Valentine’s Day: Gift Giving and Relationship Stages

 By Nina Atwood

Valentines-Day-coupleAre you dating someone new – say, less than six months? Are you wondering what kind of gift to give, and what to expect? What you do next could make or break your budding relationship. Here’s how to decide what is the right – and wrong – gift to give in a new dating relationship.

First, stop and reflect: how involved are we at this point? Have you said “I love you”? Are you sleeping together, exclusive? Are you talking about future, meeting each other’s relatives? If you’re at this level of involvement, then your gifts should reflect it.

For him: A couple of nice but not highly expensive gifts - nice sweater, shirt, ties, tickets to a big game, bottle of champagne or spirits. Don’t give him an expensive watch. You may spend more than he does and feel off-balance. Never give a guy a ring until he’s given you an engagement ring. It can make him feel uncomfortable if he’s not ready to make that level of commitment to you.

For her: First, flowers are a must! Splurge and have them delivered. Second, shop for jewelry set with semi-precious stones (colored gemstones, pearls, garnets, etc.) - earrings, bracelet, necklace (not a ring - she will likely feel disappointed that it’s not an engagement ring). Precious stones (diamond, ruby, etc.) signify a high level of commitment, so steer away from those until you are sure that she’s the one. Never give diamonds to a woman whose heart you are unsure of, unless you want to throw away tens of thousands of dollars.

What if you’re not at the level of I Love You’s? If you’re dating – seeing each other regularly – but not yet deeply involved or even exclusive, then your gift giving should reflect it.

For her: A nice bottle of champagne or wine with flowers. If she doesn’t drink, shop for a beautifully bound book or journal. Do not give her lingerie – if you’re not in love with her, committed to her, her fiancé or her husband, it implies that you see her as a sex object.

For him: A nice bottle of his favorite spirits, wine, or champagne. If he doesn’t drink, the book/journal routine can also work. Music CDs, gourmet gift baskets, chocolates all work. Don’t load up on quantity of gifts at this level of relationship – keep it simple.

The most important thing is to be honest with yourself about where you are in the relationship. Then, talk about it. That’s right – bring it up in a straightforward way so that you can discuss appropriate gift-giving. Agree on a similar budget. Imagine the ease with which you will discuss money matters in the future if you can begin today! Money is one of the top reasons couples split later, and that is due to avoiding the topic while dating. Remember, Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate love, and when you’re still building that foundation, it pays to step carefully.

Entry Filed under: Advice for Men,Advice for Women,Communication,Dating,Marriage,Personal Growth,Relationships


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