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Guy Accuses ‘Manipulative’ Girlfriend Of Buying Him Gifts To Make Him ‘Obligated’ To Buy Her Gifts Too

Aekkarak Thongjiew / EyeEm/Getty Images

We’re all taught to say thank you for any gift we may receive.

Even if it’s not something we ever would have gotten for ourselves or even something we don’t particularly like.

Though sometimes, even if it’s given to us with the best of intentions, we can’t help but read into a likely non-existent, hidden meaning behind certain gifts.

That it’s in fact a disguised insult regarding something about our lifestyle or behavior.

The boyfriend of Redditor Pizzarating felt that she was trying to send him a message through her birthday present.

A message he didn’t appreciate at all, despite the original poster (OP)’s assurance that the gift was simply that: a gift.

Concerned that she may, indeed, have stepped out of line, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:

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

The OP explained how the present she thought her boyfriend would love ended up backfiring terribly.

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

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

“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.”

“I told him no you don’t have to get me anything for my birthday. I’d like to spend some time with you that day but he said that it was a ‘d*ck move’ that I got him gifts.”

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

“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 anymore.”

Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:

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

The Reddit community wholeheartedly agreed that the OP was in no way the a**hole for giving her boyfriend a video game for his birthday.

Everyone agreed that the reaction of the OP’s boyfriend was alarming and worrisome, with just about everyone urging the OP to get out of this relationship as fast as she possibly could.

“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



“It’s gonna be the best gift you can give yourself.”- Schobag


“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

“Wow, you are NTA, and his behavior is raising some red flags.”

“What you did was thoughtful, and if he didn’t appreciate it then that is on him.”- xpotential31


“Perfectly normal to buy reasonable gifts for those close to you.”

“Your BF either has significant issues requiring therapy or doesn’t plan to be your bf long or doesn’t consider you his gf now.”- tropicaldiver


“Ask for the gifts back or dump the guy.”

“Or both.”

“I don’t see this ending well and tbh, he’s not worth your time.”- MissMurderpants


“Also, dump him.”- vinylaska


“Nothing wrong with the gifts, something definitely wrong with boyfriend.”

“Just run, girl.”

“NTA.”- bigmamma0

“NTA you just gave gifts, it’s not your fault that he took a bad meaning out of that.”- PranshuTG


“What the literal f*ck?!”

“The idea that you’re obligated to get someone a gift or that you purposely manipulated the situation is ludicrous.”- charitymw7


“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, giving gifts isn’t a chore.”

“It’s doing something nice for someone you care about.”

“It also feels good to do something nice for another person.”

“If your BF sees a kind gesture as a task or a ‘d*ck move’ then he clearly is not mature enough to be in a relationship.”- Marvelous_Memes



“What the f*ck.”

“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 sh*t 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

“I once decided to surprise my ex-boyfriend by making him dinner.”

“I make really good meatballs, so I made some spaghetti and meatballs for him.”

“He was on his way to my place and was going to stop and get food.”

“I told him not to, that I made him dinner and it was a surprise.”

“He flipped out and told me that I shouldn’t have because now if he doesn’t like it he’s the bad guy and he’ll go hungry.”

“It was about 30 min of being berated on the phone and at my apartment.”

“In the year and a half we were together, he never hit me.”

“However, the damage was done.”

“Run.”- InMyNirvana


“He’s gaslighting you.”


“You will do better.”- Marcello_the_dog


“Seriously time to reconsider your relationship.”

“If having to get you a gift is that big of a deal for a 21-year-old that’s scary.”

“Especially after you made it clear a card and his time would be fine.”- sittinginastand


“Run, don’t walk, away from this one. He’s belittling and unappreciative, and is planning on being worse.”

“How he’s behaving now isn’t just a red flag, it’s a massive red banner, being held aloft by a gigantic red clown. get away!”- soul_and_fire


“He’s looking for a reason to make it your fault the relationship won’t work.’

“Walk away, you can do better.”- hollowtear


“People give gifts on a birthday.”

“Unless you two discussed not doing this then he is being ridiculous.”

“Also if buying you a gift for your birthday is going to be such a burden for him do you really want to spend the day with this guy?”- GiftRecent


“If he’s so burdened by you being a nice and decent person, then take it all back and unburden him with that future obligation.”

“Might I also suggest doing the same for all future obligations and leaving him?”

“I also want to stress that in no way was that manipulative.”

“It was nice!”

“Video games are hella expensive.”- happiestburritos

“NTA he doesn’t appreciate your value at all, you should leave him before it’s too late and he’s blaming you for ‘manipulating him’ in other ways.”- okcafe


“DUMP HIM and move on!”- Fivedayhangovers


“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


“Jesus Christ.”

“I think there’s a couple of issues, not just one.”

“So let me try to lay them out.”

“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.”

“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.”

“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 ain’t there or what.”

“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 he’s upset because he literally does not want to get you anything.”


“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.”

It’s truly difficult to make sense of anything the OP’s boyfriend said.

And the fact that he felt the OP was being “manipulative” by giving him a birthday present, and it was “unfair” for him to do the same for her was downright alarming.

Leaving one to think that the Reddit community was in agreement that the OP would indeed be better off ending this relationship.

And finding someone who appreciates a kind, thoughtful gesture for what it is.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.