in ,

Woman Balks After Guy She’s Casually Dating Asks Her To Buy Him $280 Shoes For His Birthday

A man putting on a pair of sneakers.
Nikola Stojadinovic/Getty Images

When our birthday comes around, it’s not at all unreasonable to hope you get a certain present.

Nor is there anything really wrong with throwing subtle, or even not so subtle, hints at friends and family on what you hope you might get.

That being said, one should always level their expectations, as some things might suddenly become unavailable for purchase when your birthday comes round.

Then too, certain things simply might be out of certain people’s price range.

A recent Redditor had begun a casual, long-distance relationship of sorts with a man from her hometown.

When the original poster (OP) asked him what he wanted for his birthday, she was surprised to discover it was something that cost a pretty penny.

When the OP told him that his desired present was out of his price range, he did not take it kindly.

Wondering if she was being unreasonable, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for telling this guy I’m dating that I don’t want to buy the $280 shoes that he asked for?”

The OP explained why she didn’t feel comfortable giving her boyfriend of sorts what he wanted for his birthday.

“I met this guy 9 months ago, and we’ve been dating non-exclusively, “(‘talking’ as they call it these days) ever since.”

“We talk every day, but we don’t see each other often because we live in different states.”

“He lives in my home state, so I see him about once a month when I go home, and he’s also come to visit me once.”

“When we see each other and go out, he pays for most things, but I do pay for our stuff sometimes as well.”

“You could maybe say 75/25.”

“He’s been very generous with me.”

“He’s gifted me AirPods randomly.”

“We exchanged Christmas gifts (we both got each other cologne/perfume lol).”

“For Valentine’s Day, we weren’t able to see each other, but he sent me money for nails, sent me flowers, sent me a teddy bear, and bought me an expensive purse.”

“His birthday is coming up in a few weeks, and I asked him what he wanted.”

“He told me he wanted some shoes which are about $280.”

“I told him those shoes are out of my budget.”

“My grandma’s 80th birthday, my mom’s 60th birthday, and my sister’s 21st birthday are all in the next few weeks as well.”

“I definitely don’t intend to spent $250+ on each of them.”

“Which it seems kind of unfair for me to drop so much on a guy that’s not even my boyfriend.”

“The only person I have ever gifted that expensive of a gift to is my mom.”

“Also, I just can’t fathom the idea of spending nearly $300 on shoes.”

“The most expensive shoes I’ve ever purchased for myself were probably $100.”

“If I won’t even spend that money on myself, why would I go drop it on someone else?”

“He got upset with me and says he’s really hurt I won’t get him the only thing he asked for.”

“He says he’s spent a lot on me, and never thought twice about it.”

“For example, the purse he got me on Valentines Day was $400 alone.”

“Note: he also got me other gifts.”

“He also asked me to stay for his birthday dinner, but that would entail me staying home with my parents far longer than I want to which is also upsetting to him.”

“Yes, I can afford the shoes if I really want, but I just don’t want to spend that much on shoes.”

“Again, I don’t even shop like that for myself.”

“I was thinking maybe a $100-150 birthday gift.”

“This is double that.”

“I know he has spent a lot on me, but that was his choice.”

“Like I said, I also have paid for things when we go out.”

“I have never asked for any of those gifts he has given me either.”

“Even when he asked me what I wanted for Christmas, my response was ‘peace & happiness’.”

“I’d never tell this man, I want a nearly $300 gift.”

“We aren’t even officially together, and I have told him I am not ready for a committed relationship any time soon.”


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

While the Reddit community was somewhat divided, they largely agreed that the OP was, indeed the a**hole.

While not everyone felt the OP was the a**hole for refusing to buy her casual boyfriend the shoes he wanted, many agreed that the OP was rather stringing this guy along by accepting all the lavish presents he gave her. Others thought she was allowing him to think their relationship was more committed than she thought it was.

“Does this guy know you’re not exclusive?”

“Cos from what you’ve written, he’s incredibly into you and wants a relationship, but you want to have all the benefits of a boyfriend without the commitment.”

“You’re NTA for not wanting to spend as much money on him as he does you, but YTA if you’re stringing him along with the hope that one day you could be more.”

“If this is the case and you’ll never want a monogamous committed relationship with him, either let him go so he can find someone that will reciprocate his feelings, or at the very least have a frank and open conversation with him telling him the exact situation, then if he still wants to continue with this situationship that’s on him.”- InternationalCount23

“Yeah imma say YTA.”

“I call BS.”

“You can scream that you’re nonexclusive until you’re blue in the face, but I bet my next paycheck that he doesn’t know that.”

“Nobody buys all those expensive gifts for somebody they’re non-exclusive with.”

“Reddit knows that, his friends and family know that, and I’m pretty sure YOU know that too.”

“It escapes me why you would accept all those gifts when you knew damn well you wouldn’t be able to reciprocate them.”

“This post just one cop out after the other.”

“You can’t ‘fathom spending almost $300 on shoes,’ but you’re more than happy to accept the $400 bag?”

“It’s a horrible look that you didn’t say anything until he expected something in return.”

“You have a major lack of communication skills, and you need to work on that.”-Sweet_Maintenance317


“If you don’t feel comfortable spending that type of money on gifts, you shouldn’t feel comfortable taking gifts that cost that type of money!”

“You can’t have ur cake and eat it. The moment he got you expensive gifts, you should have explained how you appreciate it but can’t accept it as it’s not something you can reciprocate!”-Own_Consideration978

“He’s onto you.”

“His friends and family are telling him that you are using him for gifts and dinners and money.”

“The shoes are a test.”

“YTA.”- statslady23


“Why accept the gifts if you can’t reciprocate?”- ia1v1chem


“You seem to think you have a right to receive expensive things—doesn’t sound like you ever told him it would be out of your budget to reciprocate. Thank you, but please stop because it makes you uncomfortable.”

“Yeah.”- jolandaluna

“You do not like this man.”

“It’s been 9 months. You don’t want to be in a relationship with him.”

“Break up so he can find someone who values him.”

“YTA for stringing him along.”- Severe-Definition656

Others, however, didn’t think that the OP’s beau came off looking particularly good either, feeling it was his choice to buy the OP expensive presents, but shouldn’t expect them in return.

“ESH here.”

“While it is his decision to buy you such lavish gifts, I think you owed him a discussion about how, while you appreciate the gifts, it’s not necessary for him to spend so much because you wouldn’t reciprocate at that level.”

“He’s not an AH for asking for what he wants, assuming you’d be spending at similar levels, but it’s not ok to demand the gift after you’ve said no.”- Elleketel


“That’s really too expensive, but you never put boundaries.”

“You sure are happy to have a 400 purse while you should have say ‘no I’m sorry it’s too expensive’.”- I_ship_it07

There were, however, a select few who didn’t feel there were any a**holes in this situation per se, but instead that the OP and this man needed to figure out the status of their relationship, and maybe they both needed to set price limits when it came to gift giving:


“But you really are going to have to have a conversation with him about a budget for gift giving in the future so that he does not continue to feel he’s giving more than he’s receiving since this seems to be a problem for him.”- Ixpen

While lavish presents are always a nice gesture that should never go unnoticed, they also shouldn’t be the only way to another person’s heart.

Particularly if you don’t even really know the status of your relationship.

Before anyone buys or receives another present, the OP and this man have some rather serious talking to do.

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'.