I have been dating my boyfriend for 3 years. He has been (sort of) generous in terms of treating me to a meal once in a while but I do it too. And, I have bought him many gifts! My issue is that my boyfriend rarely buys me a gift and if he does, it is very inexpensive. I don’t know if I’m being greedy or not, but I did manage to say to him that emotional security is important to me. He told me that it is inappropriate for me to want him to reassure me like that and that he only believes in surprises. He always tells me the simple things matter most. He once told me early on that he liked me because I do not expect gifts. I just wonder if he is cheap. I don’t know what is appropriate and if I should say something. He is 43 years old and I am a few years younger than him.
Left out Louise
Tony’s Take: Early influences as a child often have large effects on our adult personality.
If someone grows up in a family that is poor, worse if lack of funds is argued about in of the children, the children end up feeling deprived and thus are very reluctant to spend money or give presents.
Likewise, an only child could end up in a similar situation where they think presents only flow towards themselves and not to others.
Children deprived of parental love and approval might also base the worth of something on its dollar value not on it’s “human” value as a symbol of love or appreciation.
Sadly, People who are “cheap” create the circumstances which demonstrate that they have little or no value for others. ,
As a consequence others lose interest in them as they feel the person has no real interest.
This man’s issues are not going to be solved easily, so if a person who acknowledges you through gifts and token of esteem (such as cars or clothes etc.) to show affection and adoration is important to you will ultimately be disappointed (in this man).
Alison’s Take: I think Tony over-analyzed and over-simplified your problem Louise.
Cheap men are sometimes millionaires but don’t want to put in the time and effort let alone the cash, to show someone else that they love them.
Other men just don’t like to buy gifts or spend money.
So what kind of “cheap” is your boyfriend?
Assuming he isn’t hiding his millions from you, it may be that he is afraid to spend money. As it seems from your note, he is “frugal.”
He isn’t young…so maybe he is gun shy about giving gifts because he was so generous to someone else in the past and got burned by it.
So I’d ask you to consider the gifts he does buy for you.
If they are inexpensive but well thought-out –little things that he thinks you’ll really like, then he’s trying to please you at least on some level.
However, if he’s regifting or giving you things only he would like, or that aren’t personal or romantic, that’s another issue entirely.
Men usually try hard to please someone they care about. If you give them a very specific task, they will generally do it.
What worries me is that you have asked your boyfriend specifically to buy you something and he has refused. That means he knows what you want and need but won’t supply it.
That is being stingy not just in his wallet, but in love.