Your Turn: “He Didn’t Get Me Anything for Valentine’s Day”

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In a feature I call “Your Turn,” in which you, the readers, get to answer the question, I’m presenting the following letter without commentary from me:

My boyfriend and I have been together for about a year now, and we could not be any happier. We’ve been through a lot, and I have never been closer with anyone. There’s just one thing that seems to bother me. He’s a war veteran and had some accidents that have dissuaded him from driving. I’m the one doing the driving in our relationship. I recently moved back in with my parents, which is an hour away from him, and I have constantly been driving back and forth.

I’ve been patient and have encouraged him, and we are onto baby steps. However, I was promoted and now work a lot more than he does and at a higher pay. So I find myself splitting the tab with him all the time, which I guess is my own fault because I offer to pay half, but sometimes a girl just wants a guy to refuse, you know? On top of that, I pay for gas and buy him small little gifts every once in a while because it makes me happy surprising him. But on Valentines Day last week, I told myself not to spend much because I overspent on our first Christmas together, so I made him brownies and a card. He was so happy, but I didn’t even get a card, which is all I really wanted.

I know he loves me, and I have no intention of leaving him, but I’m sick of getting stressed out over my own money and the Valentines Day situation just kind of left me feeling a little down. And as close as we are, I don’t know how to address this to him without seeming unappreciative for the daily things that he does do for me. — Tired of the Driver’s Seat


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


  1. kerrycontrary says:

    It sucks to feel like you are putting in unequal amounts of effort in a relationship. I’m going to trust that your boyfriend does do a lot of stuff for you that you are appreciative of, so I would suggest you address this situation from a practical standpoint rather than an emotional one. 1) Bring up that you are sad that he didn’t get you anything for Valentines day. Maybe he didn’t know you were expecting or really wanted anything. Make your needs known before holidays so you won’t be disappointed. Most people can’t read your mind 2) Yes it sucks that you have to drive all the time. I had to do a lot of driving when starting an LDR with my current boyfriend just due to our schedules. But, it’s not fair that you are always paying for gas and dinners for you to spend time together. Your boyfriend should at least pay for your gas to come see him every other time. Or pay for dinners while you pay for gas. And if you want him to pay for dinners, then tell him! It sounds like you need to learn how to communicate better.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      I get the argument about making your needs known and saying you have to speak up for what you want, I really do.
      But at what point do you stop putting the blame on the disappointed party and just say your bf should’ve cared enough about you to ask on his own whether you would like to exchange gifts for valentines day/bday/christmas, or you know, just be a normal person and get your significant other a box of chocolates bc who doesn’t appreciate a small token gift?

      1. kerrycontrary says:

        Yeh I agree. They BOTH need to communicate better in that case.

      2. 6napkinburger says:


        I totally agree about the communication regarding money, driving, expectations, etc. But it is NOT unreasonable for an American girl in a year-long relationship with an American boy to expect SOMETHING for Valentine’s day, be it a card (homemade or storebought), flowers (a single daisy or a dozen roses), chocolates (Russell Stover 4 pack [approx 2.99] or Godiva), little stuffed animal, homemade dinner, etc. There is an expectation of doing SOMETHING for valentine’s day, even if it’s a “fake” holiday. Unless they had had a convo where they decided NOT to do anything for Valentine’s day, he dropped the ball. And she has a “right” to be disappointed about it, without having to feel responsible for “not letting him know” what she expected (i.e. anything).

      3. “But it is NOT unreasonable for an American girl in a year-long relationship with an American boy to expect SOMETHING for Valentine’s day”

        Word… it’s like all that hard work by the people at Hallmark has been for NOTHING!

      4. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        You’re funny. 🙂

    2. kerrycontrary says:

      Also, I’m amazed at how much controversy/strife Valentines Day can cause couples. It seems like it brings any relationship issues out in the open.

  2. Sunshine Brite says:

    I’m confused… “onto baby steps” with what? Regardless, it doesn’t sound like you’ve had a thorough conversation about any of this with him. Use lots of “I” statements and about he he he. Figure out your expectations first and go from there.

    1. kerrycontrary says:

      I think she’s talking about baby steps of getting him to be comfortable driving.

      1. Sunshine Brite says:

        Ah thank you, I suppose it’s just another view, but I think that it’s more than baby steps if he’s driving at all even if it’s just errands right now. If the war veteran comment is meant to indicate some level of PTSD then honking or fender benders could trigger trauma reactions in ways that don’t necessarily seem logical.

        Plus, if he’s had multiple accidents already then it’s not out of the question to have an arrangement where she does the driving and he repays for gas. He shouldn’t be doing unnecessary driving if he’s unsafe on the road.

      2. “He shouldn’t be doing unnecessary driving if he’s unsafe on the road.”

        I disagree. He shouldn’t be doing *any* driving if he’s unsafe on the road.

  3. LW, if you have expectations of your boyfriend, it’s only fair that he knows what they are. TALK to him next time about what you’re doing for Valentine’s Day. My husband and I talk about it every year to make sure we’re on the same page (cards, flowers for me, candy for him). We do the same at Christmas. We set a limit on how much we’re going to spend on gifts, and we leave it at that. Also, about paying when you go out… You’ve been dating for a year. There is NO reason why you should expect him to pay for you, unless it’s a special night, like your birthday or something.

    I know a lot of people here have suggested learning what your “Love Language” is, and it sounds to me like you and your boyfriend have different love languages. You should take this quiz, and then think about what your boyfriend’s love language is, and maybe that might help you guys understand eachother a little more.

    1. GatorGirl says:

      This is almost exactly what I was going to type!!

      1. What Bethany said! I was going to say the same thing! It sounds like you’re just on different pages with how you show love. If you talk to him about that, you may not even have to talk about the other stuff in your letter. It sounds like you just need a bit of clarification and more open communication with him.

  4. sarolabelle says:

    You can’t get what you want if you don’t let him know what you want. At least give him the chance to make you happy.

    I also talk about Valentine’s day every single year with my now husband. He is already trying to ask me about my birthday in 6 weeks. We have already made the plans for his birthday in August! haha!

  5. artsygirl says:

    LW – Part of this can be put down differences in love language, but I think at the heart of this letter is that you are frustrated and feel that he taking you for granted. I can overlook the driving (after all there is a legitimate reason for his phobia). I can understand the lack of spontaneous romantic mementos and small gifts. I can kinda understand the splitting of the restaurant bills (though he should be ponying up cash for gas no question). But seriously, he didn’t even bother to get you a Valentine’s Day card? Did he give any excuse? Did you surprised him and he had not expected to see you on that day? Has he been living in a cave and therefore missed the massive advertising blitz that is Valentine’s Day marketing? No matter, you need to talk to him and explain what you said in this letter.

  6. It sounds like two issues to me – the driving and that you want him to buy you dinner and reciprocate with the gift giving. For the driving if he has had accidents – plural – then it sounds like he has a good reason not to drive. If there is public transportation then maybe he can take that but if not I think the driving issue is going to be one of those things you accept or don’t. For the gifts – you say you like giving gifts. That doesn’t mean he does though. He may like doing the small every day things for you instead. That doesn’t make him worse. Just different. So focus on what he actually does. Not on what you want him to do. And for small things tell him what you need. If you want a card on valentines day – then tell him.
    As for a girl likes for the guy to pay once in a while – change what you are doing now from splitting the bill to taking turns paying. If you want a guy to wine and dine you because you’re the girl …then you are with the wrong guy…and the wrong era. is this some sort of throw back thing?
    To recap: Splitting the bill is fair. The gifts you buy are because you want to – he does other things. And the traveling you do seems valid given there is a reason he doesn’t drive. I think you sign on to people as they are. Not how you would have them be.

    1. you said this a lot nicer then i would have. WFS.

    2. What bugged me about the splitting the bill thing is that she says she offers to split it, and is sad that he doesn’t refuse or insist on paying himself.

      Maybe it’s just me, but I really hate the Who’s Paying the Check song-and-dance. And I especially hate that anyone would expect an offer of “I’ll split the bill” to be interpreted as super-secret code language for “but I hope you will insist on paying it yourself.”

      I realize there’s etiquette to all of this but seriously, this idea of saying the opposite of what you really mean and hoping the other person will read between the lines and figure out what you actually want… UGH. That kind of game playing is just stupid.

  7. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

    You can’t expect him to read your mind. It’s really unfair to your boyfriend if you don’t make your wishes clear and then get upset when he doesn’t fulfill them. It just sets him up for failure. So talk to him- tell him you’re going broke from the gas and could he chip in? Or tell him that sometimes you would like him to treat you the same way he did when you first started dating or whatever it is that you want. Don’t make this conversation bigger in your mind than it is because its not a one time deal. In long, healthy, committed relationships you need to have conversations about your wants/needs as frequently as they change. A compliment sandwich is always good, check your tone and go for it. And do it again and again in the future.

  8. The short answer to this, like everyone else said, is: Communication. You wrote an entire letter, LW—I’m ~positive~ that you can think of a way to bring up your concerns to this man (without sounding “unappreciative”)

    Now, in regard to everything else you’ve mentioned…I’ll start with Valentine’s Day. I think it’s always good for couples to check in with each other about a week before some holiday, no matter how long or short of a time you’ve been dating. “Oh, so Valentine’s Day is already next week! What’s the deal gonna be, you want to do anything?” OR, if you know that you DO want to do something: “Let’s go to dinner. Maybe you could get me a little something? I’m planning to bake for you.”

    Yeah, yeah, I know it’s “unromantic” (actually, I don’t—I think it’s fine, but maybe that’s because I hate surprises?) but it prevents all of, um, this. “I’m disappointed that he didn’t even get me a card!” I mean, first of all, does he not drive at ALL? How would he even have gotten you a card? (Maybe that’s a lame excuse, I dunno. Just throwing it out there!)

    And speaking of the driving thing—look, if he’s not comfortable driving, then he probably *shouldn’t* be driving? In my last relationship, I did all the driving because my ex was a TERRIBLE driver who was clearly uncomfortable on the road (which, in turn, made ME uncomfortable as a passenger with him). So any time I had the urge to be all, “you know what, why don’t YOU DRIVE THIS TIME! I’M SICK OF IT, DAMMIT” I would sorely regret it about 2 minutes into the trip. (Sometimes, I’d get so frustrated that we would pull over in the middle to switch places. Yeah.)

    So anyway, weigh your doing-all-the-driving-exhaustion against your desire to see him as much as you do. And then pick one. Are you sick of driving? Then stop seeing him so often. OR are you sick of driving, buuuut feel it’s worth it to see him ____days of the week? If it’s the latter, then just do it without nurturing whatever resentment crops up.

    As for the dinners conundrum, eh, not liking your general attitude. You admit you get paid more, so splitting makes sense, right? Is the gas and paying for half of your outings actually hitting you sooo hard financially, or is it just that you have a sense of “wrongness” because you feel the man in the relationship should be offering more? I’d look into that if I were you.

  9. SweetPeaG says:

    I know that people aren’t mind readers. However… what guy doesn’t understand that his girlfriend of a year doesn’t want some small token on Valentine’s Day? All she wanted for was a card. He could have hand-made it, for God’s sake. Even if he happened to forget what day it is (which is fine), he could have apologized and made up for it later. I don’t think a conversation even needed to take place beforehand. Seriously. Put a little effort in. Stop being lazy. I don’t like excuses when it comes to this stuff. Money doesn’t need to be spent to make your significant other feel special. Even if you think it is a lame holiday… suck it up. When she showed up with brownies and a card, didn’t he even feel bad?

    Sorry LW… he seems like a bit of a dope. But, if he is a dope you think is worth hanging onto, just tell him straight out “Look honey, I know you are low on cash. I am not expecting much. But, it makes me feel a little sad when I don’t get acknowledged on certain holidays. Maybe it is lame, but it matters to me. So, can it matter to you?” See how he responds to that. You have to be able to talk to the person you’re in a relationship with.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      Yes! I missed this when I skimmed the comments. Totally agree.

      1. 6napkinburger says:

        Same. Totes agree.

        Yes, I said totes.

      2. Look, if I have to give up “hubby” for the multiple people on this site who can’t stand that word, then I demand that “totes” be scrubbed from your vocabulary as well. And “adorbs.” I’m actually not sure which one I hate more.

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        Adorbs is worse, by far. The absolute worst? Amazeballs. Pains me even to type it.

      4. It made my LOL the first few times I heard it, mostly because it has the word Balls in it. Heheheh.

        People use words like totally, completely, seriously, actually, really, very, etc. WAY too much anyway. The words have lost all real meaning; they are just accessory adverbs we stick into sentences arbitrarily because it sounds good to our ears, not because it contributes any value to the meaning of the sentence.

        I realize I’m a writer and an English degree holder, so this bugs me more than most, and I try not to lecture people on it. I’m guilty, too, of course.

        You guys wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve edited a comment because I realized I used hubby and I knew that’s *all* anyone would be able to see out of a 3-paragraph comment. BE GRATEFUL FOR ALL MY SELF-CENSORSHIP ON YOUR BEHALF, HUBBY-HATERS. 🙂

      5. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Thank you! I also hate it when people say “thank you soooooo much,” when “thank you” is prefect. Because usually it’s dumb little stuff.

        Girl 1: Could I get some ketchup?
        Watier: Here you go.
        Girl 1: Thank you sooooooo much.

        I’m guilty of this sometimes. It’s particularly annoying in that “girl” speak – is there a name for that??? I saw a documentary on speech that discussed this trend – monotone and over-stressing syllables and ending with intonations…. what the hell is that calle? We all know it when we hear it.

      6. lets_be_honest says:

        You are so on point in your 2nd paragraph. Also, the word decidedly? Useless.

      7. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        When I think “adorbs” “amazeballs” and “totes”, I think IWANNA!!

      8. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Ha that’s so funny I was thinking the same thing and getting ashamed. Although I’ve never said adorbs and totes because they don’t make sense to me. But I am guilty of amazeballs. And I say “totally” way too much. And like. And clearly – like “Clearly she’s an asshole” or “clearly she’s the opposite of a good time”. BAH.

        KKZ I will totally work on my language because you have been so gracious about the H word. You have no idea how much I appreciate it.

      9. lets_be_honest says:

        See folks. Give and take. That’s how good relationships work ::)

      10. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Agreed, what else can we do to encourage others to stop using the H bomb too?

      11. I think things like totes and amazeballs can be funny when it’s clear you’re saying it with some sort of satire/sarcasm.

        For another example, despite living very close to Kentucky, “y’all” is not part of my normal vocabulary. On the rare occasions I do use it, it’s very intentional and said for effect. Not always sarcastic, but sometimes just because it sounds better (at least to most southern Ohioan ears) – as in, Y’all can keep your Taylor Swift, I’ve got dubstep.

        And though it makes my ears bleed to hear/read them, Totes and Adorbs, etc., also have their place. But in my opinion, they should NOT be part of anyone’s normal vocabulary or writing style. Unless you really, really like sounding twee.

        Clearly, and decidedly – these are words for emphasis that I think are quite useful in the written form [hmm, there’s my habit, I say ‘quite’ and ‘a bit’ a lot.] because they convey what we might otherwise convey with vocal cues in speech.

        I’m not totally against all adverbs, of course. They add flavor and panache to our vocabulary and help convey meaning more accurately. It when they are used carelessly or as “filler” language that I moan about the state of our language and kids these days. That’s when I have to remind myself that the wonderful (annoying) thing about language is that it’s always changing and evolving, and in the end, our words for things and our rules for using those words are completely arbitrary.

        The Reformed Grammar Nazi

      12. 6napkinburger says:

        Actually so.

      13. I say “totes” AND “adorbs”. Usually together, as in, OMG my titty tat is TOTES ADORBS!

      14. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        You know what I also dislike? The word “amazing”. I mean, the word is fine, it’s just I hate how it’s used, in that it’s wayyyyy overused. I hate it especially when it’s used in that annoying Kardashian-way of speaking – what the hell do you call that “girl” way of talking?

        Girl 1: This shirt was half off.
        Girl 2: Oh my god that’s amaaaazing.

        Really? Is it … a m a’ z i n g? Discounts at the Gap are not “amazing.”

        Girl 3: I just worked out.
        Girl 4: You are so amazing.


      15. Are you thinking of “vocal fry”? Not sure if it’s the same thing.

      16. Also, yes. “Amazing”—especially when it’s all drawn out. “Oh my god, that’s ah-mayyyyy-zing”

      17. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Discounts at Gap aren’t amazing?! This is news to me. I love being able to afford clothes I normally can’t.

    2. Valentines Day just doesn’t mean anything to some people. There are people VEX at Hallmark over the day and the pressure it brings. So someone not doing anything for it is not that odd…especially if he is the “do nice things every day” type vs. one day a year I’ll be thoughtful.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        People who dislike Valentines Day generally let that be known, so if someone hasn’t mentioned they think its a dumb holiday, is it really that hard to presume maybe I’ll be thoughtful and grab a card?
        ‘Jim, go to Walgreens, get a card and then stop at the florist and get me flowers.’ Sounds romantic! I’d love to get a card and flowers that way…not. (look Addie, I’m bringing NOT back)

      2. thats probably true, maybe, but with the general communication-lacking that this LW and the relationship in general has, it wouldnt surprise me that she would either not know or simply ignore it if he did say something…

      3. If you don’t care about it – would you go on a rant about it? I’m not a card and flowers on Valentines Day girl. It’s pretty well the ONE day I don’t want your overpriced flowers. And I told my husband that.
        I think a conversation at the end of January to say “Jim just so you know I’m the kind of girl that needs some acknowledgement Feb 14. A card, some flowers, chocolates – nothing big – but something that comes with a red heart on it.And if you want some baked goods or something sweet let me know because I’ll be all over that.”

      4. lets_be_honest says:

        I feel like people who don’t like valentines day do rant about it, or at least say something about thinking its dumb. Like you said, you told your husband that. I just feel like unless you hear otherwise, its best to get something.

      5. Oh don’t get it twisted I told my husband no flowers. I didn’t say anything about jewelry. 🙂
        But this year I told him lets not do gifts. He was on board and we just went for a nice dinner instead.

      6. I would argue that it is a very different conversation from a husband versus a boyfriend. Like, My husband and I have the same bank account and it is the same money. So we cut off the flowers and try to keep it low key. But when we were frist dating and didn’t “have” me yet, there were flowers on my desk at the office. This guy is not putting in the effort.

      7. Exactly – I need a little E for EFFORT!

      8. But you can put in effort by doing other things. For what it’s worth I told boyfriends no flowers or teddy bears on Valentines Day too ever since I had a boyfriend buy me some rainbow bright teddy bear that I had no idea what to do with. Effort should be every day.

      9. thank you! why do we, as american women, care so much about ….what, 4 days of the year? (valentines, christmas, your birthday, anniversary) and ignore the rest of the year?

        the LW says that her boyfriend does “daily things” for her- those dont mean anything because they werent on any of those special days?

      10. lets_be_honest says:

        I think this is going off to the extreme.
        Yes, of course effort should be every day. And seeing as how she’s still with him and says they’re great and mentions that he does daily things, she probably does think they are special and probably does appreciate them.

        Wanting your partner to acknowledge you on V Day or B day doesn’t = every other special or sweet thing he’s ever done means nothing.

      11. That’s fine but I think it’s wrong to punish the guy for an uncommunicated expectation. So if you want a candy heart then say so. Otherwise be grateful he clears the snow off your car.

      12. lets_be_honest says:

        I wouldn’t punish him either! But I still think she shouldn’t have had to say she expected something on V Day.
        You can be grateful for the snow clearing and still expect the slightest acknowledgement of what is basically a national holiday where everyone in America either assumes their SO will get them a little something or has said they do not celebrate V Day. Its not unreasonable, imo. And I’d never specifically lay out that I expect something.
        Its a given that your gf expects something, even if its literally 1 hershey kiss. Its not a given they she doesn’t want anything.

      13. but it is a cultural expectation. If you are from this country and are part of mainstream culture then it is expected unless otherwise noted.

      14. See…I don’t agree. Everyone is different. Just on this site how many husbands are like ” birthday? Say again?” Or did nothing for Valentines Day? Or forget and bought gas station flowers on the way home? It’s all about assuming someone will meet your expectations and being disappointed when they don’t. Not everyone thinks like you. My husband didn’t even know there was even such a thing as a push present…, whereas my friend is outraged OUTRAGED at the thought of anyone not knowing.
        Even if one accepts celebrating Valentines Day is universal… Valentines day is about love…not gifts… Not everyone feels love should be expressed as a gift and if you expect a gift to be the expression of love you receive…then say so.

      15. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        I agree 1000% with everything you just said Firestar. When did love = gifts? And I wholeheartedly disagree that it is known that you MUST buy a gift for VD.

      16. lets_be_honest says:

        When I keep referring to “something” I don’t mean a gift of monetary value. There are plenty of things you can do for free for someone.

      17. Katie; what is with all the ‘american women/men’ talk if you do not mind me asking? What does countries/nationalities have to do with it. I am sure there are plenty of people all over the world who want/expect gifts for certain occassions. I am sure it is not “just an american” thing.

      18. its just my own experience- and ill freely admit that i dont know many/if any people from other countries well.

      19. 6napkinburger says:

        I kept using it because I have ZERO idea whether Valentine’s day is a thing in other countries, whether there is an expectation of presents/cards/flowers/chocolates the way there is in the US, whether there is a cliched trope about guys forgetting it is valentine’s day and scrambling at the last minute to get said present/card/flowers/chocolates. I wasn’t excluding other countries; I was just not including them in my generalization.

      20. That is like saying “I only go to church once a month” but since I don’t go everyday that I don’t believe enough. You can love each other everyday and make sure you really take the time a few times a year.

      21. I agree Firestar – but if effort is required everyday, then Feb 14 should be no different.

      22. Agreed! But we know he didn’t do anything special…not that he wasn’t a good boyfriend that day doing the things he normally does.
        I dunno ladies…what is the downside of just saying what you expect/want? Especially since Christmas didn’t go her way? So what? You are going to do the same thing again by not communicating your expectations and expect a different result? Didn’t Einstein have something to say about that?

      23. lets_be_honest says:

        I mean, yea, at the end of the day, the obvious solution is to use your voice, say you were disappointed. I just think saying you want something takes the fun out of it, but if you end up with nothing, then there’s no fun to begin with.

      24. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        I had an epiphany on Valentines day this year. I felt like I left my body and was watching everyone in target from above. There was about 14 people in the card isle at about 4pm that day. I was there picking up just random shit (lets be honest probably clothes, sunglasses, and everything else that makes me unable to ever leave target without spending $100) and EVERYONE was doing the exact same things. Guys standing there at the last minute looking pathetic and picking out cards and flowers. HOW IS THAT ROMANTIC PEOPLE?! When everyone else is doing the same fucking lame ass thing. It’s so required at this point is just all bullshit. They looked like wax people you would play with on your town rug thing you had when you were a kid with little ticky tacky cars. Just a fucking assembly line of people spending money on overpriced flowers just so someone felt appreciated. I WOULD NOT have felt appreciated in that way.

        Rant somewhat over. Unless someone tries to argue with me that valentines day is all about love. Then I’ll continue my rant.


        i had the same target experience 2 days before valentines- only it was women buying red velvet cake mix (literally, only the red velvet kind). i was looking for frying oil, it was a total clusterfuck down the baking aisle.

        thats not romantic. you know what is romantic? being a good partner every day of the year. thats romantic.

      26. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Fucking red velvet – how original. You know what I think’s romantic? Filling my car up with gas so I don’t have to. Coming home to a clean house. Letting me watching real housewives of beverly hills without talking shit about it. Those things are romantic.

        I forgot I had this other really great point during my epiphany: Valentine’s day is similar to paying taxes in my head. You just have to write a $50 check to the love gods so that they can tell you you’re being a good bf/gf. BAH. I hate it.

      27. lets_be_honest says:

        See, but you and Iwanna’s SOs probably know you think V Day is dumb, right?

      28. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        I CALL BULLSHIT! Iwanna, confess: you’d be pissed if your husband didn’t do anything, amirite? amirite?? (Just being difficult here.)

      29. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Ha he didn’t do anything. Really. Him and Sampson ended up taking a nap at 7 that night. It was super romantic. But I got the SWEETEST shoes ever that trust me I will be taking a picture of the day they arrive.

      30. GatorGirl says:

        My fiance shaped my breakfast potatoes like a heart and I bought him new dress socks. That was out Valentines. Oh, and he worked and I had dinner with his friend and the friends girlfriend. I was happy as a clam.

        It’s not special if you “have” to do it. It’s special when you go out of your way on a random Tuesday to get my fav bottle of wine and give me a foot rub. Not when you give me a generic card and candy (which I don’t even eat).

      31. lets_be_honest says:

        Why can’t both be special though?

      32. GatorGirl says:

        They can be, if they are to YOU. But a generic card I’m going to throw away and candy I don’t eat (because I don’t like candy) mean nothing to me. Heart shaped breakfast potatos- now that is the way to this girls heart.

      33. lets_be_honest says:

        Well obviously if you don’t like candy, you’re not going to want it and if you don’t like V Day, then you won’t care if you get nothing. You got something you wanted, and appreciated and enjoyed it bc your fiance was doing something thoughtful. I find it hard to believe that anyone would not like their SO to be thoughtful, on V Day or any day. Its the whole ‘the thought that counts.’
        I don’t know why being thoughtful on your own is too much to ask for. You don’t have to be a mindreader to be a thoughtful human being.

      34. GatorGirl says:

        I really didn’t want anything. I would have appreciated it if he had done something or bought me a gift…but I’d honestly rather he didn’t spend the money.

        The only thing I “want” for Valentines, and I’ve said this since we started dating, was to spend time together.

      35. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Wait you don’t eat candy at all or just gross valentines day candy? Ethan loves candy so I did get him sour patch kids, skittles, and worms that day. Which was special. But nothing overprices and in a stupid heart shaped box.

      36. GatorGirl says:

        I don’t really like anything sweet other than ice cream. Chocolate, cakes, candies…I’m prefectly fine with out. But ice cream? I love ice cream. (And ice cream cakes are mandatory for my birthday)

        Also, I love carbs and salt. I’m weird.

      37. lets_be_honest says:

        I’ll take fries over sweets any day. Mmm Salt! Carbs! Yes!

      38. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Me too on the potato chips over sweets. But I will cut you for M&M’s. Fancy chocolates are gross. So is all candy – like the traditional starbursts and stuff. But mmm m&m’s and chips and cheese.

      39. My husband went to the gym and I watched How I Met Your Mother. It was pretty enjoyable for me 🙂

      40. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Agreed! … Yet, let’s be honest, we all want to feel extra loved on Valentine’s Day. Not just the regular love you feel on regular days. So, what’s a guy supposed to do? Especially if that guy is not a super creative type? See? We are all destined for disappointment. Blerg.

      41. Town rug and ticky tacky cars? Does everyone else know what this is? I am starting to feel like maybe my childhood was deprived of something awesome because I have no idea what you’re talking about.

        Somewhat related, did anyone else have Pipeworks? Whenever I mention them to people they look at my like I’m nuts, but some of my favorite childhood memories revolve around Pipeworks.

      42. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        She crew up in Canada, ay! Because clearly if she had grown up in southern Missouri, she would have said: hand-me-down my-little-ponies on a plush Saxony carpet

      43. Ah! So it’s a Canadian thing. I should have known.

      44. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Remember? It was like a rug that had a town painted on it and you could take those cars and drive it around on the streets? You might have been able to build bridges on it too I can’t remember. But it was like a little bit bigger than the size of a coffee table. And it went on the floor. And you played with it. With cars, haha. That’s the only way I know how to describe it. But yeah maybe it’s a canadian thing.

      45. GatorGirl says:

        I had a town rug 🙂

      46. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        I’ve never heard of a town rug – but now I want one!

      47. I feel like maybe I’ve seen them at doctors and dentist offices in the waiting areas.

      48. SweetPeaG says:

        People usually have a good idea of their significant other that they have been with for a year. This guy must have some hint whether or not his girlfriends is “into” holidays. And you know what? Even if you think Valentine’s Day is lame, the LW has every right to have it matter to her.

        Personally, my fiance and I are very considerate of each other. We do many nice things for each other on a daily basis. But, I don’t care. I enjoy having the extra excuse to be extra sweet to each other. I don’t give a crap if it is lame, cheesy, or plastic to other people. I absolutely loved ordering Chinese food delivery (which we don’t often do, since we are trying to save) and cuddling on the couch. We did it because of the made up holiday… so I am cool with made up holidays. And my overpriced flowers are cheering up our dining room table. Here’s to made up holidays!

        It is obviously very valid to not like these holidays. But, it is also valid if you do.

      49. SweetPeaG says:

        And for the record, he also gets me “overpriced flowers” just when he knows I’m having a bad day. Because he’s awesome.

      50. She can have it matter to her but if she doesn’t talk to him about that then she has no right to be upset he didn’t read her mind. It’s great you and your bf are on the same page but not everyone automatically is.

      51. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:


      52. SweetPeaG says:

        Well, I still don’t buy that he had NO idea. He must know her personality a little bit. But, even after he got the brownies and card from her, I would think he’d be like “Oh crap… maybe I should have thought about her! She put this effort in for me!” And done something special to make her feel special.

      53. Avatar photo sobriquet says:

        Ha, this reminds me of my boyfriend’s brother this Valentine’s Day. He and his fiance just kind of decided a few days before the holiday that they would exchange gifts. The day of, he ran to the store in an effort to find something. It turns out that she hadn’t bought anything for him yet, either. It seemed so ridiculous! What is the point of exchanging gifts if neither of you care to put thought into it? There’s no shame in just exchanging thoughtful cards.

      54. Valentines Day is a litmus test. It is a state of the union for your relationship. There are ads online, on the tv, on the radio, on billboards, coming in the mail (My husband got mail from Helzberg diamonds, coach, tiffanys, victoria’s secret, Ann Taylor, Talbots, JCrew, and that is all I can think of off the top of my head). But these retailers all addressed these to him not me. Like any holiday, we are all doing the same thing. For this guy not to put in the bare minimum and not pick up a card at the grocery store is total BS. He is only putting in the bare minimum into thier relationship.

        Now imagine how pissed you would be if your man couldn’t even find the time to run into target on the way home.

      55. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

        I had a similar experience. I was in the grocery store at about 4:30 in the afternoon and there were all of these men in looking at the flowers. One guy had a terribly desperate look on his face and I knew that whatever he was looking for it wasn’t there. The flowers were badly picked over by the time and guys were grabbing whatever was left. They were also getting packs of heart shaped cookies, stuffed animals and cards. They looked frantic and harried and you could tell they weren’t enjoying the day. It was pathetic. I also wondered why they waited so late to get their Valentines things but maybe they didn’t realize everything would sell so rapidly during the day. You can only buy cut flowers so far in advance and the same for fresh bakery items.

      56. 6napkinburger says:

        Here’s my issue with this: in order for this to be the case, he had to make a decision NOT to do something for valentine’s day. Unless he doesn’t have a TV or hasn’t been to a drugstore since christmas, he knew valentine’s day was coming up. (I get when people don’t realize it is TODAY, that’s not my point). If he decided “I do nice things all the time, I don’t need to buy into this overhyped stupid hallmark money grab”, that’s his call. BUT: it was HIS responsibility to convey this to her at some point PRIOR to Feb. 14th.

        If he’s ever seen a sitcom, he cannot be stupid enough to think “eh, she knows I love her, I don’t need to do anything.” (Perhaps he is, and then that can be addressed in the convo she will have now about her disappointment. But that doesn’t mean it was on her to talk about it FIRST.) Hell, there’s been a million valentine’s day episodes where the girl outright TELLS the guy she doesn’t want anything, he believes her, and then his friends all tell him what an idiot he is for believing her, because (as the message goes): ALL GIRLS WANT SOMETHING FROM THEIR BOYFRIENDS FOR VALENTINE’S DAY. Now, you and I and everyone else at DW know that that statement isn’t true (though I would say it is true that MOST american girls want some acknowledgement of something on that holiday from the man in their lives). However, that is the message that EVERY type of media conveys, so it is a fair expectation on her part and he is a “moron” for not anticipating that.

    3. GatorGirl says:

      Eh, some people couldn’t give two shots about holidays. Like they just grew up that way- holidays weren’t a big deal/didn’t get celebrated. So if the law never expressed to him that holidays were a big deal to her (even homemade card and cookies big) how would he know?

      My family has never been big on holidays. Ever. So navigating how to celebrate holidays with my fiancé (and his extended family) who are big on holidays has been a learning curve. You don’t just know to “put in effort” if you we’re never taught/explained what that means.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        Well people should read etiquette books about how to put in effort on holidays then! 🙂

      2. My husband is like this. To him a Birthday is just another day. He would probably forget his if I didn’t say something about it!

        The first year we were together he got me a MUG for my birthday, the 2nd year, he got me a T SHIRT. Seriously. My expectations are a lot lower these days 🙂

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        I had to train mine to like birthdays. I cannot wrap my head around people who don’t love the shit out of birthdays. Unacceptable.

      4. I can understand this. Mine hates bdays but his parents were too busy to acknowledge his while he was growing up, and i have spent alot of time in funeral homes on my bday. My dad’s mom died 2 days b4 my bday, my mom’s mom (who i was very very close to) died in front of me on my bday, and my favorite cousin (like a big brother to me) died right after. So it took us while to start actually liking our bdays, but we helped each other through it. And alot of people do not celebrate Vday. We don’t, but it was a mutual choice. You need to have communication. Also, off the topic, did something happen to ReginaRay, i have not seen her posting for a while now.

      5. lets_be_honest says:

        Omg, that’s awful! I’m so sorry.

        She got a job that keeps her from DW. Horrible, right?

      6. painted_lady says:

        Mine was like, “Yeah, birthdays aren’t that big a deal to me.” And I said, “Cool. Then I won’t make a big deal out of YOUR birthday. And you don’t have to make a big deal about your birthday. But if you don’t at least make an effort to make mine nice and fun and special, then that WILL be a big deal.”

    4. painted_lady says:

      I kind of agree. I mean, I feel like if you’re not sure if she wants a gift, why is the default not to get anything?! If she’s not at least politely appreciative , then she’s awful, even if she hates Valentine’s Day. And different love language or no, if your partner is getting you gifts for no reason…shouldn’t that tell you something? I know people aren’t mind-readers, but it’s not mind reading to pick up on that – it’s just paying attention.

    5. Totally Agree! I thought everyone here was way too kind to this guy. If you talk and say “i don’t want anything.” then that is different. But standard protocal is SOMETHING. I am seeing all sorts of warning bells that he isn’t nearly making enough effort to make this work.

      1. GatorGirl says:

        But standard protocal isn’t “something” for everyone. Standard protocal differs person to person, region to region, family to family. You will never know what is standard until you have a discussion!

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        I’d say standard protocol for the general american population actually is “something.”

      3. GatorGirl says:

        Well switch the roles. What if the guy wrote in and said “I feel so bad- my GF of just over a year made me homemade brownies and got me a really sweet card for Valentines Day. I didn’t grown up in a home that put a big emphasis on holidays…so I didn’t know it was expected. I feel so bad.” We would all tell him to open up the lines of communication and talk about their gifting expectations. So, that’s my advice for her too.

      4. lets_be_honest says:

        Unless he’s a total idiot, he would’ve said to her that he felt so bad, didn’t grow up like that…
        But yes, the only solution now is to voice her disappointment and have a talk.

      5. GatorGirl says:

        Well, he could have said he felt bad…she didn’t say he didn’t. She just said “he was happy”.

        I just don’t think you can be mad about something when you haven’t laid out your expectations.

      6. lets_be_honest says:

        I agree with you in general about being mad/expectations, but unless you live in a box, you know valentines day exists and that the vast majority of us enjoy getting a box of chocolates or whatever. This isn’t some bizarre thing like the LW only accepts gold jewelry and GASP, bf got her silver jewelry and clearly he doesnt care about her. If you live in america, assume your partner wants to be acknowledged on v day. Not that hard.

      7. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Eh I guess that’s where I disagree. I think the default is that you DON’T do anything for VD unless discussed. I think that’s what a lot of the arguments boil down to – what is the default setting. But frankly I still think it was on her to bring up and discuss since clearly she was the one that cared. Why would he bring it up if he doesn’t care one way or the other? She does. It’s on her to discuss it ahead of time.

      8. lets_be_honest says:

        Well, you’re wrong.

        Kidding obviously. It is interesting to see how differently people think about this. I never would’ve guessed it’d be this split.

      9. Yes, this. I had no idea that the “default” was to do something, specifically to GIVE GIFTS. Valentine’s Day is one of those “extra” holidays that some people go ga-ga over but most people (or so I thought!) don’t care about. And you’re right, if she is the one that cared then the onus is on her to say something.

      10. I grew up going to school in 7 states (MO, KS, TN, MN, NJ,PA,VA) and all of them exchanged valentines in the classroom. Across the country, it was standard to do something. You don’t do something for a girl that you aren’t feeling.

      11. GatorGirl says:

        Ha, we’ll I guess my fiancé isn’t “feeling” me since I didn’t even spend most of the day with him! And, there is a clear difference between children who are basically mandated to bring a small card to every single class mate and two grown ups failing to communicate with each other regarding their gift giving expectations.

      12. Look, I spent Vday at a funeral, so it certainly wasn’t romantic. But we went to dinner the Saturday before and exchanged gifts before we left. However, This example is with my husband who I have been with for years. Your example is your finace who you have been with for awhile. This is a relationship for a year. He obviously didn’t do much for Christmas since she “over spent’ and he did nothing for Vday. Sorry, He is just not that into her.

      13. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Ooooo where in TN??

      14. I lived in Germantown, TN (outside of Memphis) for 1/2 of first and a full year 2nd grade and I lived in Brentwood, TN (outside of nashville) from 3rd-5th grade. So I was a kid when I was there. Are you in that area?

  10. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

    I’ll echo what everyone else has said above – TALK TO HIM. But this really isn’t about a valentine’s day gift. You clearly feel taken advantage of, taken for granted, used, unappreciated. I’m just wondering, putting $ aside (which, except for maybe gas, sounds about equal), does he make you feel that way in other aspects of your relationship? Does he give you lots of time and attention and does he do thoughtful (non-monetary) things that let you know he cares about you and values you? (Does he NOT yell at you for no reason *and* forget presents *and* resent the hell out of you? People can be assclows.) I’m guessing no, otherwise the money stuff wouldn’t bother you. Or maybe it would, maybe you need him to foot more of the bills, and that’s all this is about. … Which I guess just brings me back to the first point: TALK TO HIM!

    1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      But a point about the gas: It kind of seems cheap of you to expect him to pay for your gas. I get that you drive to him all the time and this not cheap. But, when you’re at your boyfriend’s, do you eat his food without paying for groceries? Watch his TV without paying for his cable? Maybe the $ you spend on gas doesn’t cross his mind because he feels like he pays for your half in other ways (albeit, ok, maybe not dinners out.) Just wondering.

      1. Yeah the gas thing threw me, too. I don’t expect people to pay for my gas when I chose to make the trip out to see them, you know? Not cool for her to even suggest that, in my opinion.

      2. The LW says she makes more money than her boyfriend but that doesn’t mean she makes a lot of cash. And gas is almost $4 a gallon right now. That’s actually a huge expense for an average person to drive an hour each way presumably at least 3x a week. And she’s also covering dinners when they go out, so I can understand the money concerns. Ever since winter started and my electric bill quadrupled just so I could stay alive, I’ve had to cut some serious corners just to keep the bills paid. One of those corners was unnecessary driving; if I need that half a tank of gas to get to work for the next week I will legit tell someone I can’t afford to come see them but they are welcome to come over to my place.

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        almost $4? I wish 🙁

      4. She’s only covering her share of dinner. They split the bill. I think Fabelle or IWTTS said it earlier. You can’t afford to drive to see him? Its not worth it? Then don’t go as often.

      5. lets_be_honest says:

        Right. Or say you can’t afford it. If you can’t and he’s able to help and wants to see you, he likely will offer you some gas money. No shame in being honest.

      6. Sobriquet says:

        As someone who has been in a similar position, I agree about the gas. I once dated a guy who lived 10 miles south of the city. I always drove to him, but that was mainly because he had a better roommate situation. I would never expect him to pay for gas. One night we were leaving to get food and he said, “I always drive us. I think it’s your turn to drive” and I was like, um, I drove all the way down here so the least you can do is drive us to the store! He ultimately agreed and then used that against me as much as he could. It never would have worked out between us because he expected me to drive 50% of the time and I hate driving. Plus he hated cats.

        On the other hand, there was a time when I lived 30 minutes away from my current boyfriend and he always wanted to pay for my gas, but I wouldn’t let him. Maybe that’s what the LW expects

      7. Painted_lady says:

        I will say that, though my awful ex The Vegan pretty much insisted we stay at his place 75% of the time despite the fact that I have a dog and had no roommate AND that I was the only one who had to get up in the morning – he was self-employed and a trust fund baby – and that meant I went home – 20 minutes – let the dog out and THEN had to go to work…he did offer to pay for my gas fairly often. Ultimately, though, losing that much sleep wasn’t worth it. I’m not sure how I lasted a year.

  11. Hmm. You say “we could not be happier,” but it sounds like there are some things in the way of you being as happy as you could be. The hour distance, the driving, the stress about money, some hurt on your part that he doesn’t do as much as you’d like him to on holidays.

    You don’t really say if you’ve talked about this stuff with him. The thing is, this stuff matters to you, and if you don’t resolve it it’s going to build anger and resentment over time that will hurt your relationship. Have you guys ever discussed his feelings about gifts / cards and such, or Valentine’s Day specifically? Have you told him that getting a card or a little gift makes you feel loved and it’s important to you?

    I do think if you make more than him it’s reasonable for you to be splitting expenses with him. Maybe it would make you feel better if you guys sort of took turns paying, rather than going Dutch? Maybe that’s something you could talk about. Or since you’re paying for the gas to visit him maybe he could pick up the dinner tab more? I don’t know, you’ll have to think about how much he makes and his financial situation, and how much you make and your financial situation and what would be reasonable… and talk about it with him in a way that’s calm and not emotional.

    But clearly he’s not understanding what you need in order to feel happy and loved… and if you don’t tell him, then the situation isn’t going to get better. If you communicate clearly what you want and need, and he’s not making an effort to give it to you (assuming it’s reasonable), then that’s not a good sign.

    1. “We could not be happier” seems to be the consistent code used by LW. ‘Could not be happier, except for this, this, this, this,….. which has me wondering if I should just dump his sorry ass… but then I’d be alone and I don’t want to be alone… I don’t want much, just tell me what I need to do to totally remake his psyche from the top down, that’s the only thing I’d change, I love his hot bod, it’s just everything between his ears that annoys me’.

      1. x million Oldie – I love him BUT…

    2. 6napkinburger says:

      Yes –
      We couldn’t be happier,
      Right, dear?
      Couldn’t be happier
      Right here
      Look what we’ve got
      A fairy-tale plot
      Our very own happy ending
      Where we couldn’t be happier –
      True, dear?
      Couldn’t be happier
      And we’re happy to share
      Our ending vicariously
      With all of you
      He couldn’t look handsomer
      I couldn’t feel humbler
      We couldn’t be happier
      Because happy is what happens
      When all your dreams come true!

      Isn’t it?

      1. 6napkinburger says:

        That’s why I couldn’t be happier
        No, I couldn’t be happier
        Though it is, I admit
        The tiniest bit
        Unlike I anticipated
        But I couldn’t be happier
        Simply couldn’t be happier–
        Well – not “simply”:
        ‘Cause getting your dreams
        It’s strange, but it seems
        A little – well – complicated
        There’s a kind of a sort of : cost
        There’s a couple of things get: lost
        There are bridges you cross
        You didn’t know you crossed
        Until you’ve crossed
        And if that joy, that thrill
        Doesn’t thrill you like you think it will
        Still –
        With this perfect finale
        The cheers and ballyhoo
        Who wouldn’t be happier?
        So I couldn’t be happier
        Because happy is what happens
        When all your dreams come true

  12. lets_be_honest says:

    Yea, reading everyone’s comments, its seems the majority say its up to you to tell him what you want, languages of love, blah blah. I say BS.
    Its simple consideration to get your girlfriend of a year a f’in card for valentines day. Its not like this is a new holiday, or one he even said he thinks is a hallmark holiday. Everyone in America is aware of valentines day and the thing to do is do something to acknowledge it because odds are, your girlfriend would like that and if she doesn’t, you would probably know that. He simply ignored you. Tell him you were hurt by that.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      Plus, who the hell wants to spell out exactly the gift they want for something. That’s kinda rude, and it takes the sweetness out of it if you ask me.

      1. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Romance is dead LBH, dead. I had to call my dad to remind him it was valentine’s day and ask what he was doing for my mom. He said he hadn’t thought of it and maybe he should give her some money to go buy more quilting shit. He’s worthless. Honestly I don’t get what the big deal about gifts is with people. Some people are just shitty gift givers. So I take the decision away from them. That’s why Ethan’s family (apparently being a shitty gift giver is genetic) gets hyperlinked Christmas wish lists from me.

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        I feel like its different when the couple has been together much longer. You know what and what not to expect and you’re comfortable getting your own presents or telling your husband what you want, especially if your $ is combined.
        Your (presumably) first valentines day together? Pick up a card idiot.

      3. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        But then she’d write in with a “I only got a dumb Hallmark card” complaint. Obviously she’s not feeling the love from this guy, and I really don’t think it’s about the Valentine’s Day gift (or non-gift).

      4. lets_be_honest says:

        So true. I bet you’re right.

      5. yes. valentines day is almost a sure-fire way to be disappointed. nothing is correct, good enough, planned enough, expensive enough. so dumb.

      6. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        it’s so dumb. the only thing good about Valentine’s Day is the day after, when all the Valentine’s Day-themed candy is 50% off!

      7. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        ^ but, confession, if i had had a boyfriend on V Day, i’d want something special… we’re a bunch of hypocrits! fine, i am.

      8. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        TOTALLY AGREE. I do that after Halloween and Easter too. I looooove cheap candy.

      9. omg, I love that. I love Easter even more because of the 33cent Cadbury Eggs. YUM!!

      10. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        You know how people wake up early to go to the mall for Black Friday? Welll I wake up early and hit up all the Wallgreens the day after: Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Easter!!

      11. the best is if you can coupon after v-day, easter, ect. SUPER cheap candy!

      12. AliceInDairyland says:

        Valentine’s Day went like this. “Hey boyfriend, write me a sweet card and I will write you a sweet card. And I will make porkchops that you bought, and the next day I will buy you whatever 50% off candy that you want at Walgreens.” And so the next day we trudged in and I spent 20 dollars on candy (which would have been 40!)

      13. No, not true. A card and flowers/chocolates/stuffed animal keeps you out of trouble. That is the standard. Anything above is icing on the cake. There is a very real set of rules. This guy couldn’t even print a card off the computer and write a sweet note? Please, this is such BS

      14. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

        Really? A gift that takes no thought keeps you out of trouble? It’s not worth the money unless it means something. Grabbing something to “stay out of trouble” doesn’t show love, what the holiday is supposed to be about.

      15. No, it shows basic thought for your loved one. It is the bare minimum. This guy didn’t even do that. You walk into Walmart for a month before the day and you were hit by a valentines day explosion. I had a guy send me a Vday present when he was serving in Iraq that he bought online and had shipped. This guy couldn’t pick one up while getting groceries? lame.

      16. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

        I don’t see how a thoughtless gift is showing basic thought for your loved one. If anything I think it shows less thought.

      17. Less thought then nothing??

      18. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

        Yes. It has nothing to do with the person. It’s some generic gift. It takes no thought. Not special. Doesn’t show they are thinking about you for who you are.

      19. so we are both saying that this guy doesn’t care becuase he put no effort or thought into this.

      20. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

        No. I don’t think valentines day is a big deal and if she wanted to do something for it she should have said something. He does things for her all the time and that’s the telling thing about their relationship. One day doesn’t change that. I think it’s better not to get something if all you’re going to do is something generic. It’s not meaningful.

      21. I am sorry but at one year if this is lame at christmas, does nothing on valentines day, never picks up the bill, doesn’t make an effort to see her and makes her do all the work. What is going to happen when they start to really get comfortable? He is putting no effort into this relationship at all.

      22. Avatar photo theattack says:

        “Pick up a card idiot.”

        LOVE THIS! If you don’t know, it’s best to err on the side of too generous than too stingey.

      23. if you ask me, the sweetness is gone when you buy something your “supposed” to for a holiday that was made up, and you end up with the exact same gift as every other woman in america…

      24. lets_be_honest says:

        lol, its still considerate though. Sweeter than handing your bf a list of shit you want for valentines day, or holding a meeting over what flowers you want from him.

      25. This works if everyone is naturally on the same page. If you aren’t this is a perfect storm for disappointment and resentment. People have different histories and different expectations. If yours are different from your partner you have to communicate them. My husband doesn’t like buying jewelry. He knows I like jewelry. I have jewelry. He doesn’t like surprises even though I do. So for his gifts he gets to pick what he wants. It offends my sense of romance but its what HE prefers so he got a pressure washer for his birthday instead of a trip to Texas or helicopter lessons.

      26. lets_be_honest says:

        I hear you, but I said to Iwanna (who said basically what you said) that if its your FIRST v day together, its not that difficult to assume maybe your gf wants a card.

        Your husband wanted a power washer over holicopter lessons?!

      27. He wants both… but he wanted the pressure washer now. Maybe this is their first Valentines Day together. If the were together a year it would have been around now that they just got together so maybe neither one did anything last year.

      28. Bon Vivant says:

        I agree – does this really need to be explained to him?

    2. LBH, I pretty much agree, and not really buying the “couldn’t be happier” statement … It would be best if she didn’t have to tell her boyfriend of a year that she’d like a card for Valentine’s Day, but still, she has to talk about it and tell him what she wants him to do next time.

    3. SweetPeaG says:

      We are on the same page today 😉

    4. I don’t think Valentine’s Day is a “given.” If you want to celebrate it, exchange gifts, whatever, then say so ahead of time. If you don’t, then say that ahead of time too. But don’t be one of those people who says, “Eh, I don’t care, it’s just a cheesy Hallmark holiday” but still expect something. That’s just not fair, haha.

    5. I agree lbh, because I then think something to the effect of – if they couldn’t get me something simple when we were first dating and seeing if we are interested/might have a future together, well what happens 5 or 10 years in? I mean I am all for communication but I call BS if I have to actually spell out to a guy that is in a relationship to pay attention and occasionally put in some effort.

      Is courtship dead? I all of a sudden feel elderly… I mean I’m all for fairness but is a little romance that hard?

    6. I am 100% with you LBH. It’s not that hard to do something. Both my guy coworkers that I’m friends with complained about Valentines. In particular, buying jacked-up flowers and/or going out to over crowded restaurants that often have prix fixe menus and poor service. Each of them still did something. One of them took his gf out the weekend before Valentines – they did a couples massage and went to a nice dinner. The other one hit me up for some “easy, but impressive-seeming” recipes and made his fiancee a nice dinner at home. They managed to find stuff to make their gfs happy without doing something they didn’t want to do (go out on VD or buy flowers). Point being, neither one of their girlfriends told them explicitly that she wanted X to happen, and neither of the guys was a fan of the cliche formula, but they still did something.

  13. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

    If you give him little gifts because it makes YOU happy to surprise him – then fine. But you’re starting to resent it – so stop doing it! If you want him to pay quit offering to split the check. If you want him to take a bus 50% of the time to see you tell him. And if you want him to get you a card specifically tell him. If you want him to get you a present tell him. I used to get worked up over the exact same things with Ethan and then I realized that he isn’t a fucking mind reader. So now when I want him to help out around the house I tell him. “Hey jackhole – while I’m vacuuming can you unload the dishwasher?” “Don’t worry about my valentines day present I already designed my own nikes and they’ll arrive at the house in a week. Thanks for thinking of me!” “You need to take me on a date – preferably one where I can dress up in my new boots and get tequila tipsy.”

    Tell him! These conversations are only awkward if you make them awkward and you’ve waited so long that by the time you discuss it you’re in full blown resentment mode. Just bring it up! Now. Yesterday.

    1. Can I go on a date with you where we wear new boots and get tequila tipsy? Sounds fun!

      1. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        YES! Maybe I can buy a new modcloth dress to go with the boots and we can just walk around town tequila tipsy and looking adorable.

    2. GatorGirl says:

      “he isn’t a fucking mind reader”

      Seriously. Don’t get pissed because you made assumptions or didn’t clearly state your expectations. Gah.

      I want to get tequila tipsy. In new boots. hmmmm. It’s too cold to walk around outside here though.

      1. I can never get just tipsy with tequila. I’ll get wine-tipsy. And hopefully find a pair of comfy boots. Because, I swear comfy boots do not exist.

      2. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Oh they do my friend, they do! I recommend Steve Madden. So comfortable. A little pricey but they wear well and last forever!

      3. Ah, I forgot to mention my other problem. I don’t wear leather. That makes it even harder…

  14. Avatar photo call-me-hobo says:

    I’m going to echo what everybody else has said- COMMUNICATION. You need to let your bf know what you want. However, I kind of have a weird way of making sure I feel appreciated- my bf can kind of be dense about the gifting and spontaneity stuff.

    A great way to talk about gift giving/special occasions is opting to make a “tradition”. Every year my bf and I celebrate our anniversary/Valentine’s with a heartfelt note/homemade gift. We decided on it together, and now since we know it is an expected thing, neither of us are ever disappointed on V-day because we always get something!

    I would bring up the idea of making a special “us” tradition for days that you want special things- birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, or even random days (On every June 5th, take a sick day and go to the park! Whatever you want). That way, you feel appreciated and he doesn’t feel at a loss as how to make you feel special.

    1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      i don’t like it when call-me-hobo doesn’t comment all the time. whenever i read your comment i picture you saying the words with your cute accent! come back to chicago so we can have another meet up. or better yet, i am coming to tennessee in april with my mom…. Want to get together with AP and AP’s Mom?

      1. Avatar photo call-me-hobo says:

        OH MY GOD, YES I DO.

        Let me know when in April- I’m going to be out of town the first week (Please say it’s not the first week of April!)

      2. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Not the first week of April! It’s still in the planning stage so we’re flexible.

        But promise me this: do NOT mention “Dear Wendy” to my mom. I don’t think she’d know how to Google it and find it, but she’d think I’m a nut for airing everything from poop to break ups on “the internets.” Ok, glad we cleared that up.

      3. OMG- I am going to TN in April, too!!!

      4. Avatar photo call-me-hobo says:

        Are either of you going to be in the Nashville area? Because me and theattack are in this area, and LadyinPurpleNotRed is in the Memphis area.

      5. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Yes, please include me!!!

        Unfortunately April is freaking insane for me because of wedding stuff, and I have something planned every weekend. I really really hope it all lines up!

      6. Heck Yes, I’ll be in Nashville! I’m going to be visiting my brother for a long weekend- he lives South of town near Edmonson Pike.

      7. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

        I could go to Nashville for this…

      8. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        whoa whoa whoa – your icon changed. I CAN’T HANDLE CHANGE! but it’s a very pretty picture.

      9. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

        Sorry Addie, but I’m glad you think it’s pretty.

      10. whoa. the DW gods are smiling down today… haha

      11. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Let’s meet up!

      12. I’ll be in Nashville 4/25-28.
        I’ll be with family, but I might be able to sneak away for a little for a MeetUp!

      13. Avatar photo Northern Mermaid says:

        You all need to come to Alaska.

      14. You pay for the plane ticket, and I”m there!

      15. Avatar photo theattack says:

        That’s the weekend before my wedding, so I’m not sure what I have going on that weekend, but it will probably be crazy. I’m hoping I can at least meet you for a drink or something?

      16. I’m in Nashville! I don’t comment a lot, but I read every day!

      17. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Come to our TN meet up!

  15. SixtyFour says:

    About the money thing, you should really rethink your whole mindset. You sound like you’re from the 50s and want a guy to take care of you. By your own admission, you make more than him, so why should he be the one always footing the bill? I could see your frustration if you had just started dating, but you’ve been together for a year. At this point, you should be splitting things evenly if not you paying more! So if you’re splitting the bills and you paying gas, that sounds fair to me in the end.

    Instead of splitting the bill, why not take turns? You may end up paying for the more expensive dates, but then you both still get to feel like you are treating your partner every now and then. I know I personally hate to split the bill with someone I’ve been seeing a while. Friends split the bill. If I’m sleeping with someone, we’re taking turns.

    1. “About the money thing, you should really rethink your whole mindset. You sound like you’re from the 50s and want a guy to take care of you.”

      I disagree. This is her exact quote: “So I find myself splitting the tab with him all the time, which I guess is my own fault because I offer to pay half, but sometimes a girl just wants a guy to refuse, you know? On top of that, I pay for gas and buy him small little gifts every once in a while because it makes me happy surprising him.”

      She wants him to pay the whole bill SOMETIMES as his way of doing something nice for her – just the way she pays for gas and buys him small gifts in order to do something nice for him. I bet the reason why she brings up paying for dinner is because (usually, in many relationship) when a man offers to pay for dinner, it is a romantic gesture. The whole point of this is: She’s giving in the romance department and he’s not reciprocating. He’s not buying dinner, he’s not offering to pay for gas, he’s not giving her gifts, he’s not even giving her a card for Valentine’s Day.

      1. Oops, I meant this to be a reply to someone else!

  16. I’m sorry, what? You make way more money than him and you’re upset to be SPLITTING the tab equally for things? Am I reading this wrong?

    My bf makes more money than I do (a lot more) and we have an unofficial system in which I treat for small things and he treats for some small and some large things. You could try this with your boyfriend (meaning you BOTH treat for things within your budget, not “the man pays for more stuff”). If your incomes are close but you’re slightly higher, or if you’re willing to live within his budget rather than your own, then go ahead and do things equally and hey, ask for gas money if you want (see Addie’s note above), but… yeah. The way I read your complaint, it sounds a little unreasonable.

    But it does suck that you have to do all the driving and he should’ve at least gotten you a card, it’s just dense not to. I think you can definitely just say it to him: “I appreciate all the things you do for me on a daily basis, but I also would have loved a gesture on Valentine’s Day.” Since he loves you I bet he will try harder on the next holiday once he knows what you want.

  17. SixtyFour says:

    About the driving, that does suck that you have to drive back and forth every time. Spending time alone in a car can get very boring and very tiresome. But if that’s the only way at this point you are able to see your boyfriend, you have to decide if it’s worth it. If it’s not, maybe cut down on the number of times you see him each week. Arrange phone calls and Skype dates instead of in person ones. Tell your boyfriend you really need to see him making an effort to getting back in the driver’s seat for you to feel like he’s committed to the relationship.
    Look into Driver’s Ed courses. The guy I’m seeing now was a really, really nervous driver when he was younger and would totally freeze up behind the wheel. He said he took a class where they do crazy spins and stops in a safe environment so that you could really get a feel for what it’s like to be out of control in a car and how to get yourself back in control. It made him much more confident and he’s never had a problem since.

  18. Trixy Minx says:

    Exactly what daily things has he done for you??

  19. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

    I just had another ephiphany. Does it seem like relationships are all about tit for tat lately? Like everyone is keeping score? I do X, Y, and Z and he only does A, B, and C, which when you add the up in the scientific book of fairness – I’m losing – should I dumb him? Life will never be fair. Relationships will never be completely equal. There’s nothing about fairness that screams romance to me. Maybe the tit for tat is really what’s killing romance.

    1. kerrycontrary says:

      I think that this is more normal in the beginning of a relationship when you are judging a person and their character. You want to make sure you aren’t being taken advantage of. But, as you are with someone for a long time you realize that things even out eventually if you are in a good relationship. You may even put the other person through hell for 6 months while you are unemployed/depressed/going through chemo/stressed out/whatever, but they know that the roles could be reversed easily.

    2. lets_be_honest says:

      Keeping score is the worst. It will guaranteed kill your relationship regardless of who wins.

    3. mmmCheesy says:

      Having just gotten out of a relationship with a major scorekeeper, I agree that it is the worst. And I will be on hyper-vigilant look out for it when I start dating again! The problem with scorekeeping seems to be that people in to the tit-for-tat seem to consistently discount things that the other person brings to the table. For instance, if someone is doing the driving or the paying, they tend to get hung up on those aspects, and not recognize what the other person does bring to the table. People contribute different things in different ways, and relationships are never going to be equal on all fronts all of the time. Scorekeepers will ALWAYS lose in the long run, and will make the other person in the relationship feel terrible and taken for granted along the way.

      1. thats because people always give themselves more/better credit for the same things that other people do- its along the same lines that people believe that when others do something bad, its an innate character trait/they are shitty people at their core, but when they do something bad, it was because of outside forces/extenuating circumstances/not their fault.

        i think this can be something else for the LW to think about- she says she pays for dinners, drives, and buys him cute things- but does he really care about that stuff? she is giving herself all the “perfect girlfriend” credit in the world without knowing what he even wants, likes, or would potentially appreciate from her. he could be potentially writing in the same letter to DW- “i do “daily nice things” for my girlfriend like x, y, z, but she only ever buys me these little bullshit gifts i hate. what do i do?”

  20. Sophronisba says:

    I wish I knew the nature of the little things he does for you “every day” that make this relationship so worthwhile because it seems like a lot of work to me. As you’ve described it, it sounds like you’re showing up with a nice box of 24 pretty Crayola colors and he’s bringing gray and brown crayons to the party…

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      Best. Comment. Ever.
      I can’t wait to use that line today.

    2. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      Not your point I realize but: oh my god I used to go NUTS for those huge-ass boxes of crayons with 150 crayons! But actually I preferred the box with fewer crayons that came in a perfect square shape. Not sure why but a square box was more appealing than a rectangular box. Kind of weird. But I was still in awe of the really, really, really big boxes. My mom would let me buy them early in the summer if I promised to keep them in good shape for school because “I would not be able to buy anymore until next year!”

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        There is nothing sexier than a fresh box of crayons. I could stare at it for a day easy.

      2. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        *Except for maybe…. nope, nothing.

      3. And that fresh crayon smell? Heaven.

        I spent the weekend coloring with my 3-year-old niece. It was an awesome weekend.

      4. lets_be_honest says:

        One better…playdoh smell!

      5. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Oh well now that cannot be beat.

      6. lets_be_honest says:

        Have you ever tried to eat it? I have. I can’t help it. Smells so good. Doesn’t taste so good.

      7. I used to let the play doh dry on my hands and lick it off when I was little. It was the homemade stuff that was basically just flour and salt. YUM.

      8. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        ha, have i tried to eat it…. i’ve eaten my weight in playdoh, which explains a lot.

      9. oh no, no no no!!

        playdoh smell is the devil. the terrible, yucky smelling devil.

      10. lets_be_honest says:

        What?!?! I’ve never disagreed with you more, and that includes the time you said GW Bush was the best president we ever had.

        I’d wear it as a perfume.

      11. AliceInDairyland says:

        You are welcome.

      12. lets_be_honest says:

        NOOO WAAAYYYYYYYY. That is awesome. You’re the best.

      13. It’s your lucky day!


      15. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        I can’t believe all those times I stuck up for you…. never again, because you’re clearly insane in the membrane.

      16. I have to say, Playdoh smell never did it for me. I have to agree with Katie.

      17. i have a cute crayon story.

        i got my neice a coloring book and a couple boxes of crayons for christmas, and a few days after christmas jakes SIL called me to thank me for their gifts, and she told me that after they opened the presents at their house, they went to her fathers, and in the car she asked my neice what her favorite present was.. she answered the coloring book and crayons. and jakes SIL was like… what about the princess castle that santa brought you? and my neice answered: mom, you can only have one favorite. my favorite is the coloring book and crayons.


      18. lets_be_honest says:


      19. It was the sharpener built in the back… revolutionary!!

    3. OH my! Thanks so much for the laugh!! My sentiments exactly. The LW never mentions what he contributes to the relationship.

  21. SweetPeaG says:

    A bit off topic, but I want to mention one of the nicest things that ever happened to me on Valentine’s Day. I had just broken up with a boyfriend (for like the 20th time) and was pretty depressed. I had moved out of his house and into my parents’ house. My Dad left a card and a Barnes & Noble gift card on my windshield for me to get when I left for work. It was the sweetest thing. Especially coming from my Dad. He is a man’s man kind of guy. He doesn’t generally understand gift giving (but tries his darndest). But, he knew I was sad and knows I love reading. I’ll never forget that. I’ll be a senile little old lady and remember that. Valentine’s day can be pretty sweet.

    1. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

      Yeah some of my best valentines days were growing up. My mom would always have candy and underwear or something else small and cute waiting for me on my pillow when I got home from school. I love parents.

  22. Let’s bottom line things here – you’re dating a vet with some crippling anxiety issues. Your relationship isn’t going to be the Hallmark Valentines Card you’re hoping for.

    You’ve got two choices – accept this man is going to require a lot of patience and encouragement, and you’ll need to pay more, drive more, and get less. Or leave, now, hopefully with encouraging words to seek therapy to your BF. (For the driving. Not the fact he didn’t give you a card.)

    You’re already extremely resentful of him, even if you aren’t ready to admit it. Time to take a deep breath and figure out if you can accept this messy relationship for what it is, or if you need a man that’s more capable of caring for you.

    1. has everyone else glossed over this gem?

      because yea, of course this boyfriend sucks- it doesnt matter if he is a war vet with issues, doesnt drive, has a lower paying job, ect- he ruined valentines day, and that alone damns everyone, no matter their circumstances.

    2. THIS. We’re getting hung up on the Great Valentines Debate, but this is what we should really be talking about. LW – you may be able to talk to your bf about paying more often for dinner to balance out all the gas/driving time. It would be fair. But it’s not really about the money, is it? It’s about the effort. You don’t feel like the effort he is putting in equals the effort you are putting in. And it might not. But, what he is putting in might be/probably is all he is capable of right now. And maybe going forward. If that’s the case, is that ok for you?

  23. Couple of questions. First, since the BF doesn’t/can’t drive, does he work? Can he independently get around? It may be dumb, but depending on the situation, perhaps it wasn’t that easy for him to get somewhere to get a card? Maybe not. I don’t know. But it seems silly to me to be upset because you didn’t get a folded piece of paper on a Hallmark holiday when the LW and BF obviously saw each other and celebrated the holiday in other ways. She made him brownies. Who’s to say he didn’t do something non-traditionally romantic for her? Does it not count if it doesn’t come with tacky red hearts all over it?

    Second question, has the LW ever expressed any of this to him? Has she said “Wow, I feel like we way overspent for Christmas. Let’s cut back for Valentines Day, but, hey, I’d still like a card. No really, I’d still like a card. Get me a card even though we’re going low key for the day.” Some guys need that level of directness. The LW cannot say “Hey, let’s stay low key”, then get mad when he does just that.

    In the same vein, has she said, “Hey, can you pay for my gas sometimes? Or hey, can you pick up the tab this time even though I keep offering to split it because I don’t really mean it?” Again,if the LW is saying one thing but expecting another, she’s sandbagging this guy.

    Third question, can he afford to do those things? He’s not being insensitive if he just cannot afford to buy her gas and pay for dinner. Maybe they should do other things. These seem like minor complaints, though, that communication should solve fairly easily. Especially if they’re as happy as the LW says.

    1. CollegeCat says:

      I hate comments like this:

      Who’s to say he didn’t do something non-traditionally romantic for her?

      The LW is to say – after all she was actually there. If he did something else that day to reciprocate for her brownies she would have mentioned it. She didn’t get upset because all he did for V-day was rotate her tires, she got upset because he did absolutely nothing. If she would have been happy with a $3 folded piece of paper “with tacky hearts” it goes without saying she would have been happy with anything remotely thoughtful.

      and this:

      The LW cannot say “Hey, let’s stay low key”, then get mad when he does just that.

      “I told myself not to spend much because I overspent on our first Christmas together.” – The LW never said she told him she wanted a low-key V-day, just that she made the decision to spend less of HER MONEY because of an overzealous Christmas season.

      If every time someone wrote in we twisted their words around and made up different scenarios to support our own biased opinions they would never get any decent advice.

      1. 6napkinburger says:

        Can’t like enough.

      2. I wasn’t trying to twist anything. This LW’s letter reads like she’s got this whole list of relationship expectations in her head and she’s never really communicated any of it. Frankly, I was trying to be nice to the LW and give her the benefit of the poor communication skills doubt because it reads like she’s got this whole mind game of how relationships are “supposed” to be based on some rather shallow criteria (V-Day gifts, how much is spent at Christmas, him paying for her dinner without her asking) and she isn’t getting it and she isn’t speaking up and she’s working herself up into disappointment over what she describes as a good relationship besides the fact that her BF cannot read her mind simply because he cannot read her mind.

        The letter does not actually say the BF did nothing for V-Day. The LW says she is upset because he didn’t get her a card. Maybe he made her dinner. Maybe he rotated her tires. Maybe he did 100 nice things to show her he cares for her in the days before and the days since and she just wants the card and is just ignoring all of that because goddamn it he didn’t get her a cheap, tacky card. That was my point. Love isn’t measured by the number of roses or cards you toss in the trash 6 weeks after our consumerist society tells you that you MUST buy someone something to prove your love. But if you want those roses or cards to toss, then you should communicate it to your partner because not every woman cares about that stuff (as is demonstrated by this board) and not every guy innately knows that he should do it (as is demonstrated by the LW’s BF).

        I also assumed she mentioned her issues about Christmas and going lower key for V-Day because, the way the letter reads, she realized that she spent more on him than he spent on her at Christmas and it bothered her (which is implied by her not spending as much on him at V-Day and the way it’s worded and the general tone of the letter complaining about money she spends v. what he spends in general) and I was giving her the benefit of the doubt of not being passive agressive and crazy. If she was disappointed at Christmas, and didn’t say anything about then, but was then was hoping that her BF would magically go all out for V-Day while she “made up” for her earlier gift-giving generosity by only doing brownies and a card, that’s ridiculous. I’d hope that’s not what she did and that there was some sort of communication there.

  24. I haven’t read all the comments, so someone else may have already said this. But what worked for me was explaining very candidly to my then-boyfriend/now-husband exactly what I liked for V Day (in my case, roses), our anniversary (a nice dinner out, and not at 6 or 10:30 pm because he made the reservation the day before), etc. I know it can seem unromantic to have to explain this stuff, but I think that many (if not most) guys only learn this lesson because at some point a girlfriend sits them down and explains it to them. So be that girlffriend – help a brother out. It’s better to be a little unromantic once and clue the guy in, than be annoyed for the rest of your relationship that he doesn’t read your mind.

    Of course, my method is not 100% foolproof. This year, I got lovely roses, but he also gave me over a pound of 70% chocolate bars. I don’t really eat a lot of straight-up chocolate, esp not dark chocolate, and I know he knows that. Of course if I were .01% more cynical, I might think he got me the chocolate knowing that I wouldn’t eat it and hoping it’d be up to him to do so.

  25. The key to any relationship is communication, communication, communication. I agree with everyone else in the fact that it’s obvious you don’t have that. TALK to him about what you expect. If you want him to pay for things, find some sort of compromise — maybe you pay for gas to see him and he pays for dinners out. Talk about what you expect before Valentine’s Day, birthdays, Christmas, etc. He’s not going to know what you want/expect from him unless you tell him.

  26. mmmCheesy says:

    I agree with everyone that now is the time to talk about this. What is happening is that you are building resentment, and I can promise you that relationships with resentment never end well. You have three choices here: 1) talk to him about these things, honestly, but not in an accusatory manner. Tell him what you would like to see happen. Be reasonable about those things. Tell him you don’t mind splitting the check, but every once in a while, it would be nice if he could treat you. Tell him how Vday made you feel. 2) Let go of the resentment, honestly and fully. Especially about the driving situation, since it seems that you can’t change that situation. Accept that some of these things are just who he is, and determine if there are enough good things to outweigh the frustrations. Focus on all the things he does bring to the table that are good and right. 3) Leave him. As I said, resentment isn’t healthy and doesn’t end well. And letting go of it is HARD work (been there, tried to do it, didn’t work). The driving situation sounds unlikely to change. If you can’t let go of your hard feelings about that, they are just going to grow, and seep into other aspects of your relationship. Same with the splitting the check. And generally I’ve found that people that aren’t thoughtful enough to make even the smallest gesture on important days are not likely to change. Its just who they are.

    I would start with option one and see where that gets you.

    Also, about the splitting the check. This far into the relationship, I don’t think its unfair to split the check. Especially since you are making more than he is. A couple of bfs ago, I was making about $40k while dating someone who made about $200k. He made me split the bill with him every time, which I honestly thought was pretty awful. I don’t mind pulling my own weight, but with a large income disparity, it didn’t seem fair to do it every single time. I think its more than fair that you split the check and pick up the tab for gas given the situation. Although I do think it would be very nice of him to offer to pick up dinner every once in a while.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      Hmm, in a not super serious relationship, I don’t think who-makes-what should make a difference about who pays for dinner, unless its 1 person saying I can’t afford to eat at X, lets go to Y instead.

  27. 6napkinburger says:

    Regarding ONLY the lack of Valentine’s day anything, I somewhat disagree with most of hte people here. If you want to NOT do anything for Valentine’s day, by all means discuss it. But if HE doesn’t want to do anything for Valentine’s, it’s on him to bring that up — which he didn’t do. I think many men would feel put off by the request, especially those men who hadalways/already planned on doing something for valentine’s day … then it doesn’t seem like he did it because he thought of it and wanted to, but because she asked. I know I hate that feeling — it reminds me of my mom telling me to clean my room –I was going to, but now that you told me to, I don’t get to feel like I accomplished anything other than doing what you told me. They might still give, but it takes the wind out of their sails. I think its on the person who wants to lower expectations to bring it up in advance, not the person with perfectly reasonable expectations. However, now that it has passed and she is disappointed, I think she should discuss it with him to address her disappointment (plus all the other feelings). But I don’t think that — regarding Valentine’s day — this LW is responsible for her disappointment because she somehow didn’t adequately convey that she expected her BF to do anything for a well-estabished, nationally recognized gift-giving holiday.

    1. I totally agree. It seems pretty impossible that he could just not know that she might want a card or gift for Valentine’s Day. I mean, all the men I know are very aware of V-Day and the expectations that go with it, even if they and their partners choose not to celebrate it. (Telling your partner you want them to get you a card for V-Day is like telling them you’d like to them say “Happy Birthday” on your birthday. It’s a given, unless the two of you have discussed otherwise.) So the fact that he didn’t bring it up beforehand AND didn’t do anything on that day… I’m not really seeing any good excuse for him ignoring the holiday.

      1. See, I totally DO tell my boyfriend to say “Happy Birthday” to me on my birthday. Usually in like, a joking way (i.e. we’ve only been awake for like 2 seconds. Me: You didn’t say happy birthday to me yet! Him: Ughh, seriously? Me: :D)

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        Have I told you lately that I love you?

    2. I agree so much! To me, the mindset of “This holiday is lame” is excusable (although a bit stick in the mud, IMO… what could be more fun than an excuse to do something nice for your SO??), but that doesn’t make up for saying to yourself, “This is a widely recognized opportunity to show my girlfriend I care, and she might be hurt if I skip it, but I don’t care enough to find out.”

      1. SweetPeaG says:

        Love this! You’re right… he just didn’t care enough to find out. And that is lazy.

        I know some (okay MANY) things about holidays are over-done, commercialized, etc. I understand why that may leave a bad taste in some people’s mouths. But, doing something sweet for someone on a special day doesn’t HAVE to be a mass-produced holiday card. And it doesn’t have to cost much. He could have made a much more personal card. He could have made her dinner, written her a song, given her a foot rub. SOMETHING to make her feel extra loved. I don’t particularly understand being ABOVE the holiday (stick in the mud, as you put it). And if he truly despises the day for whatever reason? The burden is on him to tell her so.

  28. Avatar photo MackenzieLee says:

    LW, you seem to have 2 different issues that you have combined into one. First, you are upset about the money split in your relationship. To solve this just stop freaking offering to pay for dinner. Bring it up along the lines of oh you can take me out to this restaurant tonight since I payed for the gas money to get here. He can’t be expected to read your mind and know you want him to refuse. That’s ridiculous.

    Second, you’re upset that your boyfriend didn’t do anything for you for valentine’s day. That’s a more complicated issue. He could just be one of those people like me that really doesn’t have any strong feelings for the holiday and would rather not celebrate it. I figure if someone does something nice for me because they are told that it is February 14th and they must do something nice then really how nice is it? I’d rather a random nice thing at some random time because then I know they mean it. I get the feeling you might feel the same way. It’s not that you wanted him to show you he cared that day in particular, you just want it SOME days and you figured of any day that would be the day to do it.

    So here’s my advice. Bring up the fact that you don’t feel cared for, but leave valentine’s day out of it. Just say that you think he could put more thought and effort into the relationship. Don’t bring the money and the care issues up in the same conversation. The two really aren’t that related. Money doesn’t equate love and as you pointed out there are plenty of free things he can do for you that shows he loves you.

  29. LW – I want to tell you a story.

    So my husband’s friend was over at our house playing video games. I asked about his “girlfriend” who caught my bouquet at my wedding. He said they broke up a few months ago. Late in the conversation, he mentioned that this same ex was crazy and just got him an XBOX. I like spit out my drink. I said to him “Clearly she doesn’t know you broke up.” He said yea, “We broke up and then started sleeping together and then she bought the XBOX.”

    So here is this poor girl who is putting in all this effort only to find out that the guy is just hanging with her because he is bored and has nothing better going on.

    This might sound quaint but frankly, I think the guy should be the pursuer. He didn’t do well at Christmas, not on V-Day, he is splitting bills, and you are showing up at his door at his bec and call (SP?) whenever he can managed to open the door for you? This might be a love language thing but I think he is just not that into you.

  30. Avatar photo sobriquet says:

    I haven’t had a chance to read through the entire thread, but can I just say how much I hate the “love languages” cop out? Sure, some people show their love more often in certain ways, but does that mean they are excused from ever showing it in other ways? Oh, he doesn’t give you gifts? That’s just not his love language. Sorry, but no. I’m not a big gift giver either and I know that it’s important to give at least a CARD for Valentine’s Day. Come on! Oh, he never says nice things or tells you how much he appreciates you? Oh, he never takes out the trash or helps out around the house? That’s just not his love language! I keep seeing it over and over again in advice columns. No one should be excused for a general lack of thoughtfulness. We’re talking about decent human behavior here.

    And honestly, every guy I’ve ever dated who had no plans to celebrate Valentine’s Day let that be known upfront so that there was no confusion. People who hate Valentine’s Day are much louder about it than people who enjoy it.

    1. the love languages thing is about accepting someone as they are, not as you want them to be.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        Not really. Its about acknowledging different people have different ways of expressing love. Its not about accepting or changing people.

      2. well, yea, thats the same thing. acknowledging that someone has a different personality trait then your own/then you wish they had is accepting someone as they are -assuming that you then accept that information as true and adjust your life accordingly.

        whining about why your boyfriend doesnt buy you the gifts you want when he does x/y/z other things that can be explained by things like the love languages is trying to change someone into who you want them to be. if its that big of an issue, just leave the guy. you cant change people like that.

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        I don’t think it ends there though, that you must accept this person’s language of love and never expect more/different or express your desire for more/different. Relationships work with compromise, which includes your “language.” At least I think so. So its not changing necessarily, its compromising and acknowledging that hey, just bc I think V Day is lame and I fill her car up with gas to show her I love her, doesn’t mean my gf wouldn’t like a bottle of wine on V day.

      4. 6napkinburger says:

        I think you are right with someone who has something like Asperger’s or some other type of condition that literally prevents them from seeing an issue from another person’s perspective. But most people don’t fit into that category and they can attempt to speak the other person’s “love language” from time to time — I think that’s the whole point of the book, right? It is that people speak different languages and becoming aware of those differences allow partners to start communicating better — because they can learn to speak each other’s language. If you find out that your partner is a “verbal” lover, and you find out that you are an “active/actions” lover (I made those up, i haven’t read it), isn’t the point to start speaking each other’s language i.e. your partner starts trying to verbalize his feelings occasionally (“I love you honey and I appreciate you”) and you start trying to show through actions, not just with words. You don’t shrug and say “I don’t do actions — sorry, take it or leave it” — or at least, I don’t think that’s the point.

        Of course, people can have styles that are just too divergent and means that it won’t work, but that is not the same as someone just not putting enough effort into a relationship, or , specifically to your point, enough effort to try to learn to “speak” the love language of the partner.

      5. Avatar photo sobriquet says:

        In theory, but people use it to excuse thoughtless behavior. I can understand telling the LW that her boyfriend just doesn’t have the gift giving love language if she’s writing in and complaining about why her boyfriend never gives her random gifts. But holidays? Everyone knows to give at least a CARD. That is the bare minimum. That’s just kind. That’s just what you do for someone you love and care about unless you specified otherwise.

        I seriously read an advice column not too long ago when a woman was complaining about why her husband never helped out around the house, despite many conversations in which she expressed her frustration. I mean, he flat out refused to clean up after himself. Refused to take out the trash. Refused to do ANYthing around the house. And some people were excusing this thoughtless behavior by telling her that that just wasn’t his love language. I’m sorry, but no! That’s just decent human behavior!

      6. i guess it just depends on how you define “thoughtless”.

        my boyfriend hates cards. ill never, ever get a card from him, because thats who he is. i accept him like that. he is not “thoughtless” to me.

      7. lets_be_honest says:

        What if you loved cards though? Like you wanted a card more than any other thing and told him how mch you loved cards? Don’t you think he would get you one bc its what you want?

      8. i do love cards! i keep every card that is given to me, i have them all since like junior high in a box.

        i just accept that he doesnt like them- thats not him. i dont require people to meet my own superficial needs in that way. i accept people for who they are and appreciate them for what they genuinely bring to the table.

        because, just like i hate the “have to” of valentines day, if i made jake buy me a card, how does that mean anything? i might as well just have bought it myself. it didnt come from him- it came from my own selfish wants for a card.

      9. lets_be_honest says:

        I agree telling someone exactly what to get you is silly bc it means nothing then. Obviously, you are ok with not getting cards from him and you’ve let him know that and whatever else he does for you is enough for you…but not everyone is like that.
        If cards meant a lot to me, I would hope my SO acknowledged that, got over his dislike of cards which makes no sense, and gave me a card.
        Its not “forcing” someone to meet superficial needs. Its the other person acknowledging that just bc they don’t like something, doesn’t mean they should refuse to do it when their partner does like it a lot. Its give and take and sacrificing for someone other than you. I don’t love doing x, but my partner does so I do it sometimes for him kind of a thing.
        I could almost say its selfish of the other person to disregard their partner likes something just bc they don’t like it.

      10. like i posted below, it has to go both ways…

        well it has to go both ways though- while your partner cant say “no, that’s not how I express my love” YOU also cant say “these are the only way that i will accept love”

      11. lets_be_honest says:

        Yes, you have to compromise in relationships.
        But If something was so, so important to me and my SO knew that and didn’t care, I would think he was selfish and probably moa.

      12. and a lot of people just need to MOA. lol.

        i think a lot of people are much more ill-matched then they either understand or accept. like this LW, for instance. this guy is an army vet with serious issues, no car, and a lower paying job then her. she is looking (it seems) for a “perfect” man. this is not that guy.

      13. 6napkinburger says:

        You think she is looking for a “perfect man” because she hates that she has to put in the effort all the time and feels like she doesn’t ever get to feel special (“being the girl”) and have him show his affection through generally accepted tokens of affection (like a card on valentine’s day, paying for an occassional dinner)? Seriously?

        We always yell at LW’s to aim higher, to have more self-respect and not to accept being treated crappily. That’s what she is voicing here: that she feels like she isn’t getting enough appreciation or affection from her relationship. She acknowledges that he has a good reason for some of the problems (his service in the army) but that he doesn’t have a good reason for some of them, and even if he does, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t bother her. Which is fair — no therapist would respond to “I know it’s not his fault but it is beginning to bother me that I always have to drive” with “that’s because you’re selfish — he was in the WAR”; they would say that her feelings are valid, and that she has to acknowledge that it bothers her and figure out a situation that works for both of them.

        Not sure why you think she’s asking for perfection.

      14. i see it is that she drives because he has some sort of PTSD/injury that prevents him from driving, she pays for half of her meal because she offers/this isnt the 1950’s, she buys him stuff because she likes to, they need to learn how to communicate regarding gift-giving, and he does “daily things” that she feels the need to be appreciated for.

        im just not seeing it like you do.

      15. sorry, he does “daily things” that she feels the need to appreciate HIM for.

      16. Avatar photo sobriquet says:

        And that’s completely fine as long as YOU’RE okay with it. Successful relationships involve sacrifices, though. You don’t just get to say “this is who I am, I will never ever change, so just deal with it” when a simple issue comes up like gift giving. Your boyfriend told you that he hates cards and you communicated that that was okay with you.

        But if my boyfriend tells me that he wants me to buy/make him cards for holidays, or tell him I appreciate him more often, or hold his hand when we’re in public or clean up around the house because it makes him feel loved, then by all means I will do those things! Even though they are not all my love language. I don’t get to say “no, that’s not how I express my love” and expect to maintain a successful relationship.

      17. well it has to go both ways though- while your partner cant say “no, that’s not how I express my love” YOU also cant say “these are the only way that i will accept love”

      18. Avatar photo sobriquet says:

        I completely agree and I think that’s where compatibility issues come into play. Like if you NEED your SO to give you random gifts and NEED your SO to be really touchy-feely with you in public, those aren’t things you can just force someone to do. I know it was an issue in my last relationship that I wasn’t as affectionate as he wanted me to be and I just could not change that. It was never enough for him.

        I think I’m talking more about the simple issues that just involve general kindness and a small sacrifice. It would be ridiculous to expect your SO to start giving you random gifts all the time, but not at all unreasonable to expect gifts on holidays.

      19. yea, i definitely agree with that.

      20. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

        I think the best form of compromise is finding something you can both agree on so for example, if I love cards but he hates them then I know that I also love dinner out, movies on the couch and chocolate. If he can agree to do any of those thing then we’re happy because we both found something to do that we liked. If none of those things work for him then maybe we just aren’t compatible and we need to acknowledge that and move on to someone else.

      21. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

        So to sum it up I think that instead of making it a you or me situation you need to search for the we solution.

      22. yeah, while I think the love languages thing is good as a GUIDE, and maybe a starting point for compromise, it’s starting to get thrown around a lot without any further clarification.

        Like, I read an advice column on The Hairpin, I think, where this woman’s boyfriend would never, ever touch her except if he wanted sex. And people were commenting like “Love Languages!” but come on, if he knows she likes affection, it’s not too hard to remember to caress her face or kiss her cheek every once & a while.

      23. Avatar photo sobriquet says:

        @Fab: I remember that article! It was so sad and people were excusing his behavior like it wasn’t a huge, blinking red flag. If you really, actually love someone, it’s not difficult to go out of your comfort zone every once in awhile to show it.

    2. Avatar photo theattack says:

      That’s definitely not what it’s intended to be. That’s pretty much the opposite, and for someone to take it that way just shows that they’re not interested in working on or caring for their relationship. Love languages are wonderful, wonderful tools. But they’re not about getting out of doing things. They’re about adding to the relationship and caring for your partner. You’re supposed to learn your partner’s love language and then start doing that more, not say “This is my love language, take it or leave it.”

  31. You’ve “been through a lot” but you’ve only been dating for a year? That’s not a good sign.

    As far as the gifts… yeah, you shouldn’t expect people to read your mind. If you need to be with someone that gives gifts without being asked, then this guy isn’t it. If it’s worth it to you to talk to him in order to get gifts, then talk to him. As with a lot of relationship issues, this is not about what’s right or wrong but what’s the right fit. Some people couldn’t care less about gifts or wouldn’t mind asking for them, so maybe that’s who he should be with.

    1. kerrycontrary says:

      Eh, I would argue against the “been through a lot” thing. Sometimes circumstances just make people experience a lot together within the first year of their relationship. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the “a lot” refers to relationship issues they’ve worked through. Like someone could’ve lost a sibling or parent during the first year of dating someone. Or went through major life changes like a career switch, moving, a disease, what have you. Having a relatively new boyfriend go through and help you through those experiences can show a woman a lot about a man’s character.

  32. Bittergaymark says:

    You know, if a guy makes more money, it seems he is ALWAYS just expected to pay. If a Dear Wendy LW makes more money? Instead of being grateful at her better circumstances and for maybe the fact that she, you know, she never went to war… the “average” DWLW loudly complains about it. And then further bitches that her man can’t somehow miraculously read her mind.

    Oh, and for all the whining women do about Valentines Day, I must say I have Never Ever (NOT ONCE!?!) been impressed by the effort that ANY of my thousands of female friends and acquaintances put into it. Not once. So go ahead and wow me, DearWendyers. I’d live to hear a few girl initiated grand gestures instead of the constant parade of female sour grapes this silly, (wo)manufactured, and most vapid holiday always seems to provokes.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      I held a parade in my home town honoring the hotness of my boyfriend. All the happy lovebirds made rafts which we threw sour grapes from at the people who complain about V Day. And you know what my boyfriend did? He complained that my raft didn’t have enough glitter. I tell you Mark, not a damn thing will ever be good enough for him.

    2. lets_be_honest says:

      Also, everyone knows its the boy’s job to deal with Valentines Day. Duh.

    3. I get a card and flowers. My BF gets a steak and a BJ.

      everyone wins.

    4. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

      I agree. I think it really comes down to the woman wanting to feel like she is valued so she looks at what she is given to see if it adds up in her mind to her worth. If it doesn’t add up to enough then she is upset. It tends to be a no win situation.

      I also find that lots of women think they give excellent, thoughtful presents to men but the men really want different things than what they are receiving but they are too polite to complain so the woman is mad about what she received because she thinks what she gave is much more thoughtful but it isn’t.

      My husband and I gave each other cards, chose chocolates together and went to dinner together at a restaurant we chose together. We were both happy. We put in the same effort and both ended up with things we liked. It was win/win.

    5. Avatar photo theattack says:

      I’ve always baked something for my fiance (and past boyfriends), and if I have time, I make him candy too. I try to decorate for us. I make him a nice dinner. I get him a nice and/or thoughtful gift. That’s pretty much my standard procedure for any occasion with him though, but I think he appreciates it. (Although we celebrate President’s Day, which is essentially just Valentine’s on a different day, so whatever). It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. I was so happy I almost cried when he remembered my favorite type of wine and got me flowers and a stuffed octopus.

    6. The beginning of this thread was mostly, “Hey if you want to celebrate Valentine’s Day you should communicate that” and then it turned into “Of course he should KNOW to get you something – it’s Valentine’s Day, DUH.”

      I guess I’m the weird one, but I’ve never “expected” to celebrate Valentine’s Day whether I’m in a relationship or not. And I’ve DEFINITELY never expected gifts.

      We tell LWs to discuss whether or not they are going to exchange CHRISTMAS gifts, or how much each person can spend before Christmas/birthdays. Why is Valentine’s Day suddenly different? I’m actually really surprised by some of these responses.

      And if anyone cares, my opinion is that it is totally normal to split checks when going to dinner, especially when you’re in an established relationship. You either split or you take turns paying. Unless you have a discussion specifying that you would like to do it differently, then I think this is “normal”, even with differences in income.

      1. GatorGirl says:

        Cats I totally agree. We tell everyone to talk about presents before other holidays. Why is v-day any different?

    7. But most of the women on this board called her out on expecting him to pay and many of us — including me — said she should pay for MORE things in the relationship.

      Since you asked, here was my grand gesture this year: A month ago my bf woke up in a melancholy mood and said he couldn’t wait to move to California with me someday and go on picnics. I also live near a really nice park right now, and he likes to ride his bike there and then have me meet him with a picnic for us. So, for valentine’s day I got him a nice picnic basket that we could use for picnics in california and also now. I put a lot of thought into it, and a not-insignificant amount of money for me. I also chose a nice restaurant weeks ahead of time and was planning to pay about a week’s worth of my disposable income for it (he insisted on splitting, partly because he picked a really expensive wine and partly because he makes like twice as much money as I do, and I did let him — but I have paid completely for nice dinners in previous years.)

      I also would like to say that I’ve had boyfriends do anything for me for valentine’s day from “suggest that we watch a DVD together” (it was my DVD, too) to “give me an expensive necklace” and I have genuinely appreciated every single one. And most of my female friends are quite similar — if we love the guy we’re with, we love the way he shows love. Maybe you need to work on your misogyny, and then your female friends will be of a slightly higher quality… no offense to your current ones, I’m sure they’re saints.

      This goes out not just to you but to all the people on the internet who get mixed up between feminists (people like, well, me) and women who want to coast on privileges that are a signifier of an outdated system (people like the LW, if we’re all reading her letter right). They are DIFFERENT groups of people. They just both happen to be groups of (mostly) women. Grr.

    8. I am going to make a counter arguement for you. Men hold all the “steps” in the relationship. A woman can show love and affection but in 99% of the situations, the guy is the one who asks to get married, to move in together, be exclusive. So these holidays are male swayed because they are the decision makers in the relationship. In Gay relationships, people come in on equal footing and it gives more flexibility for grand gestures on both sides.

      1. wtf? men hold all the steps?

        what century was i just transported to?

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        In most relationships, the guy is the one who proposes. That’s pretty accurate if you ask me, even when its discussed and agreed to beforehand.

      3. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Well, I think in practice men still do hold most of the steps, but not in reality. Maybe that’s what csp means?

      4. “in practice” and “in reality” is the same thing…

      5. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Not really…. In reality, women CAN propose as often as men do. In practice, they don’t. I think you knew what I meant either way though.

      6. What percentage of women do you know that have proposed?

      7. I’ll take that a step further. What percentage of women do you know who wait by the phone for a guy to call? I bet a lot. I honestly don’t know many women who take the lead in the beginning of the relationship. And if they do, they seem clingy. So they don’t. Then again, I’m not 23. Maybe it’s different.

      8. seriously. it is true. We have come so far in so many ways but this barrier is still there. My younger sister was with her boyfriend for a few years. They talked about marriage and her fiance said the proposal would be soon. She told me, “I have a great career, am wealthy and self sufficient, but in this one area, I am waiting to plan the rest of my life on a man’s whim.” might be wrong but it is still true.

      9. I don’t want to live in the world you guys live in.

        I refuse to accept that reality.

      10. you can choose not to accept that relationship style for yourself, but there’s no denying that it’s how it works for the majority of couples…

      11. lets_be_honest says:

        Do you honestly think that more women propose than men?

      12. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

        I don’t think there has to be a proposal, just an agreement to get married. For me the important thing was the commitment. I didn’t need a proposal to show commitment or romance or whatever it means to any specific woman.

      13. lets_be_honest says:

        I don’t either, but I’d say that the norm tends to be a man proposing to a woman.

      14. I wouldn’t think that most proposals happen the way they used to though. Sure, the proposal itself and the buying of rings are traditions that people are clinging to, but isn’t the decision to marry generally a MUTUAL decision that is discussed beforehand? Like you, LBH – you’ve seen the ring and you know the proposal is imminent, because you both discussed it and both agreed on it.

      15. lets_be_honest says:

        I absolutely agree. Its usually decided to together, but the actual proposal is still left for the guy to do. (i haven’t actually seen a ring, but yea, we’re on the same page)

      16. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

        I’m surprised that so many woman still follow such a traditional path to marriage.

      17. Avatar photo theattack says:

        But it’s not just women! It’s couples doing it together, and in my experience, men are MUCH more traditional than women.

        My fiance is the more traditional one in our relationship. He wanted the ring, the proposal, the big wedding. He wants to do things very formally and traditionally, and I really don’t care about any of it. Just because I didn’t care about it doesn’t mean I get to make that decision. It was important to him, so I let him have it because he felt it added value to our relationship. Whatever.

      18. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

        If it is significant to either of you then it is important to you as a couple and you will usually end up doing it. I am surprised that more women don’t ask men to get married, that many or most women wait for a proposal. I’m surprised because in most ways women and men are living their lives in a comparable way but when it comes to expectations in relationships things are still quite old fashioned. Maybe I should say I’m surprised that so many couples still follow such a traditional path to marriage. Couples have changed the way they do many things, like living together before marriage and splitting the cost of meals and vacationing together before marriage and so to have the engagement still be as traditional as it still is surprises me.

      19. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

        We decided to get married and there was no proposal. We discussed it, decided we wanted to get married, decided when we wanted to get engaged and went and picked out an engagement ring together. I definitely wanted to pick the ring because I would be wearing it for the rest of my life and I do love the rings I have.

        It is a matter of being on the same page, of having the same expectations. If you want a traditional proposal then you’ll have to wait until he proposes. If you don’t care about the traditional proposal you can decided to get married and decide to be engaged without waiting on the guy to make it official. It depends on both of you and your expectations and wants.

      20. Avatar photo theattack says:

        “If you don’t care about the traditional proposal you can decided to get married and decide to be engaged without waiting on the guy to make it official.”

        Unless HE wants a traditional proposal. It’s not just women that want those things, which is why I think it’s unfair to say that women “get” those things like they’re something desirable. So no, you can’t just decide to be engaged without waiting on the guy.

      21. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

        That’s why I said it is a matter of being on the same, of having the same expectations. If he wants a traditional proposal that’s fine and if she wants a traditional proposal that’s fine as long as their partner agrees. If neither cares then it’s also fine. It is a matter of coming to an agreement that both like.

      22. What percentage of couples discuss together and decide mutually that they would like to get married before going through the steps of buying a ring (usually together!) and proposing?

      23. Gatekeeper, shmatekeeper. If you feel so powerless in your relationship then maybe you’re doing it wrong.

      24. Yep.

        In 99% of cases, women are the gatekeepers to the relationship progressing sexually, and men are the gatekeepers to the relationship progressing on a committment level.

      25. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        I would love to see the scientific study on that.

      26. I have loads of anecdotal evidence and observation after 20 years of dating, friends dating, reading about people and dating… there’s always exceptions of course, but the majority of relationships I’ve observed follow this pattern.

      27. 6napkinburger says:

        Seriously? I feel like some people are being purposefully obtuse on this issue. (though I don’t mean that in a bad way, I just can’t think of a better word.) Of course there are exceptions, but generally, in a new relationship, girl waits for guy to reach out. Girl controls how far they go sexually (hence all the “did i go too far with him too fast?” –can’t do that if he won’t put out too). Girl checks in with guy about level of commitment (“where do you see this going?”) because she wants it and she wants to make sure he does too… she’s not checking in to make sure he DOESN’T want him to call her his girlfriend. Guy usually pays at first, eventually working itself out to be even unless there’s a huge difference in income. On special occasions, boy still usually pays. Boys buy girls jewelry and other stuff as presents; girls buy boys electronics and other stuff as presents. Girls tend not to buy boys flowers unless he’s in the hospital; guys do get girls flowers. Moving in — probably more even handed, though guy should know its probably leading towards marriage and girl probably hopes its leading towards marriage (and yes, smart couples talk about this, but it’s the girl making sure the guy knows what’s up); and while couples decide to get married, boys usually propose, so they choose WHEN the couple becomes engaged.

        You can dislike the above, or refuse to play along, and all that. but you can’t deny that this is usually how it works.

      28. Exactly!

      29. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Who are you guys dating? Seriously. Girl waits to reach out. Girl controls how far they go sexually. REALLY? This has not been my dating experience at all. Girl checks in about level of commitment. Nope – I was the commitment phobe in my relationship. Your whole argument is bizarre. Are women really just being passengers to their own lives? If so that’s sad.

      30. GatorGirl says:

        Yeah….I pursued the bejesus out of my fiancé and the guy I dated before him. I’m the one who instigated dating and progressing things sexually. I don’t get where they are coming from.

      31. Right, But this LW is doing all the work and getting no response back. She makes brownines and he does nothing. Girls better have a guy who is going to meet them half way.

      32. Gatekeepers? Like, Sigourney Weaver on Ghostbusters? Hot!

      33. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        I will give you proposal but in my experience it’s pretty 50/50 on moving in together, being exclusive, having kids, getting a dog. And so what if men hold all the steps – then shouldn’t we as women give them valentines day? If they’re doing everything else (which I don’t agree with) then shouldn’t it be the girls that have to plan and pay for valentines day?

      34. No, it shows how men feel during “courtship”. I am sorry, but this girl always drives to him, spends too much on him, always pays 50/50. Where is he showing effort? Is this just friends with benefits? Maybe it doesn’t have to be Valentines day but show me in this letter, where he has put the effort in?

      35. I’m pretty sure a woman has to want to get married for a proposal to occur. Just because the guy still generally does the asking, it doesn’t mean he “holds the steps”, whatever that’s supposed to mean.

      36. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

        When I saw the very public proposals I always wonder if the Guy is doing it that way so that the woman will feel pressured to say yes because so many people are watching. I wonder if he’s afraid she’ll say no or knows that she doesn’t want to get married so he tries to do it in a way where she will feel she can’t say no.

      37. Did you hear about the “flash wedding” that happened on some morning show? Insane! I really hope the poor girl was in on it!

      38. I’ve always assumed that the asker does it knowing that the askee will say yes. How horrifying would it be to be the recipient of a very public proposal that you did not want to accept? What do you do? Accept and later back out? Don’t accept?

      39. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

        They have some on YouTube where the proposal was public and the woman said no or said nothing and ran away. I guess that’s what made me think that sometimes it so public because they think the woman won’t say no in front of a large group of people.

      40. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

        They have some on YouTube where the proposal was public and the woman said no or said nothing and ran away. I guess that’s what made me think that sometimes it so public because they think the woman won’t say no in front of a large group of people.

      41. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

        When I was in grad school, about 25 years ago, one of my fellow grad students went home to Egypt for a visit. When he came back he was showing us a ring on his right hand. He was excited and saying look at this. We were looking but didn’t know what to think and our first guess was that he was married and they wore the ring on the right hand instead of the left. He told us no, no look which hand the ring is on. We were clueless so asked what it meant and he told us it meant he was engaged. I loved the idea of a guy wearing an engagement ring and running around showing it off to all of his friends. It was a plain, gold band and he wore it on the right hand. When they got married he moved it to his left hand. That is one tradition I would love to see here.

  33. You have to speak up and tell people your expectations. It sucks to feel like someone is not romantic or not thoughtful but he’s also not a mind reader. AND I have to say some guys have no idea about giving gifts or cards, it’s just not in their frame of reference the way it is in a women’s head. For whatever reason we are often RAISED to be thankful and thoughtful and guys don’t always get that.

    I have been with my boyfriend for almost 8 years and in the beginning he wasn’t into cards and gifts, so I said, hey you know what would be nice? Just a card! Now he is a super card giver (for every occasion, even some that I forget) and the last few years I also got flowers, which I never even asked for! It’s a learning curve, and it takes time.

    Speak up and say what you need! 🙂

    1. Woman not women. I hate typos.

  34. I really don’t understand this idea that your BF or SO not getting you something for Valentine’s Day has any reflection on his commitment to you or the state of your relationship. It’s one day. One made-up holiday. It means nothing in the grand scheme of anything. If a guy treats you like garbage 364 days out of the year, but remembers to buy you 2 dozen roses and an old bottle of wine on February 14, does that make him a catch? Does that mean he really, really loves you despite all evidence to the contrary? Of course not. So, why this idea that the converse is true? If a guy is fantastic to you 364 days out of the year and makes you feel special and loved, does it really mean that none of that matters if he didn’t buy you 2 dozen roses – or even a card – on one day, even if you really, really, really wanted him to do so and he SHOULD know to do it because it’s all over the TV and marketed and everyone else is doing it? This makes no sense to me.

    1. 6napkinburger says:

      Then it should make no difference if he ignores your birthday. And your anniversary. And Christmas. They’re all just one day a year.

      Special occasions are called that for a reason — they’re special. You take time to focus your attention on the relationship/person in a special way, that goes above and beyond normal. Celebrating things means focusing our attention on one particular detail that tends to get absorbed into the background noise. Does it have to be on February 14th? Of course not, and of course its all marketing hype. Just like thanksgiving doesn’t need to be the last Thursday in November to mean anything, but there is value in taking a day to enjoy family and friends and tradition (and perhaps even give thanks). There is value in focusing on a relationship and valuing each other, and that you have each other, and that you are part of a pair. There is a societal push to do it on February 14th, so that’s when a lot of people expect to do it/receive it. There is even value in letting someone know that this year, they are not alone on the day that society has decided to take stock of who has someone and who doesn’t — EVEN IF they shouldn’t ever have felt bad about it in the first place.

      But it doesn’t make sense to me how someone in a relationship who knows about valentine’s day doesn’t think “hmm, i should do something for my girlfriend” in the absence of a conversation about how he thinks Valentine’s day is dumb and he doesn’t want to be beholden to hallmark. THAT makes no sense to me. And if he’s making you feel loved and special on 364 days a year, why does he choose February 14th NOT to? Again, without telling her?

      1. Totally agree – Valentine’s Day is really not any more made up than Thanksgiving, at this point. It’s just a cultural tradition like anything else. And unlike Thanksgiving which let’s be serious, is kind of about celebrating that time the Native Americans lost all their land to Europeans, Valentine’s Day is about love. Love is nice.

        Also, though, this: “If a guy is fantastic to you 364 days out of the year and makes you feel special and loved, does it really mean that none of that matters if he didn’t buy you 2 dozen roses – or even a card – on one day” is a straw man. The LW actually says she wants to make sure he knows she appreciates everything else he does. She says she knows he loves her. No one is saying “none of that matters” — people are just saying Valentine’s Day matters enough to talk to him about how she’s feeling.

      2. “Valentine’s Day is about love. Love is nice.”

        I disagree that Valentine’s Day is about love. But, I agree that love is nice.

      3. That’s fair. 🙂

      4. “And if he’s making you feel loved and special on 364 days a year, why does he choose February 14th NOT to? ”

        Because she really means nothing to him and he’s secretly sticking it to her by not getting her a $3 card on Valentine’s Day. Really? He’s not telling her anything by not getting her a card on Valentine’s Day. It means nothing. It doesn’t mean he does not value her. It doesn’t mean he does not love her. It does not mean he doesn’t think about her or he doesn’t care. It literally means he didn’t go buy her a card.
        What means something is the rest of the year, those other 364 days when she says she feels loved. And, really, if it’s the thought that counts, then getting someone something just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t isn’t “thought” and it doesn’t really count. Or, rather, the absence of it shouldn’t. This guy can focus on her over all year long, and, frankly, it sounds like other than the money issue she is having that she isn’t communicating at all, he does. She even says that he shows her he loves her in so many different ways. So why on earth does it matter if he doesn’t buy her a card? Is this really worth upset and tears?

        God, just the drama I see around Valentine’s Day in general is absolutely ridiculous. I’ve been dating/engaged/married to my husband for 13 years. We had planned to go out to dinner last Thursday because everyone else does it. I even made reservations for a really nice place we’d been wanting to go to. But my husband came home exhausted after working all day, and we decided not to go. Instead, we made a quick dinner at home and watched TV together on the couch. And, I don’t feel the least bit slighted because I didn’t get to do something on “special” Valentine’s Day. And that’s because going out to eat on a Thursday doesn’t matter. But, I’m sick today – gross sick – and my husband is a certified germophobe who is terrified of being sick and who has to go out of town later this week for depositions, which will be miserable if he gets sick. And yet, despite that, he sat with me, snot and all, last night and brought me soup and medicine and took care of things so I wouldn’t have to and that made me feel 10000 times more loved than spending Thursday night eating a dinner that I can go get any other night of my life.

        Valentine’s day is a gimmick. Reading things into what men do or don’t do on that day is just a waste of time and energy. If he loves you, he loves you. If you matter to him, you matter to him. And all the flowers in the world don’t mean he loves you and him never sending you flowers doesn’t mean he does not. I just don’t see why people get caught up in this superficial stuff.

      5. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        God, just the drama I see around Valentine’s Day in general is absolutely ridiculous.


      6. 6napkinburger says:

        I know that this will sound bitter, even though it isn’t, but all that is a lot easier to say when you’ve been with the man you love for 13 years. It is totally different at the beginning of a relationship, especially a relationship where you are not quite sure you are on the same page as your partner.

        My sister makes a point that a lot of people in committed long term couples (which she is) really do forget what it is like to be single or at the beginning of a relationship. Of course for you, your husband making you feel great when you were sick makes you feel more special and loved than a meaningless thursday night dinner. I totally believe that and see that and agree with that. But that isn’t always the case at the beginning of a relationship, when you don’t spend every night with the person and they aren’t one half of your world and not every thursday is spent having dinner with him. You KNOW your husband loves you and cherishes you and feels the same way about you, and you know that through his constant love and affection throughout 13 years together. She doesn’t have that basis, and so she has to determine his level of affection by signals that he gives. She says she values that he does nice things for her often and that she appreciates that and factors that into her evaluation of his feelings for her. However, not doing anything for (most likely their first) valentine’s day — with no warning that he doesn’t buy into valentine’s day — is also signal, and one she is rightly troubled by. Which is why we’re all telling her that she needs to discuss it with him. It IS a signal, just as if your husband had told you “sorry you don’t feel well, will dinner be ready by the time I get home from going out with my friends?” Signals aren’t superficial, even if it was hallmark and hershey’s who decided to make February 14th into the conduit of that signal.

  35. Older (and hopefully wiser) says:

    My husband rarely bought me flowers or candy or cute cards or even birthday presents. It’s not his thing. But so what? He’s an amazing husband in the ways that are really important. When we were dating, he had no money and I had to pay for everything. But after we were married for a while, he bought me a house, a few cars and pretty much anything I need or want.I’d take the right guy over the gift giving guy any day.

  36. DOES he make her feel loved and special the other 364 days a year, though? It isn’t clear that is the case from her letter.

    LW, if you don’t want to pay half all the time, don’t offer to pay. Be honest with him about your expectations and needs. Your needs are just as valid as his. Don’t bend over backwards making everything easy for him unless he is doing the same for you. And, I hate Valentine’s Day as much as your average guy, but unless you talked about not exchanging anything he should have at least gotten you a card. It’s not what he gets you, but the fact that you are worth SOME effort.

  37. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

    So… the semi-general consensus here is that men have to do all the heavy lifting on Valentine’s Day simply due to the fact that many believe (despite OVERWHELMING evidence to the contrary) that women are still — when it comes to relationships — somehow, someway — forced by society to continue on forever living in 1952?

    Um, okay. Fascinating… Go say “Hi” to Marilyn for me and tell her to please stay the hell away from the Kennedy brothers… They are bad news.

    1. Eh, I’m not getting that from either the LW or anyone else. The LW did bake him something and get him a card. In my case, I made the Valentine’s Day dinner reservation (a month in advance), plus a card and (way less than a pound of) chocolate. Maybe take off your “women are crazy” blinders and take another look.

      Also, this may not be especially relevant, but bear in mind that a LOTof men strongly prefer to be the one who pays. It took me six months to manage to pick up a check when I was first seeing my husband – and I had to ask for the check while he was in the men’s room to do it. That doesn’t mean either of us are living in 1952; it’s just one of his chivalrous/mildly-chauvinistic-but-essentially-harmless quirks.

      1. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        I dunno. Many of the comments following my initial post were strange, I thought. Men are the gatekeepers to relationships and yadda yadda yadda.

    2. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

      Couldn’t agree more Mark. This whole thread went a weird direction. I’ve never felt that the women of DW were farther in the past. But what an important subject to crumble on – VDAY.

      1. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        It’s sad, but I must admit — highly amusing. Hey, not a day goes by on here that I am not accused of misogyny… (why, yes, it’s here today, too, of course!) Meanwhile, post after post of women basically saying that they have little or no power over their relationships and are but at the mercy and the whims of their men… Worse yet, surprisingly few on here seem to even remotely disagree. And yet, somehow, I’m the one prone to misogyny…

      2. Eagle Eye says:

        FWIW, I’ve read parts of this post aloud to my boyfriend and we both got a good laugh out of it/ felt it was all pretty weird!

        The whole engagement thing kinda throws me, I mean, Kinda want to know that its coming? Right?! I mean, its a pretty big decision for just one person in a two-person relationship to make!

        Or am I just nuts?

      3. Don’t you get it? Women are powerless in relationships so we need to force men to make cheesy romantic gestures on a pointless holiday. If they don’t, then they are dopey and clueless and clearly they don’t care about us or our relationship.

        (You are prone to misogyny, but I agree with you here. What some people said today blew my mind).

      4. so terribly ironic that its about valentines day… hilarious.

        and yes, a lot of these comments were disturbing. the comments have been kind of disturbing lately though- maybe its getting in the water or something…

    3. I’m with you this time Mark. I don’t know why Valentine’s Day makes people so crazy.

  38. Sue Jones says:

    My husband got me a nice card for V-day and I got him…. nothing. I totally forgot about Valentine’s Day except that our house is now covered in glitter because we were helping our kid make his Valentines for his class. Our wedding anniversary is 1 week prior to V-day so we don’t have to share our holiday with anyone else… perhaps that makes V-day a bit anticlimactic… Really all this fuss over 1 silly day that is designed to sell flowers, chocolates and dinner…. Suck it up.

  39. no more twinkies says:

    I didn’t get to read through all the comments so I’m sorry if I’m repeating stuff. I’ve been through similar situations and I’ll just mention a couple things. Firstly, watch out for the splitting the tab thing. Maybe you guys can cook at home and eat in more? What my ex and I used to do was pick up every other tab (like he pays for this meal, I pay for the next etc). But eventually I found myself volunteering more than my share because I felt bad when he had to pick up bigger tabs. Why? Because he was unemployed for the majority of our relationship and even when he got a job, it was minimum wage…and all this time I’d been making quite a bit of money. So watch out so he doesn’t rely on you more and more, since he’s already depending on you to spend so much gas money to see him. You have to make your stance clear, and I don’t even think it would hurt for you to occasionally bring up the fact that gas (or whatever else) is kinda putting a lot of financial stress on you. Of course not passive-aggressively, but with a solution (“so how about let’s try cooking this at home tonight!”).

    And secondly, the Valentine’s thing. You said you don’t know how to bring up your disappointment without seeming unappreciative. What I’ve done before is just that. First, I said, “I really appreciate how you always do this and that for me” and then continued on with “I realize I didn’t mention that I would have liked a card, so next time I’d appreciate if…”. Like you, I always got him little surprises here and there but he never got me any. Never. So I used this line to tell him that I would also appreciate a little something every now and then because it makes me so happy. He felt bad and promised he would but in the end he still never did. Moral of the story is you need to be firm and clear about your expectations, both for the gas and the card situation. If you tell him and he doesn’t actively make an effort to accommodate your wishes, then perhaps you’ll need to rethink your relationship and whether you want to just keep on being disappointed (i.e. if his levels of commitment and effort simply don’t match yours, then why keep on torturing yourself?)

  40. Anonymous says:

    I am quite observant. My boyfriend and I have been together for a year now. Last year he pretty much treated Valentine’s like it didn’t exist. I didn’t mind because islamically we aren’t allowed to celebrate Valentine’s day. This year I decided I won’t go to do anything extravagant but just a simple wish and see what happens. So today being Valentine’s, I wished him a happy Valentine’s day and he texts back with a ‘Sorry I don’t do valentines’. It hurt a bit because it’s just a thought of someone being their and appreciating their presence in a single day in a whole year. It’s not like we get to appreciate our loved ones throughout the year when we running around. I love him very much. But I wished that he would have just replied thanks and told me his reasons for the disapproval rather than just brushing me off like that. Congrats hun you pretty much ruined my day.

    1. I think I’d give him a pass here. I understand the sentiment of “a thought of someone being there and appreciating their presence… I love him very much.” But that’s not what you told him. I think you could have said exactly that in a text, like “I wanted to tell you that I really love and appreciate you, and maybe I don’t tell you that enough, but I wanted you to know.” Instead you just told him “Happy Valentine’s Day,” a day you already know he doesn’t celebrate, because A) he ignored it last year, and B) he’s religiously observant. Saying Happy Valentine’s Day does not communicate any of the things you said you wanted to communicate. It doesn’t say “I love and appreciate you,” at least not to someone who doesn’t observe the holiday.

      I also wonder about this: “It’s not like we get to appreciate our loved ones throughout the year when we’re running around.” That’s not true – you can send a little “thinking of you” or “love you” text anytime. While you’re sitting on the toilet! You can and should tell someone you love and appreciate them regularly.

      I’d recommend you try again, and communicate what you actually wanted to say. That said, if you are lacking something in your relationship and feel like needs aren’t being met, you should work on it, talk about it, address it.

    2. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

      I’m with Kate on this.

      How is he supposed to know the sentiment behind the text. It could certainly feel like you were hinting that you expected him to celebrate Valentine’s Day with you. Tell him the words that you actually wanted him to understand from that text. Tell him what he means to you and why and let him know you respect him for valuing his religion enough to not celebrate Valentine’s Day.

  41. What if a guy says he lost his credit card on Valentine’s Day

  42. Here’s the deal. Communication is a TWO-WAY street. To say the she isn’t communicating enough is total crap and putting all of the blame on her. Let’s flip the tables: a guy writes in complaining that his girlfriend was pissed at him for not doing anything on V-day. Guess what? Comments would be the same: “You need to talk to her and determine expectations.” It’s the thought that counts, and a thoughtful man who doesn’t celebrate V-day would have told her that beforehand so as not to let her feelings get hurt.

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