30th Birthday - is it wrong to expect a big deal present?


So I am turning 30 soon. In my head I sort of expect a big deal present. When my GF of 3 years soon to be co-habitating asked me what I wanted I dropped not very subtle hints about what I want (Philadelphia Eagles tickets). So she went and looked at how much they cost and said no way, I couldn’t even afford the cheapest ticket for one of us. The cheapest ticket is about $200 each. Now I know that is a lot of money, over $500 for us to go just to get in the game. I also know that she COULD afford it if she wanted to. She has a lot of money saved up.

Some more background:

She is a student. I am not. I have a good job that pays decent money. On all of gift giving exchanges she comes out way ahead if you just look at it monetarily. She even got mad at me last Valentine’s Day because I bought her a new digital Camera (she got me nothing). So we discussed our gift giving habits. She is a lot more frugal then me and says she shows her love by doing things not by buying things. I admit that often show my love by buying things. However the things I buy are things she really wants and I feel it is both an emotional and really-good-present gesture.

This is fine by me. I understand the differences between our situations and gift giving habits. However she has spent $500+ on me for a birthday before (which totally shocked me and was completely unexpected but it wasn’t even my idea she came up with all on her own) and I feel that the 30th Birthday is that last big celebration moment for 20 years. As well she recently turned 25 and I bought her excellent tickets to go see Cirque in Vegas as well as a more traditional show and took her out to a very nice restaurant.

So how much of a jerk am I being by being somewhat hurt that she is choosing not to spend much on me for my 30th birthday and getting me just about the only present I really want?


So I am taking that to mean:

Yes, you are a big jerk. Thanks :slight_smile:

Yeah, but who the hell looks at gifts, especially between partners, just in terms of money? You could buy her a Porsche she doesn’t want or a first edition of her favourite childhood book that you remembered her mentioning on your first date.

I wouldn’t say you’re a jerk for being disappointed, but you will be if she puts effort and thought into your present/celebration and you don’t show appreciation. Not sure what her financial situation, but $500 is a huge sum for most students. Maybe when she’s got a job she’ll buy you those tickets out of the blue. There’s no rule saying she has to wait 'til you’re 50 before she goes all out.

Do you always keep a running tally of the cost of everyone’s gifts? If she only spends $250 on your birthday does that mean she loves you half as much?
Could it be that she told you they’re way too expensive so that you will be extra surprised when you find out she bought them anyway?

I remember when I was a poor student who was dating a guy with a “real” job. I hated gift giving occasions because I wanted to be able to afford better gifts. I was greatful that the guy realized that money was tight and doesn’t equal love.

Yeah, I kind of think you’re being a jerk.

I think you’re being a huge jerk.

If you want Eagles Tix, buy some, jobby.

She’s a friggin’ student. And get over your love of birthdays.

30? Three-zero? Not 13, right? And you’re a guy?

Yeah, you’re being a jerk. If you want Eagles tickets for your birthday, buy the things. That’s how it works when you have a job and your SO doesn’t (or is a student, or doesn’t like football, or whatever).

It is always wrong to expect a present. No one is ever obliged to give you a gift.

Your attitude here, though, goes somewhat past the usual generic gaucherie of expecting a present. You’re almost demanding a specific present of a specific monetary value and you’re justifying this near-demand on the basis of the amount of money you spent on a previous gift. This is your girlfriend, not your business partner. Your relationship is romantic, not mercantile.

I just turned the big 3-0, too.

I got zero birthday presents.

Lighten up, Francis.

She could easily afford it.

I didn’t mean this to come out as a “she never spends money on me” sort of thing. I love the presents she gets me. She is the one who is usually uncomfortable about what I spend on her, and brings it up or tries to hide the gift I give her from her parents (who are incredibly cheap).

She keeps asking me what I want, and I have told her, but she said no. So now I have no idea. I don’t usually want a lot of things and don’t care much about material items ( I don’t want the latest gadget, cell phone, game system, etc). She complains that I am hard to buy for, which is true. I had this little fantasy in my head about using various rewards points for the flight and hotel staying 1 night in Philly, going to the game, watching my first NFL game (and potentially only, I live in Canada it isn’t easy nor cheap to go to an NFL game that doesn’t involve the crap that plays in Buffalo), a dismantling of the Lions by the Eagles and flying home all happy.

Couple myself not wanting/desiring a lot of things with no idea on what her budget actually is yet she still asks me what I want with my feelings of disappointment about this and I don’t know what to do.

On preview: I don’t see what me being a guy has to do with it.

Oh, just for the record I have not said anything about this to her. That is what anonymous message boards are for right? :slight_smile:

If you ever want a serious relationship and want to be with that person for a long time do yourself a favor and stop keeping score.
And if you want to be happy for the rest of your life from this point forward stop expecting a gift for anything from anyone. I guarantee you will be a happier person.
(got to get out of that entitlement/fairness mode)

The whole gift-giving area is tricky. Different families have different gift-giving habits and it’s hard to break those expectations.

In my family, it’s generally frowned upon to spend much money on a present (a cheaper, but thoughtful, gift is considered much more appropriate), but in my husbands family they give much more expensive gifts. Plus they outright ask you what you want, because ‘noone wants a gift they don’t want’.

I take it you have seperate finances. What if you offered to pay half the cost and the rest was her gift to you?

What I think you could suggest, that would allow you to come out of this seeming pretty cool, is to suggest a big party to watch an Eagles game on TV near the time of your birthday. That way a) she and others can contribute to the gift and b) the cost is scalable to fit the budget.

How do you know she can ‘easily afford it’? Just because she has some money in the bank does not mean it can be used for luxuries. I mean, I have more than $500 in the bank but there is no way in hell I would spend that much on my spouse for one birthday present right now, we have other priorities for that money and maybe she does too.

I turned 30 last week, BTW. My spouse planned a get together with friends and we all went out to a movie and dinner and I thought it was lovely of him and I was very happy to have a nice night out with my friends. Like your girlfriend, I would be upset if he spend a huge sum of money. It sounds like since you spend a lot on her, you expect her to have the same values when it comes to gift giving when she has made it very clear that she does not. She has told you not to spend so much on her, if you choose to do it anyway that is your choice and does not make an obligation on her part to try to keep up with you.

Now, if she demanded expensive presents from you and then refused to reciprocate, I would call her a jerk. That is not what is happening here, you are choosing to give her expensive things when she has clearly told you that is not needed or expected. You are not doing her any favors here by getting her expensive things, it seems like you are just doing it because you expect the same in return, not because you wanted to give it to her. I think it is obvious that feeling she should then spend a lot on you is jerkish behavior.

She probably keeps asking you what you want because she is hoping you will get a hint that she can’t spend that much on you. Give her an out and tell her something cheaper that you will enjoy. Don’t make her feel bad by telling her this is the only thing you want and nothing else will make you happy for your big 30th birthday.

It’s always wrong to expect a present. Most people outgrow expecting big deals to be made of the fact they were born at around age 13. (though up to 18 is considered acceptable by a lot of people).

In short, whatever she does or gives you for your b-day, you should accept with grace knowing that it is coming from a person that loves you. Which really should be the important thing here.

We do have separate finances. I couldn’t pay for half now because I am quitting my job to go live in her city and I just put new floors into her (soon to be our) house.

I don’t think I am keeping score, I normally don’t give a crap how much she spends on me. I love all of the presents she has given me.

I think my disappointment comes from the fact that at first it was her who was saying things like the big 3-0 and how its important. I think if I was turning 29 or 31 I wouldn’t be as disappointed. So this is probably true:

As is this:

I haven’t told her this is the only thing I want, she just asked for ideas so I gave her one. She said she couldn’t do that, and that is about it. Hasn’t asked again but I know I am hard to buy for (everyone who has ever been in a gift giving relationship with me says so) and it makes it even harder to suggest things when I have no idea what the budget is. You can say that it unreasonable or immature of me to expect a gift but that is just BS. Everyone of you would be disappointed/angry if your SO didn’t get you something for your birthday. Expecting a specific thing is jerkish, expecting something is normal.

Sorry, dude, you are going to have to get over yourself. Yes, it is completely rude and totally irrational to “expect” a big present for your 30th birthday. As someone else mentioned upthread, it is actually always rude to “expect” a present at all. The fact that she once spent a large sum of money on a gift for you does not mean she is obligated to continue in that pattern.

I spent my 30th birthday taking the LSAT and drinking with friends. Wah-wah, they didn’t pony up half a grand in my honor.

Upon preview, what Velma said.

I’m sure you believe this but it is not true. I don’t believe I got a gift for my 30th birthday, now that I think about it. Not a big deal.

I am sure you believe this as well, but it is not true.

Regardless, thanks for confirming my thoughts. That I am being a jerk, and reading my childish venting.

There is no such thing as “The big 3-0”. You are fabricating this in your mind as a reason for her to get you Eagle’s tickets.

16 is the last “big” birthday until 100.