Husband sucks at gift giving

I've been with my husband for 35 years.


So, it sounds like there might be two passive-aggressive people here and one very frustrated husband. If this sound like I'm attacking you, I'm not. It sucks putting a lot of time and effort into getting the perfect gift for someone only to have them put 0 effort into your gift, and you're definitely allowed to feel sad about it. I just think it's the way you handle the problem that needs work.

He used to be pretty decent about choosing gifts for me, but in the last 10 years it seems he just goes through the motions.

Saying he was only ever pretty decent comes across like he was never gifting to your standards. How did you communicate this to him and how often? It would get incredibly old incredibly fast if my SO constantly had minor critiques of the gifts I got her. It might even be a worse feeling if every time I bought her a gift I could tell she was only fake liking it because it wasn't up to her standards. Has he ever been excited about a gift he got you that you ended up not liking? How did you react? After years of seeing my SO disappointed with my gifts I would probably start telling her of her gift beforehand so I don't have to feel that way after she unwraps her gift.

For 4 out of the last 5 Christmases, he lets me know that he is going to get me a specific gift but wants me to pick it out so he knows I'm getting the one I really want. Then, he never follows through. If I don't go buy the thing myself, I don't get it.

Never follows through how? Did he have you pick out a microwave, but bought you a toaster oven? Or did you pick out a microwave, and he bought you a squirrel? He might have pointed out those things and asked you to select something so that he knows his gift is in the right ballpark.

I've teased him about this, hoping he would take the hint and just buy the damn gift himself but that has not worked.

I'm trying to imagine a way I could be teased about this without getting somewhat hurt. Do you have an example? Either way, teasing him about something that upsets you this much is pretty passive-aggressive. Did you ever bring it up like: "I really love the squirrel, but I don't get why you had me pick out a microwave if you wanted to get me a squirrel?"

This year, I made sure to provide him with a list including links to the items I wanted. For one gift, I even included a list of "things like THIS, but not THAT".

Did he ask for this? Or did you take it upon yourself to provide it? At first I would think it was kind of childish/selfish of my SO to hand me her Christmas list, but whatever I could get past it. But once I got to the "but not THAT" part my thought would be "Wow! She thinks I'm even going to fuck up getting her a gift." In fact, I could imagine why he would be so irked he would get you THAT gift just to ruffle your feathers and dissuade you from making the list next year. (Any way we could get a copy of that list? I'm incredibly curious about how you worded it because in your example you wrote "like this, but not that" instead of the easier to interpret "this".)

He had one of our children get me THAT (not the THIS I asked for). He had the other child get me something that was actually on the list but when I opened it, the box had obviously been opened before he bought it and the item was damaged. When I asked him if he had the receipt so we could exchange it for a non-broken one, he did not have it. I realize it's not his fault for the one gift being broken, but not saving a receipt or noticing how damaged the box was seems odd to me.

I'm assuming your child is an adult and bought the gift them-self, so I don't understand why your husband would have the receipt?

He gave me a book. It is on a subject I'm interested in, but at a level I surpassed years ago. Think "cooking for dummies" vs "Cordon Bleu Cooking".

Did you ask for a book? Because if he bought you a mediocre book on a subject you're interested in, then he might be a good gift giver and is not knowledgeable on the topic/your skill level. Going with your cook book analogy, maybe he got you "cooking for dummies' because it was the highest rated cook book on amazon? Or maybe you've only ever cooked him grilled cheeses so he perceives your skill level being lower than it really is?

I have always gone out of my way to make sure he has nice presents. I get him exactly what he asks for and I always add an extra gift that I pick out myself that I know he'll love. For example, if he wants a new TV, I get him the TV he asked for plus a DVD player.

Sometimes you can't help yourself, but I would not compare gifts like that. 1: It makes it a competition that he'll always lose at. 2: You'll always be disappointed receiving something you like when you get him something he'll love. 3: You've established that you're a better gift giver. Why compare abilities?

It was all I could do not to cry on Christmas when I opened presents that were either not what I asked for or were broken. I would love to talk to him about this but I've tried before and he gets very hurt and defensive and says according to me he can't do anything right. He uses this argument for a lot of things. If I ask him to fix something, he'll do a poor job and then if I point out he didn't actually fix it, he says I'm too negative. For example, we were painting our living room. One of the walls had a crack in it that needed to be patched before we painted. He put a thin layer of drywall compound over it and sanded it. I knew this would not fix the crack because he did not use drywall tape. Sure enough, a couple of weeks after painting, the crack reappeared. I just don't ask him to fix anything anymore, I do it myself. But for the gifts, it really hurts that he can't be bothered to actually get me what I want or at least something he thinks I'll like. I'm so sad right now I don't know what to do.

This right here is the biggest issue for a couple of reasons. 1: You spent much more time writing about how you feel when you get a bad gift vs. your inability to constructively talk to your husband about it. 2: He's telling you that he feels he can't do anything right, and based on the paragraph it sounds like he gets that feedback from you. From handiwork to buying things for you, you're correcting him. After 25 years of that, I would be WAY less motivated to put any effort into the handiwork that will never be done correctly. I would especially lose any interest in buying a gift that will never be good enough. Why waste my time buying you anything if you're going to be disappointed either way?

/r/relationship_advice Thread