My Partner Didn’t Get Me Flowers. What Gives?


AAPW: Do I have to spell it out for him?

by Liz Moorhead, Editor, Ask APW

Q: My partner has dropped the ball in the past, not getting me a little something for my birthday or Valentine’s Day. We have talked about how I have felt let down, and he gets very defensive with all these excuses, but on my birthday last November he didn’t drop the ball. He wrote in his card, “I know I have dropped the ball in the past,” but going forward he will make it up to me. I think, “Great, he gets it.”

Last week I had a huge fibroid removed and needed to stay overnight in the hospital. This surgery was a few years coming. He took the day off work and was there when I went in and when I woke up. I am so grateful for this. Friends and family have been so great and supportive.

A few days after the surgery I had the lingering feeling of disappointment. I know my partner was there, but he didn’t get me flowers or a card or something to symbolize his love. (I did get flowers from my family and a friend.) Not one rose or card or anything little just to show, “Happy recovery, I love you.”

I did confront him. I was very gentle with him, but he got very angry and very defensive. He said that he lost money and spent gas being there for me, money is tight, is it not enough that he was there, nothing is ever good enough for me, I’m acting like a child, etc.

I was very hurt and crying. I said that we have been dating for so long, I gave you hints, you had time (even though he thinks he didn’t), and this is about me right now, not about him. He clearly knows I would love something like this. I expect it. But also what about what he said about not dropping the ball in the future? I feel like he did.

-Anonymous
A:Dear Anonymous,
He probably thought he wasn’t dropping the ball this time around. Reading your description of how he treated you during your hospital stay, it sounds like he was really thoughtful and caring, and showed you a lot of love. The problem is, he didn’t show it in the way you’d prefer. That’s not entirely his fault.

There’s a huge, vast difference between not trying, and not knowing. In this case, it sounds like your partner was really, really trying. From his perspective, he was doing a whole lot to show you he loves you! The fact that he didn’t know that flowers would best communicate that love is a separate issue. This is really about a miscommunication.

You used the word “expect” up there, and that’s a pretty important word for me. It’s fine and dandy to hope for something or to want something, but if you’re going to expect something, you need to communicate that expectation, and to make it clear. It’s like me saying to my son, “Now, what do you say?” without ever having taught him the word, “Please.” It’s like going into a test where the teacher hasn’t told you what material is being tested. Except it’s not a test; it’s fun and happy and good! Maybe it’s more like asking someone to come to a party, but not telling them where or when it is.

You mention that you guys have talked about how to handle holidays. But it sounds like during those conversations, whether because you didn’t make it clear or because he misunderstood, it wasn’t conveyed that presents make you feel loved. Even better, as the date of your hospital stay approached, you could’ve said, “I would love some flowers after my surgery.” Point blank, straight forward. If it’s important to you, it’s important enough to say outright. When it comes to expectations, hints are not enough.

You’re probably thinking, “But it doesn’t count if I have to ask for them,” or “He should just think of it on his own.” And I understand that feeling, really I do. But he did think of things to do for you. He skipped a day of work! He sat at your side the entire time! He’s being thoughtful in all his own ways. So, if there’s a specific thing you need that he’s missing, just tell him.

And then, hopefully, a wonderful thing happens. And the next time you’re in the hospital (for nothing serious, knock on wood), perhaps he’ll think to buy you flowers all by himself, because last time he learned that that’s what communicates love to you. Maybe the first few times he does it, it feels a little weird and forced because you think,”Ugh, he’s just doing it because I asked him to.” But don’t! Listening and responding to your needs is the definition of thoughtful and loving. (Right?)

On top of just telling him what you need to feel loved, start opening yourself up to the way he expresses care. Taking a day off of work might be a really big deal for him. Be really generous in your interpretation of his communication. Broadening your definition of love to include the little things he already does naturally will make it easier to appreciate that other stuff he’s doing “just because you asked.”

Of course, there’s one quick little thing before you get rolling on all of that expressing love, and it involves communication, too. Specifically, how he communicated his frustration to you was not okay. Being called a “child” would significantly cross a line for me (then again, I’m not big on name-calling within my relationship). He was frustrated and maybe even hurt that you weren’t recognizing or accepting how he cared for you. But the way he addressed that wasn’t productive, and I’d need to address that before moving on.

Do not lose heart, Anonymous. If I had to, I’d bet that every single relationship goes through this exact struggle in one form or another. It’s hard to learn how to express love to someone—especially someone who might hear, feel, and show love altogether differently. It’s a matter of clearly expressing what makes you feel loved, but also graciously learning how your partner is already loving you. It requires fighting against that socially imposed fear that by saying what we need, we’re “that girl” who’s high maintenance and demanding. And, it requires giving our partners the benefit of the doubt.

So, have a general conversation about how important tangible little tokens are to you. Then, be prepared to be more explicit in telling him your needs in the future, while also learning how he’s already naturally communicating his love for you. Give him all the right answers, and then respond generously, because expressing care should be more of a party than a test.

If you would like to ask APW a question please don’t be shy! You can email: askteampractical [at] apracticalwedding [dot] com. If you would prefer to not be named, anonymous questions are also accepted. Though it really makes our day when you come up with a clever sign-off!

 

Liz Moorhead

Liz is an illustrator and writer who paints custom stationery and types up impassioned opinions about weddings, etiquette, feminism and motherhood (usually while shaking a fist and mumbling expletives around mouthfuls of cheese fries). Her spare time is spent sipping bourbon with her husband and playing Don’t Throw That in the Toilet with her sons.

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  • clairekfromtheuk

    Is anyone else thinking the LW and her chap should to the love languages thing? Even though hubs and I are generally ok in that department, it still helps me every so often to look at his results and remind myself that, oh yeah, he receives (and consequently shows) love in a different way to me!

    • Eh

      Love Languages is exactly what I was thinking. I married into a family that is all about gifts. That’s how they want love expressed to them and how they express their love to others. It’s very different than my family of origin and has taken some time to get used to. I have convinced my husband that he doesn’t need to buy me things to show his love (this was especially important when he was a broke student).

    • Annie

      Seriously! I always feel weird bringing it up, since it sounds so cheesy, but it actually makes a lot of sense. Sounds like her love language is very much related to gifts, while his may be more about actions.

    • courtneyw003

      That was EXACTYLY what I was going to say! They most definitely need to read the book! I think it would help their relationship tremendously. It seems like her love language is receiving gifts, while his is not (maybe acts of service or quality time?) I will caveat, I have no stake in this book and it is written by a Christian pastor so it does have a religious perspective. However, it is a fantastic resource in understanding your partner.

      • Lisa

        This is exactly what I was going to say! I loved the idea of the love languages and think it’s actually very helpful. My biggest problem with it was the very conservative slant on it, particularly in the physical touch chapter. (I didn’t pick the book back up after the author basically said that anyone who has sex before marriage is a harlot and doesn’t value the relationship. Fortunately that was near the end of the book.)

        My languages are quality time and words of affirmation. I can’t get my husband to take the test on-line, but I strongly suspect that gifts are one of his primary languages.

        • saritika

          Just FYI – at the love languages test page, if you go to: home page –> click here to begin –> Myself –> Relationship, and then scroll past the form you fill out, there’s a “Download the PDF” button. You could print that out and give it to him instead, if you want.
          The link is here: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/couples/

          • Lisa

            I actually retook the test today as inspired by this post (I’m now pretty evenly tied between service, time, and words) and just e-mailed the results to my husband. He took the test out of curiosity and texted me his results. I’m super surprised that gifts were so low on his list (second from last) because he’s always buying little presents or surprises for me and loves the trinkets his parents send him.

          • Mona

            There might be an answer to that. I often express my love in gifts. But I’m time and touch (very strongly). That confused me for a bit, but a friend pointed out that it’s because I grew up in a family in which gifts is a strong love language. So growing up, I learned that this way of showing my love is appreciated most by the people close to me. Maybe that’s the same same for your husband?

          • Eh

            My SIL works for a very small charitable organization. When they hire people they have them take the love language test and do a couple other tests to get to understand the employee better and how they work and interact. My SIL received an award at a banquet a couple weeks ago and her boss mention that my SIL’s love language is gifts and mentioned that if you ever need to buy her something that you better put a lot of thought into it. This does explain why she was very upset with some of her wedding presents (e.g., very typical wedding presents and not ones where people actually thought about what she might want).

          • Kayjayoh

            Granted, I don’t think I will ever take the quiz, because just looking at the first question I got to “it is more meaningful when: A or B?” and thought, “Oh, I hve no idea.”

            I’m terrible at quizzes like that. Completely.

          • Ashlah

            My husband and I both took the quiz, and we both found it super difficult to choose answers. We both ended up pretty evenly split on the different “languages,” so it didn’t help us all that much. But we also don’t have major issues in this area, so I guess maybe that’s why? It’s all good to us? It definitely seems more helpful for individuals who have strong preferences for a certain style of communicating love and care (especially if they aren’t consciously aware of it).

          • Kayjayoh

            I think that might be the same for me.

    • Alyssa M

      I’ve never even read that book, but the entire time I was reading I kept thinking “Love Languages!”

      • Kayjayoh

        Same here.

    • clairekfromtheuk

      Adding – I never read the book, just did the online quiz thing which seems to be a little less… christian by all reports.

    • Ella

      That was my first thought when I saw the title.

      OP, check out Love Languages. I am also a “gifts” person — not that I’m materialistic, but that I feel loved when I receive a gift or small token (probably because when I was little my dad would bring me back a present whenever he went away on business…which was a lot). My husband’s love language is NOT gifts and it used to upset me when he would forget or not put any effort into gifts for special occasions, or if I was mad I wished he would get me something to make up for it (a candy bar at the store, some flowers…).

      My husband’s love language is Words of Affirmation, which is not my love language, and it’s been really helpful (both ways!) to understand how to communicate love. I don’t need tons of praise but my husband really needs to hear me say things like “I’m proud of you” or “You’re doing so great.”

      In any case, I think it will be helpful to talk about your love languages together. I don’t think I can overstate how important communication is in a relationship, and this is something worth figuring out. Good luck!

    • emilyg25

      YES! I’ve mentioned it here before, but the Love Languages saved our relationship. I used to jokingly mock my husband (it’s nicer than it sounds?), but we did the online quiz early on and it turns out his language is Words of Affirmation. So my joking was actually hurting him. And I had to learn to say things like “I love you” and “You’re awesome” and “Thank you,” which wasn’t my default.

      My language is Gifts, so I totally get the OP. He’s still kind of hit and miss, but I’ve gotten better about recognizing when it’s really truly important to me to have something acknowledged with a gift and saying so, and when I can just let it go.

      • Ella

        Yes. Letting things go has been…a challenge for me. Both of us, really. I feel like we’ve reached a new level in our relationship that I can healthily say “You are upset and it’s not my fault and I’m sorry that you’re upset but I’m not going to make myself crazy trying to console you.”

        • judy russo

          If I tell anyone to get out of my life and to stay out of my life. I expect them to do it. Not become obsessed with me for not knowing me. They are only pathetic psychotic little people who refuse. They are only what kinds of people who are full of their own complete bullshit as usual and they do prove it. They are that bastard and bitch that I do not want in my life or upon my life. And they do prove it.

    • Rachel

      Joining the chorus of support for the Love Languages. Even just doing the online quiz could be really helpful. My husband and I have different Love Languages, so we have to be really conscious of showing love to each other in the way we best experience it. I’ll also add – I’m a staunch atheist, bordering on anti-theist, and I didn’t find the way it was written particularly bothersome. Yes, you can tell the author is religious and speaks from a religious perspective, but I didn’t find it so saturated in religion that it impacted the core message for me.

    • First thing I thought of too! My love language is DEFINITELY gifts, and being able to show the love languages to Eric was really validating (no, I’m not just materialistic) and helped a lot for the exact reason you mentioned!

      • Katelyn

        Yes! I knew that you would comment on the Love Languages!!

      • Claire

        I just realized that I buy lots of gifts for loved ones, but my own love language is acts of service and words of affirmation. I’m not sure what to make of that.

        • Rachelle

          I’m pretty sure you can have different languages for how you like to show love versus receiving it! Totally normal!

    • Katriel

      Exactly what I was thinking! The original book as a very evangelical Christian bent, but knowing my husband’s top two love languages (and him knowing mine) has been SO helpful – especially since we have totally non-overlapping love languages!

    • MABie

      100%. I believe that the simple concept of the “love languages” saved our relationship during an extremely difficult time. Over the course of several months, I had completely broken down because I felt that my partner was not enough of a partner to me since she did not help out with chores. I attributed her failure to help out to her having grown up in extreme privilege (vs my very humble upbringing), being used to having people do everything for her, etc. It became a vicious and nasty cycle.

      Then one day, someone on APW mentioned the LL quiz. We took it. And NO SURPRISE TO ANYONE, I was almost 100% “acts of service.” She was “gifts” and “words of affirmation.” Suddenly, everything made sense — like the times she brought me flowers, and I was secretly like, “if you really loved me, you’d wash the fu%$ing dishes.” But she DID really love me, and buying flowers was her way of showing it!

      Needless to say, she started doing a lot more chores, and I am trying to be conscious of telling her how much I love her every day, etc. It has made all the difference in the world!

      • lady brett

        “if you really loved me, you’d wash the fu%$ing dishes.”

        haha, yes!!!

      • Claire

        I once knew a couple with a terrible marriage. The husband constantly sent her flowers at work and all her coworkers gushed about what a great husband he was. But the wife just wanted him to act decent towards her, which he was failing miserably at.
        In his mind, he was a great husband because he sent flowers all the time, and in her mind he was a terrible husband because he didn’t treat her well outside of sending flowers.

    • Grace from England

      YES! I haven’t read the book and have been advised against it as someone who doesn’t hold certain religious/social values, but I have done this quiz with my partner and shared it with several friends. It turns out our love languages are both similar and different. For both of us quality time is top, but for me physical touch is a close second while for him it’s almost at the bottom. For a while it upset me to think that he didn’t appreciate me touching him to show his love, or to think that he was only giving me a hug because it was what I needed. He quite rightly reminded me that him hugging me when he knows I need it even if it’s not important to him is really the ultimate way to show his love. I know he’s right and now I try to channel my need to hold him when he’s having a bad day into an act of service which he would actually appreciate more.

    • Katy

      Yes! Reading this made me think of the Love Languages APW post from Hayley a while back. That article was a HUGE help to me and my partner :)

      http://apracticalwedding.com/2014/12/learning-language-love/

    • Anne

      I was thinking abut the love languages too! This article was all about how the letter writer didn’t feel affirmed by her partner. Communicating this might be a great way for her needs to get met. Perhaps her partner also feels the same way, and TOGETHER they can practice communicating in a new way.

    • TeaforTwo

      I think that the concept of love languages is a helpful one, but I haven’t found the quiz itself to reveal much. As I was taking it, I realized how much I privilege the ways that my partner DOESN’T show love.

      It’s not that I don’t feel loved (I do!), it’s just that it’s hard for me to decide between a hug (which he’s great at, and I get lots of physical affection) and an unexpected text about how much he loves me (which…has never happened). What would mean more to me right now, with my husband, the text, but only because it never happens. If he stopped hugging me, I might sing a different tune!

      Maybe it’s easier to do the quiz before you are settled in a relationship?

      • MABie

        That’s a good point. Now that I feel that my fiancee is meeting me halfway in the chore department, I wonder if I would receive the same distribution of scores (ie, not 100% acts of service). To some degree, the score is probably always related to what is going on between you and your partner at that specific time — and, of course, what is going on with you as an individual.

        I do think the score can help expose underlying issues in a relationship, so it is useful to take it in that context in addition to taking it “cold.”

      • Kayjayoh

        Or maybe for some people (like me…that exact question made me say “nope”) taking quizzes that require them to pick “which do you like more, A or B?” are really, really difficult. I alway want to reply both, or that it depends. Etc.

        • Laura C

          Or neither! IIRC I had a lot of “ugh, if I really had to choose one of these…” thoughts as I took the quiz. But the whole love languages concept was still really helpful to me.

      • Ashlah

        Yes, we had that problem too! Something might seem more “meaningful” because it’s rare in our relationship, but would I want that rare thing over a common thing that’s also meaningful, even if it’s sometimes taken for granted?

        The fact that my husband does a big share of our chores (acts of service) is meaningful and makes me feel loved and respected…but it’s also just the standard way our relationship works. I love that he cooks me dinner, but it doesn’t make me weak in the knees every night. A thoughtful gift might make me feel extra mushy and loved, but I certainly wouldn’t give up his responsibility-sharing for the occasional gift. I want it all!

    • Alanna Carteir

      This is exactly what I was thinking!

    • Rezia

      I found the Love Languages so helpful when my husband and I were dating. The quiz helped us understand why I got so frustrated when he wasn’t home when he said he would be (quality time is my love language, so being late = you don’t love me enough to want to spend time with me).
      But – during marriage counseling our pastor said something that has really stuck with me. He said the Love Languages shouldn’t be interpreted as a “need” – as in, my love language is gifts so I “need” gifts. He said he and his wife are very careful about when they say they “need” something vs. when they “want” something. It’s such a subtle distinction but it’s helped me in our marriage. If I really need something, it’s on me to articulate it and if my husband doesn’t meet my need, knowing it’s a real need, it’s fair for me to be to be upset. But if I just kinda would like something, the stakes are way lower. Thinking about things this way has made me realize that some of the things I thought I needed are really just wants, and things that I can do without, or give to myself. I love flowers, but I don’t need them. If my husband doesn’t get me flowers, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t love me. But I do *need* him to be honest, to be faithful, and on a lighter note, to not be loud at night when I’m asleep because I’m a really light sleeper!

    • Janes Chiarelli

      Hello. My husband of almost 7 years, cheated on me and left me for her and is living with her now. He said he hasn’t been happy in years but never told/showed me he was unhappy. We have a 4 year old son that missed his daddy so much and cries for him to just come home. Our son even crawled all over his car crying “daddy stay home with me.” And he still left. He just keeps saying “he’s never coming back, no matter what.” I didn’t know what to anymore..he left me 5/7/15, the weekend before mothers day this year and it broke my heart and I keep praying to God and he keeps telling me “be patient” I was still trying my best but it was hard wdhen this was hurting my son so badly. I have told my sister about this and she gave me some advice to contact a very good and powerful prophet who can help me pray for my husband to come back and be happy with us again which i did and i contacted the prophet. he prayed for me and my husband cam home begging me to take him back and now we ar happily living together and a family. all thanks to the prophet and his email is (prayerstosaverelationship@yahoo.com). May God bless you abundantly!

    • judy russo

      To me, I tell and I show love. And I prove that love. I expect that kind of love in return. Most women for decades have stated that men had lost them due to lacking one of those two reasons and excuses for themselves as men. The third is body language by him. Some of us are educated like myself in body language. It is an important tool to use to determine what he does not do that his woman needs, wants and desires of and and by him. He loses due to those three in not showing and proving it. What most women stated is that he lost her due to lacking to capacity to improve upon those three. Women and men for decades shared with me the formula that has worked. When he caused himself to lose her, she stated, I made him bow, beg, grovel and plead at my feet. And she looked him straight in the eye. And what he man did was state to her straight into her eyes and state, you are damn right I would again and again if I had to in order to not lose a day again without you. And many times they both made that statement loud and clear so that people all around them acknowledged their unconditional love for one another. One man decided to publicly bow and her feet again and profess his undying love for her after I asked that question to them. He asked her to marry him again. Sometimes some people have to lose each other completely in order to learn that they belong together. He showed her, told her and did the right body language to her and begged, groveled and pleaded for her love once again. That is love. When two people show that no one else matters around them like that, all that they are encircled in is love for each other. And what happens is that most people who are around them and witness such a love story cause the entire room to be full of love. They state that it is endorphins that cause it in that room. Yet it is not limited to only inside a room. It has had the ability to be in large spaces in public places. It takes two. Not three in order to make that special kind of moment of unbridled love for one another. And when men do that to a woman it causes her to want to become his bride through that unbridled love. Those who cannot comprehend these statements, lack love. I used to pity and have sympathy for these kinds of people. They instead become jealous and envious of those to people instead. And those kinds of couples have taught me all about love. And I am thankful to them. Thank you for taking the time to answer, show, and state to me your love for each other. That is what they have taught me. And they are my parents too. They were not my biological parents. They to me have been my adoptive parents. My real parents. She is 83 and misses him every day. Thank you, Dad. These other people do not matter Dad. You do and have. Thank you for teaching me the power of love. They are jealous, envious and inferior people who lack it. They lack all three. And they proved it Dad. And what is worse Dad, is that they do not know me. They have not known me. And they will not know me. They are not worthy my loving father.

  • Not a parent. MockMyInsights.

    I really don’t have anything to add to Liz’s wonderful answer except: Hugs. I get the frustration. I would LOVE if my husband would randomly bring me home flowers–but that’s not his style. And he does show his love for me in a million little ways…he does the dishes when I’m stressed, he has brought home my favorite wine during a particularly stressful week. Flowers, just aren’t his thing. For me, reminding myself of all the little ways he did show love helped. And I would second Liz’s “If you expect something you have to ask for it”. It’s only fair, and there are many people who aren’t going to get it otherwise.

  • Eenie

    My fiance doesn’t ever wrap presents for me. This was fine until I found out he spends a lot of time wrapping presents for his family of origin. I thought he just wasn’t a wrapper. I asked him explicitly to please wrap birthday and Christmas gifts for me. Not every gift needs to be wrapped, but it really makes me feel loved. Since I communicated the wrapping issue he has happily wrapped my gifts. You have to communicate what matters.

    • Kt

      I’ve tried I really have. ‘I’d love you to do a few more romantic things for me, to me romantic things are surprises which show you know and care about me, for example flowers or chocolate when I’ve had a bad day or a surprise trip to somewhere I’ve been fancying like that new cocktail bar.’
      I just have to stop wanting to be a princess. Which is ironic as I don’t like romcoms and never wanted a knight in shining armour.

      • Lauren from NH

        This sounds rather familiar. :)

        Something my partner and I did when we found our selves in a little slump in terms of spreading the love around was to each write a little list of ten or so everyday things that make us feel appreciated, exchange lists and we jokingly called it a competition to see who could appreciate the other the most by the end of the week. (For example, mine included random “I love you’s” and kisses, jumping in on house work, small gifts, making me coffee in the morning (Maddie?), etc.) It worked pretty darn well. Partly because it inspired mindful action, we both knew what to do and had intentions to work on it. Our lists were both pretty diverse so the other partner could pick actions that fit their strengths, words/actions/gifts etc. Finally I think it also helped us to wake the eff up about the ways we usually meet each other’s needs, but stopped noticing.

        • Lisa

          This is such a fantastic idea!

        • R

          Leading up to our wedding, I starting making us each say three nice things about each other before bed. My husband thought it was dumb, but I always managed to force him to participate, and I think he secretly enjoys it — his protestations are generally more joke-y and less “seriously, this is dumb, let’s stop.” We still do it once in awhile – it’s just nice to focus on what you love about one another, or what nice thing they did for you that day that maybe you forgot to thank them for — it can be as little as “you emptied the dishwasher,” or something more general.

        • JDrives

          I love this suggestion because it’s concrete – you have the words right in front of you, you don’t have to remember “Errr, does she like flowers? Or chocolates? Was it roses, or lilies…shoot, I don’t want to get it wrong…”

      • MABie

        Kt, I don’t think this is about you “wanting to be a princess.” Please don’t denigrate yourself with that sort of language! I think this is a “Love Languages” issue. Like the commenters at the top of this post said, maybe you could do the Love Languages quiz with your partner? It sounds to me like he is an “acts of service” person, and you are a “gifts” person.

        I am also an “acts of service” person (overwhelmingly so), and my partner is a “gifts”/”words of affirmation” person. Taking the quiz was SO SO SO huge for us. I think it saved our relationship. I used to get so upset that things weren’t done around the house, and our relationship began to deteriorate because I was feeling like she could not be a 100% partner to me. We did the quiz, we were both like, “holy shit.” Things are SO much better for us now because we began to understand things in a way we hadn’t before.

      • MDBethann

        So, other than “romantic things” are there other things that make you
        feel valued and loved? Maybe something more in his wheelhouse – like
        words of affirmation? See if you can find a time when you are both in
        good moods and raise the issue as “I suspect we both express and receive
        love in different ways. What sorts of things make you feel loved? What
        can I do to make you feel loved?” and then after he’s answered, say
        “here’s what makes me feel loved” (if he hasn’t asked you in return).
        Then it becomes more about each of you expressing the things that make
        you feel loved and less about him doing it “wrong” which will make
        anyone feel defensive. And if he feels uncomfortable doing the exact
        things you need, see if there’s some way to meet in the middle – you’ll
        still feel loved & know he’s trying and he won’t feel awkward &
        uncomfortable.

        To wit: I don’t think you’re being a princess because you want some romantic surprises from your partner. I do too, but I have also discovered in our 6 years together that (1) my husband doesn’t enjoy organizing/planning things and (2) isn’t big on random tokens or surprise gifts. I’m more likely to give him a surprise gift at Christmas and he’d rather get me something he knows I want (he surprised me with a lovely necklace our first Christmas together but indicated then it wouldn’t be something that happened much. My only other surprise was the location & timing of our engagement). As much as I’d love to get flowers or candy, that is just not him. His mom is definitely a gift giver & both his mom & sister are planners, but he definitely is not.

        Instead, he DOES things – a lot of the care of the house & yard is in his wheelhouse. He enjoys it & now with our daughter around, he knows that by cleaning the house & doing the gardening, he gives me time with our daughter. Then he plays with her while I cook, which I think is honestly a main love language for me. So while some of our chore divisions seem gendered, it really plays more to our strengths and what we each enjoy doing. And since I like a clean house but hate cleaning, his willingness to vacuum, clean bathrooms, etc. is a HUGE sign of his love for me.

        The one area where I’ve really asked him to focus more on developing his “love language” is words of affirmation, especially with our daughter. I’m a grown up and get that “acts of service” are a way of showing love, so even though it isn’t my preferred language, I get that it is his. But we’ve had to have discussions that he needs to say “I love you” more to me and to our daughter so she can learn to associate the acts of service with love via the words of affirmation (I also really need to hear I love you every day). He isn’t a huge physical touch person either, but he knows hugs are important to me so he tries to go out of his way to hug me, especially when he knows I’m stressed or otherwise in need of one. I get loads of hugs from our baby, so hopefully she’ll be a physical touch person like me.

      • lady brett

        not universal, of course, but one thing that has helped the spouse and i immensely is just changing our language. frankly, i just haven’t gotten a lot better at “romantic” but we have redefined the word “present” to mean “a thing i think you would like” rather than “a special occasion, one time big deal”.

        so, formerly, i would throw something i know they like in the grocery cart and bring it home, the end, no one really even noticed. now, it’s a “present.” or we’re outside and i see a robin’s egg, instead of “whoa, cool, look at this” it’s “hey honey, i found a present for you”. or, “look, i made you a clean kitchen” instead of “hey, i cleaned the kitchen” – to make it clear that this is *for you* and *because i love you*.

        it basically translates the “acts” love language, which i am really good at, but my spouse just sees straight through, into “gifts,” which is what the honey needs (and it’s not actually because they want a bunch of stuff, it’s about indicators of love and care).

        • K Robertson

          Changing the language around gifts is amazing advice. I’m going to use this! It is so true – I stress about holiday and birthday gifts for my partner because it’s more important to him than me, and a lot of times I feel like I’ve failed. But I bring him home a bottle of wine he likes that wasn’t on my “practical shopping list” and he still feels really loved by that in a gift way.

        • Bsquillo

          I know I am very acts-of-service based, and I suspect my husband at least partially favors that too. One thing that helps us is to say “thank you” a lot, even for mundane things. “Thanks for doing these dishes,” or “thanks for taking out the trash,” etc. Are these adult responsibilities we should do anyways? Sure, but it doesn’t hurt to show that we appreciate each other pitching in.

          One thing that stuck with me from one of Meg’s recent marriage advice articles was fishing for compliments if it helps. We do this a lot, and as goofy as it is, I think it works. “Did you notice that I scrubbed the whole bathroom?” “I did, and it looks great!” Expecting people to notice things without telling them is overrated. Humans are kind of dense ;)

          • Lauren from NH

            I “fish for compliments” a lot. I think it’s helpful. Unless he comes home when the floor is still wet or if there was a crazy sticky spill, he is not going to know that I mopped. But I like getting the “Atta-girl!” so I ask for it.

        • Kayla

          I love this. We have a few reusable gift bows that we keep in a basket and stick on random things to identify them as presents.

          It’s a little ridiculous, but if he hands me a bottle of wine with a bow on it, my brain says, “A present! Because you love me!”

          They can also be stuck on deep-cleaned surfaces, newly manscaped flesh, etc. It’s just a shorthand for, “Hey, I did this thing for you/got this thing for you because I love you.”

          • Bsquillo

            This is a really cute idea. Also LOL at “newly manscaped flesh.”

    • Kayla

      My husband hates wrapping presents for anyone, so we compromised. We have a few gift boxes with fancy bows, and every present goes into one of those boxes, which we reuse over and over.

      I still get to open my fancy packages, and he doesn’t have to wrap a darn thing. Success.

      • Lauren from NH

        That’s such a good idea!

        • Kayla

          Thanks! It’s always nice where there’s an easy win-win. I just wish it were this simple more often! :)

  • KT

    the thing is, sometimes even being blunt isn’t enough. my man has never surprised me with flowers or anything. i always know what my presents are. despite having said ‘i’d love a surprise sometime’, ‘why don’t you plan us a surprise romantic break’, ‘would you surprise me with flowers sometime’. nothing. it makes me feel so uncared for and i just don’t know what to do anymore. like the posters partner, he is great in other ways (helps round house, makes my lunches, etc) and i do appreciate it but i desperately want to feel like he knows me and thinks about what i want.

    • Rosie

      I feel your pain! What I have learned is that the things you have listed above, although they seem very obvious and blunt, are not necessarily enough. I would suggest you sit down with your partner and say ‘I would like to have a surprise present sometime as it would make me feel cared for. Please could keep my next birthday present a surprise? This is really important to me’ then you’re asking for something specific and they know when and how to do it. I have found the love languages book mentioned below good too :)

    • Liz

      What Rosie said, plus a step further- I’d make it clear that NOT doing so hurts you and makes you feel unheard, uncared for. Sometimes “Wow, it sure would be nice if…” isn’t the same as, “When you don’t do this, I’m hurt.” So I’d make sure to include that last part.

      • Alyssa M

        I was JUST about to type this. When facing a similar issue I had to say to my husband “I understand that you love me, but without these things I am not *feeling* loved/cared for/thought about. I need this to change to be fully satisfied/happy in our relationship.” before he really understood how much it mattered to me.

      • Violet

        I totally agree. I also think that even though this is the best way to share your feelings, it is still not an insurance policy against him being upset or defensive about it. Even when I say things the “right” way, my partner’s brain goes into “I’m failing her so I’m a failure!” mode. When my partner says the “right” things to me, my brain goes into, “How DARE he find fault with me, a perfect creature!” mode. So yeah, THAT’S why sharing your feelings and needs is hard. Because even if you go in equipped to be nonjudgmental and noncritical, it’s still a high-probability rough conversational experience.

    • Amy March

      Then stop wanting something he has repeatedly shown you he cannot give. You have selected someone to be with who does not do romantic surprises. Instead of leaning in to feeling bad about this, how about next time you try redirecting with self talk “self, your life is not a rom-com. And if it were you’d be the happy one at the end with Mark Darcy making you lunches every day.”

      • kt

        I do try but it’s not that simple and I never realised I’d want these things but when I see other peoples’ partners do sweet thoughtful things it makes me feel uncared for. I’ve left facebook as a result and every day remind myself of the things he does do. I am trying but I wish he would too.
        And I don’t want to tell him it hurts me because that seems mean and unncessary when it’s really not a thing. I’m not a princess girl so I don’t know why this is such an issue except it makes me feel uncared for.

        • Amy March

          Well, it’s not mean to share your feelings with your partner. You could just as easily call it mean to hide how you’re feeling, because that gives them no chance to fix it.

        • Violet

          This is really hard, because I’m the one in the relationship who is aware my partner likes little random signs of affection in the form of gifts or things. I know this, I try, and yet, I am not a random person. I am super intentional, about basically everything. I don’t think you can stop wanting this, but I do think you can remind yourself that you feel sad your partner isn’t this way without feeling uncared for. I definitely care for my partner. But how can I remember to do something randomly if my brain doesn’t work that way? I definitely try, I definitely care, but at some point, we have to accept that we can’t change all things about who our partner is. I think it’s on someone in a relationship to make an effort to do things their special someone says is important to them, but ultimately, all you can ask for is some effort. The outcome might never be what you want, and that’s either acceptable or you end it. Staying in the relationship but telling yourself your partner doesn’t care for you despite their efforts is a really tough thing for both parties involved.

          • I would think that it would only need to be a surprise or random for the recipient and that the giver could actually schedule little reminders in a calendar (at “random” intervals) to do sweet, “random” things for the partner. Or at least that is what I would do. :)

          • lady brett

            you are brilliant.

          • Kate

            I was just going to say this. Perfect!

          • qj

            Yep! A reminder that pops up on the phone when you go to the grocery store that says, “Buy favorite candy bar and call it a present!” ;) Or whatever.

          • Violet

            Oh, I TOTALLY put it on my To Do list. ; ) But I can’t tell him that, because then it’s not “a sweet thing I’m doing spontaneously, but part of my routine.” Ugh. I already had to walk him through the “just because you had to ask for it doesn’t make it less real when I give it to you” thing. You can ask someone to do something, but starting asking them to then do it a certain way, especially if that “way” doesn’t come naturally, and you’re in for a ton of heartache.

        • Sarah E

          Maybe a best friend or family member can pick up the surprise slack? We’ve chatted on APW before how partners can’t do everything all the time– that’s what friends are for! Maybe you and your best gal pal can go back and forth surprising each other with notes or flowers or coffee dates.

          For me, I love getting snail mail. So. Fun. So whenever it’s been a while and I’m jonesing for a card, I send one. Sometimes I’ll get an email or text as thank you when it arrives, and I still feel just as pleased at connecting with a friend and spreading the love that is the postal service. Try surprising other folks in your life and see how that makes you feel :-)

        • Jules

          Wanting to receive gifts doesn’t make you a princess girl! Nor is “I don’t want to tell him it hurts me because that seems mean and unnecessary” a solid foundation for communication. If it really IS a thing, then you both need to keep at it. And since you’re specifically talking about surprises – I think sometimes you have to remember, even your partner getting so far as to successfully pick something is a big step.

          I don’t think that silently convincing yourself to get over it is the answer…unless it’s jealousy of other’s partners in general, in which case that’s a different thing entirely.

        • qj

          I’m a big fan of the observation + affirmation AND ____ statement. We use it a LOT to affirm the other person’s efforts AND to express something that could otherwise be/seem disaffirming. I feel like it gives me permission to state my needs/desires while simultaneously expressing gratitude and appreciation for the things my partner IS doing.

          For instance: “I see that you jump in around the house and make me lunch and I really appreciate those things and feel supported because you’re so great at helping, AND I don’t always feel ‘loved’ by them, alone. I would feel really loved if you could occasionally show me love with a simple note or a flower that I wasn’t expecting. For example, I would feel really loved if you, once a month, slipped a little note that said, ‘I love you! Have a great day!’ into my lunchbox when you made my lunch. I know that you love me and want me to have a great day, and sometimes I actually need to see it in the form of a random lunchbox note to really feel loved, because it’s an unexpected reminder of you during the day. I know that your help is a way of you showing love, and I’m very grateful for those things and appreciate them in our relationship, AND they’re also not always the ways that I feel the most loved.”

        • La’Marisa-Andrea

          Comparing your relationship to others and using what other people do to gauge YOUR relationship is the kiss of death. Don.t. Do. It. As you see, when you do this, you focus on what someone else is doing for someone else and NOT what your partner does for you. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with you wanting these gestures, but I would seriously caution against letting other relationships influence how you feel about yours in this manner.

        • Kayla

          It sounds like it would help to identify what part of this is really hurting for you, and what you specifically need from him. If he’s bad at surprises (and some people are), is there something else he could do that would meet the same need?

          Like, if what’s really hurting is “I really want my friends on social media to see public evidence of how much you love me, because that makes me feel secure,” (this one might not be true for you, but maybe it is?) then would it help for him to post pictures of you two together? Or post sweet things about you?

          It might also help to ask him why he doesn’t surprise you. If he’s afraid of disappointing you, you could give him specifics of what you’d like.

          Maybe there’s a workaround where you get what you need from him AND he gets to keep being bad at surprises.

        • NatalieN

          My suggestion (and I’m not sure if you have so if you have forget this), is start by being explicit (no surprise) and work your way from there. When I first started dating my now husband it took a lot of convincing for him to buy me flowers or anything that he saw as “non functional”. When he did get me flowers (when I asked him to after he messed up and missed our date), I responded so positively to that experience that he started to realize “okay, maybe flowers do something more than just sit there and die”. After some time of requesting flowers/ a small token / etc, I then was able to tell him “I’d really love it if you surprised me with flowers sometime”. Over time, with a lot of patience, and a lot of communication, turns out, my eagle scout, home-schooled, engineer husband is incredibly romantic.

          One time, while we were dating (and had 100 miles between us) I had a crappy day, and he called my roommate and while I was driving home, he had her stock the fridge with icecream and buy flowers for me.

          My point is not to hurt you by sharing something like this – but just telling you what’s worked for us. Basically, we started small, and I learned to appreciate the small (non-surprise, explicitly requested) flowers. and we worked our way from there.

          • Rachelle

            I think you found yourself a unicorn man that you could actually change…
            I mean that somewhat as a joke, but a romantic engineer is like an oxymoron! Congratulations and good for you :)

      • Yo, wanting to feel loved in a certain type of way doesn’t mean you think your life is a rom-com or that she and her partner can’t find middle ground. This comment sounded really harsh and dismissive.

        • Amy March

          Didn’t mean it to! My self-talk voice is assertive. Otherwise it has trouble getting heard over the cacophony of feelings. There’s nothing wrong with wanting something, but when you choose to be with someone who doesn’t give that to you, I think you owe it to the relationship to do all you can to make it okay on your end, same as they should give their best efforts on theirs.

          • ML

            I know what you mean. Before we got engaged, I had to honestly ask myself, “if he never, ever learns to be more romantic by surprising me with things, giving me little gifts, leaving love notes, etc., can I live with that?” Ultimately I decided yes. And that decision has been really freeing. Sometimes I do get bummed out, but I remember that feeling I had when my decision to continue on with him knowing that he may not ever change, and that helps me move on and just focus on why I DID want to spend my life with him.

          • Rachelle

            I totally did the same thing with words of affirmation, but I believe it’s our job as partners to express love in the way the other person receives it even if it doesn’t come naturally. Seeing love in the way your partner gives it is never going to make you *FEEL* it the way you want to. But yeah, I can live without that feeling and try not to guilt trip my husband about it.

          • ML

            Yes, I totally hear you. It’s no good for a partner to say, “well I CAN’T speak that love language, so take it or leave it!” My husband does continue to work on it though, which is one of the reasons I love him. Like he was at a 2 and now he’s a 4. But he will never, ever be a level 10, here’s-an-amazingly-thoughful-gift-you-never-knew-you-wanted kinda guy, and I am okay with that. I should also say that this is much easier to accept because gifts are not my primary love language. Just something that I would appreciate.

      • Cleo

        YES!

        My parents have been happily married for over 30 years and have been together for 40 years. My dad is very against giving flowers (waste of money), thinks Valentine’s Day is a scam, and anniversaries are stupid (because you should treat each other special every day). After my parents’ first Valentine’s Day together, which ended with my mom pissed off and my dad buying her a terrible gift just to placate her, she learned to accept that she will not be receiving flowers or Valentine’s Day gifts from him or celebrating anniversaries with him. He just doesn’t do those things. But things he does do:

        buy her really nice clothing for her birthday and mother’s day (which takes a lot of research because he does not have an innate fashion sense)
        does all the dishes for her every night
        supported her for 20 years while she worked to pursue a creative dream, and when she finally succeeded, celebrated with her
        goes to upscale restaurants with experimental food and eats happily with her even though he’s a steak and potatoes guy
        when his work took him to Paris and London for a week, he bought her a plane ticket

        I think at a certain point, if communication isn’t working, is to accept that your partner is wired differently from you and to shift your paradigm and see how amazing all the ways he DOES show his love are.

        • The idea of your dad happliy going to upscale restaurants and eating experimental food with your mom even though he prefers steak and potatoes made me teary….

          • joanna b.n.

            LOL, whereas I teared up at the 20 years of support!!!

        • Rachelle

          It’s really, really sweet that you know how your dad shows his love for your mom. It’s easy to forget how lucky the few of us that have parents that still love each other are!

    • lady brett

      as the spouse who is terrible at gifts – surprises are terrifying, because it takes this thing that i already suck at (gifts) and makes it all my job to make it work, which, frankly, usually means it doesn’t. surprises aren’t the best if they’re not actually the surprise you want. so i usually ruin surprises for my sweetie out of an overwhelming fear that i’m doing gifting wrong (and half the time i’m right – maybe it’s not the sweetest to be like “hey, is this the thing you want?” but when the answer is “actually, no, i’d rather have this other thing” more often than not, well, it seems like the less crummy option.)

      also, i know that sucks for you, so, sorry about us ;)

      • Jules

        I think we have to be realistic with ourselves and our partners. Surprises ARE really hard if it’s not an innate skill, and picking the perfect gift is hard…. so the way I see it, you can either have 100% surprise with risk of 50% perfect gift, or 100% perfect gift with 20% surprise….you’re almost always going to have a mix. Sure, ideally it’s 100% surprise and 100% perfect gift, but that’s just not a fair expectation.

        Basically what I’m saying is, sometimes the gift is the surprise, and sometimes the gift is the gift itself. Ya know?

  • Alyssa M

    Man, I have so been the OP before. In my case, a lot of the frustration came from my cultural expectations, and not who my husband is or the realities of our relationship. It’s actually not obvious to everyone that you bring someone in the hospital a small gift or token, even if you (and your family) accept it as an unspoken rule. Since I’ve learned to A) question my reasoning behind wanting certain things and B) explain why and what things will make me feel loved BEFORE I expect them, we’re definitely both happier.

    • emmers

      Yes– this part “I’ve learned to A) question my reasoning behind wanting certain things” was/is huge for me!

    • This needs to be way up at the top! Well said.

  • Sara

    I’ve actually been hearing the other side of this argument recently through my brother. He’s 100% the OP’s partner. He’s such a minimalist that buying gifts never crosses his mind. And his girlfriend is a lot like OP. She gets frustrated because she thinks he’s being inconsiderate but he calls me to tell me that he left work early to get dinner ready on a bad day, or let her borrow his car so she didn’t have to be carless while hers was in the shop. She sees those as ‘obvious’ relationship things and it caused a huge rift because he’s doing the best he can. Leaving work is a big deal in his eyes. Being physically present is a big deal too. Because she doesn’t see those things him trying and gets mad that she thinks he’s not trying, he feels like a failure and like he can’t win. Its frustrating to hear. He and I have discussed the love languages thing in the past, the problem is implementing those thoughts into an argument about why he’s terrible at birthdays. :)

    • Violet

      Yeah, and one of the surest ways to shut someone down is by focusing on what they DON’T do as opposed to what they DO do. I get so frustrated when I’m REALLY trying, and I hear about how it’s still not perfect. It’s like when the kid comes home with a 95% and the parents ask what happened to the other 5%. It can feel so discouraging.

      • Sara

        Exactly. Its ok to be disappointed by something, but it doesn’t take away from the good they’ve done. Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.

  • K Robertson

    I have a close friend who is a lot like the LW – the gift and flowers thing is really important to her, and her husband had to go through a major learning curve to get to where he was consistently meeting those needs for her. One thing she did that I think helped was she would ask a couple of us in the same close circle of friends to give him a little nudge or reminder to help him remember around her birthday and Valentine’s Day. That way she didn’t feel like she needed to ask for her own presents and he was reminded “Oh yeah, this gift thing, which requires time and attention sometimes days before the actual event, is really important to her.” I’m not much of a gift person either, and I will say there is definitely a difference between a knowledge that “gifts are important to this person” and the practicality of remembering to take the time and make the effort to put the thought and energy into gift-giving each time an event rolls around.

    • La’Marisa-Andrea

      I also think we put a lot of undue emphasis sometimes on the person remembering on their own instead of the person meeting the need. If you ask someone to do something for you and express that it’s important and they do it bc they want to make you happy, does it matter that they didn’t remember on their own?

      • Sarah E

        I think the “remembering on their own” part is an expression of “knowing I’m thought of even when I’m not right in front of you.” It is for me. . .we really don’t have high gift expectations around here, but I know I’m thrilled even at the small mention of him talking to a coworker about me, or that he was thinking about a conversation we were having. It’s all wrapped up in self-esteem and ego issues, too, but to have signs that my part in his life is not just fun, extracurricular time. (Which I know to be true, but it’s nice to see in different ways)

        • La’Marisa-Andrea

          I don’t doubt this. I understand what remembering signifies. I just think that sometimes we get so caught up in if they remembered, that we lose sight of all of the other ways we are shown we are loved and cared for. If the person shows you are loved and cared for in a multitude of other ways, in the grand scheme things, is it so horrible that maybe they didn’t remember on their own? I’m not asking a rhetorical question. I just think this is something to think about.

          • Sarah E

            I agree with you. I was thinking along the lines of separating out meeting the need/being remembered. They met the need you specifically asked for- check. And perhaps on a separate occasion, they tell you or another person tells you how they said something sweet about you at work or whatever.

            Definitely something to think about, for sure.

        • Violet

          There’s a Barenaked Ladies song my partner and I reference with the line, “I think you only think about me when we’re both in the same room.” We use this sometimes, because I’m not naturally gifted at giving him what he asks for, which is impromptu shows of affection. So he says, “I know you think about me when we’re not both in the same room!” and I secretly put “Pick up treat for partner” on my To Do list. But yeah, of COURSE I think about him, all day. But does that naturally translate into me then remembering to get him something, even though he’s asked? No, not always. Because he asks in context A (when he’s around me) but I have to generalize that to context B (when he’s not). It’s genuinely hard to do! People have been giving suggestions of how to do it, and I’ve worked out a system that works for me, but that system is not the same as the fact that I’d think about him, anyway.

          So I keep going back to this, but as long as your partner makes the effort in the way that works for you AND shows love in ways that work for them, I just don’t think we can tweak every little last thing about our partner to suit our needs. Not saying you’re doing that AT ALL, but sometimes in discussions of “Just say, using an ‘I’ statement, how you feel to communicate your needs!” we can lose sight of the fact that we only have so much right to ask a person to contort themselves.

  • Amy March

    What if you dramatically flipped things around- he took the day off work, sat by your bedside, and took care of you. Did you get him flowers to say thank you?

    I think part of the answer here is communicating your needs, but part is also embracing gratitude for what you do have. Which sounds like a lot!

  • Mary Jo TC

    This is a somewhat related idea for those with giving-challenged significant others. If your significant other has trouble picking out presents for you, one thing you can do it make a pinterest board of things you’d like to receive as presents. Then he can look at it for ideas, and it will still feel like a surprise when he picks something from it for your next birthday. (My trouble though, is that all the things on my board end up being super expensive or overly crafty/time-intensive).

    • Kara

      You could always make an amazon/favorite store wish list :). Easy and accessible.

      • Yes to this because it’s specific.

        • Mary Jo TC

          Pinterest is pretty specific, easy and accessible. Usually it links directly back to pages where products are sold. The only problem is that browsing it encourages me to add things that are out of reach. But the same thing could happen with amazon or any other store I guess. The problem is more my taste than the medium :-)

    • Amanda L

      A few years ago I started a Pinterest board. It was one of the best ideas I’ve ever had. Now for every birthday and Christmas, I just re-send the link to my family and DH. Prices on the items range from $5 to $500, so there’s no expectation of breaking the bank. I learned through this exercise that DH takes what I post VERY literally so if I want a specific color or brand, I need to pin that exact thing. Then after the holiday, I remove the pins from things I received. Magic!

      I will say that I have tried to gently tell DH when I would like flowers (our anniversary and my birthday, specifically). I also would appreciate if they were sent to work. I know it’s childish/selfish, but I want other people to see how much he loves me. He forgot on my birthday, so he sent them a week later. I gently reminded him for our anniversary about a week or two before, and he totally spaced on it. It’s hard not to feel a little hurt that what he’s going through at the moment takes precedence over what I’d like, but I try to put it in perspective. He loves me, deeply. He treats me well. If the worst thing he does is forget to send me flowers on our anniversary, then we’re going to be just fine.

    • BrightLikeTheSun13

      That is very similar to how my partner and I handle holidays, especially Christmas. I’ll give him my “list” and he’ll pick something off of it before sending it to our families. That way he gets me a gift he knows I’ll like and I still get to be surprised. He is also very thoughtful about the specific gift and will do research to find the best version. It’s so much easier to get excited about getting a heating pad for a gift when he can tell me about all the features and why it will work so well for me. Yeah I asked for a heating pad, but I would have just bought the cheapest one instead of really taking the time to pick the best one.

      • Sarah E

        Agreed. Lists are so helpful. Plus, I feel awful when I get a gift I don’t really want or like. I spend a lot of time getting rid of the stuff that accumulates in our apartment– we aren’t minimalist by any means, but instead of shopping when I’m bored with my things, I ditch them. So having an un-appreciated item sitting around, and then thinking about how I’ll have to pack it up and haul it with us when we move from here, is really not a great gift.

      • Sara

        This is how gift giving goes in my immediate family. My mother tells me things she wants, I assign them to my brothers and dad, and then I give them all my Amazon list to choose from for myself. It has saved Christmas so many times and makes everyone so much happier. My brother especially feels accomplished because he’s not stressing out about how ‘terrible’ his gift is. He loves guidelines and I don’t end up with costume jewelry (inexplicably his go to gift).

  • Halfway through reading this post, my first thought was “they have 2 completely different love languages”.

    OP, it sounds like you want love & affection demonstrated a certain way, and that’s not your partner’s natural way of showing love & affection. That’s not a bad thing, it just means you both have to work on communicating what you want and accepting the other person. It takes BOTH parts, not just communicating what you want and not just him accepting this is how you like to be loved. Both of you will need to compromise.

    Have you taken a look at “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. I was skeptical of this book myself, but after reading it, it really helped me understand myself so that I could communicate to my husband about how I like to be loved & appreciated. I also gained a greater understanding of the things that my husband did, that was his way of showing me love, that I previously discounted. This book (and the quiz) can get you and your partner started on the path of honest communication and understanding. Best of luck!

  • Nell

    Just putting one more idea out here:

    If my partner were getting surgery, it would be scary for me, too. I wouldn’t be thinking about flowers or gifts or anything – because I would be freaked out.

    • Amen. When my mom had a heart attack none of us brought flowers. When I’ve had surgery no one brought flowers. I personally would consider them one more logistical hurdle to deal with when leaving the hospital. I’m incredibly practical. Just being there is A LOT. Gifts are not my love language, clearly.

    • R

      YES to this. My husband had surgery recently, and I was definitely a bit scared, even though it wasn’t major. But it’s also just so busy! The surgery took place in a city we don’t live in, so I flew up there, took time off of work, stayed cooped up in a hotel with him while he slept, sat around in the waiting room a bit worried AND trying to get work done because billable hours, helped him when he was still all drugged up afterward…it really didn’t occur to me until all was said and done that maybe I should have gotten him flowers or some sort of equivalent. I did have to run over to a CVS and get a prescription filled for him while he was still in the hospital, so I grabbed him his favorite candy bar when I was there, but with everything else going on, that’s the only thing that even came to mind, and only because I had to wait ten minutes for the prescription to be filled.

    • qj

      Yes! After our last visit to the ER, the last thing on my mind was gifts – but rather how to make my partner comfortable. My partner’s not a gifts person – more of an acts of service person – though, so perhaps my actions were informed by that preference. The prescription-filling, sling-adjusting, and McDonald’s milkshake-getting was about all I had the capacity for in the midst of the anxiety about the level of injury/potential surgery, etc. (and no surgery was involved)!

      • judy russo

        You survived. How would you feel if you were left to die on that emergency room floor? And he or she ignored you as you laid dying? In love, no one else matters but yourself. In he or she hate, they would leave you to die in their psychopathy and desire your death. A person who loves you would go to extreme measure to save your life as you lay dying. You are a person who desired your partner in love to be comfortable. Would be as ignorant as to ignore their screams for help in order for them to survive? Would you be as hateful as to enjoy those screams? Would you be as arrogant in your hate to think that those screams are untruths? Would you be as stupid as to be a doctor who diagnosed your partner through their malpractice? Would you be as delusional to tell your partner that it is all in their head as they lay dying due to their bias? What if you were indifferent to their pain as a doctor? Indifference is hate. And that doctor confuses themselves due to their discrimination and mental illness regarding their womanization of bias? That is hate as you lay dying as a woman. And that doctor does not even know you as a woman. His remark to me as I laid dying was about indifference, his inability as a doctor and his lack of education, where I was not. He assumed as an indifferent, bias, uneducated, unknowledgeable doctor in his negligence. If your partner laid dying and told you, what would you do if you loved that person? For decades I did a behavioral study on this incident. And everyone stated, I WOULD SCREAM LOUDER THAN SHE DID TO LOVE HER MORE THAN HERSELF TO SAVE HER. Needless to say, he lost me that day. So did that entire emergency room who ignored me as I laid dying. They lacked in their limited dogma of education, training and knowledge more than myself. I survived by screams of knowing that I was on the threshold of death that day and no one cared unless I did. I was unloved. In my death sentence that day, I had a near death experience and I was told by screams that it was not my time and to scream for my life. Ever feel more loved by the dead than the living? If I were to judge the living verses the dead than the screams of the dead loved me more than the living. People are dogmatic in regards to such an incident. And to me it is all about love. No matter if they are the living or the dead. Love does anything to save your life. Therefore, after that incident I chose to listen to my mother who told me to save the world. I chose to show the living that I could. And I did. I could have saved the life of even just one who is a catalyst with me in saving the world. When people chose to attack and terrorize me, I chose to think about the butterfly effect and what my life would cause for not saving all of those people. To me, the are ungrateful. And I started to save many people as a child. To me the ungrateful have been the living. My demands of such people have been for them to bow, beg, grovel and plead at my feet due to their ungratefulness as people. That window of opportunity has been slammed shut upon them. They are insignificant little people to me. Where I am extremely significant to them. And I know that I am. In their arrogance they belittled me. Therefore, they belittled my saving their pathetic little lives. That is an extremely ignorant little person compared to myself. I was saved that day in order for me to be able to save the world. If I was determined that day to be Queen of this world due to saving it, than I am Queen and they are not. I am boss, they are not. They may not try to impersonate who and what I have been due to themselves living in lack. I am of Royal bloodline. They are not. That day I knew. Who are the insignificant to me? They are people who are as pathetic and psychotic as all of those living people who laughed as I laid dying that day being as ignorant as to make a statement to me as woman who knew that I was dying and the reasons of my death was in my grief of their ignorance. They were that arrogant upon me as I laid dying due to their arrogance, ignorance and stupidity. And their pathetic excuse was their indifference, bias, and discrimination. You loved your partner enough to scream on the rooftop or pick them off the emergency room floor and drive them to another hospital or call 9/11? Are you that lifesaver who has saved the world? I AM. Now they are to fear. Karma has a way of making people with intent to harm me to suffer until they die. They can call it karma upon them. They can call it a punishment. They can call it an excuse for themselves. They can call it reasoning in the dogmatic thought processes. All is unacceptable to me. Let them fear. They are of a lower primitive uncivilized species. Ever try to forgive people who are ignorant, arrogant and stupid pathetic little people to you? My forgiveness is futile. My pardoning impossible. And they as ignorant, arrogant and stupid little pathetic and psychotic little people like they all were that day caused that outcome. Two doctors cried at my feet begging for my forgiveness that day. Since they did, I decided to save the world. I decided many times to save doctors also. Who are any of these little pathetic psychotic people to me? How’s my point down going upon all of these people? Do any of you think that they feel that point down upon their little lives, yet? They are pathetic little people to me who do not even know me. And they proved that they do not even know me in their insanity upon my life and upon my family. These are people who needed to be stopped. They are as arrogant, ignorant and stupid as all of those people in that emergency room that day and all who ignored me for two weeks in telling them what was happening as I laid dying due to them. Let all of these ignorant, arrogant, stupid little people FEAR. They are as womanizing as those people were to and upon me as I laid dying due to themselves as people. Women who want to die, by all means that are granted by me who want to die due to themselves as womanizing vicious ignorant, arrogant and stupid little pathetic psychotic little women with their little puppets for men. I am not her and she may not hallucinate and be delusional in regards to me. Let them fear. They had to intent to harm me. People like them suffer and die due to themselves. They did not like the truth? Than they are to suffer and die as themselves as usual. They are know it all know nothing’s. Just like all of those people that day in the emergency room. I almost died due to their discrimination against women. Is it all in your head? May they all suffer and die now due to themselves as pathetic psychotic little people. As they should. They are disgusting little people, And they are despicable little people who have to lie in order to attack and terrorize in regards to me. That is nothing more than not facing what and who they are as psychotic pathetic little people. Let them fear. Did you fear that day? I did nothing to any of these petty little people. And they are all delusional if they think that I did. Did they hallucinate and think that I did as psychotic little people? Did their illusions of grandeur become a fictional character in their fictional stories in regards to myself? Because their have been many people who have had these kinds of episodes regarding themselves pertaining to me throughout my life. Just like that man who told me a woman what was going on in my own body that does and did not belong to him. My body. Not his. My mind. Not her. My near death experience that day, not any of your. How dare any of you little people? Who the fuck do any of you are to me? You are disgusting little people to me to attack and terrorize me due to your dysfunctions, issues, problems, actions and behaviors. Instead of valuing and respecting me for the woman that I AM and have been, people decided to devalue and disrespect the woman that I AM. Did you people forget? Can you all be that pathetic? Because I am convinced by all of you that you are. Your pathetic little excuses for yourselves are as pathetic as you are as people to me. And you fuckedup little people do not know me. If you did your pathetic little excuses for yourselves would be aware of what kind of people that I despise. Have I not made myself extremely clear to you people in regards to your excuses pertaining to yourselves? Has it not been five decades of me informing you for those excuses for yourselves? Your ignorance, arrogance and stupidity is no different to me than those two doctors who I informed what I was dying during that incident. And he was bias. He was indifferent. He was womanizing. He was discriminatory. He was neglectful. I forgot to ask him his religion. You who use your pathetic little religions as tools and weapons upon me due to your psychotic tendencies as people are nothing more than as I have defined you. Get out of my life, you pathetic little psychotic people. Take your excuses for yourselves with you. And you pathetic little people refused to bow and beg at my feet as those doctors did. And you attacking little pathetic psychotic people were also told and demanded to grovel and plead at my feet. It is you who are disgusting little people. Take you little people excuses and go suffer and die for what you are and i am not. Your small window of opportunity to bow, beg, grovel and plead at my feet is over.

    • TeaforTwo

      Yep, that makes a lot of sense to me. It’s one thing to learn that special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries warrant flowers, but the partner may be thinking of surgery as something else entirely.

      I love love love getting flowers, but I’m having surgery at the end of the month that freaks me out a bit, and frankly I just want my partner by my side for as much of it as possible. Flowers wouldn’t occur to me because I want him to hold my hand for every possible moment and then make me all of my favourite foods once we are home.

    • Ashlah

      I was going to say this too. I *can* see how an expected removal of benign fibroids might feel to her more like *her* scary issue than his or their scary issue, but it’s something worth considering. I had surgery recently to determine the cause of some masses, and my husband and I were both terrified. The only flowers I got came from my work, not my husband or parents, who were also scared and stressed.

    • This for me too, bringing a gift would be probably the last thing I would be thinking about at that time, although admittedly, I’m not great with gifts a lot of the time.

  • I’m reminded of the post by Maddie a few weeks ago where she said, among other things, that she buys herself flowers. She knows what she needs and takes care of it. If it’s specifically flowers that you want, call a florist. Never in a million, million years would it occur to me to bring flowers for someone after a surgery. If something is important to you specifically then make it happen for yourself.

    • MABie

      Agreed. I would not think to bring flowers to my fiancee after surgery because I would be like, “we don’t need one more thing to carry home after the procedure.”

      • I have three vases on the fridge because of gifts like this. They’re just collecting dust. I need to donate them so someone else can have them. I always think about, “what’s going to happen to this whatever later?” Please no more things that have to be taken care of.

        • MABie

          Totally!! I am SUCH an “acts of service” person that if I received flowers after a surgery, a part of me would definitely be like, “This is just ONE MORE THING we are going to have to clean up when we get home, and our house is already going to be so messy because I just had surgery, etc. etc….”

          • z

            +1. Do not give me more objects to deal with!!! And flowers give me guilt over the floral industry labor practices.

          • Absolutely. I have a friend who is a flower farmer in St. Louis. From her I have learned so much about the flower industry. We need to be more aware of where things come from.

          • pajamafishadventures

            I just took the quiz and discovered that “acts of service” won everything by a mile! It makes a lot of sense when I think about it now. I’ve moved so much in the past two years that I’ve begged people to please not buy me any more “stuff” gifts for holidays because I look at them and think “packing!” But when someone does the dishes for me, it’s worth all the chocolate in the world

          • MABie

            I think “acts of service” is hard because it’s so NOT intuitive. It’s more difficult to conceptualize than, “I love gifts!” or “Just tell me you love me once in a while!”, so it’s more difficult to see it on your own without taking the quiz. I posted earlier in this thread about how taking the quiz totally changed our relationship, and it’s true. When I took the quiz, I was almost 100% acts of service. I couldn’t believe it. And I was kind of disappointed, too…like, I’m way more romantic than that! It can’t be all about washing the dishes. But, as it turns out, it’s totally all about washing the dishes.

            I also think that “acts of service” has the added con of being mixed up in gender roles. We don’t have to deal with that very much because we are a same-sex couple, but I can see how it would be difficult for opposite-sex couples.

          • Mary Jo TC

            Yes, I have trouble accepting ‘acts of service’ as love for these reasons. So often the things people cite as acts of service seem to me to be things that just have to get done no matter if they’re done as signs of love or not. Like, am I supposed to feel loved my husband did the dishes, or should I get to take it for granted that he’s going to do his share of the housework?

          • lady brett

            both!

          • Lauren from NH

            Yeah to be honest that’s kind of how I felt about the partner showing up after surgery. I do take it for a given that if we are in a serious relationship and in the same city you will show up if I am in the hospital. I guess it still depends on the circumstances. The LW’s partner needed to or choose to take a whole day off work, which is more of a sacrifice. But you don’t get tons of extra credit for just “showing up” to your relationship, most of that just comes with the territory of being a decent partner, not a great partner – a decent one.

          • Liz

            I get your point, but I think noticing that stuff is important, too. It’s not like, “Great job on coming to the hospital! Gold star for you!” But, coming to the hospital was something he naturally did because he loved her. It was a natural outworking of his care and concern. It’s hard to look at that and say, “You don’t love me because NO FLOWERS!” So while “just showing up” isn’t an extra credit point, it is a signal that he cares that’s maybe being overlooked.

          • ML

            Yes, and I would add that given the description, “just showing up” physically WAS extra credit for this particular partner because it was a hardship for him. It sounds like he may not be in a job where he is salaried, gets paid time off or has a flexible schedule. I know it’s something I take for granted that I can generally take a day off whenever I want to and not lose wages. Showing up emotionally is not extra credit, but I’d say this is.

          • Eh

            My husband is terrified of hospitals. His experience with them is that bad things happen there (based on visiting his aunt how was dying from cancer and his dad after a heart attack). Going to one is a huge thing for him. My MIL had to drag him to the hospital when his niece was born (his mom had to repeatedly tell him that a baby being born is a happy thing). It’s a big deal (for him) if he goes to the hospital to visit. It’s going to be interesting when I give birth in a couple months.

          • Meg Keene

            Though I really think extra gratitude/ credit works in long term partnerships. I try to always hold a place of gratitude for things done for me, even if they are just the basic work of showing up. Because showing up is the basic work of relationships and it takes effort!

            Case in point, I just got back from a 37 week OBGYN visit, and David came and when I met him in the lobby I thanked him for coming in a really genuine way. You could argue he was just doing the basics, but I also knew he was taking time away from billable hours that he’d have to make up later, and he didn’t have to come, and I appreciated it. Me thanking him was for him, but it was also a reminder to myself to be grateful for what I have—which is a partner that shows up. Last time I was super grateful for him in labor too. Sure, any good partner shows up for their laboring partner, but I HAVE one of those good partners, and I try to be grateful for that.

            I think giving our partner’s extra credit for doing the basics (cleaning up the living room or showing up for surgery) is probably good for our mental health, at the very least. Selfishly good for our souls, if not also good for our partnerships.

          • Violet

            Yes. Gratitude is good for EVERYONE. It’s a gift you give yourself as much as your partner.

          • Liz

            In my house, the chores are sort of split. I cook, my husband washes dishes, etc. So one of the ways I show my husband love is by washing his dishes for him while he’s out on an interview today, so that when he gets in we can instead spend some time together watching Grace & Frankie and eating Doritos.

            Another would be taking the chores that are mine, like that cooking I mentioned, and doing it especially for him- making him a particularly elaborate dinner that I know he likes, or picking up special ingredients that I’m not a fan of and I know are his favorite.

            I’m with you that I do NOT see regular adulthood as an act of love, nope.

          • Sara

            Not the point, but I’m loving Grace & Frankie :)

          • Mary Jo TC

            I agree, if it’s ‘above and beyond’ or extra thoughtful in some way, then it totally counts as an ‘act of service’ and a way of expressing love. Doing his share or doing extra planning to make something special is awesome. And, to me, that’s what makes it feel loving, and–like a GIFT. (Are all of the love languages the same when you look at them this way?) But just being an adult and an equal contributor? No way, not fair.

          • Rachelle

            That makes a lot more sense! I think it gets harder when you don’t have housework specifically split. We switch off on a lot of things, so it’s hard to go above and beyond.

          • rg223

            Yeah, my husband’s love language is Acts of Service, but (ironically) getting him to do normal weekly chores is such a pain. I think in understanding the “acts of service” type, you have to separate out the normal chores (that they may or may not care about doing) from what they’ll do for you to show love in a time of need/romance/etc.

            For example, when I was going through a rough time in my pregnancy, my husband suddenly became like, “LET ME DO ALL OF THE THINGS.” He cooked dinner every night and served it to me on the couch and then cleaned it all up – I never got up unless I chose to haha!

            So, interest in keeping the house clean (or lack thereof) is a completely separate entity.

          • pajamafishadventures

            That’s exactly why I never thought it was possible that that could be a love language (if you’d have asked me to guess mine I would have said “physical touch”) And I wonder too if it changes- if we had a 100% egalitarian household would I feel loved when he did the dishes, or feel guilty that the scales tipped and I contributed less? (Probably not, I will admit that I hate doing the dishes enough that I would go to absurd lengths to get out of it).

            In some ways I also think that “acts of service” and “gifts” can be tied really close together. I’m moving towards friendship territory now but when my friends have bought me a Nessie ladle, or squirrel whisks, or matryoshka measuring cups, those all stand out to me as the BEST gifts because they are contributing to making my life easier. I have a ladle so I’m not serving soup by dipping my bowl into the pot and wiping off the dribbles! It’s not a strict definition of service but those gifts are usually given by people who I feel get “me” the best and it feels like a service.

          • joanna b.n.

            Nessie ladle, or squirrel whisks, or matryoshka measuring cups…

            Um what?

          • pajamafishadventures

            http://www.amazon.com/luc-OT821-Nessie-Ladle/dp/B00SRGPELO

            and so on. Yes, they’re physical gifts but they feel like so much more because they’re cute in form but also provide a function that makes my life easier- the same way if someone decides they’ll clean the litter box for me.

          • NatalieN

            So, I’m with you in that most of the time, my husband doing the dishes or taking out the trash doesn’t mean specifically that he loves me, just that he’s helping out. (But then, we both work, at the same company, have similar hours cause we carpool, so the house work is pretty much 50/50). A good example of acts of service for me is last week when I was sick, my husband came home during lunch, to see me. When I came out to say hi, he was cleaning the kitchen top to bottom (which, we usually dont do, and especially not during lunch). I thanked him, but told him he didn’t have to do that. He responded with “I know, but I want to… plus it’s like the number one hit on google when you search ‘what to do when your wife is sick’ “.

            So that was for me an act of service that was meant to show me love.

          • Mary Jo TC

            How sweet! That totally counts as going ‘above and beyond’ and being extra thoughtful. Major points for your husband. I guess I just have trouble when people cite regular, equally split chores as ‘acts of service’ that are supposed to show love, when these are just things they should be doing anyway.

          • Lauren from NH

            I agree with you. In my experience with my partner sometimes (more so in the past) wants lots of recognition for getting his share of the housework done like he just preformed some master feat. I am grateful and I will say “thank you” because I think it is healthy to recognize what we do for each other no matter how mundane, but I don’t considering it a unique and intentional act of love in my direction. It may have been done with some love in mind, but even if it was done with a completely blank mind or a mind jamming out 90’s songs, it got done. If he does extra or helps with my chores or does something promptly because he knows it’s important to me, like tidying the house for guests or because I am stressed, yup lots of extra points for that. But regular work = regular points.

          • Mary Jo TC

            Agreed. I definitely didn’t mean to diminish the importance of saying thank you, even for mundane, expected tasks!

          • Violet

            Did you read All Joy and No Fun? She talks about the idea that oftentimes, taking care of someone IS love, and loving someone IS taking care. Chores are maaaaaaaybe a little different, but to extend the analogy, you change a baby’s diaper because you love them, not because you’re *supposed* to.

          • Meg Keene

            Oh, I think this is a perfect analogy. Do I deserve extra credit for changing my kid’s diaper and getting up with them in the middle of the night? No. But it’s an act of love, so I certainly hope it will be seen that way and appreciated. You hope to have a kid who says, “My mom took care of me because she loved me.” Not, “My mom took care of me because that was her job, so I’m not at all grateful.”

          • qj

            Oh, yes. I think this relates to *accepting* expressions of gratitude for “everyday” or “expected” things, as well – for the longest time, when my sister or I would thank my mom for dinner (especially when we were teenagers and she would pay for a dinner when we were out), she’d respond: “It’s my duty to feed you.” I mean, okay — but not really, by that point, and though she is and was totally entitled to feel however she wanted to feel, the impact of shooting down the gratitude was a bummer for my sister and me. Thankfully, she heard me when I expressed this a few years later, clarified what she meant by it, and now it’s more of a joke that we use with one another more than anything else. :)

          • Kara E

            YES YES YES!

          • Rachelle

            YES. I get annoyed when my husband doesn’t do the dishes, but it doesn’t make me feel unloved in any way. And his doing laundry or mowing the lawn is because shit needs to get done, it’s not like he’s doing it specifically for me. Acts of service just don’t make sense to me.

          • Kara E

            For us, it’s both. My husband hates to do the dishes, but does them every night without commenting or complaining because they need to be done and I’m usually working on other stuff. And yes, it’s his share of the housework, but the fact that he just DOES it, (even though he hates it) makes me feel loved. And there’s the “I’ll get up with the baby, you sleep in” (even though I’m wiped out too) acts of service, and the remembering trash day and boxes in the garage that need to go out with recycling. And my remembering to ask about his dry cleaning and trying to find his favorite foods while at the grocery store shopping for the week. It’s all stuff that needs to get done in the household, but they’re also acts of love and of being part of a partnership.

          • ML

            From taking the quiz, it’s clearer that they mean doing stuff above and beyond with intention of taking pressure or responsibility off your shoulders, or making your day a little easier. For example, my husband always fills up my car with gas when he uses it. To me, that is an act of service, and act of love, because he knows I am always running late and stopping for gas will likely throw my schedule off. Or when I have a bad day, it means so much to me when he says, “sit down for a bit and have some wine. I’ll start water for the pasta” even though cooking is usually 100% my job.

          • qj

            I totally hear you here, and I have a different type of response when my partner does the typical chores —> perhaps it’s just because we pass things back and forth pretty regularly (one of us will pick up the slack for a bit when the other is super busy, and vice versa), or because we’re relatively recently partnered (2 years), but I often find myself feeling a lot of gratitude that there’s a person to share the responsibilities of life with, which is totally mundane, and also feels (to me) a lot like being loved and cared for. It might also just be the way I’m wired!

          • Kara

            I’m basically 100% acts of service for giving and receiving love. One way I feel loved from my husband is he cleans up the dog and cat poo (1 giant German Shepherd + 6 cats = lots o’ poo). It’s something I’m capable of doing, though I don’t really enjoy it (and who does?), but I appreciate the fact that he’s chosen to do this.

            I will show my love for my husband by cooking or getting groceries or taking the animals to the vet. Sure, these things all have to be done, but I do them because I love him, too.

          • Laura C

            My father is an acts of service person, and while he definitely does wash the dishes and such, it’s also things like … I got a stomach bug the day of my last move, and we had a very narrow window of time to finish cleaning the apartment after the movers left before needing to be on the road so we’d be at the new place when the movers arrived there. And my father volunteered to go to the apartment I was leaving to clean it the next day — a four-hour drive each way. And then, a few weeks later when we were drowning because we moved a month before my husband took the bar and five weeks before our wedding, my parents drove two hours to our new apartment, detouring to an Ikea to get one last piece of furniture we needed for the new place, and spent a day assembling furniture and organizing our place.

            So that’s what I think of when I think of acts of service as a love language.

          • Eh

            I’m an “acts of service” person and my husband is a “gift” person. He finds it really hard and I find it frustrating sometime. It’s even worse in our house since he does most of the cleaning and washes all of the dishes already. On top of that he has a hard time understanding when things need to be done (the weeds were a foot high this week but that wasn’t enough of a sign that he should cut the grass) so I need to tell him (or they need to be scheduled). When we first moved in together I was getting very stressed because I was the one cooking all the time. I just wanted him to offer to cook once a week so I didn’t have to think of all of the meals and cook all of the food. I got very frustrated and we got in a fight over it. Now he cooks at least once a week (right now since I’m pregnant he cooks more). One thing that he does that blends the two languages is he will ask me if he can pick something up for me on the way home from an afternoon shift (e.g., a pizza or chocolate or a sundae). It shows me that he’s thinking about me and doing something for me (even if it’s a bit frivolous) and for him it’s getting me a gift.

    • La’Marisa-Andrea

      Or just communicate it. Specifically. “Hey, it would be great if you got me flowers or whatever for x and would mean a lot to me.” People are not mind readers.

      • I would be even more specific. “It would be great if…” isn’t specific. “Please buy me daisies and lilacs” is specific.

      • Meg Keene

        We’ve been together over a decade and I still make extremely specific asks, generally SEVERAL times if I give a shit. “I would like a mother’s day card signed by you and the kid.” “In case you forgot… I would like….” He’s happy to do it if I ask, but I don’t want to risk getting upset and ruining my Mother’s Day because I didn’t ask, and it didn’t occur to him.

        Part of that is just that as I’ve gotten older I’ve decided that I better take responsibility for my own happiness when I can. I’d love if everyone magically did the right things all the time without me asking. But that’s not how life works, and I’d rather I be happy than surprised.

        I’ve learned that for me what matters is that someone does what I ask, when I say it’s important (even if I triple remind them). What hurts is when I realize that no matter HOW many times I tell X person what I need, they can’t seem to work up the energy to make an effort, and that’s an ongoing pattern. Then I realize I’m in a relationship with an emotional black hole, if I’m giving and giving, and nothing is coming back at me. Communicating what I need clearly? That’s just the basics.

        • ItsyBit

          “I’d rather be happy than surprised.” YES. Something that I need to work on myself (because who doesn’t love surprises) but overall I agree wholeheartedly. I also need to remember that the surprise is not necessary for the happy.

        • La’Marisa-Andrea

          I’m the same way.

    • Vanessa

      A lot of hospitals won’t let you bring in outside flowers (ie not from their in-house florist) because if the pollen hasn’t been removed they can cause respiratory problems for certain patients.

    • Rachelle

      Gifts are totally not my love language, but I just like flowers once in a while. If I ever have a “Oh, I hope my husband buys me flowers for (insert holiday or event here)” thought, I just ask him to get flowers or send an email. I feel special and our house looks and smells nice. Done.

  • Jules

    Love languages take practice. And when it’s not your native language, a little progress is going to feel like a big change.

    “He clearly knows I would love something like this. I expect it.”

    The thing is, I don’t think he would. He probably hasn’t thought about the fact that gifts are a language and is really focused on big events like birthday/holiday season/Valentine’s/anniversary….which is like 4 gifts a year already! (Doesn’t have to be a big financial drain, but to a non-gifter, it’s stressful to pick out something that’s supposed to be meaningful each time.) So he may not have considered that it extends to hospital stays, Mother’s/Father’s Day, getting a promotion, and such.

    I don’t think what he said is OK either, but it sounds like a lot of hurt may have come off as blame. I think you should read the book together so you both understand your needs, AND be patient with each other. Fluency takes time!

    • z

      +1. I’m a non-gifter who once dated a gift person, and the pressure was relentless. The moment a gift is given, it’s time to start stressing about the next, so you never really get a break. What about all the times they are expecting a gift but don’t tell you? How to know if a gift is appropriate? It’s a huge time-suck and money-suck, running around from store to store trying to find something that will qualify as an adequate gift. Then I would have to deal with his veiled disappointment when the gift is not pleasing according to his mysterious and arbitrary standards. And then he would give me something that I don’t even want, because I don’t really want any gifts, and I’d have to pretend to like it… it was an exhausting charade to put on every month or so. Wore me out.

    • La’Marisa-Andrea

      Gifts are stressful for my husband. His love language is acts of service so he’s just at a loss on his own when it comes to this.

    • emilyg25

      Hell, gifts ARE my love language and I find it stressful picking out perfect gifts for all those holidays.

  • MABie

    I think that people have very different ideas of what events constitute gifting events. A few weeks ago, my partner and I were with a couple of friends at a jewelry store (picking up my wedding band). Our friends, who are a couple, are about to have a baby. One of them started selecting items for the other one to buy her after the baby is born, as a gift for having a baby. I was really confused by that. My fiancee was like, “Of course you get a gift for having a baby! What a great idea!”

    This is NOT AT ALL to say that what OP is feeling isn’t valid. It TOTALLY is. I’m just trying to say that some people don’t intuitively believe that certain events are gifting events. Maybe he doesn’t see surgery that way. I really do not think he was trying to hurt her.

    • I’m definitely with you on the “having a baby gift” thing. It seems to be some new trend. I totally don’t get it. I’ve never had a baby but if I were thinking about what I want after giving birth would be practical things for the baby and our home, not a piece of jewelry.

      • lmba

        From friends + fam, yes, practical items as gifts are ideal after having a babe. BUT from my perspective (have had 1 baby and am about to have another), giving birth is a super intense, transformative experience that can leave you really raw and vulnerable (sometimes in a good way, sometimes in a super hard way). Material gifts are not necessary, but they can be a really meaningful part of cherishing the woman who has just given birth and making her feel affirmed, loved, valued, cared for, admired, etc. Maybe that’s not something that everyone *wants* (or wants to want), but I think it is a need that a lot of women have in the postpartum period (myself included).

        My first child was born early and my partner made it in town only a couple of days beforehand, with a terrible cold. He’d planned on giving me a gift, but didn’t have time to choose one. After the birth, things kindof went crazy, and he didn’t have a chance to get one then either. When my kid reached his 4-month “birthday,” he gifted me a set of handmade gold bangles (sturdy enough to withstand baby-grabbing but also very elegant) and it meant a LOT.

        • I’ve definitely learned a lot through this discussion. I think this also speaks to class differences. Growing up poor, I am absolutely positive my father never bought my mother a push present and she never had any diamonds for any reason. I can’t even imagine that as a possibility. There are lots of differences in this conversation about what people want or don’t want. I’m glad we can all agree that if something is important to us we need to be clear about that. Imba, I think the bangles sound awesome because it is something nice to wear but it’s also practical.

          • Meg Keene

            I’m not sure it’s as simple as class differences. I also didn’t grow up with a lot of money, and I can guarantee my mom didn’t get any presents after having babies, because that’s not my parents personalities. (Nor was it really the era for it. She got to stay up all night with the baby while he went to work, wheee! Early early 80s.)

            But this isn’t really about diamonds, or even about money spent. It’s about the idea that pregnancy and childbirth is TREMENDOUSLY (sometimes I think sort of unimaginably) hard, and women are expected to shoulder it without complaint, and then live in the service of the infant and her family without acknowledgment afterwards.

            Wanting your partner to take a moment to honor what you’ve done can be a really feminist act, I think. And sometimes it’s important to point out that you want to be honored in a way that’s not, “I hired someone to tidy the living room because you can’t right now.” Or “I got you and the baby some diapers.” It’s not really about money to me, at all. Because that gift could be a card, or a $2 necklace from the hospital gift shop. It’s really just about saying, “I see you, and I know what you’ve just been through. I know I can’t even imagine the depths of how hard it was even though I was right next to you the whole time, and I’m forever grateful.”

          • Rachelle

            Can I show my husband this?? He thinks push presents are the dumbest thing he’s ever heard of, but all I can think is you can’t get me a little something special for growing and carrying our child in my body for 9 months and then going through this incredibly traumatic experience?

          • lmba

            If you feel like it’s important to you, ask for (insist upon?) it. I learned the hard way what it is to not have your needs met postpartum, even when nobody is necessarily doing anything *wrong* (they’re just not doing what YOU need at the time). This time around, my motto is: “Ask for what you want. And if nobody wants to get it for you, get it yourself!”

            With my first kid, we put just about zero thought into postpartum care, and paid dearly for it in exhaustion, bad feelings, relationship stress, and poor mental health. This time around I am all about meeting our family’s (and especially my own) needs during that time. It’s not selfish; it’s smart.

          • Meg Keene

            ME TOO. First time I’ve read someone else saying the same thing. But I’ve decided you can spend money in a lot of ways and I’d rather spend it on my own sanity. We know where we’re not going to get the support we need, so we’re stepping into the gap by getting it for ourselves.

          • Meg Keene

            Totally. This is where you explain your needs very firmly, and tell him to get over whatever issues he has with a dumb name like push presents, and honor your needs. AND YOUR HUGE FUCKING SACRIFICE. Sorry, but pregnancy is no small thing is all I’m saying.

          • lmba

            I think if your definition of “push present” (can somebody please come up with better shorthand for this??!!) is limited to jewels or other luxury items, then I guess it looks kindof like a class thing. Obviously those items are signifiers of wealth/class, and they may or may not be something someone even THINKS of as a potential gift .

            But I agree that it is really, really NOT about the money spent. It’s all about honouring and celebrating the birthing mother. For some people, that is communicated really well with fancy jewels! But many cultures across time and space have rituals that are about supporting/celebrating a woman in the postpartum period, helping her to integrate the experience, and welcoming her back into the community as someone who has entered a new phase of family life and made a big contribution to the family/society. These rituals are often performed by female relatives and friends, sometimes by the partner. In our culture, which is more “couple-centric” and individualistic, this role tends to fall on the partner pretty exclusively, so it kindof gets mingled up with ideas about how to be romantic, etc. Which is important, and I like that aspect of it, but it’s not the only way to do it.

            Rather than a physical gift, I know some people doing Blessingways, sealing ceremonies, and other kinds of rituals that are focused on showing care to the new mother (rather than on giving baby gifts). I’ve never experienced one myself, but it sounds like a step in the right direction.

          • Caroline Sjööh

            Yes! It’s totally not about the expense, it’s the thought! Ever since I hade a kid about 7 years a go, I started gifting my (female) friends when they hade babies. As a “I know what you’ve been trough, here’s something just for you being awesome and getting it done!” Babies get so many gifts, but people totally forget about the mother who’s done all the work. They need support and acknowledge, even if its just a new fancy shower gel.

            When I gave birth I hade my SO promise to give me a gift afterwards. Haden’t thought about it before, but when in labor I was like “I hate you for having me do this, it’s super painful and you are getting me a watch for doing this!” He didn’t argue it, but there’s no way he’d buy me something if i hadn’t told him to.

        • Meg Keene

          YES THIS.

      • emilyg25

        I wanted something small to commemorate the birth of our child and also as a bit of acknowledgement that I’d done the heavy lifting of making this thing.

      • katie

        You know what would be a good “push present”? A baby sitter / house cleaner / meal maker service of some sort for the first month or so we are adjusting to a screaming newborn.

        • lmba

          Post-partum doula!

        • Absolutely! Excellent idea.

        • Hope

          A great idea, especially if your love language is acts of service.

        • Eh

          Oh that’s what I want!

      • laddibugg

        IDK, my mom got what could be considered a push present when i was born 30 something years ago. My dad bought her a diamond ring to replace the one she’d lost a few years before then. I was born in April so it doubles a mother’s ring (only child). It was given as a ‘thank you for having our kid (and glad you didn’t die, long story) gift.

        • the term “push present” totally sounds gross, and i don’t want a gift for having a uterus, but i love the idea of a mother’s ring. it sounds nice to look at your mom’s hands and think ‘oh, that ring was to commemorate my birth.’

          • laddibugg

            I”m with you on ‘push present’ sounding weird, and technically my mom didn’t push me out (C section baby!)

      • Meg Keene

        I mean, maybe. Maybe not! The idea of calling it a ‘push present’ is sort of… GROSS. But. Pregnancy is REALLY hard, labor is REALLY hard, and both of them are something I have to do more or less on my own. Then new parenthood comes and much of the burden is on me, while society more or less ignores me for the new kid. We have plenty of practical stuff for the baby and for the house, but I do need a time out after birth to acknowledge this huge painful difficult thing I went through for the family (that, frankly, I would have preferred for someone else to go through, but couldn’t opt out of). So while I’m not sure HOW I want that acknowledged this time around… a gift? A letter? A heartfelt thank you? I do want something beyond the practical frozen meal.

        And my love language is actually actions, most of the time. But. Pregnancy and childbirth is huge, and new motherhood is all about the baby and not much about you. So I do need something to acknowledge ME and what just happened, that’s not just a practical baby carrier.

        But you know, as is the theme of this post… it’s my job to think about that, decide what I need and then communicate it.

    • Jules

      I recently heard of push presents, and my mind was totally blown.

      For our wedding, I got my husband a $20 pair of cufflinks; he got me a hanky (with some hinting). And I just thought to myself…even though he is the kind of guy who loves to bring random flowers and will always bring me a souvenir, I don’t think it even occurred to him to get me a “wedding gift”. I mean – would men even think to do engagement rings, if they weren’t some weird mix of social symbol/virginity insurance back in the day/completely expected nowadays?

      I totally agree that what is obvious to one person isn’t to the next (in any language). It’s kind of morbid, but think about how many ways there are to support a grieving person, too. Send flowers, attend a funeral/wake, write a nice card, bake a meal for them, hugs…like Liz said, “It’s a matter of clearly expressing what makes you feel loved, but also graciously learning how your partner is already loving you.”

      • MABie

        I feel pressured to buy my fiancee the “perfect” wedding gift, even though it feels kind of ridiculous because I’m like…we will have just paid for the entire wedding for each other. And then I get caught up in this swirl of, “well, what’s an appropriate gift for my fiancee for this occasion? It has to be something she will KEEP and TREASURE forever and ever, and fifty years down the road, she’ll lovingly stroke this strand of pearls and tell our grandchildren that this was a GIFT from ME on our WEDDING DAY.” But she doesn’t even wear jewelry!! And I don’t even know if she wants or expects a gift!

        Moral of the story: gifting is complicated, yo.

        • Leading up to our wedding my wife and I talked about this wedding gift thing. We both initially thought it was silly then I realized that she’s been wanting a watch. So I broached the topic and we both “bought” each other watches (even though the money comes from the same place). They arrived before our wedding and we “gave” them to each other on our wedding day because of the Jim Croce song, “Time in a Bottle” and the line “you’re the one I want to go through time with.” So, although we both agreed and we both picked out exactly what we wanted, I still think it’s romantic. It doesn’t have to be some big thing.

          • MABie

            I LOVE this idea. I love that a watch is something you wear all the time, so you have a constant reminder of the day. I keep feeling like I’m “not allowed” to have a jewelry-type item as a gift because I am already getting jewelry for the day (wedding band and the earrings I am going to wear). But if it’s something I would wear every day, like a watch, I think it could be really nice.

            You and Greta have convinced me to talk to my fiancee tonight about coordinated wedding gifts. What a good idea – yay.

          • I couldn’t attach the picture before but I tried it on a different computer before and now I can. I think they’re smashing and they’re “us.”

          • MABie

            LOVE!

          • CK

            “You’re the one I want to go through with”–YES! I used to dislike that song because the verses are so cheesy but then I really listened to the chorus and suddenly I was like “OH MY WORD JIM CROCE GETS IT.” That line in particular is something we say a lot to each other. So now I’m crying and considering being a watch person for the first time in my life.

          • joanna b.n.

            Aw, I got MY hubby a watch for my wedding gift to him!!! (And I honestly don’t know if he got me something or not other than, you know, the beautiful wedding, lifetime pledge, and surprise flowers and bubble bath back in the honeymoon suite).

        • Greta

          My husband and I talked a lot about wedding gifts together. I’m not a jewelry person, and I’ve been wanting a pair of nice sunglasses for 4 or 5 years now. My husband loves sunglasses too, and I found a really cool company that makes all wood sunglasses that are totally his style, but fairly pricey. We even spent some time together one evening before the wedding looking over the sunglasses websites and pointing out different styles/colors we liked and didn’t like. We were very clear about what we were going to get each other because we didn’t want any un-needed stress or expectations surrounding our wedding day, and didn’t want to pressure to come up with the “perfect gift”. These were fairly practical gifts (we both needed a new pair), they were very fun and personal, and they were expensive enough that we wanted a special occasion to buy them. We gave them to each other after our first look, and then took some super fun pictures with our new sunglasses on.

          Now, every time I put on my awesome sunglasses, I think fondly of my husband and my wedding.

          • MABie

            What an awesome story! I love that you got each other something totally non-weddingy, but still incorporated it into your day. That is such a good idea.

        • Sarah E

          “It has to be something she will KEEP and TREASURE forever and ever”

          . . .Like her wedding band? Or your love and loyalty?

          Obvs, we didn’t buy each other stuff for the wedding. It’s not really our style. I think I would have pushed back majorly if my partner (or anyone) implied I needed to. “How about this giant party I am throwing for him? How about my life, which I am pledging to him for eternity? HOW ABOUT THAT?”

          • MABie

            LOL. So true. I suppose my undying devotion should be an adequate gift.

          • qj

            Hahaha, my thought was, “Us! We get each other! Best gift ever.” ;)

          • Jules

            Haha, I totally get this logic. But you know, I can eat a half pound burger and still walk away like, damn, I really wish I’d had the chocolate shake too. “Aren’t you full?” Well, yeah, and the burger was awesome, but the shake goes in a different compartment entirely….it’s satiating in a different way.

            For us, it’s not that the wedding and wedding ring and all the family we’d gathered weren’t enough. I just wanted something else to “have”. It cost $15 + shipping and I pointed almost directly to what I wanted, so it was not a big deal.

          • Vanessa

            I’ve been trying to convince my friends that there is a separate dessert compartment for years :)

        • Lisa

          My husband wrote an adorable card for me on our wedding day and included a really pretty necklace in it. After I got over how sweet it was, I freaked out because:

          1. I am a terrible person for not writing him a heartfelt letter, too.
          2. What was I supposed to do with the necklace?? Wear it? Put it in my bouquet?

          We ended up putting the necklace in my bouquet and leaving it there. I still feel really guilty about the card thing though. How was I supposed to know that’s a thing people do?

          • emmers

            Ha! When I mentioned to my husband-to-be that some people do wedding day gifts, he said, “you’ll let me know if I need to do that, right?” I decided we could skip it, but it was very cute, him wanting to make sure he did a good job, but totally also not knowing it was a thing.

          • Lisa

            That is so adorable! Very sweet of him to try and make sure everything was right for the day. :)

          • MABie

            Doy, you’re supposed to know because the WIC tells you that you write each other really sweet letters, and then you find a really cool door, and your photographer opens it, and you and your groom stand on either side of the door without being able to see each other, and you hold hands and read the letters while you cry just enough to be obvious but not enough to ruin your makeup for your real “first look,” and your photog takes a bunch of awesome pictures and puts them on Pinterest, and then they get a thousand pins so your wedding is validated, OF COURSE!!!

          • Lisa

            God help me. I am so glad we got a journalist-style photographer who didn’t push any of that stuff on us. Our wedding album is mostly full of pictures of us just doing stuff instead of awkwardly posed WIC-enforced moments trying to highlight our everlasting love and adoration for one another.

            (Any attempt we made at posed photos during our engagement session turned out pretty poorly. For the wedding our photographer took us to some cool places and let us do whatever we wanted. I see only joy and happiness in our pictures–not stiffness or anything forced.)

          • Jules

            You know that recent photo of the Marine and wife praying around the corner holding hands that went viral lately? Hated the photo/viral-ness, loved the action.

          • Lauren from NH

            Yeah I am glad people enjoy their first looks, but the stagedness is not for me. If we did it, it would not be deep for me. I would be standing there awkwardly holding my beloved’s hand thinking “Lauren, what the fuck are you doing with your life girl?”

          • R

            Just another perspective, not trying to get you to change your mind, but — as someone who did a first look, even though it’s planned, it felt very real and not staged to me at the time, there was so much
            anticipation and excitement, it was actually a VERY emotional part
            of my day, and some of the best pictures because we both look SO happy
            (yet crying) and there’s just so much emotion in those pictures – and there weren’t really staged poses, just real shots of us seeing each other for the first time before the wedding, all dressed up – I was such a happy/crying mess, it would have been hard to make me take any kind of nice looking posed shot right then! I just pulled up one of the pictures and it actually made me tear up again just looking at it! One of my favorite memories from the day.

          • Jules

            Ditto this. I didn’t even notice that my photog was there. We took “sunset pics” later (suggested by the APW photography shot list) but I loved our first look. It was one of the most real and emotional parts of our day, and we haven’t even seen the photos yet.

          • I have to second all of this. I loved our first look – it was just us and our photogs in the background taking shots, and there are these great candid shots of us reacting to seeing each other before our wedding. My absolute favorite wedding photo is a black & white shot of us kissing during our first look – it really sums up not just the moment, but our love.

          • lmba

            I really loved our first look too, even though it wasn’t the most photogenic moment. We didn’t plan it as a photo op, but we did kindof intentionally “see” each other all dressed up at a certain moment. It was really sweet and those who happened to be in the room when it happened (my mom, MOH, maybe a few others) were all teary-eyed. It is actually one of my best memories of the wedding day, although not the most perfectly-crafted photo op.

          • joanna b.n.

            Yes, and… for us it was one of the only moments we had just the two of us, and it was VERY intense and VERY intimate. Wouldn’t have traded it for the world…

          • Letter, what letter? We barely had time to finish writing our vows the morning of.

            It was all good. We’re verbose folks who’ve written each other many letters in all our years together, and we’ll write each other plenty more letters for the next fifty years.

        • Bsquillo

          My husband and I talked about the wedding gift thing, and then just ended up buying a nice record player together, because it was something we both wanted. My husband actually set it up at our house the morning of the wedding, haha. Romantic, huh? Both of us are pretty practical folks, and often ask for useful gifts on holidays and birthdays.

          Gifts are definitely NOT my love language…I kind of dread holidays and even things like buying wedding gifts because I feel like I have to find the “perfect” thing for everyone, and that’s not my strength. But ask me to cook you dinner, or organize an event, and I’m on it!

        • Meg Keene

          I think you just have to talk about it. We did wedding gifts and letters, and I’m glad we did. I keep the letter on my desk always. But we talked about it first, and decided it was a good thing for us, and hence did it. (My parents also did it, so for me there was an emotional history there.) But sometimes we skip gifts on birthdays, because we’re busy. So you know, it works out in the end. You just have to communicate.

        • We didn’t get each other gifts for our wedding. For me it makes zero sense to give a gift to your partner on the day you get married.

      • FancyPants

        So I am the ‘terrible gift giver’ and my husband is the ‘awesome gift giver’- like he saves up for Christmas, thinks about it, remembers conversations from months ago….and I find things in the house on Christmas Eve to wrap in newspaper for the morning (I do other things like plan the dinner and think ahead about fun activities to do when we celebrate on our own)….

        But! for our wedding, I sort of knew that my husband didn’t know (like, no CLUE) that wedding gifts to each other were a ‘thing’. I had all sorts of fun ideas and actually FOLLOWED THROUGH and got them early (!). I gave them to him the morning after our wedding, as we were heading out the door- he was super surprised and it was SO FUN to give him a present when it wasn’t expected!
        For a second, he was upset because he didn’t know that was a thing he was supposed to do- but I reassured him that it was about me getting to give him a good present and that I 100% didn’t expect or want a wedding gift (I would have told him if I had wanted something). And now, he really likes having something that reminds him of our wedding that he wears all the time (it was a multi-tool belt- it’s rad! he can open beer bottles with his belt still on).
        So moral of the story: our ‘wedding gift’ exchange went awesome and wasn’t necessarily conventional.

      • Kara E

        I hated the idea of a push present. I told my husband I’d be insulted if he gave me one. Mother’s Day gifts are fine. My “gift” was having a body that could carry and birth a baby – and having him present to hold my hand, help me breathe, and feed me ice chips. And I totally screwed up on the wedding gift thing (though know my husband likes gifts). Finally settled on one and when it came, I hated it and didn’t give it to him. He had my original engagement ring (yes, there was an original and “real”) made into a gorgeous pendant. He doesn’t appear to hold it over my head.

    • Gifting is not my love language at all. To me, it sounds like LW’s partner was totally amazing spending time with her after her surgery, because that’s what would make me feel loved. What if he’d gotten her flowers but didn’t have time to visit? Would that upset her, or make her happy? I sympathize with her frustration because my partner’s love language is gifts and not acts, and I go through a similar “do i have to spell it out for you how much more i’d love you if you cleaned the bathroom?” yet i have a hard time wrapping my head around “but why do i have to get your mom a $40 cookbook for christmas, when she probably won’t even use it?”

      • MABie

        WORD. Every Christmas, I’m like, “What the hell are we going to get your parents? And why do we have to? They will just toss this in a pile of stuff [sidenote: my FMIL has an actual cookbook ROOM], and never see it again.” I keep trying to get everyone to go to Disney for Christmas and just not do any gifts. I’m on year 4 of trying this, and although it hasn’t worked yet, I will persevere.

  • ItsyBit

    “Listening and responding to your needs is the definition of thoughtful and loving. (Right?)”

    Right!

    • Jess

      So. Very. Right.

      Mind-reading and hint interpreting? Not so much.

  • La’Marisa-Andrea

    Communicating things that make you feel loved and appreciated to your partner is only half the battle. You also have to learn what acts your partner views as a way of expressing his love to you. I can understand your partner being defensive — he took off time from work to be with you, stayed by your side, was a comforting presence for you and perhaps he felt defensive because instead of acknowledging and being satisfied with that, you focused on what he didn’t do. And didn’t recognize what he DID do. What might be helpful for you as others have pointed out, is to find out from your partner what his love language is. And recognize that it’s going to take compromise. That means, you’re not always going to get what you want, he’s not always going to get what he wants and you have to meet somewhere in the middle. Sometimes he’s going to meet your expectations, other times he isn’t. I have found in my marriage, one thing that is helpful is spelling things out if I want or need something specific. For example, I want a gift to open on Christmas. I don’t care about anniversary or birthday, but Christmas, I better have something under the tree to open Christmas morning. So I tell my husband this: I want a gift to open on Christmas morning. I want one of these things and I give him a list of maybe 3-5 things I would like. I also remind him. Should my husband remember this on his own? Maybe, but he shows his love for me in so many other ways I cut him some slack and just tell him. This way he delivers and I’m happy.

    • Violet

      YEEEEEEEEEEEES. This is a two-way street, for sure. And I don’t know, even if my partner says all respectful like, “I would really like you to do XYZ for me,” I can’t help it, I’m probably going to have to get over my initial defensiveness (because duh, if someone asks me to do something, it’s because I haven’t been) to then set my head on straight to try my best to do it. But, try my best. Not get it perfect every time. Who can meet all my needs fully, every time? No one, that is not possible, no matter how much that person loves me, wants to try to make things good for me, etc.

  • M.

    “Point blank, straight forward. If it’s important to you, it’s important
    enough to say outright. When it comes to expectations, hints are not
    enough.”

    THIS. YES. x Infinity. For everything from gifts to chores to sex to money. My number one relationship (life?) pro tip is to ask for what you need, even if we’ve grown up thinking it’s “not romantic” or “doesn’t count.” Ask directly as soon as you need it or anticipate. Our partners are not mind readers. My truly amazing husband, my very best friend, is sadly not 100% mind-melded with me (yet? ;-) ) and once I learned that I (or we) could say, “I had a really bad day today, can you bring me a treat?” or “What’s the deal with anniversary presents? We are taking that big vacation, so maybe we just exchange cards this year.” or “I intend to do the dishes and recyling tomorrow” (so the other doesn’t stew that their partner is not noticing what needs to be done) — it was like the sky opened up and so much pressure and stress was relieved. And as others are saying, practice at this also makes it more natural, and we eventually will learn some of our partners’ needs without prompting.

    • CII

      This x infinity. I used to think that things would be “less special” if I had to ask for them. Turns out that, for me at least, that is a TOTAL MYTH. If I text “Had a long day, would love a cocktail” and then there’s a cocktail awaiting me when I get home, it’s still just as awesome. And its 100x more awesome than, you know, not having a cocktail. Also, my husband is not a gift person, and I am a gift person. We avoid a lot of disappointment on my part (and pressure or frustration re: meeting unknown expectations on his) by expressly discussing in advance what is expected, exactly in the fashion that M relates. It’s also helped me re-examine some of my expectations about gift-giving that arise from family behaviors growing but aren’t necessarily my own values as an adult (turns out, I don’t really need, or want, an Easter present).

    • ML

      Yes, totally agree! Asking and THEN RECEIVING is magical. It’s like, “wow, you mean, I can just make stuff happen by asking in plain words??” Of course I don’t always get what I asked for, but my batting average is way higher than when I was hinting then sulking. We don’t do surprise gifts much anymore, but for holidays, we give each other a list of 3-5 things we would like, and it still manages to be a fun surprise to see which one we actually get. It doesn’t sound amazingly romantic, but it works and everyone is happy.

    • Rachelle

      I totally agree for gifts, acts of service and even quality time. My husband bought me a super nice purse that I picked out for my birthday a couple years ago and I still adore it and know how much he loves me whenever I get a compliment on it. Unfortunately, my main language is words of affirmation and it’s just not the same when I ask if he loves me or thinks I’m pretty, even if I get more than just “yes.” When he says I love you first or gives me a compliment it’s 100x more meaningful. I wish that weren’t the case!

      • M.

        I totally understand that and I wonder if there’s a way to ask for this. It’s not quite the same, but I recently asked my husband to thank me explicitly for doing things around the house, even though they are my designated chores that I do daily or weekly (dishes, make bed, etc.). I said, “If you come home and notice I did something, could you please say thank you? I know you’re grateful and I know it’s my task but it would mean a lot to HEAR that you notice.” It has made a world of difference to my feeling appreciated in just 2 weeks.

        I wonder if you could maybe ask for that – for if he notices something , to say something. Like, “if you think to yourself I look pretty or notice my new shirt, could you please say something? Or, could you please say you love me once a day?” That way you’re not prompting in the moment, which of course doesn’t feel as good, but asking him to bridge what he’s likely thinking throughout the sat with what he says out loud.

        • Rachelle

          True, those are good suggestions. I have tried the “if you notice something, tell me” but it’s just super unnatural for him (is what he says). I think him saying I love you once a day might be doable!

          • M.

            Good luck! :) Words of affirmation are my lifeblood, so I feel you.

    • Pretty much this exactly. If I feel a bit lonely and need a hug, waiting around for one to spontaneously appear and getting angry or hurt when it doesn’t makes zero sense when I can just say “hey, I miss you, can I have a hug?” (spoiler alert: the answer is always yes).

      Asking point blank for what you want is the best things to happen to relationships imo.

    • joanna b.n.

      I could not agree more: the “number one relationship (life?) pro tip is to ask for what you need.”

    • I’m a firm believer that the only way my husband can read my mind is if I flat out say what I want, out loud. Hints do not work. Telepathy does not work. But if I put on FB that I kind of need Oreos that day, he picks some up on his way home from work.

      Hints never work.

      • judy russo

        When you state what you flat out want and need, does he meet those requirements or place his dysfunctional thought patterns of displaced anger at you instead? To me he is a fool who does. I pity and have sympathy for her no more. And they are to get out of my life and they are to stay out of my life. I in no way wanted, needed or will want or need pathetic and psychotic little people like they are in my life. These are their problems and issues that I do not want or need in my life. I told them to take their anti psychotic medications. And they refused. Who are these people to me? They are no one. They are nothing’s in a fish bowl of piranha that I do not want anything to do with. And did not. They are to lie about themselves and not me in their mental illnesses. In religion, those who are religious psychotic little people, they require religious psychotic people who are like themselves in their dogmatic thought patterns of mental illnesses that I do not want, than I do not need. People can be as psychotic in their mental illnesses and to think that their god is telling them to be a monster terrorist in their religion. In the case of one who is defined as mentally ill, I do not want or need one upon or in my life. That is not a judgement. That is a proven fact. I love them not. In their dogma, they can be as mentally ill as to try to psychotically have a round peg in their minds and try to smash that round peg into that square area. They do not fit. They in their minds they need to find their dogma that fits their round peg. I can be square in their mental illness minds. They require each other who is not myself. I do not belong in their dogmatic thought patterns of mental illness in their religion. It is that simple for me. They can call me square due to their round peg trying to smash it upon my life. This is their behavioral dysfunctions that I do hate in regards to themselves as people. It is not love. It is hate. Do he show you that he hates you more than love you? Not if he picks up those simple oreo’s. It is those simple things of him loving you that proves that he does not hate you. With me he hates me due to losing me. And it is due to his mental illness. He tried to smash his round peg in my square box. I am square to his round peg. She is not. I do not pity or have sympathy for her no more. She is stupid enough to want him. And she is as ignorant and arrogant as he is and has been. They can be as delusional and hallucinatory in their illusions of granduer all that they want out of my life, out of my families lives, out of my mother’s life and out of my dogs life. They are to stay out of my life due to their dogmatic thought patterns of mental illnesses that I do not want and do not need. He is fool trying to smash my life due to his square peg into my round puzzle. He is not the maze of my life. Neither is she. I am. Anyone who has the audacity in their mental illnesses that they know you better than you know yourself is mentally ill. Their dogmatic approach using their religion as an excuse for themselves is defined in these statements. Your love does that simple thing as picking up those oreo’s. To me, he is for you not me. Do I pity you? Do I have sympathy for you if you choose a man as I have described? No I do not. These are your dogmatic choices in your religious belief system that I do not belong. He is your square peg. And you fit into the maze of love together. He sought you. Not me. I am a fictional character in another man’s mind. I am not his square puzzle who belongs in his psychotic maze. I live in my own where he does not belong. That is not a judgement that is a proven fact that he sought the fool that she is for wanting him where I do not. If every man tried to smash his square peg in my round puzzle than any man would be sufficient and they are not. Do you want any man who tries to smash his square or round peg into your puzzle of life? I refuse. He is not worthy. He seeks her who is stupid enough to want him. He is obsessed with who I am not and proved it. That is not love. That is him trying to impress her at my expense due to their mental illnesses and dogma of their religion. They are pathetic and psychotic people. Nothing more. Some people state that Satan who takes a more logical approach to these thought patterns that I am educated in my thought processes rather than their Jesus or other gods religious thought patterns of illogical thought processes. What if Satan has that same illogical thought process, like their Jesus? It is simply dogma. They are trying to smash their round peg or square peg into my puzzle. They are trying to force themselves upon my maze where they do not belong. All due to them being a round oreo trying to dip themselves into my milk where it is my glass of milk not their own. It is as simple as that fact. My milk has a different biology and or is in a square glass to their round one in environment. Even in mutation due to environment. Anyone who is unable to understand this simple concept is mentally ill to me or they lack that ability to understand and comprehend any of my statements. They are unable to be on the same brainwave as myself. They are that boring little man who is unable to communicate with me on this level. And he seeks a more simple woman who does not think on this level. It is true that men seek the lesser of intelligent woman. And he gets caught up in my maze of thought processes where he does not belong. It can be this simple for me to explain. She is as simple as he is. And cannot think on my level. That is a truthful judgement. She is the correct answer of him selecting a, b, c or d in his test that he failed with me. If people are unable to think on this level than they do not belong anywhere near me. It is a simple concept. It is a simple question. Does he buy me flowers? No. Does he buy me oreo’s? No. He is about stealing my money to buy her those flowers and those oreo’s. He doesn’t belong with me. I am not his square peg or his round peg to smash. That is a mentally ill man with his mentally ill woman who is stupid enough to want him that I pity and have sympathy for her no more. In their minds, I am the logical Satan in their failed question of their incomprehensible thought processes, actions, problems, issues, behaviors and dysfunctions that I do not want in my life. I do not belong and they failed to belong in my life and proved it to me. They are not worthy. One is bad enough to have had in my life. I did not require more than one who is delusional not to comprehend on this level of thought processes. Does that make them stupid illogical dogmatic predator? Yes. They do not belong is my maze. I am of a different world than they are. And they are oblivious to my world. Therefore, if the predator calls me alien, than that is what I am to them. They are lower on the timeline in their primitive uncivilized thought processes in their dogma as lower species than the rhesus monkey and do not belong in my world which is round to their square one as predator. I can be alien vs predators. They do not belong in my world. All because of their ignorance of who I am not in their fictional characters and fictional stories. Therefore, they do not know me. These are people who think that they know me more than I know myself. That is their mental illness. Their psychological thought processes are not on my level and I am not on their level. We are of different worlds. Different mazes. Different puzzles. I can be alien to that of a predator. The predator is of lower species and more primitive. It is that simplistic. And I have been paid top dollar and bought my own flowers and oreo’s without a tyrannical thought process by insignificant, insufficient little people who are too oblivious in their thought processes as predator verses my alien. We are of different worlds. They are of a more primitive planet. I am woman who is able to break those kinds of genetic codes in and of my thought process. They are not. It can be explained as simply as these facts. They are of a dogmatic world of predator. They do not belong in mine. If I was on an island with a predator and I am an alien to that island, then the predator would know that island more than I do as alien. That would be my ignorance. If forced on that island for survival, I would kill as many predators that I could. I would rather be alone than with one predator on that island. These people are that psychotic as predator who do not know me and do not belong on my island. Is it lawful to kill all predator’s who do not belong on my island? Yes, on my island I am boss, they are not. They lack that ability of comprehension. They are of more primitive species. And I did warn them. They need to get the fuck off my island. It is mine, not their’s as predator. And I am not an alien on my own island. They are. They do not belong on my island. I do. Are any of you people able to comprehend any of these simple concepts? Because I am convinced that not one of you can. And some of you feel that satan is able to flip that wold upside down or right side up in your dogma thought processes. To me, you are either screwed on to tight or too loose. Why should I try to be normal in your thought process for you are not normal in mine. We are of different worlds. He would not buy me oreo’s. He has forgotten who I am. That is not love. I am only a delusion in his mind of who I am not. And that is how he lost me in his life to begin with. He lacked the ability to understand these concepts due to his stupidity in regards to me. That is a moron who seeks his moron. I am not her. I am not you. And I do not want to be either of you. I am me. One has been difficult enough to have dealt with to be upon or in my life. I sought not one. He is species of predator who sought his predator who is like him of a more lower species of who and what I am not in their ignorance and arrogance as people who failed the test. The answer was not a. For I am the answer of j. She and he as the first letter of the alphabet. And I AM A 10. To me, their thought processes are more primitive. Therefore, they belong in year 1 after David in their dogma of religion. They are of a different time zone. They are of a different island. They are of a different maze. They are of a different puzzle. They are of a different world and needed to get off and out of my own. And they are and were to stay in their limited own as a more primitive species. They are lowlife predator. And they are disgusting and despicable little pathetic and psychotic little people who think in their own dogmatic philosophy. It is why my philosophy professor told me how exceptional that I am. People who cannot comprehend even on of these statements lack the ability to know who I am. They must not confuse themselves as knowing me while they are far too delusional in regards to me in their severe psychoses in psychological diseases and illnesses. Where physical disease and illness such as cardiac disease can cause their irregular heart rhythms. And people who are like them as terrorists can cause irregular heart rhythms in their more primitive thought processes as people upon others due to them being a more uncivilized species. Their excuse for their more primitive uncivilized thought processes is religion. That is a pathetic and psychotic excuse for ever predator known on planet earth where they do not belong in my world. My world is round not square. They as predator needed to get out. They are far too primitive as predators to exist on my world called earth. And they lack the ability to understand these simple concepts. That is as pathetic as a person continually ignoring your desires for an oreo who doesn’t love you. Who doesn’t know you. Who lacks the ability to understand you. That is a loser who does not love me and needed to get out of my entire life and refused continually as that loser lowlife. No matter if he is multi billionaire or pauper. In his ignorance regarding me, he sought her instead as a lowlife loser who I do not want. I am fictional character or his fictional story. I am the non fiction of my own book who is not his or her’s to violate, destroy, attack and or terrorize due to them being overt primitive uncivilized alien of my world.

  • pajamafishadventures

    I’m bigger on acts than gifts. What’s pinging for me here is “maybe this indicates larger problems.” You say other things in the relationship are good, and I believe that. I also believe that you are both good people.
    I had to have gallbladder surgery about 8 years ago and was incredibly hurt when my then-boyfriend didn’t get me a gift. Looking back though it’s because I wanted the gift as a sign that the relationship was actually working. He didn’t call, didn’t get me a gift, and when he came to visit a few days later was incredibly agitated that I was a bedridden lump who didn’t want to hang out, or be touched (because pain) or anything “exciting.” When I said “I wish you had gotten me flowers” what I meant was “I want a sign that this relationship is working for us.”

    Of course, sometimes a pipe is really just a pipe- definitely check out the “love languages” other commentors are talking about, it could just be that you rate really high with gifts and it’s something you guys can work out. There are several little hints in the letter though that make me think that maybe this isn’t really about flowers- whatever the answer is I don’t think it will hurt to sit down and think “why do I feel so strongly about this?”

    • laddibugg

      Heh. My now boyfriend/partner came to visit me about the same length of time for the same surgery, and I just now realized that he didn’t get me flowers then. But I was SO happy he came, not only because I liked him, but because he was the only person who did come, including my friend that literally lived up the street (we had a HUGE falling out over this for a few reasons). My mom even said that’s when SHE knew he liked me–he sat there for hours while I slept.

      • Not Sarah

        Awww that’s really sweet! :) My boyfriend and I were friends for a long time before we realized we liked each other too and it’s cute to think back on some of those ‘moments’ over the years.

  • Kara

    I’m not a gift giver–in fact, it’s the last thing on my mind. However, I’ve found that I can keep an email draft or live document for gift ideas for different people, and I can always refer to it as needed.

    Like if my husband says “oh this is cool, I’d like one of these some day”. It goes on the list.

    Your partner could also use this as a helpful tool. It won’t necessarily help for times when you just want flowers, but it’s another option.

    Good luck!

    • ML

      It really is a good idea! I discovered a while back my husband does this, but while I’m out with him, I make so many comments about how I love this or that, that I realized it confused him. Like he’d get me something totally random that I realized I must have pointed out as cute or something one time. So now I make it really obvious, like a joke, “hint hint, this can go on your get-wife-a-gift list!”.

      • Kara

        Haha I understand. Sometimes it can get daunting :).

  • NatalieN

    A lot to say, but not a lot of time to say it in (silly work). But what I DO want to say is – this site is awesome, and I love that the topics that are on here are not only pretty weddings and logistics, but also meaningful relationship stuff that you dont see on other wedding blogs. Basically just all the love for you smart, awesome people :)

  • Essssss

    The love languages book and quiz were really helpful to me. My partner
    took the quiz too and it was really helpful to see the ways we express
    and expect, and our similarities and differences. Highly recommend it.
    I’ve brought it back up in situations where I’m struggling to feel
    supported.

  • treschloe

    Liz, your writing is always so honest and beautiful. I can’t tell you how many of your articles I’ve read that have really given me perspective on my own relationships, regardless of subject matter. Please keep writing because the world needs your voice!

  • Ravenclawed

    I think it’s easy to focus on what’s missing, instead of what is already there (I’m guilty of this all the time…).

    For example, imagine the opposite of what happened: the boyfriend did NOT come to the hospital, and instead sent flowers. When you wake up from surgery, would you be more comforted by seeing flowers or family & friends at your bed? Naturally, the best scenario is both flowers & loved ones, but instead of focusing on what we don’t have, there is a much better outcome when we take a minute and realize what we already do have. Which sounds like lots of love and support!

    • Rachelle

      Oof, so true! I can’t imagine someone close to me sending flowers but not visiting.

  • Alexandra

    A song my mom used to sing me whenever I got whiney comes to mind…”Count your blessings, count them one by one…”. I also remember my college boyfriend getting me a pencil case for my birthday, and I wouldn’t speak to him for two days afterward. Later he broke up with me because he said I was emotionally manipulative. Ya think?

    Expectations kill relationships, love languages notwithstanding. Communicating one’s needs is one thing, and it’s important. But having the maturity to overlook a partner’s inability to be your perfect fantasy partner in favor of appreciating what they DO bring to the table goes a long way toward happy and healthy coupledom.

  • cupcakemuffin

    I’m not sure if you’ve looked at the love languages website/book before, but that idea kept screaming out to me when I read your question. Our minister had us take the quiz at this website (http://www.5lovelanguages.com) during our premarital counselling. The basic idea is that everyone shows and receives love in different ways, and if you’re having a mismatch with your partner, it’s probably going to cause conflict because you won’t recognize the love he’s giving, and he won’t recognize the love you’re giving, etc. Another thing I really liked about it was that the author highlights the positives of each type of love language so you can really see the value. Like if you’re high on “physical affection”, you could just say negatively that all this person cares about is sex, or if you’re high on “gifts”, the person is materialistic. But the author really digs into WHY these types of showing love matter to people (and it’s not all about sex or being greedy). This might be valuable for you and your partner to read together — it sounds like gifts are really important to you, but probably aren’t as natural for him. If he can start to “get” why they matter to you, and at the same time you can start to understand how he most naturally shows his love for you, it might help ease this problem in the future from both sides. And, you might discover that you could be more sensitive to how he wants to receive love as well — maybe what you’re doing doesn’t match what he needs either, but he’s just not as vocal about it?

  • sarah

    Boring story time – my college boyfriend as ALL ABOUT the cutesy presents, cards, easy crafts as presents, stuffed animals, mix tapes, the whole nine yards. At the time I loved it, but I was honestly happy when my now husband was not interested in that sort of thing at all. It saves so much time now!

    That being said, we definitely had an issue over flowers. For me, it was really hard to keep asking for something that just wasn’t going to happen (whether he couldn’t or wouldn’t buy them wasn’t really important I decided). Now, instead of wasting my emotional energy confronting him, I decide the day that I really want flowers and go buy them for myself. In the same vein, he’s really not into surprise presents.My 30th birthday is coming up this summer, and I’m already having a blast online shopping for what “we” (read me, but coming from our joint account) are buying for the occasion. I sort of have the best of both worlds – I know I’m getting something special that I’ll really enjoy, the occasion is marked with a gift, but there’s no pressure around him getting the right thing at the right time. Seems to work for us!

    • raccooncity

      Tangentially related: I’ve been thoroughly enjoying a little bouquet of peonies I bought myself yesterday. I romanced myself pretty good.

      • Jess

        Romancing myself through flowers is often better than someone else romancing me through flowers!

        • sarah

          Right?! I feel so independent and self-loving when I actually do get myself flowers (maybe twice a month or so). My husband sees me enjoying them and enjoys me enjoying them, but we didn’t have to go through an ordeal to get to that place. I’m all about buying yourself flowers ladies!

          • joanna b.n.

            And pro-tip, he technically gets to enjoy them too, assuming you live together! :)

          • sarah

            Exactly! Now that he has them around, he appreciates them more and is more likely to notice them in the store and ask if I would like some. It’s kind of the same deal with perfume or jewelry or anything else that would be considered “relationship gifts” – if it’s expensive I run it by him, otherwise I buy it and think of it as a present for me AND a present for him since I took care of actually purchasing it. He does the same thing with his computer toys and boy am I glad I don’t have to navigate purchasing any of that stuff *for* him.

          • Jess

            Oh man, the “Do you want to pick up some flowers while we’re here?” question!? It’s basically like if he got me flowers, only I’m actually picking them out and buying them.

  • Kara E

    I like all the love languages thinking, because it may open up some insight for both of them into what the other needs [guessing the partner might be an acts of service giver and words of affirmation receiver, so having his expressions of love second-guessed might have been even harder than for other people.]. I also LOVED Liz’s comment about opening yourself up to how HE offers care. And letting some stuff go. It’s totally a two way street. I love flowers. Love them. My daughter is named after one. Husband hardly ever buys them – but he spent 3 hours weeding and digging the garden last weekend, so I can plant some new stuff.

  • Heather

    I can identify with this issue, and have discussed love languages and made very clear what makes me feel loved (gifts, cards, symbols, etc). My spouse, however, has a wee bit of baggage around being controlled by his mother and not measuring up. He doesn’t think of gifts naturally (never, ever shops) and also has some irrational fears about not getting the right thing. Though he totally understands how much birthday, etc. presents mean to me, and what my family culture is around these things, he just doesn’t do it. He’s a dang great partner in most other respects, so I try to accept this and just rely on other people who are more gift-oriented to fill my thoughtfulness/gift-love needs. You can’t have it all, which is really too bad. :)

  • joanna b.n.

    You picked this fella (I mean, you call him your partner), which means you love lots of things about his style. Unfortunately, this isn’t one of those things – and successful relationships take work, and this is a great example of what that work means. Figuring out the details of what you each need. You need flowers after surgery. He needs recognition for what he has given you. You both need a better way to talk about it.

    Liz nailed it. “If it’s important to you, it’s important enough to say outright. When it comes to expectations, hints are not enough.” I’m sorry this led you to a fight, but there IS a brighter side to this. Once you talk about it – in detail – the things you want (flowers/gifts/cards) and the things you don’t want (name-calling when frustrated, lack of appreciation after a major demonstration of care, etc.) – I’ll bet you guys will eventually look back on this time and smile. Or at least, it will be firmly in the past.

    My example: My hubs of almost 6 years (and partner for 11) knows now that even if we decide to forgo all gifts for a given major holiday or event, I STILL WANT A CARD. I love cards. They were given consistently by my parents in all big moments, and they mean the world to me. And I know that he doesn’t need a card. But he needs other things. It’s all just part of learning how to be the best partner to each other. It’s a lifelong work in progress, but you’ll get there!!

    • Rachelle

      I think how our parents show us love growing up is SO HUGE. My mom is super touchy and would ask us every single day before we left for school if we knew how much she loved us. Guess what my love languages are!

    • raccooncity

      One time when I was about 17, my mom said to me, all casual-like, “you know, I think when a kid turns 18 they should start giving their mother cards on their birthday. We did all the work that day, really”

      …message received, mom.

  • KH_Tas

    I’m feeling some couple’s therapy is probably a good idea, to work through how each person feels love (and how both can take steps to meet in the middle). It would also be good for him to work through how not ok it is to launch name-calling and nasty hyperbole at your partner. I know a lot of people are cutting him a lot of slack here, but I can’t help but see that response as him not showing her appropriate levels of respect.

  • wangoichage@yahoo.com

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    • wangoichage@yahoo.com

      contact his email on traditionalspellhospital @ gmail.com or you can reach my email so i can lead you to him

      Thanks

  • I would totally react in the same way that her bf did. Sorry, but I would. Saying that she is acting like a child is a problem, but so is the way that the LW acted. I would get defensive immediately if confronted like that.

  • frances kirk

    Oh gosh. I’ve just had the reverse of this fight this weekend!! My husband bought me a present just because and I got really upset about him wasting his money and giving me something I don’t particularly need/want which I then have to deal with. It was a colouring book by the way not like a giant or expensive or inconvenient thing really. He felt like I was being ungrateful and rude, I felt like he was giving me unnecessary stuff that was just another thing for me to have to find a home for. Luckily it managed to move from the angry shouty phase into a wider discussion about the different ways we like to show/receive love and how to reconcile these differences. ie. present giving has to be reserved for Christmas/Birthdays so we know what to expect but those two times it’s a gifting and gratitude free-for-all.

  • Dennis Stella

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