Taken for a Ride…

September 2nd, 2010
Dear English Gentleman,

I have the suspicion that women take me for granted. My current girlfriend always makes me pay for everything we do together (or in other words, doesn’t offer to pay for anything ever and never invites me to anything) and sulks if I don’t buy her something very expensive for her birthday. Am I being taken for a ride here? The thing is, I love her very much and would gladly do all these things for her (buy her presents, take her to expensive parties and events, and more), but I’m starting to worry that she only sees me as a kind of cash cow. What do you think?



Dear Worried,

In most relationships, it is to a lesser or greater extent expected by both parties that the other party will, in some way or another, show their love and appreciation for them via various means. Some of these means involve gifts, especially during occasions such as anniversaries, birthdays, holidays, and so forth. Unfortunately, this social convention often creates thorny navigational problems when one party expects more than the other or when one party is able to provide more than the other. 

Of course some entirely successful relationships are between two people of substantially different means, and there’s nothing wrong with that. What is wrong is that your girlfriend expects something very expensive for her birthday! And perhaps there’s not much too wrong with that in itself, rather the really wrong thing being that she sulks if you don’t supply. Sulking is never a positive thing – even if money is no object to you, you should never be in a position in which you are effectively paying your girlfriend not to sulk.

Here’s a question: what if the tables were turned? How would your girlfriend react if you expected something very expensive for your birthday? What if you were the sulky one? And another angle to consider is this: what would happen if you couldn’t afford to buy your girlfriend something? Will she stop loving you? People lose their incomes – these things do happen in real life -, but such occurrences are accommodated in a strong relationship. At the end of the day love shouldn’t come attached to lots of strings such as the receiving of gifts. It sounds as if you love your girlfriend in the absence of her buying you anything at all, and for a balanced relationship she should feel in the same manner towards you too. If this is not the case then, yes, I think you are being taken for a ride. It would not be amiss to wonder what you value so much in your girlfriend that would make one tolerate such a transaction-based relationship.

A final thought: gifts need not be expensive – it’s the time and effort which makes a perfect gift. So consider instead the possibility of giving her a very romantic, special, well-planned experience for her birthday. Material gifts have a price-tag, but only memories last a lifetime.

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One response to “Taken for a Ride…”

  1. Graeme says:

    Hey I really liked this post, I can hear it read in your English accent :) I have submitted it to stumbleupon, best of luck.


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