement comment, while true, we've gotten past. I'm not an LIW anymore, but given the amount of time I spent here, I still post sometimes. I have no intention of trying to change him. You've made some good points... thank you.

AmysBling, I definitely need to talk to him. With this thread going on all day and my thoughts somewhat in a coherent place, hopefully we'll get to talk soon. You're right. The last thing I want is to be getting chronically upset.
 

wakingdreams53

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Update

I tried to broach the discussion by first finding out his opinion of couples counseling. He, knowing me well, started asked what problems would I want to discuss or work through. I, with my heart beating out of my chest, treading as lightly as possible, as though not to scare away a deer, mentioned wanting to discuss things with him without unintentionally hurting him (as I had done in Florida). He then went through how I upset him, he said "oh, the earrings, and the bracelet," then I SO STUPIDLY mentioned the other thing I said (which I'll never repeat, neither here nor to him, ever again-- re: coitus). The deer ran away, he shut himself off from me and went back to being hurt.

Even treading lightly I manage to trip and fall on my face. Hopefully a couples counselor could help me stop falling... or at least teach me not to scar. That's probably one too many metaphors.

How do I broach this topic with him? Now I don't even know what to say. I need a set script and to stick with it, or else I just say, "never mind, it doesn't matter," then bury it within. I know, I know, unhealthy practice, but I can't just talk about problems all the time. :roll:
 

sonnyjane

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Re: Update

wakingdreams53|1305180054|2919464 said:
I tried to broach the discussion by first finding out his opinion of couples counseling. He, knowing me well, started asked what problems would I want to discuss or work through. I, with my heart beating out of my chest, treading as lightly as possible, as though not to scare away a deer, mentioned wanting to discuss things with him without unintentionally hurting him (as I had done in Florida). He then went through how I upset him, he said "oh, the earrings, and the bracelet," then I SO STUPIDLY mentioned the other thing I said (which I'll never repeat, neither here nor to him, ever again-- re: coitus). The deer ran away, he shut himself off from me and went back to being hurt.

Even treading lightly I manage to trip and fall on my face. Hopefully a couples counselor could help me stop falling...
After reading this update, it seems that before you approach couples counseling, you might just want to go to counseling on your own. They can help you get the skills you need to deal with things in a mature, rational way instead of being hurtful.

Also, I'm sure you probably hear this a lot and hate it, but the fact that you're only 20 years old says a lot to me about this situation. There's nothing wrong with being 20. Clearly everyone over the age of 20 has been 20 at one time! That being said, 20-year-old me would hardly recognize the current 27-year-old me. I made so many mistakes in relationships back then, mistakes that I thought would ruin my life. I would lash out, do stupid things, and make poor decisions. Looking back I can't believe what I did. The "boy" I was with at the time was someone I thought I would marry and I am SO grateful now that we broke up and I could marry my husband instead! At age 20, you're still finding things out about yourself and I'm not saying that you won't end up marrying your current SO, just saying that maybe you need to slow down and treat this relationship a little more casually. When people use that cliche of "What's the rush?", there really is a lot of truth to it. I got married at 25 and I still think that was relatively young. From everything you've written, it seems like your guy is just being a typical guy - not a jerk, not abusive, not unreasonable, just a guy that doesn't get excited about holidays and trips the way that many women do. As long as there isn't some dark secret you're hiding from us, he seems like an innocent guy that has been putting up with your arguments because he cares for you, but the truth is you are pushing him away quite intently and I wouldn't blame him if he ended up jumping ship. Just take a step back, slow down, and work on the things that YOU can control. Couples counseling down the road might work, but I think you really have to work on yourself first.
 

TooPatient

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Re: Update

sonnyjane|1305215755|2919698 said:
wakingdreams53|1305180054|2919464 said:
I tried to broach the discussion by first finding out his opinion of couples counseling. He, knowing me well, started asked what problems would I want to discuss or work through. I, with my heart beating out of my chest, treading as lightly as possible, as though not to scare away a deer, mentioned wanting to discuss things with him without unintentionally hurting him (as I had done in Florida). He then went through how I upset him, he said "oh, the earrings, and the bracelet," then I SO STUPIDLY mentioned the other thing I said (which I'll never repeat, neither here nor to him, ever again-- re: coitus). The deer ran away, he shut himself off from me and went back to being hurt.

Even treading lightly I manage to trip and fall on my face. Hopefully a couples counselor could help me stop falling...
After reading this update, it seems that before you approach couples counseling, you might just want to go to counseling on your own. They can help you get the skills you need to deal with things in a mature, rational way instead of being hurtful.

Also, I'm sure you probably hear this a lot and hate it, but the fact that you're only 20 years old says a lot to me about this situation. There's nothing wrong with being 20. Clearly everyone over the age of 20 has been 20 at one time! That being said, 20-year-old me would hardly recognize the current 27-year-old me. I made so many mistakes in relationships back then, mistakes that I thought would ruin my life. I would lash out, do stupid things, and make poor decisions. Looking back I can't believe what I did. The "boy" I was with at the time was someone I thought I would marry and I am SO grateful now that we broke up and I could marry my husband instead! At age 20, you're still finding things out about yourself and I'm not saying that you won't end up marrying your current SO, just saying that maybe you need to slow down and treat this relationship a little more casually. When people use that cliche of "What's the rush?", there really is a lot of truth to it. I got married at 25 and I still think that was relatively young. From everything you've written, it seems like your guy is just being a typical guy - not a jerk, not abusive, not unreasonable, just a guy that doesn't get excited about holidays and trips the way that many women do. As long as there isn't some dark secret you're hiding from us, he seems like an innocent guy that has been putting up with your arguments because he cares for you, but the truth is you are pushing him away quite intently and I wouldn't blame him if he ended up jumping ship. Just take a step back, slow down, and work on the things that YOU can control. Couples counseling down the road might work, but I think you really have to work on yourself first.

SJ -- You are a wise woman!

This was my thinking also. I think SJ is correct that before you even consider any sort of couple's counseling you need to work on YOU. Your relationship with bf (and everyone else!) will be a lot better if you can learn how to communicate (and have confidence!) in a way that allows for a productive conversation.



As a side note -- I just looked yesterday at what my tuition will be when I transfer. In another year or so I will be paying $4,000+ per quarter (so 12,000-16,000 per year + books). Even if your bf is only paying for part of his schooling, it is still a major expense. I wonder if the lack of "gift" and unenthusiasm for your trip was that it was a major financial burden on him? (maybe he didn't want to say this to you because it is humiliating to admit to someone you care about that you just don'e have the money)
 

wakingdreams53

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SonnyJane, you articulated it all very well. You're right, no dark secrets, just the average guy with a girlfriend who prioritizes things differently. I have been working on myself, I'm much "better" than I was a year ago, but the journey to becoming the best person you can be is a slow one. I only really mentioned couples counseling to him as a segue into actually talking about whats been bothering me. In typical male fashion, he said that as long as it isn't sex related, we can work anything out.

TooPatient, he's not in school. I know his expenses and he himself said that it wasn't about the money. Clearly we saved a ton just by not going out every night to eat and staying with my parents. If he didn't have the means, this trip wouldn't have occurred. His expenses include rent to his rather, car insurance and other car expenses. His album is FINALLY coming out tomorrow, so I really just don't think his mind was on me or my birthday, which is fine-- after this entire thread, I'm pretty much over it lol. He's got a lot in his life (crazy job which is trying to get him into trouble... daily.)
 

AmeliaG

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I'll be honest with you: at 20, there would have been no way that I could have handled a mature, nonhurtful conversation re: coitus. Forget about expecting too much from him; do you think you may be expecting way too much maturity and wisdom from yourself at this point? Rather than counseling, what about a nice, low-maintenance relationship? In other words, a relationship that you don't have to work very hard at to feel good about yourself and about being with the other person. I suspect its going to be impossible for you at 20 to have some of the conversations that you feel you should be having and you may be putting too much pressure on yourself. There's nothing wrong with you, I know you may not want to hear this but the ability will come with life experiences.

I'm not Russian myself but I do work closely with several Russian women and I'm familiar with the Russian practice of marrying earlier. They're a bit different from you in that they are from Russia; they met and married their husbands in Russia. It appears from talking with them that Russian society is much more supportive of early marriages than American society. Part of that support seems to be pushing young people into low-maintenance relationships so they can get married without having to do a lot of work. This may be what your mother really means when she critizes your BF; she may just be seeing that he's too much work for you and its too much for you to handle at this point.

Which any mother who loves their daughter would do. :)
 
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