hubby bad gift giver-i get yelled at fot it!!!!

semantic_spacesAugust 19, 2007

Once again my birthday rolled around last week and time for my husband to pick out something for me. He has no clue what to get me, which I would assume by now he should. In the past years I have gotten the lamest gifts ever and alway am hopeful, I've even resorted to making lists for him to go off of. This yr I couldnt think of any one thing I wanted except a new ipod. Instead I get 2 candles and a dvd concert I probably would not have picked up myself, had I been at Borders. I tried my best "i love it" face but he knows me well enuf to know I was dissapointed yet again. So like every other special occasion i get called an f-ing witch and he slams the bedroom door and goes to bed. So I look like the bad guy left with my cake alone and in tears. what do I do? He knew what I wanted. I told him this time. He said he was in ten different stores and i am sure my face mocked him considering it shouldnt take that long for candles and a dvd.

any comments suggestions?

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Maybe the iPod was over budget....

"He said he was in ten different stores and i am sure my face mocked him considering it shouldnt take that long for candles and a dvd."
Of course mocking his effort didn't help at all!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2007 at 1:36PM
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It's just as important to be a good gift *receiver* as it is to be a good gift giver. Perhaps your attitude tells him that his effort simply isn't good enough. (BTW, it's not your job to determine what his effort's your job to have a good attitude.) If I gave someone a gift and it was never good enough, they wouldn't get anymore gifts from ungrateful attitude is very unbecoming.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2007 at 7:34PM
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Well I can understand you're disappointment...

Better the effort involved in getting the gift, than no gift at all, and no effort involved.

I think its hard for men to buy gifts.

I think he is making it hard for himself by getting annoyed with you about it, and going to lots of different shops to find things. I have done that myself, worked up a frenzy, wandering around the shops looking for gifts.

Now I don't do it, I realized I was a dill getting myself worked up about it all.

Perhaps next gift time, you could plan it better and say, "why don't we go to the shops together, perhaps we could pick out a dress for me, as the gift, and YOU can see if you like it?" Do you think that would work ?

Gifts are so overrated, remember we are all just pawns in the commercialism turmoil.

I think if you changed your attitude to him giving you gifts, and let it go...let it out of your thoughts, and forget about it, you would be a much happier person. And you might find your hubbie would not be so stressed about. Its really not worth getting worked up about is it ?

Happy birthday.


    Bookmark   August 19, 2007 at 10:36PM
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My husband and I finally stopped buying for each other. We are hard to buy for and we buy what we want anyway. We usually just go out to dinner on special days, no gifts. He did always buy roses for me on our anniversary.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2007 at 11:08PM
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Give him a break. (Sorry, I just had to chime in on this one :o)

By now he's petrified that he's going to do the wrong thing AGAIN, and he DID. Instead of setting him up to fail ("He better get it right this time to make up for all of the other times he's screwed up!") and ending up in a screaming match, you need to help him succeed :o)

Women are expert shoppers, know what's to be found in every mall and store and catalog and web site, and notice tons of details about items that most guys are just oblivious to. Many if not most if not all guys hate to shop (other than at Home Depot or for consumer electronics) and have no idea what's out there - so when they go out to a girly store to buy a gift they are immediately overwhelmed and intimidated. And he's not a mind-reader---you can't "assume" that he's picked up on any of your hints, hidden thoughts, or expressed opinions.

Here are some options that have worked for me:

Accept warmly and enthusiastically whatever he has picked out for you himself, wear it/use it conspicuously and proudly, and point it out admiringly to other people when he is around.

Identify a store (mine was a funky handcrafted jewelry gallery) and take him there "just to look" and ooh and aah about all of the items and repeatedly stress, "I'd LOVE just about ANYTHING from this store, it all really matches my taste", and jokingly connect him with a salesperson, as in "If my husband ever comes in here on his own looking for a gift for me, can you take good care of him and help him pick out something great?"

Make a joke about it. "Uh-oh, my birthday is coming up... maybe we need to plan a trip to ??? so I can have a little shopping spree!!!" Then when you get there, ask him what the budget is, pick out a couple of things that you like, and ask him to choose one.

Buy what you want yourself, and tell him, "Honey, I know the last time you bought me a gift, it got a little crazy, and I was feeling bad about that, so when I fell in love with these earrings I thought I would cut you a break this time - all you have to do is wrap them up in this nice paper here!"

Suggest "Instead of spending money on more stuff this year, why don't we check out that new restaurant, or pick up a bottle of that great red we had out in Napa and sit out back and watch the sunset, or get tickets to a concert, or take the day off from work in the middle of the week and hang out together, or... "

Ask for something that's an investment for the two of you in your shared life. For example, "You know what? This is going to sound crazy, but for our anniversary this year why don't we skip the gift-giving and instead finally go for that frameless glass shower door (or whatever) that we've been talking about for years?"

Give him an explicit task (not a hint, not an oblique reference) to buy you something that you know he will enjoy shopping for. I just planted the seed with my husband that maybe for Christmas this year I would like a new computer monitor - like the flat-screen one I saw in the Dell catalog that swivels from horizontal to vertical. He immediately responded that he'd have to do some research and get back to me with some more questions. Could I just go out and buy the monitor myself? Of course. Is it "romantic"? Of course not. But I work from home and I'm on the computer all day, and every time I look up at my cool new monitor I will think of him.

That said, my husband still gets himself in a state before every gift-giving occasion. But it's something we both know is going to happen and we can laugh about it.

If you are lucky enough to be with this guy for awhile, it will become less important that he gives you the "perfect gift" (whatever that is), and you will have instead the gift of years of shared memories. Instead of that earring you immediately lost, or the expensive accessory that you wore twice.

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2007 at 10:20AM
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I would be hurt too. It's not the gift, or how much it cost. It's the message and thought behind it, and frankly, I don't see a lot of thought. So what if he went to 10 stores. He got something that sent this message "I know your birthday and gift is important to you, but I'm still not going to try to find something meaningful or listen to your suggestions."

I don't agree with "men aren't good at buying gifts". Maybe the first few gifts miss the mark, but all it takes is to LISTEN and OBSERVE. If he still doesn't have a good idea, then he can call someone like her mom or a girlfriend and get suggestions. He hasn't even taken that minimum amount of effort, and now has turned around and blamed her for it. Sorry, that is simply not right.

Why do women allow men to get away with stuff like this? Oh, he's not good at cleaning the bathroom, so I just do it. Or, he wouldn't know where to find the pots and pans, so I just cook. He can't take off work to stay home with our sick child, so I do it. (My mother actually thought that I should cook a meal for my husband before I went out with my friends!)

What is even more concerning about your post is "So like every other special occasion i get called an f-ing witch and he slams the bedroom door and goes to bed."

Something is very wrong there. Can you elaborate?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2007 at 12:27PM
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sounds like a big case of passive aggression.

You not only don't get what you want, you get verbally assaulted for not being happy with a "present" any 14-year-old could beat.

Passive-aggressive people love to thwart other people;
getting you something you want, making you happy, would make the experience less fulfilling for him.

which is the reason that you can't get anywhere with a passive-aggressive person.

Get what you want for your birthday & put it on his credit card.

I wish you the best.


ps: If I were in this situation, I'd start my own savings account & consult an attorney & an abused women's center, & the next time he called me a "f**king" anything, I'd be out of there.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2007 at 12:49PM
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Hi everyone,
Can you stand another "what should I do story?" My husband and I have been married 5 years, together 8. He has 5 grown children and 9 grandchildren. I have one son who is mentally ill, seriously, and lives in a home I bought for him a number of years ago.

In any event, my husband kept a secret post office box, where he got his mail. He ran up tens of thousands of dollars in credit debt, and decided to file bankruptcy, this is at least the second time he's done this, maybe three times.

In any event, he has lied to me, I honestly believe he cheated on me, while I took care of his elderly Mother in my home.

When he filed bankruptcy, he used my homes as assets, which they were not. I've owned my home for 18 years, the other home, the little house my disabled son lives in, I've owned for 6+ years.

He doesn't pay any mortgage payments, he has lost everything he had, he sold my new pick up, 32K, and he sold it for 18K, forged the title.

I want to sell my house, and move. I don't know if I want to stay married. I adored my husband, with every part of my being. I have given thousands to his kids, helped them in everyway possible, taken his grandchildren on camping trips, bought their gifts, they are wonderful kids, as well as their parents. With the acception of his daughter, who never calls me unless she wants something.
I've done all the graduation parties, baby showers, you name it.

Now, with my son's illness and my husbands spending problem. All my savings are gone, my beloved ski boat, gone, my brand new camper-gone, my new truck- gone. All I have left is my homes, which are at risk because of him using them as HIS assets.

Our romantic life if almost non-existant, I told him quite bluntly, that if he did not start acting like a husband, I would bring in a "stunt-double" to do the work for him.
He then put out, his comment, "all I have to do to keep you happy is give you a 'jump' two or three times a week."

I read many of the postings, are men that dumb? Our problem is, we give them all that we have to give, and once they've used us up, we're trash.

My previous husband was a wonderful man, good to me, good to my son, excellent employee, we had a wonderful life together. He passes away, so this is all his fault.

I am partially disabled, so I can't work a full- time job until I adjust my education. I did have a position with the California office that I applied for, excellent benefits, wages, etc. I was dismissed from the position because they do not hire you if you have been involved in a bankruptcy. That's how I found out my husband used my homes and income, etc.

After all of this, he started taking credit cards out in his son's name, ran up several thousand dollars in debt, his son who is in college had no idea, I told him, after my husband refused to close the accounts.

I have no idea of what's next. My son would end up in some horrible flop house if I lost his little house. The mentally ill in this country do not have many options, and live on a very small income. His little house at least assures him a decent roof over his head. Plus something to call his own. He can afford to live there and when I die, it will be paid for.

Would you cut your losses and just be rid of someone like this? I had him go to therapy with me, (under the threat of divorce) he went three times and stopped.

I am terribly afraid of losing everything I've worked my entire life for. He's 68 i'm only 51, and have a long way to go yet.

This man, left me 2000 miles away from home, alone in a hospital, just so he could go home and not be nconvenienced, I was terribly ill, my heart would not beat fast enough, they didn't know why, so they kept me, and he left the very day I was admitted. Devotion? I wouldn't have done that to my dog.

He opts to sleep with the poodle, rather than me, I've asked him to put the dog in the other room, so there was room in the bed for me, he refuses.

What would you do? I've talked until I'm blue in the face. It doesn't sink in. He works a part-time job, and is gone everyday, working sometimes, sneaking off to play golf, or whatever other times.

What is your impression? This is just the tip of the iceberg.


    Bookmark   August 20, 2007 at 1:22PM
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Should you stay with him?

only if you want to end up homeless & more abused than you are now.

This guy is stealing from you, & he won't stop until you're utterly destitute.

See an attorney *now*;
you must protect yourself & your son.

A husband listing his wife's assets in a bankruptcy sounds like fraud to me, but if you don't object, the bankruptcy judge might order your homes sold, & then it's all over.

You have to consult an attorney & take action, now.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2007 at 5:38PM
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Borrow a small child, and you will see that even with a limited vocabulary they are able to point and say "I want that". If you say oh thats expensive they whirl around and point to something else and say--"ok--then I want that". This method works in grocery stores, Disneyland and on the beach pointing at rocks and shells. Learn from it.
Go to a jewelry store, or the jewelry section at Costco or Sears, with your husband. Point at something. As Marilyn Monroe used to say --"Jewelry is never the wrong size or color and you can't have too much of it, as long as its real." any pair of earrings is cheaper than an ipod. If you don't like jewelry then try pointing at something you do like that is easy to buy.
My friend got some ties for her husband--he had requested them and then he complained that he never liked the color on one and didn't like the fabric on the other. He couldn't understand why she couldn't pick a simple thing like a tie.
I'm surprised she didn't strangle him with one of them. but my point is--apparently they are not easy to buy.
So make it easy for your husband to buy you stuff. Remember to point out whether your ears are pierced or not, and what kind of backing you like on earrings.
We don't know that your husband is a bad gift giver, but we know you aren't getting what you like, and he is still making an effort. You need to make an effort to help him by being clear each year, and specific. Don't say "he knows" unless you know for sure what kind of tires he has on his car by size and manufacturer. You have seen those lots of times too.
Gift giving is really emotional, but with planning you can ease it for both of you.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2007 at 8:52PM
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Semantic - My ex-DH rarely bought a thing,and then only on the advice of someone else. When marriage was circling the drain he got me a Mother's Day card (unsigned) and a plant. Tore my heart out.

Current DH bought too much, but he didn't realize that I preferred big silver jewelry; bought me dainty gold earrings (He said I deserve gold).

When we got married I told the flower person that I didn't want a bouquet that looked like a head of cauliflower. She came through with a gorgeous bouquet that looked like just picked from the fields. Even that didn't get through to him. He sent me contrived formal flower arrangements for every occasion (which he likes). Took about 15 years to get him to understand that I like wildflowers or bouquets of similar.

I'm more earthy, he's more formal. Always a bone of contention.

Look at the rest of your marriage.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2007 at 9:42PM
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Emily...suggest you start a new posting, you might get more help with your problem.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2007 at 3:34AM
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You know, I think Sylvia has this one nailed. I know she is sometimes "anti-man"(Sorry Sylvia...I agree with you usually, but you come across that way), but here...this guy doesn't say...I'm sorry honey, I really thought you'd like this...NO, he calls her a horribly ugly name, and makes it HER FAULT. Why, because of course it couldn't be his fault could it. NO. And I bet that there are other issues in her marriage where it is NEVER his fault. Guys are not clueless. If they were, we'd never fall for them. They know what to say and do at first. SO if they can do it at first, they can do it again and again. Sure there will be mistakes, but then they can learn. THey're not stupid. Listen to Weed30 there. Sometimes it isn't what is said or done, it is what ISN'T said or ISN'T done. This guy DIDN'T show her love or kindness with her gift. He's not "in shock", not Scared of what to buy her...he doesn't care how she feels, and makes it into HER problem, not his. Listen to Sylvia...she's got it completely right!!!


    Bookmark   August 21, 2007 at 7:49AM
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not anti-man particularly...
anti-bully, yes.
anti-abuse, yes.
anti-aggression, yes.
anti-people-living-in-submission-&-fear, yes.

but the point here isn't me but the poor woman who gets called a filthy name for failing to express gratitude for a "gift" that was specifically chosen for its impersonality & thoughtlessness.

To this guy, her birthday is just a golden opportunity to build up to a grand scene scripted to leave her hurt & disappointed.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2007 at 8:10AM
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Giving gifts is a statement to individual we are giving it to. I have to think, when I buy a gift for someone I care about, even a friend, I think about what would make that person happy, what they can find useful and helpful in their life.

It doesn't take going from "store to store" to find candles and DVD's, you can find that at Target or Wal-Mart. However, you can also find endearing gifts, at these locations as well.

The man was obviously too lazy or uncaring to put thought and effort into what to give his wife.

Yes, I agree we should be gracious no matter what the gift, some cannot afford expensive gifts, so even something simple should be accepted with grace and appreciation.

Now, to call her names, that is just plain demeaning and demoralizing. Wives dedicate so much of themselves to care and raise their families, to provide support and love to husbands, no woman deserves that type of treatment, he gets a huge F- for being that way.

Yesterday was my birthday, I did get a card, nice one too, nothing else. It was evident that my "creep" can spend hundreds of dollars on golf balls, clubs, and all the toys, but could not take the time to buy his wife a gift. They wonder why we become filled with resentment.

Take the gift he did buy you, return it, and get something you really want. Or, I did like the suggestion of telling him, "I want this" when you get him into a store.

I'd also tell him, "shame on you" for name calling, that is childish and immature. You do not deserve that.

I hope he learns something. I'm sure he felt inadequate, men have such "fragile ego's" if we don't build them up on a daily basis, they tend to resent us.

Best of luck!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2007 at 11:33AM
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We have this issue every Christmas, birthday, mothers day and anniversary.... the line I get is well it's not like you need anything so why should I bother to get you something... if you want something just go get what you want when you want it...

The past Christmas I sent him with the 3 children with specific instructions... I NEED a new griddle pan for the kitchen, a new pair of slippers and a sweater acceptable to wear to work, preferably black, cardigan. So... what did I get... a new set of very lovely cookware... now did I indicate I could use new cookware??? no Did I want/need new cookware??? no... but have my 3 children bought and wrapped this and sat here watching me open this package??? and are they expecting me to be excited and want to keep this??? you bet they are...

So I ask him... what was the deal with the cookware? what happened to my griddle, slippers and sweater???? I was sick of being out shopping with the 3 of them... do you have any idea what it's like to take them into a store? (Like I don't take them with me all the time when I go shopping idiot?) So, I decided to get you this because they will send you a $50 gift card and then you can go get your griddle....

For my birthday and mother's day (near each other in time) all 3 children came to me separately and apologized for not having anything and said dad REFUSED to take them to go get anything... now WHY would any father do this to his children??? So, I say to them... it's ok... but do me a favor and remember this with your own spouse and children and please don't do the same thing your dad is doing...

This is the same man who couldn't be bothered to stop in the hospital gift shop to pick up a single flower for my room when I delivered those same children, or when I've been in for surgery.

I know this is the way he is... but it still annoys me to no end.... I just plug along and point out his ignorance on the gift giving to my children and remind them to do better when they are adults...

oh yes... and he doesn't RECEIVE presents well either... no thanks, no enthusiam, no nothing... it's like why did I bother trying to find something I thought you'd like....

I'm convinced it's how he was raised...

    Bookmark   August 22, 2007 at 7:22PM
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Oh, both DH and I are horrible gift givers so we very rarely give each other gifts on birthdays, anniversaries, christmas, etc. Plus when I want something, I just go ahead and get it myself anyway. I think gift giving is entirely tiresome. However we share the passion for traveling, so for my birthday I pick the place for our mini-trip, and vice versa. Or if money is tight, we just gift each other flowers and a card, then dine on homecooked meal prepared together. It's simple, intimate, and something that both of us can really enjoy and share together. To me, that's much better than any kind of wrapped up gifts anyone can give me.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2007 at 3:23PM
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Hi... i've posted my story on the stepfamily forum- am currently breaking up with BF after 13 months- came to realization that he is a controlling person. Just posting here to vent about his terrible gift giving. Some of this may be selfish of me:

Birthday - his daughter's birthday was 2 weeks before mine. For her birthday, he told ex he would pay for the party ($300). Ex bought snacks for the kids (?$50)We went together to get her birthday presents- he picked out at least 5 or more outfits for her, wanted to make sure she had lots of gifts to open (his own words), spent $150? My birthday two weeks later: I got flowers sent to my work. Got home, he gave me a birthday card, handed me a small box & said "Sorry, I kinda ran out of money, but I wanted to make sure you had something to open". Inside the box was a decorative coin jar, the lid had a baker figurine, and the jar was titled "Extra Dough". I was very disappointed, but hid it. He explained that since cooking together was a thing that we liked to do together, he thought it would be cute. Then took me out to dinner at a really nice steakhouse (I don't eat meat except for seafood- which they had), and given his money comment, I was very budget conscious that night.
I tried to let go of if, but it kept eating away at me so a few days later I brought it up that I felt he didn't place much importance on my birthday - compared it to how he basically spared no expense for his daughter (didn't ask ex to split cost), but then when it came to my birthday it was "sorry, i ran out of money". Wanted to make sure she had lots of presents to open, but got me a coin jar!
He then told me I was wrong for making him feel bad about spending money on his daughter. He told me that he could have chosen not to take me out to an expensive dinner, and not to get me flowers. I just felt that he could have budgeted better - knowing he had two birthdays, he could have asked ex to split the party costs, but chose not to (another issue that always came up).

1st Anniversary - relationship was already on the rocks. The week before, I mentioned I was thinking of buying myself some jewelry (had some gift cards to use). He didn't want me to, said that he was thinking of doing something nice for our anniversary and buying me a necklace to match a ring that I have. I said he should do that if it's what he wants to do - me buying a necklace for myself would not be as meaningful as something from him, and that besides I hadn't bought anything with the gift cards yet, and might still choose to buy something else. I didn't have much enthusiasm when discussing the anniversary, but since he brought it up, after that i kept bringing it up - asking him what he would like - should we go out for dinner, cook a special meal, etc - he said we'll play it by ear & never made any definite plans although I kept bringing it up. Day of our anniversary, he said "happy anniversary" in the morning. We met up after work. I had my gifts and card laid out for him on the bed. He got me nothing. I was furious and hurt. Even afterwards, he didn't make it up by planning something for us, or even getting me a card or a gift. His reason - he didn't think I was very interested in celebrating b/c I didn't seem very excited about it so he didn't plan anything (true I wasn't all energetic & excited, but I did get him card & gift b/c I thought it was the right thing to do), and he didn't "want to be the jerk who shows up with a present" when the other person doesn't (so I was the jerk?), and that he never made it up afterwards because I made him feel so bad about it.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2007 at 1:17PM
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"he never made it up afterwards because I made him feel so bad about it."

same kind of thing OP was talking about, & a common tactic of abusers:

blame your victim for your own behavior.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2007 at 9:29PM
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Not excusing OP's husband's outburst....but, Jeez! Sure am glad I'm not married to any of you score-keepers! Seems to me there's enough self-centered insensitivity here to spread deeply on a broad surface.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2007 at 10:02PM
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Oh, I don't think it's "self-centered insensitivity" or "scorekeeping" to want your partner to treat you like you matter.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 7:29PM
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"Oh, I don't think it's "self-centered insensitivity" or "scorekeeping" to want your partner to treat you like you matter."

........or to be provided with what you want when you want it....which is what OP described. Goods and ceremony, appropriate and on-cue. After the failure, merely a contest of who insults the other and storms off first.

Not defending husband's behavior. However, seems to me there's enough bad behavior to go around in this deal. There are two people there want to feel like they matter. And I suspect there's quite a bit more to the story. Don't know. Just saying how it feels to me based on reading OP and responses.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 11:29PM
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This really doesn't sound like it's about the issue at hand. The feelings and responses you've described make it pretty clear that your real issues go much deeper than the incident itself - the incident just gave the deeper stuff a place to come out. When there's ongoing disharmony in a marriage, it's almost never 100% the fault of one person...both contribute in some way. Labelling your husband as "bad" at something and being critical of him may be easier in the short run, but in the long run it is not going to get either of you closer to what's really going on in your marriage. That will require hard soul-searching and a willingness to discover what you're each contributing to the problem. Not easy at all, I know, but probably the only path to real, deep change. Best of luck to you.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2007 at 12:34PM
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We never "gift" one another, Christmas is for the kids and our parents, his birthday is 2 days after his moms, mine is right after Christmas, mothers day is a few days before my youngest's Birthday. We just found it easier on one another and if there is something we want we tell one another and then go get it (mine is usually another plant anyway, and he would have no idea which ones I don't have) We do other things for each other on special occassions.
I would tell a spouse if I was tired of crappy gifts to just give me a card and money. I know the feeling of getting bad gifts but it has always been from my in-laws, you grin as big as you can thinking what in the world am I going to do with ANOTHER Christmas sweater with plastic trees and presents hanging off of it?? (and yes I also got earrings that were christmas trees) Or the year I got the lovely leggings with gold snowflakes on them with the matching sweater with a giant snowflake on the front for my birthday (you just had to see me in that one, hubby rolled on the bed laughing) but it was the thought that counted and I always wear every outfit or piece of jewelry once in their presence before I found a better place for the items. When they ask now what we want we just come out and tell them money or gift cards, it kind of works, we get that as well as some of the more "interesting" gifts, so I really can't complain, plus it gives us each a good laugh as we model the clothes for one another (hubby got a pink dress shirt last year... he has red hair,lol!)
The name calling though, no way would I put up with that, even if there is other things going on, that is just so disrespectful.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2007 at 12:26AM
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