Giving your partner something they appreciate is supposed to be a meaningful gesture but can often lead to stress. What will you give them? When is the right time? How much do you spend? Today we’re answering these questions and breaking down the stages of gift giving in relationships!
Let’s Talk About: Gift Giving
Giving gifts is a time honored tradition in relationships. Gifts can be romantic, funny, and sometimes a little bit sexy. No matter the gift, it’s about showing your partner you love them! And you get something in return, giving is found to reinforce your feelings and purpose. But gift giving can also be messy and lead to hurt feelings or shattered expectations. We’re covering a few ways to avoid this.
The Stages Of Giving Gifts
As a relationship progresses so does the purpose of gifts. They tend to flow from reciprocal to selfless. There’s a few things you should think about when gift giving depending on the stage of your relationship.
Early in a relationship gifts are about the little things. Like paying for dinner or showing up with flowers. Experiences also make great early gifts, such as movie tickets
Giving lavish or expensive gifts in the early stage of a relationship can actually cause more harm than good. This can put unnecessary stress and make the other person question the intentions.
So save your money for later and focus on thoughtful gifts. Try and take into account your new partners interests. Show them that you are listening and you care. Don’t flaunt your wealth.
Once you’ve passed the new phase and entered a serious relationship, the gift giving process changes. They are used to show your love, commitment, and to make the other person happy. It becomes more symbolic and less transactional.
You start to give gifts because you care, not because you expect something in return. It’s about noticing that your partner was admiring something and surprising them with it. This doesn’t have to be a fancy new car or expensive clothes. It can be buying a simple pair of earrings or making their favorite meal after a long day.
Of course as your relationship progresses, a time and a place may come for expensive gifts. Big anniversaries, milestone birthdays, and other events sometimes call for a splurge.
But they don’t always have to be expensive. A romantic gesture or homemade gift often means more than anything money could buy. Always remember that gifts are about what they want, not you.
An engagement ring is one of the most expensive gifts many will ever give or receive. But it’s important to remember that an engagement ring is a symbol of love and commitment. It doesn’t have to be a huge gaudy diamond for them to love it.
Having The Gift Talk
Nothing brings the pressure quite like starting a relationship right before a birthday or big holiday. Do you get them a gift? What if you don’t and they do? How much do you spend? There’s tons of questions that can all be answered with a quick chat.
If you’re all about the gift giving, you can start by saying, “Christmas is coming up, is there anything you really want?”. That will set the expectation that you are giving gifts. If you’re not about it, say something like “So I was thinking we should skip gifts this year and just have a nice dinner!” No matter what you do, never say you don’t want a gift if you do. Your partner is not a mind reader.
If you’re in a long-term relationship, you should discuss a budget. Go into the conversation with an open mind. Things might be tight and your partner can’t afford the gift they know you deserve. Don’t take that out on them though. And once you’ve set a budget don’t go over and blindside them.
Opt For An Experience Or Joint Gift
Maybe gift giving isn’t either of your things. Don’t waste your time and money on something that they won’t care for. Instead talk about combining your money on something you’ll both enjoy. It could be a day trip, catching a show, or spending a full weekend away. You’ll make memories that money could never buy.
While it might not seem very romantic, it’s perfectly fine to pool your money for something you need. You can skip the gifting and splurge or save up for a big upcoming purchase. This is especially a good idea when you’re saving up for a wedding or downpayment on a home.