We had only been dating a few weeks when my boyfriend started buying me gifts—not just dinners out, but things like a new phone, a salon appointment to get my hair done, and then his most extravagant offer: a house. He is a very generous person, and it could be that gift-giving is his love language, but that’s not the way I naturally show my affection. Pretty soon, I started to feel uncomfortable.
I wasn’t sure if he was trying to buy my love exactly, but that’s the way it felt sometimes. I felt like I was using him, even though I didn’t want to. I felt as though he was manipulating me into spending more time with him by getting me things.
Even after trying to talk to him about it, he continued to buy me things and talk about buying a house with me. I couldn’t stand it because it made me feel obligated to do anything he wanted and to spend more time with him even after I had put a boundary in place, telling him that I wanted to take our relationship slowly.
In my relationships I have recently come to the conclusion that boundaries should be in place from the start. What I know now is that I need to place more boundaries and communicate better how I feel about things if they are bothering me. I need to be stronger and not let a boyfriend ignore my boundaries.
I am continuing to find out what my boundaries are and how to go about placing them, and I now realize that expensive gifts should come later in the relationship. In this case, they made it seem like there was more commitment than I was ready for at the very beginning of a relationship.
So as we enter the season of gift-giving with Christmas just around the corner, it’s good to keep in mind that there are some gifts that are appropriate to a relationship, and some that are not. A gift should not outpace the commitment level of a relationship, but should match it. Love is not a financial transaction. If a gift is so extravagant that it makes me feel like I’m being bought, then it’s important that I ask a guy to find a different way to show his affection.