Oh boy, I need some advice!

Ok, this is way OT but I’m seeking advice from as many sources as I can!

So, I am dating this lovely boy and he’s very nice. We’ve been dating since October-ish, we hang out a lot, he has a puppy so we walk the dogs together, etc etc. We have a lot in common but, you know, it’s a very new relationship.

I made him a hat for Xmas and another one this weekend for a ski trip. He got me a fun book about dogs AND a very generous gift certificate to my LYS (he thinks knitting is super cool, yup he’s a keeper :teehee:).

My birthday is coming up this Friday and he’s going to be away on a pre-planned ski trip in CO. He felt really bad about missing it, but it’s so not a big deal to me. I don’t really like celebrating my birthday anyway. But I suggested we go out for a nice dinner before he leaves. So he took me out to a really really really nice dinner Monday evening. We had a great time, I was thrilled. He also got me a cute card with a personal note. Yay! Birthday is fun and over, right?

…nope not so much…

He comes over last night to pick me up, we’re heading out to Borders so I can spend some Xmas gift cards. He says “Oh here, I did get you a little something.”

And it’s a good sized box, like maybe shoe sized. And I think, “Wow, that’s unnecessary but really nice. Did he get me shoes? He knows me well!”

So I open said box. And. HE BOUGHT ME A LAPTOP!!! Like, a really really nice one. He’s a computer programmer, and I know he got a deal but still…this is like, gotta be over a $1000. I’m totally flummoxed. I feel like I can’t accept this gift, but he wants me to have it so badly. He’d be so insulted if I refused it, how can I even refuse it? How do you do that?

I was seriously speechless. I mean I said things like “Wow” and “Thank you” and “I can’t accept this…can I? Wow…crazy” etc etc etc. It was clear I was very happy. But I feel like it’s inappropriate to accept a gift of this magnitude!

But he’s so proud of himself because he thinks it’s a perfect gift because:
[li]My laptop is old as dirt and might as well be a paperweight[/li][li]It crashes, freezes, overheats, etc etc etc[/li][li]I’m gonna need a new computer for grad school[/li][li]I’m computer nerdy and I’d love a new computer.[/li][li]He is morally, personally and professionally offended by the state of my current computer. :teehee:[/ol]And the thing is: Of course he’s right!! This is an amazing gift, I’m thrilled, I love it and it’s not something I can afford for myself. But yikes! Why am having such a problem with this? I guess I sort of feel beholden now? Like I owe him something? Even though I know that’s not true, and I know that’s not what he intended.[/li]
The thing is, we’re the same age but I’m in the human services field and he’s a computer programmer. He makes [I]significantly[/I] more money than I do. I mean probably about 5 times as much, honestly. So I know that this gift is not actually a financial hardship or anything on him, but it would be for [I]me[/I] and I feel so guilty. Especially since “all” I’ve gotten him are a couple of handmade hats and plans for a dog sweater and some argyle socks. (I say “all” because I feel a little cheap, but like I said he thinks the hand knits are totally impressive).

Oy. Wow. I rambled for awhile.

So Ladies, Gentlemen, Fellow Poor Folk Headed Back to School: What do I do? Do I keep this amazing gift? Do I give it back? If I give it back how do I approach that without totally crushing him? (I feel like this is sorta the modern day equivalent of accepting expensive jewelry from a man who’s not your fiance/husband–which is an etiquette no-no).

As my roommate said, “Hey if your only problem with this guy is accepting a generous gift…let’s trade places.” But still–I’m all ears here!!!

wow, that is tough. As I never been in a relationship I don’t know much. But you could tell him maybe not to give you such expensive gifts anymore. I think you should keep the laptop (I feel that he will be letdown if you give it back) but just let him know that you feel unconfortable accepting gifts like that and that he really doesn’t need to give them to you. Hope for the best!

Wow, he is a keeper! :wink:

I know how you feel though. I got an expensive Christmas present once (Freddie Mercury box set! :slight_smile: ) that was more than I could ever afford at the time. We’d only been dating for a few months so it was very unexpected. He was sooo proud of himself though. I felt a bit like you do at first but I decided to accept the gift because it was given with love. Oh and this man is now my husband :heart: but I didn’t marry him because of that :teehee:

So personally I would say accept the gift and feel happy! If things do go wrong and you part with him in the future you could always return it then if you feel badly about it.

And don’t feel bad about the gifts you have given. They were made by you! I’m sure that means a lot to him :hug:

I think you should keep the laptop (I feel that he will be letdown if you give it back) but just let him know that you feel unconfortable accepting gifts like that and that he really doesn’t need to give them to you.

You’re right, he would be totally crushed if I gave it back. And he knew I’d be uncomfortable. Before I even said anything he was all “I know you’re gonna think this is crazy and too much. But it’s not, you deserve it and I want you to have it, and I promise I’m not gonna do stuff like this all the time.” :teehee:

Thank you for the advice! I’m beginning to calm down. Plus he’s gone til Sunday so I can mull this over in peace for a few days. Hehehe.

I’m also open to those of you who think I should give it back, what would you do, etc. I have never been in a situation like this before!

He sounds like a great guy and that his heart and mind are in the right place.

I think I’d personally feel awkward with it…like how it takes the relationship to a new level whether he sees it or not (probably not since he’s a guy :teehee:). Think about it and when he comes back I’d sit him down and talk to him about the whole thing. :hug:

When I give someone something, it’s because I WANT to. It makes ME happy. Reverse positions here. What if you were the one with the megamoney and he was in desperate need of a laptop? Wouldn’t it thrill you to be able to help?

Say thanks and move on!:hug:

Financial situations aside, he obviously really likes you and I would wager a guess that he wants this relationship to be more than a friendship. That said, if you are not interested in anything other than a dog walking buddy the laptop goes back. If you are interested in pursuing the realtionship - keep it, enjoy it and do not feel guilty that he gave you something you couldn’t afford yourself.
As far as feeling like you haven’t done enough for him, take that LYS gift card and get some yummy yarn to make him a scarf to match one of the hats you made him or the socks you mentioned. Mail him a card that says Thank You more than you’ll ever know. Make him dinner when he gets back in town. My hubby loves that I pick yarn and spend time making him things and he brags about the things I make him to anyone that will listen. If he has the money to BUY himself the toys he wants, then I am willing to bet that he LOVES that you take the time to MAKE him things.
I say cheers to you on finding such a wonderful guy and I hope you hold on tight :woot:

If my boyfriend gave me a laptop a) I’d ask if he was feeling OK and then b) If he’d robbed a bank. These considerations aside I would probs be really thrilled that he had bought me something so expensive but also uncomfortable knowing that at the moment I couldn’t return the gesture. I understand where you are coming from, especially in a fairly new relationship, but at the same time its a lovely gift and he obviously likes you very much. So I think I would explain to him that I would rather he did not spend so much on me in future but I love the gift and I intend to keep it.

Hope that helps


I think it depends on him and on your relationship with him. If he is the type that is just extremely generous, never wants anything in return, and is an all-around good guy, then say thanks and move on, realizing that your hand-knitted-with-love items are worth just as much!

However, if after some real, honest reflection, you think he is the type that does usually want something in return, who might hold this sort of gift over your head, then you might want to rethink it.

That would be my only worry. I tend to expect the best from people until they prove me wrong, but… you have to ‘protect’ yourself, too.

Sounds like a wonderful guy to me. :slight_smile:

I think he sounds fantastic - and, while I would feel awkward about accepting it, I think it would be harder to return the gift he was so proud of himself for getting you. It sounds like he got it for you just because he wanted to, because he thought it would make you happy and he likes it when you’re happy. It would be a different matter if he’d scraped and saved and eaten beans for a month to buy it, but if it’s a gift from someone who can afford it, then I think it’s ok to enjoy it. He wants you to be happy, not to be stressing about it for weeks on end.

The one caveat has been said above - if you think it would ever be used against you, then think hard about whether you want the relationship to continue or not. It doesn’t sound like that’s the case though. I was once given a piece of jewellery by a boyfriend that cost over £1000, and it was incredible. In all the time we were together, he never held it over me in an argument and he was just happy when he saw me taking joy in it, so feeling beholden about it and it causing problesm isn’t an inevitable consequence. We broke up a few years later, and I did wonder whether to give it back then, but he’d said that whatever happened between us, it was meant for me and had been meant with love, and that’s not something to regret or feel bad about.

Hope it works out, I really think he sounds great :slight_smile:
Fi xx

I would have a hard time with keeping it, but being a female I think we “think/read” to much into things like this… a guy sees a laptop thinks oh she needs that…buys it…gives it…end of story for him prolly…we think oh no what does this mean? how will he feel if I can’t buy him something expensive? does this mean we are now getting more serious? do I want to get more serious? till our heads hurt…while he is sitting over there already forgetting the gift and perfectly happy :teehee:

:roflhard::roflhard: That is SO true!

Being in the computer field myself, I’m betting that this wonderful man got a good deal on it. But, IMHO, the cost of the laptop shouldn’t be your first focus. He sounds like a terribly unselfish man and probably gets a big kick out of “gifting”. How many of us women do the same? As my Mom always says, “don’t look that gift horse in the mouth.” I’m sure you accepted the gift with grace and humility and that’s probably all he expected. Enjoy your new laptop and be happy that you’ve found a real jewel. Trust me, they are few and far between these days. You’re a lucky gal. :hug:

Durring Christmas I pondered what to get FH (and everyone else). I thought and thought and finally found the PERFECT gift. He mentioned one time that he’d always wanted a pocket watch…something to pass down for years and years, generation to generation. Well his son is a JR. so I searched for the perfect watch. I found it, I had it engraved, I got a beautiful leather box for it. Wrapped it up, it looked so pretty! I was excited, couldn’t wait to give it to him.

Of course I also got him long underwear (cause it’s cold here), and some cologne, etc. Little things, things that he needed, not that he wanted.

He opened the gifts…“YES, LONG UNDERWEAR! OH I LOVE THAT COLOGNE”…then came the REAL gift, the watch…“Oh, uh, a pocket watch?!? Hunh? Why did you get me a pocket watch?” I explained my reasoning, I even showed him the spot on the back where he could engrave something when he gave it to Jr. He wanted it, he talked about it, he responded, “Oh, I was just saying that, it’s not 1880 or anything.”

I was devastated. He got me a jacket. A nice one but a jacket…why? Because “You needed a jacket! Why else would I get you a jacket? I don’t want you to be cold.” Three days later he says, “You know I liked the watch, I really did, but I didn’t need it. The long johns though, those are great! Thanks baby.”

Men and women…we gift differently. Now don’t get me started on the whole Men versus Women and what does cleaning the house really mean? Or the what to buy at the grocery store…

I say thank him, keep the computer. He was giving you something he saw you needed, it made him happy to give it to you. Just like you are aware of the disparity in your earning, so does he. It appears he doesn’t care, it doesn’t matter. Perhaps he’s intimidated by your knitted gifts. I mean, that means you think about him, you spend time on him, you care. He sounds intelligent and thoughtful, he likely knows (or has an idea) about what goes into a hand made gift, and appreciates the thought, time, energy that you put into those gifts. Knowing that, he wanted to put in the same, but substituted time for money :teehee:.

I say keep the computer. I used to work in electronics. So if he is in the computer field he probably got a REALLY GREAT DEAL anyways and it probably wasn’t that expensive.

and as the other poster saw guys are the kind of gifters that get things that people need and he saw that you were happy and it would probably hurt the relationship more to give it back than to just keep it.

now splurge a little and buy some cashmere and make him a cashmere hat as a way of thanks and let him know its cashmere

Oh man! I just some absolutely heavenly Alpaca sock yarn at my LYS that I could not justify buying for myself. Perfect for the argyles!

I concur, that was what I was gonna say :slight_smile:

Yep, I would keep it and be grateful-my DH is a Computer Geek, and he loves to set people up with new systems-computers, laptops, whatever. And he gets really good deals, too.

I can understand why it might make you uncomfortable, but he’s obviously very pleased with himself, and it makes him happy and proud to make you happy. That seems like a good thing-maybe you got lucky and this is just a naturally really generous guy (how cool is that!).

So don’t worry, be happy :smiley:

Definitely keep it. I think it would hurt him more if you gave it back. Men, so often, are so proud of the things they buy for their SO…kinda like cats…Ya know like when a cat catches a bird or mouse then brings it home to you and they are so proud because they brought YOU food??? haha

When hubby and I were first dating, he got me a 10 disc changer for my birthday (I think…lol…maybe it was x-mas). We hadn’t been together for all that long but we knew we loved each other. I was floored when I opened my present. I felt horrible about it because there was no way I could afford something of that magnitude for him! However, he knew I really wanted one (all I had was a radio and cassette deck at the time…oh, and a portable cd player! lol) and it made him feel really good, and proud, to be able to get me something nice that he knew I wanted.

For a long time, I was always uncomfortable receiving things, even compliments. My mom compliments me a lot and in the past, each time she would, I’d get embarrassed and play it down…Like if she told me I was really pretty or something, I’d make excuses like, “Only 'cause I have a ton of make-up on!” stuff like that. One day she simply said to me, “Sara, you need to shut up and learn to take a compliment!” She didn’t say it ignorantly, it was actually quite humorous…My family and I are like that…lol…Anyway, that really stuck with me. I had realized that for the longest time, I would always contradict any compliments I received. Eventually, I learned to just hold my breath and say thank you. I’m still not always comfortable receiving compliments, but I’ve learned it makes everyone happier to just say thank you instead of arguing it.

I think the same can be said of gifts. Usually when people get gifts for loved ones, they are truly proud of what they have picked out and look so forward to seeing that person opening their gift. It makes them, sometimes, happier than if they were receiving a gift themselves.

I think you should definitely keep it; I truly believe it will mean so much to him knowing how happy his gift to you has made you.

Letah - that sounds kind of like something that happened to me - I got a gift for my partner at the time after a really long, hard time in our relationship that I thought he would love because every time we went into a shop he thought it was great. When he opened it, though, he seemed quite taken aback and told me he thought I got him it because my ex liked similar things, and that he’d never use it. I was absolutely heartbroken, and I took it back because every time I saw it it made me think of this hurt.

Hamalee - I think letah might be right about the handmade stuff - I love nothing more than thinking about what someone would like and finding the perfect thing to make for them, and I’ve had friends feel bad because they ‘just’ bought me something. It’s a shame, because I just wanted them to take pleasure in the gift, not feel guilty about anything or think that my presents somehow mean more than others. So he may be replying in kind to your thoughtful, handmade gifts, by giving you something from his field of expertise :slight_smile: