“Do I Tell Him I Got Him a Christmas Gift?”

Back in early November, I began dating “Jake.” He’s kind, intelligent, and handsome. Because of work travel on both our sides, we’ve only had three dates since meeting. Each has been fun and he’s respectfully romantic. (E.g., he asked if he could kiss me on our second date. And, for what it’s worth, we have not been intimate.)

I bought him a small Christmas gift a little while ago. Here’s the rub: He has not gotten back to my last call almost a week ago; he’s been totally incommunicado for over a week.

I want to at least text him on Christmas and let him know I have a gift for him. (I mean, for real–what would I do with it anyway?) What’s the best way to word it and a plan of action after that? — Respected Romantic

It is the height of the holiday season and the guy you’ve been on a few dates with has left you hanging for a whole week? Girl, you’ve been ghosted. Sure, you could argue he’s busy — we’re all busy this time of year! — but how many seconds does it take to return a call and say as much? He’s probably found someone else to get festive with and if things don’t pan out with her, you might hear from him again before cuffing season hits its peak (at which point you should not reply). As for the small gift you got him that you don’t know what to do with, give it to someone who actually gives you the time of day, donate it, or pass it out to some rando on the street and say, “Merry Christmas!” Whatever you do though, don’t text Jake on Christmas and let him know you have a gift for him. Please don’t.

I’m friends with benefits with “Marla,” whom I’ve developed feelings for. We don’t just have sex — she hangs out, brings her kid, and stays weekends with me. We were FWB for a month, then I got into a relationship for a month, and then we went right back to being FWB when that ended four months ago. I want something more,but she does not. I get her and her kids stuff, and I’ve gotten them gifts for Christmas. She said she would pay me back for them, and I told her not to worry about it since it means more to me than the money.

She is trying to get back on her feet after losing a place and after getting her kids back, and I am helping however I can. I’m happy to do anything she wants me to do. But I’m wondering if I’m just wasting my time because she doesn’t even know if she wants to be in a relationship again even though this past summer she was talking about us being in one. What do you think? — Wasting Time on my FWB?


I’m not sure what you mean by “wasting your time.” Would you consider being kind to your friend — helping her however you can, giving her and her kids gifts, and spending time with her — a waste if your friendship with benefits doesn’t develop into an actual relationship? If so, then yeah: you’re wasting your time, not because I can say for certain that she doesn’t want a relationship with you (it sounds like even she doesn’t know the answer to that); I can say for certain though that if you’d only be kind to someone in hopes your kindness would be repaid with a relationship, the feelings you have of caring for her aren’t authentic. If you truly care for her, you would want the best for her regardless of what she’s able to give you in return and you wouldn’t consider expressions of yourcare to be a waste.

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.


  1. L.W. 1-Sorry this happened. However Wendy is right. …this guy is gone and 3 dates in a month and a half is very low interest or he is just too busy to date. Do not contact him. Merry Christmas.

  2. LW1: no Christmas call. You are not in a relationship. You are not exclusive. You just had 3 dates, a while ago. He would be embarrassed. By the way, he is not respectful and you are not “respected”. He let you in limbo and doesn’t act “romantic”. He should have replied or informed you that he isn’t interested. But it is easier to disappear, letting all options open. Let it go and offer the gift to a friend or relative. Then date again, someone else.
    LW2: Try to adjust your behavior to the relationship you have with this woman, not the relationship you would like to have with her. My advice would be to put that FWB on pause, after the holiday. You want more and she doesn’t. You can only get hurt. By the way, you confused your message in dating someone else in between. Either you are interested or not, be clear with your own feelings.

  3. LW1, Wendy is right: this guy gets neither a message nor a gift. He’s gone. I can relate–I got rudely dumped a week before the guy’s birthday, and I had already bought him a nice and thoughtful gift. But no way could I give it to him! I gave it to a friend, who gladly accepted despite knowing the backstory. I might even have kept it for myself, but I was afraid it would always remind me of him.

  4. Why do I suspect that the gift was bought after the lack of return call so that there would be a “reason” to contact him again? This sounds like something I would have done years ago when I still chased guys that clearly had no interest. He hasn’t called her back almost a week ago, but the gift was bought “a little while ago.” The fact the time frame for the gift buying was left vague makes me think it was after the last call.

    LW1 – think about this for a second… Let’s say you went on three dates with a guy and just weren’t feeling it. You stopped returning his calls/texts, etc. After you thought you were in the clear, he calls you up to say he bought you a gift. Would you suddenly have a change of heart and be like, oh I misjudged this guy! I can’t wait to see him again! Or, would you think he’s a total creep? I think the latter.

  5. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

    “she doesn’t even know if she wants to be in a relationship again even though this past summer she was talking about us being in one”

    She probably knows that she doesn’t want to be in a relationship with you but wants to keep you on hand for help. I’d look elsewhere for romance.

    She also shows poor judgement as a parent. She shouldn’t be bringing her child to spend the weekend with you. When she has her child she should be spending the weekend at her own place with her child. She should have waited at least six months before introducing you to her child. She also lost her kids. Not a good situation. I’d run from this situation, at least as a romantic relationship. Her life is a disaster right now. Help her as a friend if that’s what you want to do but don’t get into a relationship with her and absolutely don’t have an oops baby with her.

  6. dinoceros says:

    LW1: Yikes. Don’t text him and tell him you have a gift for him. The question of what to do with the gift should have come when you were buying a gift for a guy you barely know quite a bit before Christmas. I don’t know what it is, but use it or return it or regift it. “What do I do with the gift?” is not a good enough reason to try to manipulate someone who isn’t interested into seeing you. Next time, don’t buy a gift for someone you’ve been on a couple dates with.

    LW2: I’m also confused about the “wasting your time” thing. So, essentially, you are trying to bribe her to date you? You either empathize and want to help her, or you are trying to give her gifts to convince her to be in a relationship with you. The first is fine. The second is slimy. She’s not interested.

    1. Avatar photo Guy Friday says:

      You either empathize and want to help her, or you are trying to give her gifts to convince her to be in a relationship with you.

      Well, those aren’t the only two options here. I think LW2 chose his words poorly, but I interpreted the question to be “Am I wasting my time constantly giving her financial assistance like I would if we were pursuing something serious when her words say one thing but her actions say another?” I don’t think there’s a uniform financial line for everyone, and I don’t think you’re wrong for holding different people to different standards. Assuming this is her continually asking him for money, I can see him saying “Well, look, I want to help you more, but you’re into me for a lot already, and this is getting a little bit much.”

  7. mellanthe says:

    LW1: take things one date at a time, no matter how promising the prospect. If he doesn’t call, there will be others.

    LW2: if you can’t be platonic with her because of your feelings, then you need to put distance between you, and let her gently know why. It’s selfish to expect people to reciprocate feelings (I’ve been on the unrequited side enough times) but there’s no excuse for any of that ‘friendzone’ malarkey. FWIW that’s why I don’t really believe in FWB (though what people do is their business), In my experience it’s almost always only truly ‘friends’ on one side of the relationship, and someone always gets hurt.

  8. UH, FWB or just a FB? Sounds like a FB on her part. She’s a loser because she is doing it in front of her kid.

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