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Woman Stunned After Her Boyfriend Calls Her ‘Manipulative’ For Buying Him Birthday Gifts

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Some people just can’t help but analyze.

Rather than take things at face value, they perform enough mental gymnastics to either get their hopes up way too much, take offense to something, assume the motivations of other people, or arrive at any number of other conclusions.

A recent post on the “Am I the A**hole (AITA)” subReddit shared one example.

In their title for the post, the Original Poster (OP), who goes by Pizzarating on the site, made it clear she’s still reeling from the whole ordeal. 

“AITA for buying my boyfriend birthday gifts? I am confused and upset”

It began with the birthday. 

“My boyfriend turned 21 last week and I bought him a new video game he had been wanting and a t-shirt.”

His reaction was puzzling to say the least. 

“He started ignoring me and leaving me on read after that.”

So OP looked into it.

“I asked him what was wrong and he finally said it was unfair that I got him birthday presents because now he’s going to have to get me something for my birthday and that I am being manipulative.”

OP fired back. 

“I told him no you don’t have to get me anything for my birthday but I’d like to spend some time with you that day…”

And the boyfriend dug in. 

“…but he said that it was a ‘di** move’ that I got him gifts.”

“He says I was trying to make him feel obligated.”

OP was spinning her wheels.

“I told him it is the thought that counts and that he doesn’t have to get me anything but that if he does, I’d be happy with just a card but he keeps saying he is unsure he can deal with a materialistic girlfriend.”

“Was it wrong that I got him gifts? I can’t understand any more.”

Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH – No A**holes Here

Nearly all the Redditors who commented were on OP’s side. They assured her she was not the a**hole.

More than that, they had some recommendations.

“NTA. Dump him. This is disgusting behavior in his half. He is gaslighting you and he’s actually the one being manipulative. He’s turned your kind gesture into you feeling insecure, confused, and like you’ve done something horribly wrong.”

“You deserve better.” — unwise_watson

“NTA. Red. Flag. Red. Flag. This is a very serious warning sign. No one should be upset to get a gift and automatically think it is manipulative. My advice? Run fast and far before it’s too late (and return the gifts if you can).” — Pickle-therapist-84

“NTA. So let’s recap here. You buy him a game he wants, very nice. Yet he gets upset over it, completely shuts down on communication & calls you materialistic, manipulative & says it’s a di** move?”

“Yeah, I’m with the others. Run. That’s a huge red flag. I don’t even understand this logic, especially the part where he said you were trying to make him feel obligated. That’s just…what. Treat this as a warming of what’s to come with him & give yourself the present of being free from that BS. That’s just unreal.” — randythecompman

“NTA and honestly if he’s this distressed by a gift because it means he might have to do something nice for you… run”

“This is such a red flag in the worst way The very thought of having to think of a nice gesture on your birthday has sent him into a spiral”

“Ghost him” — RestInPeaceLater

Some gave lengthier criticisms.

NTA He’s the one who’s being manipulative. What an ingrate! He’s being a total AH. Do you really want to be with him after he treated you this way?”

“It was really nice of you to buy him those special gifts and he’s being ungrateful, mean and you have a right to be upset and hurt. Leave him alone while you re-evaluate this one-sided relationship. So sorry.” — LoveBeach8

“NTA No?? What the fu**. So the best case scenario is that he’s had some sort of weird experience with an ex or some sort of pick up artist handbook and is projecting some sort of imaginary ‘all women are like this’ picture onto you instead of noticing what you are actually like”

“Worst case is that he is deliberately chipping you down and belittling you so that he never has to spend any money on you, I have seen this shit before and it ends in the girlfriend walking on eggshells and waiting on her man hand and foot while he throws her a crumb of affection now and then.”

“Do yourselves both a favor and dump him before your birthday so he doesn’t have to worry about it.” — BlackberryCrumble

“NTA. Jesus Christ. I think there’s a couple issues not just one. So let me try to lay them out.”

  1. “You got him a present for his birthday and he pouted. Instead of being an adult (like he is), he waited till you kept asking. ‘I asked him what was wrong and he /finally/ said…’ that leads me to believe he was trying to avoid answering, and leave it to you to figure it out.”
  2. “You don’t have to give gifts on birthdays. Personally, I’m fine, I just want someone to acknowledge my birthday. You told him it was fine.”
  3. “He called you manipulative for this. For getting him a present. On his birthday. I don’t know if he thinks he’s playing some sort of 3D chess and trying to pick at something that aint there or what.”
  4. “He expressed that he doesn’t want to get you anything for your birthday. Like I said previously, people are fine with not having presents, no one is obligated to gift them presents for their birthday. But hes upset because he literally does not want to get you anything.

“Mind boggling. Not even flowers? Or just something he made that’s cheap? Not even a card? In essence, your boyfriend may be old enough to drink, but he definitely ain’t old enough for a relationship.” — Bloated-dumpling

With no updates added to the original post, only OP knows exactly what she decided to do following this incident.

Written by Eric Spring

Eric Spring lives in New York City. He has poor vision and cooks a good egg. Most of his money is spent on live music and produce. He usually wears plain, solid color sweatshirts without hoods because he assumes loud patterns make people expect something big. Typically, he'll bypass a handshake and go straight for the hug.