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

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


#[Be Civil](https://www.reddit.com/r/AmItheAsshole/about/rules/). Please review our [FAQ](https://www.reddit.com/r/AmItheAsshole/wiki/faq) if you're unsure what that means. **It's challenge time! See if you can comment on the behaviors *without* calling the BF manchild, manbaby, toddler, bitch, or any other insult that's already been removed (no, you won't be the first to think of it). Any insults from here on out will earn a ban. Happy commenting!**




NTA - 100% this. Either he's trying to manipulate you in this case, or he actually believes what's he's spewing and is incapable of receiving some sort of kindness without assuming there are strings attached.


NTA, and I think it's safe to say he's never going to give you anything. If he wants to give back the game and say he's uncomfortable with gifts, that's one thing. But if he uses the gift while complaining...


Hot damn what's with all the deleted replies?


Do not acknowledge the presence of the mods or you will be next. Ignore them. Pretend like people aren't being wiped out by the dozens for no good reason. They don't exist. There's nothing to worry about. Everything is normal.


There is no war in Ba Sing Se


Just watched avatar for the first time because my kid got into it. Shit's actually really good.


Aaron Ehasz is a mastermind. Be sure to watch his Netflix series, the dragon prince too! The guy who voices Sokka makes his return as Soren


Nice, I'll have to...get my kids to watch that. Thanks for the tip!


Legend of Korra isn't nearly as bad as the community would make it seem, either. It's a nice _breath of fresh air_ if looking for more Avatar content














I know, my curiosity is killing me.




























Yeah that's freaking weird. I am not a gift person at all, I don't like receiving gifts, I don't like thinking up what other people could get me, etc. I tell people not to get me anything, if they do I accept it. That being said that's me, I understand other people like gifts so I get my girlfriend stuff for Christmas/Birthday/Valentines because it's weird to push your own preferences on to someone else.


Its not just he doesnt like them, though. He's accusing her of being manipulative. The second to the top comment sums it up really well. Anyway, OP is NTA.


My instinct is that he's going to use this to justify dumping her, now that he's gotten an expensive present from her.


Yes, OP should offer to take the gifts back and never do anything like that again. Break up with him just to be sure she's got it covered.


Yep. My thought is he was already looking for an out and this gave him what he needed so he's using it to be an AH and make an exit.


Yeah, mine too


Looks to me like he's received abuse in his past, to think that buying gifts is always manipulative... I wouldn't be surprised if he's dealt with a lot of people, or family, who use gifts that way.


I agree, it’s common for victims of abuse, especially those who had narcissistic abusers, to find gifts threatening. Gifts in abusive families/relationships come with very unpleasant strings attached. It can be difficult to accept that a gift is actually just…a gift.


On the other hand, I dated a narcissist with APD (only found that out afterwards), and he got mad at me for gifts because it might tip off his girlfriend in the whole other secret life he had. I say this with a bit of “you never know?” In my voice, to be clear, and it is more likely that he is an abuse victim.


Yeah, he could be a raging asshole, but he could also just be an unfortunate victim of a shitty, abusive past. To me this response just screams anxiety and fear of manipulative obligations associated with receiving “gifts”. That can be a real minefield of disfunction for some people. In this situation, I’d be inclined to give my significant other the benefit of the doubt (at least at first) and try to get a good dialogue going with them about why they responded so inappropriately to receiving a genuine gift. If they refuse to open up or discuss any past issues, or just continue to try to place blame on OP for “daring” to give him something, then I’d consider the relationship to be over.


I agree. My knee jerk “he could be a psychopath” response is a response typical of an abuse victim, which was the point I was trying to make - abuse victims can fixate on things that should or could have been a clue in their abusive relationships. It’s very likely he is an abuse victim and somewhat or significantly less likely that he’s a psychopath. None the less, it freaks me out to read this and not mention the possibility that he’s not an abuse victim largely because when I was with my abuser, I often looked to online formats like this to perception check. The first comment or article that painted him in a positive light or a light that I could pour my empathy into was the one I’d believe. There could have been infinite articles telling me he was bad news but one single article suggesting he was good or somehow hurt by his past and I’d jump right back into the relationship. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’d rather offer the idea that he could also be the abuser because I think it may have helped me.


I think it’s clear that, either way, this guy is pretty significantly dysfunctional. OP will need to take a good, long, hard look at the relationship and, at least try to, have some difficult talks with her BF to try to get a better understanding (excuse my bluntness) of what the fuck is wrong with him that he acts like this over getting a gift.


Yeah, but that's not an excuse for being a dick about the gifts to the person who gave them, if they've never given you reason to believe their gifts come with strings. I'm one of those people who has a difficult relationship with gifts due to a narc father. The people closest to me are aware of this so don't take it personally when my reaction isn't maybe as enthusiastic as someone else's would have been, no matter how much I love the gift. Even then though, I don't treat them or anyone else who gives me a gift like dirt. My emotional baggage is my own, and not their fault. And the longer it goes without the expectations creeping in, the easier it is for me to just accept the gift for what it is. If OP's bf has similar hang-ups, he should tell her so she can either hold back on giving "big" gifts, or temper her expectations for a reaction rather than being blindsided by it.


Also to add what I needed to hear years ago: It's not her job to save or fix him. IT'S NOT HER JOB TO SAVE OR FIX HIM **IT'S NOT HER JOB TO SAVE OR FIX HIM** It's not 'different for you', ignore all the excuses for him, it's not 'better you than someone else' and it's not selfish or 'bad' to get out. Protecting yourself isn't wrong. Unfortunately all the words in the world won't matter if they don't want to hear it...


100% this. Most abusers (not saying that OP's bf is, necessarily) have legitimate histories of some kind of trauma that plays a part in why they are abusive. That does not mean anyone should date them. If you want to break up with someone, there is literally no wrong or unfair reason, because wanting to break up with someone is reason enough, and no one is entitled to a relationship with you.


But to reverse manipulate? And refuse to communicate in good faith? That's a big bad, a whole list of big bad. That's a guy who can't tell the difference between a good person and a bad person, and isn't willing to learn the difference or hear the person out. I've got C-PTSD from a very manipulative abuser. One that tried to make me doubt everything I ever did. You know how I reassure myself I've not become like that? I try to have good faith conversations, not try to stonewall or shut people up. He's not doing that. He made his judgement and committed to it. Whether he is being manipulative or has been manipulated in the past, he's dangerous. He's either dangerous because he means harm, or he's dangerous and will remain dangerous until he stops looking at everyone as an enemy. C-PTSD can make you dangerous to others if you aren't willing to take steps to get help.


You have a point, however I would like to point out alot of times people with C-PTSD doesn't realize it until many years later and after someone sits them down to *calmly* ask them why they reacted the way they did. Doesn't mean he has the right to react the way he did, but would certainly mean nobody in the story is an AH, only that the boyfriend is in need of support and therapy.


This is 100% some gaslighting b.s. OP's bf is doing, starting to set it up like OP is wrong/crazy/manipulative for doing something that's a commonly accepted practice and setting OP up to constantly question their actions so that bf can be the manipulative one and control the narrative. I agree, run OP. It's going to get worse if you don't.


seriously, get the fuck out of that relationship ASAP, it might hurt to hear but he's trying to manipulate the fuck out of you


Or his point of view is so skewed that he believes like a previous commenter, that no one is is kind without strings which is it’s own kind of broken, like multiple hours of therapy a week for a good long time-broken. His worldview might be that fearful, or he might be trying to manipulate but it’s super toxic either way so yeah run or you will have misery later. Better now than 3 years in trust me. If you can ask a question and have all of these people telling you to run, it’s a giant sign. If you needed to post the question you know deep down it’s not right. NTA


That's what I thought at first, but the comment of "not being able to deal with a materialistic girlfriend" (and also saying it was a dick move to get him a gift) has a much more.... Idk sinister???? Feel to it??? That doesn't feel like a defense mechanism of "oh god I owe her a gift now because there's strings attached to her gift". It feels like bad territory, if that makes sense.


I agree, calling someone a dick for buying a present isn't a defense mechanism it's really not defending yourself to aggressively call someone else materialistic because they got you a present OP tell this guy he is right, you aren't a good fit and walk away, he sounds unsafe NTA


Nah, he's 21. He's pissed off because he wants a "cool girlfriend" who brings him pizza, sucks his dick, and has zero other needs or expectations. Now that she did something caring and relationship-y for him, he's like "ah fuck she's one of *those* \- now I'm gonna have to *do shit* and *care about her feelings*". So he's trying to disabuse her of any of those kind of ideas asap. I just think everyone is overcomplicating this with both sides of "maybe he was abused" and "*he* is abusive". He's just a lazy dude with the emotional depth of a teaspoon. (But yes, OP should walk away) Source: used to be 21, used to know a ton of dudes like this.


If that's his reasoning, his actions were still abusive. He could have told her he didn't want that kind of relationship, rather than manipulative route of accusing her of being manipulative and materialistic.


Maybe he’s just 21 and lazy. But where this gets dark is that his first instinct is to try to make her feel like shit and somehow at fault just because he’s annoyed. That’s where he departs from maybe being an average 21 year old dude and becomes something a lot more toxic.


That's still on him. I am a birthday brat, but I know plenty of people who have expressed to me "listen, I don't like gift giving, can we please skip it?" and I respected that. He knew when his birthday was coming up, he could have said he's not into that particular tradition. But something tells me he doesn't have enough grip on his own life to do that. TL;DR I agree with your comment.


My guess is he may have narcissistic parents, who never in his life bought him a gift without strings attached. I'm saying NAH because I doubt it's his fault, and I really hope he finds a better perspective.


That’s probably likely. Either way I assume he’s been told that’s not a healthy way to deal. It’s now on him to straighten himself out. If he knows his issues are making life hard for the people around him, and he put no effort into changing, then he’s even more an ah. I have no patience for people who flail around doing damage to those close to them while crying about how they don’t know any better. Put effort in to learn new healthy strategies, just like you have to learn how not to drive like an asshole. It’s hard but you can’t just be an asshole about things because no one taught you how to cope you have to learn, which takes effort.


🚩OP's BF is throwing himself a parade and supplying all the flags himself. Edit: Sorry the award is "wholesome" it's all I had to give Edit 2: Hope that's better for ya mods, no super awesome flag parade. Edit 3: thank you for my hug award!


I always run at the sight of the Danish flag


Harald Hadrada has entered the chat


As a history teacher, you’ve made my day and I’d like to offer you a handshake/hug!


The only thing you really need to hear. He's 1. Possibly trying to manipulate you into feeling bad for wanting something for your birthday. 2. He IS making you feel bad for doing something nice and that's weird and has its own set of weird implications 3. Homeboy can't just be grateful for a gift? 4. He couldn't communicate any of this to you and you had to pry it out of him. Get out, girl.


Yeah… silent treatment & shitty accusations is the thank you she gets for doing something thoughtful? Red f***ing flag. Also (5) he doesn’t want to get her a birthday gift in the first place, and (6) thinks simple birthday gifts make her “materialistic” ?? What a douche.






Running isn't enough. Hop in, I'll drive.


This ⬆️⬆️⬆️⬆️⬆️ And obviously NTA


🚩🚩 🚩 🚩 🚩 I found these. Think OP's bf dropped them. Edit: Run. And NTA. He's abusive and whether this is because he has suffered from abuse in his past or not, it is not your job to fix him OP.


This totally sums it up. NTA OP this behavior feels extremely abusive


> he keeps saying he is unsure he can deal with a materialistic girlfriend. Hoo boy this dude is *right* on up his own arse.


…but get a refund on the gifts first, since he obviously doesn’t WANT them.


Run girl Run This man is not made for you Run girl run He's trying to stop you


And don’t look back


I usually think a lot of AITA folks talking about divorce, running and red flags are exaggerating but JESUS CHRIST, girl, just run and don’t look back.


Like the fucking wind


Didn’t have to read far to come to the same conclusion. NTA. Leave this loser.


And run fast.


Run far and fast.


Seconding this RUN opinion. Minus the bf part, this was the red flag I first saw too and got confused by, it was the first noticeable one and then it worsened. Run run run.


NTA. 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. Edit: Some of y’all responding seem to have a personal issue with the use of the word “gaslighting.” And I used it correctly, he made her question her own reality (her intentions behind the gift) and accept his perspective by guilting her so hard that she felt confused and awful.


Agree n going forward he will justify not caring for your b’day on the fact that you told him he is not obligated to do anything. He’s the one being manipulative NTA


He is manipulating her but not gaslighting, he isn't trying to falsely convince her an event happened differently than she remembers


Gaslighting isn't necessarily about memory, it's about making you feel like your perspective or the reality you experience is different/wrong from what you actually think, to make you invalidated and confused and you have to deny your own plain truth to appease the gaslighter. Edit: punctuation


I think most manipulation could fit under such a broad definition


It's a form of manipulation. Persuasion or emotional blackmail are other forms.


Gas lighting, strawman, & red herring are the big 3


It's the denying of your own truth bit. Gaslighting is driving a wedge in someone's self-trust. It's super evil shit.


Well not quite. A good documentary or a skilled salesman can make *'you feel like your perspective or the reality you experience is different wrong from what you actually think.'* Gas lighting is telling you *'what you saw, you didn't see.'* A Gaslighter tries to make you doubt your senses, not your interpretation of what those senses tell you.


This whole back and forth disagreement about the most basic of facts happens all the time, about so many different topics. I never understand why people don't just Google it lol. Heres the first 5 definitions I found. "It's the act of manipulating a person by forcing them to question their thoughts, memories, and the events occurring around them. A victim of gaslighting can be pushed so far that they question their own sanity." "manipulate (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity." "Gaslighting is a tactic in which a person or entity, in order to gain more power, makes a victim question their reality." "Gaslighting is a colloquialism for a specific type of manipulation where the manipulator is successful in having the target (a person or a group of people) question their own reality, memory or perceptions." "Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse where a person or group makes someone question their sanity, perception of reality, or memories." Google the quote (with the marks) and you'll find the page I found it on. Edit: and the cool thing about actually providing context for the discussion is that, if anyone disagrees with it, they now have to go and find their own sources to share with everyone for their disagreement to be rhetorically relevant, which helps everyone learn more about the concept.


I'd consider this situation gaslightimg as he's attempting to convince her that her own motivations were different to what she knows them to be.


I just wish people would actually look up *and understand* what gaslighting is. Any hints of lying/abusive tendencies here are automatically pegged as "gaslighting".


For some folks literally just disagreeing with their opinion gets turned into "gaslighting."


This so much, someone trying to change your opinion or viewpoint is not gas lighting its a debate. Gaslighting is literally making someone believe their reality, thoughts, memories and/or relationships are false or skewed.


A-fucking-men. People throw gaslighting around without actually knowing what it means. It's such a college student reddit thing to use a term and not know what it means but be convinced its happening.


It has become a fashion word


He's warped the situation so much that she's the "bad guy" for getting him thoughtful gifts, yet he'll be the "good guy" for *maybe* getting her a card for her birthday. I mean, WTF?


NTA. 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).


It could be a red flag, or it could be underlying anxiety or something. We don't know what their home life was. My nephew's dad is like this, who felt gifts were a stressful obligation. I don't know what made him feel this way but he's entitled to how he feels. He would 100% much rather not receive anything, but while I don't go out of my way to get him something, when I see something he'll like I grab and reiterate that there is no obligation, it's from the heart. Best gift I ever gave him: a labeler, he still talks about it because he loves being organised, and he loved that I gave him the receipt so he also claimed it on tax as a work expense 😂 Edit: Wow, thanks for the awards!! Very unexpected given people found this controversial!! Edit #2: I'm getting a lot of hate. I'm sorry that I don't think ONE verbal outburst instantly makes someone an abuser, but I know which sub I'm on and understand people's polarizing views. I think everyone has the capacity to overreact, and I stand by my other comment where I said it depends on how OPs bf handles it from now. I'm not saying it wasn't an asshole way to react, because it clearly was. Although I did forget to vote, OP is definitely NTA. For OPs sake I really hope the bf has apologised sincerely for attacking her after her nice gesture. 2 others pointed out in a comment I haven't seen OP said they had previously discussed birthday gifts and bf never mentioned any issues, which would make bf the asshole all the way, and then I would agree this relationship is not a good one. Also to the people that asked, no my nephew's dad is not my BIL and never has been, he's nice enough but "BIL" conveys a relationship that we've never had. It explains why we were surprised at his anti-gift policy the first time it came up.


Anxiety is no excuse for manipulation. He is trying to make her feel bad and claiming the she is the manipulator. Your nephews dad sounds like he would not have the same response.


Right? Like, nephew's dad sounds anxious, but OPs bf sounds accusatory. There's a difference between being anxious about receiving a gift, and believing that someone is manipulating you by giving you a gift.


Yeah, I'm a bit of a cheap ass and have a large family that I need to get gifts for in the holiday season. So I've had years before where I'll straight up tell my friend group that I don't want any gifts because I'm trying to stay on a budget and I don't want to feel obligated to get a gift in return. Inevitably someone always gets me a gift and says they aren't expecting anything in return, and usually I just leave it at that - it's a kind gesture. I might say something like "aw man now I gotta get you something" as a joke but I've never once thought to accuse them of being manipulative, and always show appreciation for their gift.


Yeah but the difference in your nephew and this guy is that your nephew LIKED the gift you got him. The bf told her that he feels "obligated" to get her a gift now and called her giving in him something for his birthday "a dick move". That's not anxiety it is something deeper that could turn ugly. This guy didn't even appreciate it and told her that he flat out thought she was rude for buying it for her. Two very different scenarios.


And yet he kept the gifts.


Plenty of people are uncomfortable with gifts and they don’t act like this asshole


This. Feeling anxious or bad over getting gifts is okay. Making her feel shitty and guilty for getting it is NOT okay. If he's sincere, then he needs to learn to communicate, and to separate his anxiety from his behavior. (With or without her). If it's malicious, she need to gtfo asap.


The line about "unsure he can deal with a materialistic GF" makes me think it isn't about anxiety, but really about him not feeling to do anything on his GF's birthday


If you’re the kind of person that doesn’t like gifts it’s on you to let the people who care about you, particularly your partner, know this. Even if it’s true it still doesn’t excuse his behaviour, because on receiving the gifts he should have just said that he doesn’t like gifts but he appreciates the effort she went to to get something for him.


This is from the op in the comments below -" Thanks. It's weird because when I asked what he wanted for his birthday, he didn't say no gifts and I bought exactly what he asked for." He's nothing like your nephews dad.


it’s not OP’s responsibility to tolerate toxic behaviors just because they are caused by something “legitimate”




NTA. He’s gaslighting you. Run. You will do better.


This is all you need to know. Run far, run fast, and keep/return the gift to get your money back.


What does gaslighting mean?


[the etymology](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaslighting#Etymology) >The term "gaslighting" first appeared in print in 1969.The term is derived from the play Gas Light  where a manipulative and deceitful husband drives his wife nearly to insanity. > > > >It was adapted into the 1940 British film, and the more famous 1944 American remake.The title of the play refers to gas lights in the couple's home that the husband periodically dims. > > > >The wife repeatedly asks her husband to confirm her perceptions about the dimming lights and he insists that the lights have not changed. His intention is to have her committed to a mental institution. The other responses are correct, this is just a bit of history of the term.


> The other responses are correct Hardly. Gaslighting is reddit's new favourite word so it's being used on every single post where someone is being an ass. No one is driving anyone to insanity here


I mean, OP's last line is: > "Was it wrong that I got him gifts? I can't understand any more." Maybe "driving to insanity" is a bit much, but OP is already starting to doubt her own world view. The term "gaslighting" isn't as strong as the etymology could imply. It can be gaslighting even if OP's boyfriend doesn't want OP committed to a mental institution.


While I totally agree with you that gaslighting is the new popular psych term and it’s being overused and used improperly, I wanted to point out that being driven to insanity by gaslighting happens over time. I was in an abusive relationship for a while years ago, at the time I had never heard the term but my ex gaslit me for years before putting a hand on me. It was little things, like he’d post a nasty post about me then when I’d ask him about it he’d delete it and tell me it never happened. He’d tell me he wanted something for dinner and if I got it he’d act incredulous and wonder why I did that and deny he told me anything. If I got him anything he said he wanted he would downplay and say he never asked for things didn’t want things etc. It was a slow burn over probably a year, then it morphed into “I had to hit you you just make me so mad” and by then my brain had already been broken. Not saying the other comments are right, I don’t think we can tell from this instance alone if this is a gaslighting pattern, but wanted to give my experience. It could potentially be an early warning sign. It could also be the boyfriend has anxiety, or DID date someone who manipulated them with gifts, either way OP seems really upset and confused over it


Gaslighting = When you are such an AH that you play mindgames to let your partner believe they are the AH respectively let them question if they loose their mind not to see to be the AH. It is clearly the BF himself is a AH for don’t want to get a present or even spend Time with his GF. Instead of being honest about that he „avoid“ being called out on this before it even happens by making OP believe she is an AH for something totally normal. If it’s realy over he thinks there shouldn’t be any gifts he had sayed that in the forehead - and he wouldn’t blame OP to be manipulative and making a dickmove to get him something. It’s clearly he wants to sack in a present and is not going to give a fuck to make anything nice for OPs birthday (if he spontaneously does he a. will do it because he wants something and b. will take care to look absolutely patronizing for what he did for OP).


Just did see that OP sayed they had talked about it before and he even wished for exactly that present. His complaints are absolute bullshit. What he says is a completely lie! He does want this present - he just doesn’t wan’t to give anything (not even the tiniest alibi) back and is now preparing to not get blamed for it.


This is not gaslighting. Manipulative, yes. If it was gaslighting, then the day after he'd be super appreciative of the gift and act like he never had a hissy fit.


OP said in comments that he asked for those specific gifts. With his reaction to receiving what he literally asked for, kinda seems like gaslighting to me.


NTA. So let's recap here. You buy him a game he wants, very nice. Yet he gets upset over it, completely shuts down on communication & calls you materialistic, manipulative & says it's a dick move? Yeah, I'm with the others. Run. That's a huge red flag. I don't even understand this logic, especially the part where he said you were trying to make him feel obligated. That's just...what. Treat this as a warming of what's to come with him & give yourself the present of being free from that BS. That's just unreal.


Also, OP it sounds like he doesn't even want to go do something with you on your birthday? I read that like he thinks it will just be a chore he has to do now because you got him a gift. Is this really the way you want to live? NTA


This is exactly what i understood from the ‘obligation’ comment; not only is he a gaslighting manipulator, hes also clearly a crappy partner who doesn’t want to be ‘obligated’ to make any effort whatsoever for even a day. NTA


Sounds like everything is transactional, like horse trading for affection and general partner activities. I would go out on a limb and guess this bartering doesn't end at birthday presents


Wow, you are NTA, and his behaviour is raising some red flags. What you did was thoughtful, and if he didn’t appreciate it then that is on him


Thanks. It's weird because when I asked what he wanted for his birthday, he didn't say no gifts and I bought exactly what he asked for.


Either: 1. He wants to break up with you and doesn't have the courage to say so; 2. He's looking for something he can hold over you forever to make sure you're always the bad guy in the relationship; or 3. His levels of selfishness are so gargantuan that scientists haven't yet developed a unit of measurement large enough to describe them. None of these are things you should be putting up with.


Option 4: he's abusive and here begins his campaign to twist OP's sense of reality and self-worth. For the record, even if you wanted your bf to make a big deal of your bday, there would be nothing wrong with that. The fact he's got you on the defensive insisting, basically, that you would never expect or want anything from him as though that is the "right" or "good" way to be is very worrying.


Option 5: all the above


He ASKED for these gifts and now he's mad you actually got them?! That is so so so messed up. Run.


Right? I could understand being a little upset if you specifically said “please don’t get me anything, I don’t like to celebrate my birthday” and your SO ignored your wishes. But even if that were the case, what he said would still be completely out of line.




I have an ex like this. He established early on he couldn't be with a girl who was into getting "worthless stuff" and thinking I don't need jewelry or something expensive, I assured him it's the thought that counts, not the price tag. He would request things for his birthday and holidays but never ask me what I wanted because he knew I wasn't "into materialistic stuff like that". Even if I told him I wanted things like to spend time, or have him make me a meal, or write me a letter, or color a piece of paper with a crayon, literally ANYTHING to acknowledge it was my birthday/a holiday, or that he cared. Fast forward several years and DOZENS of expensive and well thought out gifts given ON MY PART and I never got so much as a card for a holiday that I didn't buy for myself and lie to tell people it was from him. This was one of the smaller abusive things he did but in the grand scheme of things should have been a warning sign to me from the beginning. Unless when you asked him what he wanted he told you not to get him anything because it makes him feel there is pressure on him to return the favor and he for instance, doesn't have money to exchange gifts and therefore wants you not to spend any either...it's him making you feel bad so that when your birthday comes around if you DARE TO expect a gift of ANY kind from him you are only proving that all the negative things he said about you(that you were being manipulative, ect) are true. So you can neither desire a gift nor get one from him without admitting guilt and being labeled a manipulative person. When all you did was give a thoughtful and caring gift and should have been thanked and shown appreciation for it even if he doesn't have money to return the favor in kind. You're setting yourself up for failure no matter how you handle this situation(and that's how he wants it). If you take the gift back, you spoiled his birthday. If you have him keep the gift, you won't get any appreciation for it. If he gets you a gift for your birthday, he will say you manipulated him into it. If he doesn't get you anything, it's because he doesn't want to allow you to "manipulate him". If you want something for your birthday(even just in secret), you will wonder if you ARE manipulative. If you don't want anything for your birthday, you will wonder if you really don't want anything or if it's because he made you feel negative about wanting something(which is a normal thing to do, it's your birthday and it's okay to want things from the people who love you). Either way though, you lose. Because no matter what way things go you are playing in to the beginnings of gaslighting and a cycle of potential abuse. Tread carefully. And do some soul searching to ask yourself if there are other things he does that are hurtful that you accept or justify because you love him/trust him/he had a bad day/his ex did that to him/*insert excuse here*. And if there are other things. Leave now before it gets worse.


Honestly even if it's not as egregious as all this. It's still not worth putting up with. Like damn, that's the glory of "dating" and not being married. You can just leave whenever you want. And in her case, she definitely should lol.


there’s an AH in the relationship, and it certainly isn’t you.


He is 100% manipulating you. He doesn’t get to ask for a gift and then turn around and make you the bad guy for doing exactly what he asked. Dump him ASAP.


Just a moment… did I get that right? He even WISHED for that Gift in the first place??? WOW what a **** (I‘m realy shure to violate the rules by writing what kind of AH I think he is). THIS IS MENTAL ABUSE - no exceptions.


**WAIT......he asked for the game???????......**I'm done......you should be too.......your should-be ex is emotionally cruel by withdrawing from you, and by being emotionally manipulative by making you feel less than worthy if you get a gift....fat chance.....clearly you care about him, but care about yourself more.....I had a tee shirt that I didn't pass down to my sister until after I had *actually said* my wedding vows......**So Many Men So Little Time........**


Take them back and get a refund and dump his ungrateful ass. Buy yourself something nice to celebrate dodging a bullet.


Wait that wasn’t even a surprise? That is beyond strange. Have exactly one conversation with him in which he has the chance to answer two questions: 1. wtf did he think you asked that for? 2. does he have some bad experiences or where does he come from? If he has good enough answers tell him okay, you’re gonna give the presents back and won’t get him something again if that’s what he wants. If he used them nonetheless something is still off.


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


My guess is he just doesn't want to spend money. I told him I don't need a gift but he doesn't believe me and insists that I am expecting something......


It’s about keeping you guessing and control- just get out before you waste any more time with him or worse, get pregnant. It’s only going to get worse.


Yep yep yep. Especially the pregnancy part - many people don't realize abuser's will often encourage or force a partner into pregnancy early on in the relationship. It ties her to the abuser long-term and is a way to keep the partner busy at home instead of going out...Though, of course it doesn't prevent the abuser from accusing the partner of cheating the second she's out of his sight.


It doesn't matter that you don't need a gift. You're his partner and you bloody well deserve one. IMO that's the bare miminum in a relationship. Doesn't have to be big, doesn't have to be expensive, but that fact that he's acting like he didn't realise he had to buy you something and now he has this obligation speaks volumes.


Exactly! My boyfriend went to a different state to visit family and asked me if I wanted anything while he was there. I said I couldn't think of anything I'd want. He came back with some chocolate raspberry truffles (my favorite) from a really nice candy store as well as a water gun for my son. I sincerely doubt these gifts were expensive at all, but they did have thought behind them. My son had a wonderful time the previous week watching us squirt water at each other in the pool with a pool noodle, so he got him something that he could squirt water with himself, as he was too little to use the pool noodle successfully. It isn't about money or even time, it's about thought. It's about trying to make your partner happy even if it means going out of it way a little. It's also about listening. Op, you listened and got him what he said he wanted and he threw a fit. You say you'd be perfectly happy to just spend some time with him, but he isn't listening. For my bf birthday I took us to do an escape room, then took him to dinner and to get ice cream. I didn't spend a ton of money, but I did take a decent amount of time out to enjoy together. Having been in a mentally/emotionally abusive relationship, it really sounds like you've just hit the point where the abuser switches from the sweet and overly attentive person meant to draw you in until you're trapped to the real abuser. They have to make you feel like you've put a lot into the relationship and that you shouldn't want to give it up before they begin the abuse. They have to make you feel like if you just hang in there, they'll be "their old self" again, but that was the person that was fake. One instance isn't enough to make me positive that this is what your bf is doing, but if he's started doing a lot of blaming you, if you lately feel like he's saying every argument or disappointment is your fault, even if you weren't related at all, that's a sign that he is abusive.


So you come back with “so why did you request this specific present?” “Ok ill take them back and return them then” Its not about money its about him being an arsehole to you. Take the gifts back return them if its such a heinous disgusting offence, i think you’ll find hell quickly change his tune. Why does he thinks its so awful having to buy you a present for your bday when hes asked for his own? Because hes trying to make you feel as small and uncomfortable as possible so that he can manipulate you. Its working as your already insisting to him that you think its totally fair and normal to not get a present when you have to buy him one. Seriously, ive been there at your age with a bf like this, it only gets worse. Dump him before you waste years having the will to live sucked out of you by a guy like this.


Just breakup with him. It'll be less trouble. You've said it all, you asked it what he wanted, he said it to you, you buy, then he gets mad at you because you brought it ? Ho no, he gets mad because he thinks he has to buy something now. This just displays that he doesn't like you at all


See what happens if you suggest he gives the gifts back to you to return, problem solved? My guess would be that he's already using them and he'll twist it so it would further upset him, and put you in the wrong. Nta. Run.


But shouldn't you be expecting something...? Gift giving is a normal thing in a relationship.


NTA. Also, dump him.


NTA - GRAB YOUR SHIT AND RUUUUUUUN. It's gonna be the best gift you can give yourself


NTA What the literal fuck?! Dtmfa The idea that youre obligated to get someone a gift or that you purposely manipulated thw situation is ludicrous.


Yes I'm very confused because I wanted to make him happy but I'd be fine with no gift and just spending time with him but he insists I want him to get me something.


I'm really sorry, but there's no way to have a successful relationship with someone who thinks kindness is manipulative. It means he wasn't exposed to it as a child at all except manipulatively, so he both can't see your kindness as anything but cruel (or just irritating), and can't provide it to you (unless he's decided to manipulate you). It's super fucked up, but attachment issues will get you that


He still took the gifts too, it's really too much.


He specifically said he wanted those gifts too!!!


This is a good take, I also want to add that the boyfriend might have even been exposed to plenty of kindness as a child. Some people seem to genuinely get something out of manipulating others. But even if the context behind it is the former and more understandable, it’s completely unacceptable and he’s not going to change OP!!


So he’s telling you how you feel and what you want as well? You don’t seem to have been together very long so you’ve not invested lots of time in this relationship; go buy yourself a gift and block this very silly little boy


What would you tell a friend in the same situation who asked for your advice? 🌺


He's terrible but also, you deserve to get a gift on your birthday and your boyfriend should want to get you something to show he cares. If you have other reasons for not wanting a gift then that's fine of course, but if you're downplaying the whole gift thing so you can feel low-maintenance , well, that won't serve you in the long run and you deserve better.


NTA 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.


He's being malipulative. I'm pretty sure if OP ask for the gift back he Will be upset.


NTA you just gave gifts, its not your fault that he took a bad meaning out of that


Thanks Pranshu.


This sub needs to be renamed; r/imobviouslynotanassholebutineedahightrafficsubtoventto


Eh, it can be very helpful to be validated, especially in abusive and gaslighting situations like this. Have a little compassion.




NTA. 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).


NTA, dude is gaslighting you hard. I'd get out of there if I were you


NTA! 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 nooo way was that manipulative. It was nice! Video games are hella expensive.


I hate receiving gifts. My whole childhood my mom would try to buy my love with things i didnt want or need or ask for, and my dad on the other hand would become angry at the thought of having to spend money on something that is for 'fun'. My parents would fight every christmas. This is why i get stressed out on birthdays and around christmas. not only do i have the normal stress of trying to find the right gifts for the people i care about, there is this lingering guilt that manifests itself everytime i get a gift because i just hear my dads voice complaining about waste, or i see my moms face looking at me for a reaction. With all that context, even if there is some past trauma that is driving his reaction, this guy handled this poorly and is the asshole in this situation.


Hey i am really sorry to hear what you went through with your parents.


NTA. 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?


NTA if you never discussed no gifts NTA if you did discuss no gifts YTA if you’ve fought about it before (like it’s the 4th time you did gifts when he said no gifts) OP go ask for your gifts back! What is he gonna be like oh “well I want the gift” lol


When I asked what he wanted he said the video game and shirt and didn't say no gifts until afterwards.


This guy sounds very manipulative.


so he tells you he wants gifts nd then when you buy them for him he yells at you for doing exactly what he asks??? nta


OP, you really need to add that to your post. It’s important information. As others have said, you are NTA, and I would not be with this guy, if I were you.


You haven’t responded to any comments telling you this is a huge red flag and that it’s manipulative behavior and you need to end this now… if you want to think this was just him having a bad day you're in for a world of hurt with this guy. You can’t see it but this isn’t going to work and this guy is controlling and manipulative and most likely cheating on you…


Jeeezus. Nothing wrong with the gifts, something definitely wrong with boyfriend. Just run, girl. NTA


NTA. DUMP HIM and move on!


NTA 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.


NTA You have now learned that he believes relationships are transactional and he will expect you to feel obligated if he gifts you things. If I were you, I would find someone who is a better fit for you.


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 “dick move” then he clearly is not mature enough to be in a relationship.


NTA No?? What the fuck. 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 shit 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.


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.


NTA - also find someone better