It’s fair to say that a person’s expectations for a relationship would increase the longer they’re in that relationship.
They might expect to checkbox some milestones with their partner, go on a serious road trip, or maybe even get married.
But for one guy on the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit, his girlfriend seemed to expect a better birthday gift.
Redditor CrankyDev999 was left dumbfounded after his girlfriend expressed her disappointment for how he celebrated her birthday.
Confused, the Original Poster (OP) couldn’t decide if he was at fault or not.
The guy asked the sub:
“AITA for buying my dad a MacBook for his birthday but not getting my girlfriend one?”
The OP didn’t understand why this was a problem.
“I feel like this is the stupidest drama but I’m getting some cold treatment from my gf (girlfriend) over this, so I thought I’d get other people’s opinions on the matter.”
“I recently got my first job out of college and I received a competitive offer.”
“When my dad’s birthday came, I got him a new MacBook Pro because I knew he was looking for a new laptop. He supported me through college and provided me abundant opportunities to succeed so I wanted to spoil him a bit.”
“This was out of the ordinary for me, I’m usually a frugal person and save most of my money for an early retirement – I don’t like to splurge.”
But the OP’s girlfriend didn’t seem to see it that way.
“My girlfriend is a graphic designer and was talking about how she wanted a personal iPad to draw on.”
“After her birthday was over, she talked about how she was kind of disappointed with my gift and thought maybe I was going to surprise her with an iPad or something?”
“We’ve been dating for three years, I met her in college. I spent about $50 on her gift – a nice phone case and some other things I personally picked out.”
“I guess she expected me to start giving her expensive presents now that I have a high-paying job, but I told her I’m a frugal person and that wasn’t going to change.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some thought it was less about the gift and more about the girlfriend feeling valued.
“It sounds like she feels undervalued because of how you seemed to change your spending habits but not for her. I think you need to sit down and talk about why she’s feeling that way, why you divided up your money that way, and what can be done in both your comfort levels so she feels valued but you stay true to how you perceive yourself.”
“I don’t think it’s an a**hole situation, but it might be possible that you having the means to get her more things and be comfortable, and not doing so, especially if you do so for others, might make her feel like she’s not important enough to you.”
“This is not to say you did anything wrong, you can spend your money how you want and it makes sense to get something nice for your dad but stick to tradition with your girlfriend. But it’s not about making sense or rationality, it’s about how it made her feel.”
“I think it’s too black and white to say that she’s being entitled or that you should have got her something more.” – Moaibeal
“It sounds like it’s more than the iPad. Like it seems that the iPad was the physical object to put into words like a straw that broke the camel’s back.”
“The dollar limit is okay, but it sounds like OPs GF is feeling a bit stung by just getting a phone case and random items on her birthday from her SO (significant other) of 3 years. That seems to be the actual issue.”
“Like she got him a book, assuming best intentions, which is personal to the interests/authors/concepts of the person who you’re giving it to. Clothes, same idea. A phone case just is a bit underwhelming because of the lack of thought.” – deckcody
“NTA if she’s comparing gifts, and is actually upset at you. That’s not cool.”
“At the same time man, she’s a gf (girlfriend) you’ve been dating for 3 years. I know it’s your call, but on my then gf’s/now wife’s bday, and especially the one after I got my first real good paying job, I gave her something far better than a phone case (I got her a Tiffany’s necklace).”
“Your gf been through a lot with you, considering she was with you while you were in college and job hunting and honestly deserved a splurge.” – mf9769
“This is hard to judge because there’s so much context missing here that could easily sway my judgment, but I am leaning towards YTA. Not because of the dollar value, but because of the thoughtlessness of your gifts.”
“Some random stuff plus a phone case doesn’t really feel like a great birthday gift for someone you have been dating for 3 years. That feels like you are just going through the motions of obligation.”
“There are plenty of cheap things you could have done that still could have been special. You could have taken her for a romantic picnic, you could have written her some poetry or a story, you could have made something for her.”
“You have plenty of nice things to say about your dad, and you bought your dad an expensive and very thoughtful gift. You don’t say anything positive about your girlfriend and you get her the bare minimum. I’m not surprised she feels disappointed.” – SeraphymCrashing
Others questioned the quality of the phone case the girlfriend received.
“NTA – gifts don’t work that way……… but like…….. a phone case? After 3 years of dating? Stop calling yourself frugal and just admit you’re cheap, lol.” – cosmostologist
“NTA you don’t owe her an iPad or any gift.”
“I would ask some questions about the phone case: did she need one/had she expressed any interest in one?”
“Unless it was something super special (does someone want to gift me a phone case with my cats’ faces on it?), I can see being disappointed, especially since it would seem like wasted money.”
“That doesn’t mean you should have spent more money on her, just maybe she felt like the gift wasn’t thoughtful.” – Moon-Queen95
“I mean that’s your Dad! Of course you’d get a better gift for him.”
“However, I HATE when ppl use the term ‘I’m not going to change’ in relationships, because that means that you will always go out of your way to ignore the other person’s wants/ boundaries/ thoughts/ feelings etc. And I don’t think that’s ok.”
“She’s not entitled to a super expensive tablet, however, after three years all you got was a phone case and a few other things for $50??? It’s your cash, you have a right to spend as you please. But she also has a right to be disappointed after offering clear communication and not receiving at least something similar to what she asked for.”
“Even if you didn’t get her an IPad, there are cheaper versions of tablets you could have at LEAST looked into. Or you could have gotten something else that would have assisted her with her graphic design.”
“You just putting $50 aside after three years was just kind of….. dry. My fiancé and I set big expectations for each other and we’ve been together 3.5 years.”
“So it’s nothing WRONG with her expecting a nice gift. Yeah, the thought counts, but no one who looks forward to it has to enjoy receiving crappy gifts.”
“I dunno. Maybe you are the AH.” – Ambry215
“What were things you got her? $50 I think is a good amount to spend on a single or maybe two items for a birthday, but it sounds like you just bought crap, and bought enough of it to cost $50. A good phone case would have cost $50 by itself…” – wannabyte
A few said the girlfriend didn’t have the right to ask, price of gift and OP’s income aside.
“NTA – you gave your father a thoughtful gift, somewhat trying to repay him for supporting you – that’s a healthy relationship to have with a parent and I am happy for you.”
“between partners, no matter how long the relationship is, I would never want to establish the ‘I feel entitled to a hecking expensive gift’-level.”
“Sometimes we have expensive wishes but we discuss them, like i.e. if I really want it, it would be nice if he pitched in for a part of the sum so that I can pay for the rest myself.”
“Every relationship tho handles it differently, but the fact is you guys never talked about it and now she is sulking because she got excited by herself and didn’t establish if you are even onboard on being her bf who can make it rain.”
“I think you guys have to sit down and talk about your expectations. After all, she didn’t bring you through university financially” – Mesapholis
“NTA. She’s acting extremely entitled here, but maybe you and your girlfriend need to agree on a gift budget for each other going forward.”
“What you did for your dad was an isolated event and your reasonings behind doing that are completely valid so it’s unfair for your girlfriend to expect you to do the same for her.” – Dont-trust-it
It’s difficult, if not impossible, to meet someone who aligns absolutely perfectly with our feelings on gifts and expenses.
The girlfriend probably couldn’t help but notice the OP’s father’s gift, especially since she’s a graphic designer and wanted more resources for her work.
But some of the subReddit pointed out that, whatever her reasoning, it’s still the OP’s money, which means he’s the one with the final say in how it gets spent.