At first glance, this seems like a frame problem:
I come from a wealthy family, I now work in the family business so technically I’m not spending mommy and daddy’s money anymore.
Been with my girlfriend for a year and 5 months, she’s the best thing in the world, doesn’t matter how bored, sad, lonely, upset or even happy I feel she always makes it better. Now I don’t like to show I have money because obviously that’s not the best way to attract people who are actually interested in you and not your money, so when I started dating my GF I didn’t spend a lot until I felt comfortable with her, that was 3 months in. I bought her a tablet that was somewhere between 6 and 7 hundred I’m pretty sure. She seemed okay with it. I don’t like to think I’m careless with how I spend but I also know I’m probably not the most mindful when it comes to my spending either. At 7 months in the relationship I decided to buy my girlfriend a bracelet that I saw while looking for a birthday gift for my little brother, it was 6 thousand dollars. I know. Saying it out loud maybe doesn’t sound like a good idea but I’ve spent more on some truly ridiculous stuff, but for my budget it really wasn’t as bad as it sounds. She wouldn’t accept it and told me to return it, I kept telling her she was it was fine but she didn’t want it. I told her to give it to her sister as a wedding present. She said no. Later she told me that me buying her that was a red flag.
Around 8 months in, I realized I loved her and she told me she loved me right around the same time. I took her on a “we are in love date”, I thought since she didn’t like the bracelet I’d keep things simple this time, no dinners at expensive restaurants, no gifts, no elaborate plans, just us eating food from a local place we both like sitting by the mountain, one of her favorite spots. Everything went great and we left after a while. She told me in the car that though she had a good time she expected something fancier. Noted.
4 days ago she turned 25, I bought her a car. At this point we’ve been together 1 year and 5 months, are in love, talk about our future together, so I assumed it was okay to get her such a gift but apparently not. She thanked me in the moment but when we went back to her place she told me that was my 3rd and final strike. That she thought I wouldn’t do something like that again only this time even worse. She said she doesn’t know what I can do to fix things. We aren’t broken up but aren’t talking to each other either.
I guess the tablet was the first strike?
When I buy these gifts I make it clear I don’t expect anything back so she doesn’t feel like she has to keep up, I never liked receiving gifts, I told my parents to stop when I turned 10. She’s important to me and I guess I can be materialistic but I like to buy nice stuff for people I care about. How do I fix things?
First of all, I get enjoying giving people gifts. In fact, if you are family, a good friend or a girlfriend of mine, you are going to get some cool gifts. Occasionally, I spend a pretty good sum on a gift (although nothing in the thousands), but I focus on getting something thoughtful. Recently, for example, my best friend had their kid graduate high school. I asked him what he wanted for a graduation gift. He said a, “knife.” We talked about it a little bit and I got him a real deal Gurkha Khukuri with a sheath made out of Water Buffalo.
Point being, I understand the enjoyment you can take from getting a gift. Let me also add that they don’t have to be expensive. I have in my life received and given many $10 and $20 gifts that were extremely well received because they were thoughtful.