A reader named Ricky7 faces a dilemma: "My boyfriend and I have been friends for years before we started dating. During his last deployment, he brought home some beautiful jewelry. He loves sapphires, so he bought a few. Last summer, shortly after he broke up with his previous gf, he tried to give me a necklace. I couldn't take it. We had only started dating, and it didn't seem right. Christmas is coming up, and he's hinted that I'm getting the necklace. While it's a beautiful piece of jewelry, if I get it, I'm not sure how to hide my disappointment. He didn't pick out something special for me, he's giving me something he's had lying around and tried to get rid of before. Is there anything I can do to say I'd rather have something special he picked out for me, rather than the necklace he's already tried to give me before?"
Yes, Ricky7, you can be honest and tell him exactly what you just told me: that hand-me-down jewelry dredges up the ghosts of girlfriends past. Or…. you could give him the benefit of the doubt. He’s a soldier, and by “deployment” I am not sure if you mean he’s currently overseas, but if so, he may not have a lot of time to go shopping.
Put yourself in his combat boots. He’s a guy. Which means he has no idea you feel this way. He’s not trying to insult you. He’s not thinking about how shopping for just the right gift to please a particular person means more. He’s thinking he spent a lot of money on something beautiful, and it’s special to him, and so are you, so he wants you to have it.
Be good-humored about it. Accept the gift for what he means it to be, not for what you interpret it to be.
But if you break up, keep the necklace, if only to spare his next girlfriend an uncomfortable situation.
How common is this problem? Has a boyfriend ever tried to give you something he took back from an ex-girlfriend? If so, how did you handle it?
(image courtesy of marcinmoga, via flickr)