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Neurotic_David's avatar

How do I buy gifts for a girlfriend who doesnt have means of her own?

Asked by Neurotic_David (2193points) November 29th, 2012

I’m in the early stages of a relationship with a younger woman. We met, it was a powerful physical attraction when we first laid eyes on each other, and we’ve spent the past few weeks learning about each other and having those wonderful late night talks getting to know each other. Today we’re in that really awesome stage of an early relationship where the world looks like it’s full of rainbows, unicorns, and M&Ms.

One of the things I really enjoy doing for people I care about is sharing tokens of my love. Be it words, actions, or actual gifts like flowers, books she’ll appreciate, or at this time of year, fun Christmas gifts to make her feel loved and spoiled, I feel like this is an important part of who I am. I am a giving soul.

The problem is she has no income. She lives on very limited means. And I’ve come to realize that she’s uncomfortable with the gifts I’m giving her because while she acknowledges what they’re about, and they make her feel really special, she has no means to return the favor in kind. I’ve tried telling her that it’s not a ‘tit for tat’ situation. But I’ve come to understand that the gifts are making her feel bad because she simply doesn’t have the means to buy me something, too.

So how do I do what I want—make her feel special not just with my actions and my words, but bestow upon her nice things which feel good to give, and to receive, but at the same time, be sensitive to her situation?

This is new for me and I don’t know the right thing to do. What say you, Fluther? :)

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14 Answers

augustlan's avatar

Rather than give her things with monetary value, how about doing things like making a special dinner, writing her a poem or song, leaving little love notes on the bathroom mirror, giving her a massage, etc. Things of that nature will still let you “give”, and she may be more comfortable “getting”. Good luck with all of this. I think it’s really sweet of you to be such a giving soul, and also taking her feelings into consideration. Good job!

Seek's avatar

I agree with Auggie, and would also suggest the gift of shared experiences. Instead of buying a thing, go for a weekend away somewhere. A road trip to a concert the next state over, or to a carnival.
Somehow, it’s easier to forget money that’s being spent if you’re sharing a bag of popcorn and riding the Tilt-a-whirl. Or watching Human Combat Chess at the Renaissance Faire.

Judi's avatar

You are going to have to get creative. Find ways to make her feel special without spending money. Be it a surprise romantic home made dinner (you have to eat anyway, right?) or a picnic lunch under a park gazebo with a view. Find ways to create magic moments that don’t cost anything.
I don’t know if you have read the 5 Languages of Love, but every one’s love language is not “gifts.” Try and figure out what hers is.
In a nut shell they are Words if Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch. Although giving and receiving gifts is the way you best express love, hers might be different. In your quest to really know this special girl and figure out who she is, discovering how she experiences and expresses love can really enhance your relationship and make you both better people.

marinelife's avatar

Give her gifts that you make.

A coupon book for special services 1 massage, 1 dinner you cook, 1 night out of her choice, etc.

Write her a note or letter telling her how you feel.

Create a scrapbook of your time together.

These types of things you can do (and she could also do). They are more of you than about money.

JLeslie's avatar

I think it is very sweet that you are attuned to her discomfort and want to do whatever you can to make her happy and comfortable.

I would suggest a note, card or letter telling her how much you love spending time with her and all the things she does or is that you find attractive. If she is ok with you paying for meals, then you can always pick up the tab when you eat together whether it be in or out.

I like the idea of taking her somewhere, but that is probably more expensive than what you have been doing, so if she is intent on doing the math, that might still make her very uncomfortable. When I was young, and I assume you are young, someone taking me on a vacation seemed outrageously out of my realm; my world of money and what was affordable and practical. But, I also did not have a problem with a man spending money on me generally. Unless it felt smothering or that he was spending money he did not have. Financial responsibility is very important to me. A man who spends every penny he has isnot attractive to me at all.

I do think a Christmas gift will be ok if you feel compelled to give one, even if she generally feels uncomfortable with gifts. Can you drop her some sort of hint of something yu like that doesn’t cost anything? So she can give to you something she knows you value?

My one question is, do you have a lot of money? So much money that spending is no issue?

janbb's avatar

I am in a similar situation with a very close friend. For Christmas, I am giving him a painting I painted that he once admired and that I have had framed.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I have a little different take on the situation because I’ve been poor often in my life. If she is financially burdened, try to gently find out what she needs the most as you spend time together. Perhaps warm clothes, new make-up/ shopping spree, warm shoes/ boots, a pantry full of healthy food or something a little more practical than a book or flowers, it seems more appropriate in this situation.

Of course if you’re financially blessed, you could always pay some bills for her or make a deposit in her account for her anonymously and let her figure it out, my family has done that for me a few times over the years and it was really wonderful.

JLeslie's avatar

Great point @KNOWITALL. I did not really key into the flowers and books the OP mentioned. I have enough money and those things are not generally what I want. I am more practical. If I had very little money I would definitely want the specific things I really want and need, not some romantic gesture.

I always say the giver should give what they receiver will appreciate, not what the giver would like to receive himself or thinks the receiver should like.

gailcalled's avatar

Lucky you. Lucky both of you.

Since the relationship is new, I think your instincts about her feelings are good. Listen to them and go from there.

There are lots of imaginative ways of showing her your feelings, without spending money for now.

See what happens as time marches on.

Neurotic_David's avatar

Thank you for all your well-reasoned responses. I will need to ponder my options. Group hugs!

Shippy's avatar

If it were me, and I was in your position. I would buy her groceries on the pretext of us cooking a great meal together. Making sure there are extra’s she can use later.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I like @Shippy‘s idea of groceries for a special home cooked dnner. – with extra food left over. I like to give food baskets. that last. Hickory Farm items are great. Cheese.

I know this does not sound romantic but it is always appreciated…. I give a large assortment of batteries. AA, AAA, C, D,. 9V. They are used everywhere and truly make her life easier. She will think of you every time she has to replace the batteries in the TV remote, A/C controller, electric fan remotes, clock radio back up, smoke detectors, flash lights, etc. Those batteries will be appreciated even more if she ever loses power in a storm. That is so much more useful, and lasts much longer than flowers.
If you have to make them “romantic”, wrap them nicely and put a bow on top.

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JLeslie's avatar

@LuckyGuy I love the batteries. One of my favorite gifts from my husband was a level. And, from what I can tell my husband’s favorite gifts from my parents was a shopping trip we took and he bought new socks and undershirts on their dime. For about three months almost every time he put on those better quality than what he is accustomed to socks and undershirts he talked about how good they feel. We have the money, and my parents can afford much more extravagant gifts, but the daily practical gift that he picked out is what he seemed to like the best.

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