Choosing that perfect holiday gift for someone you’re newly dating — whether you’re exclusive or not — isn’t easy. Perhaps you’ve put a lot of thought into what you’re giving your sweetie and are really excited to exchange presents.
So what happens if you open up your gift … and don’t like it?
Right now, you might be thinking, “That would never happen to me.” But when it's actually time to exchange presents,you may feel differently.
One of my husband’s first gifts to me was a massage chair paid … and I didn’t even have a desk chair at the time to put it on (or space for a desk chair in my tiny studio apartment). He told me he wanted me to stress less. My first thought was, “The most romantic thing the man can come up with is something for work?” And then, “OMG he thinks I’m a workaholic!”
Sometimes, we think that a gift is a reflection of us. In our desire to give the gift meaning, we may overthink the thought behind it - like I did.
Part of the problem is that often, our expectation of the gift is pretty high. We think it will make us feel a certain way and if it doesn’t, it’s a disappointment. In the early stages of dating, we look to the gift for proof that the person “gets us.” Or we want their effort to be equal to ours — but how do you measure the effort behind a gift?
Ultimately, presents aren’t a test. Accepting a gift is the practice of receiving.
There aren’t many other times of the year we practice this — particularly in our dating lives — so it might not feel comfortable. We turn down gifts like compliments and offers for help all year long. Because of this, we romanticize the idea of a physical gift, which is where our high expectations originate.
If you’re struggling to find appreciation in the present you’ve received, look to the man or woman behind it. What can you appreciate about them? Your relationship is the true gift.
Laurie Davis Edwards is the founder ofeFlirt, an online dating concierge service, and the best-selling author of "Love @ First Click: The Ultimate Guide to Online Dating."