Priscilla Seaborg,
Attorney at Law

Gifts that miss the mark can affect relationships

On Behalf of | Dec 19, 2017 | family law |

For many Oregon residents, gifts can be a way to express and receive love. Some people might even be offended if their partner didn’t give them a gift around the holidays. Presents often symbolize the status of the relationship, which can make gift shopping a stressful experience.

For example, reflect on your own relationships and think about the role that gifts played. Did you ever get a truly awful gift? What about perfect ones? In fact, gift-giving can change the way you see your marriage.

Bad gifts

If your spouse chose an item you didn’t like, you could start to wonder if they didn’t put any thought into the gift. Perhaps they consistently choose things that you have no interest in, such as tickets to their favorite band instead of one you both like. Every year around the holidays, you might be disappointed because your partner isn’t as romantic as other couples seem to be.

This can mean one of two things. Maybe your partner is the world’s worst giver, but means no harm. Alternatively, they could be uninterested in the relationship. As in the tickets example, you might view them as somewhat self-centered, which can impact other areas of your relationship.

Good gifts, bad intentions

Have you had an argument with your partner, but then they send a dozen red roses and a sorry note to your office? Apologetic gifts might work better for some couples than others. If you are the kind of person who doesn’t consider this to be an apology, you might start to think that your partner is trying to “buy” your love, which can spark resentment.

For some couples, the arguments and gifts can become extreme – like a swinging pendulum. One minute, your partner is shaming and yelling at you in public, but the next moment they buy you a diamond necklace. Extravagant gifts, like cars or vacations, can pressure the other person to tolerate abuse or violence in the marriage. Financial support is another type of “gift” that could make you feel like you have no other option than to stay with an abusive partner.

When you are disappointed or upset by your spouse’s gift, it’s a good idea to open a conversation with them. Try to give your partner the benefit of the doubt; they might just be oblivious to your wishes and expectations. And, should all else fail, ask a mutual friend to suggest ideas for the future.