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Me and my wife have been married for about four and a half years now and have a two year old. We have been having one ongoing issue which has been driving me nuts and it is this - I am not great at giving surprise gifts while for her it is everything. On her first birthday after we got married she was expecting something right after waking up in the morning but I got something for her around lunch time and it was nominal - a cake and some flowers. We had a huge argument later that day - she basically started questioning my love for her and our marriage, accusing me of being cheap. In my defense, I did what I knew while she was comparing this with what she saw her female friends get who, btw, made every effort to highlight how little she got in comparison to what their partners gave her.

Then a month or so before our first anniversary, she started getting anxious. I remember her basically telling me she's seeing all her friends on Instagram getting a grand experience from their husbands and she's not sure what's going to happen. I made grand arrangements - a custom cake, dinner, photoshoots, a scrapbook of our one year memories, a short cruise and so on. The day comes around and she starts crying and getting mad at me again because she doesn't have anything good to wear for the photoshoot. Plus she now says I did all of this just to avoid an argument and not because I really liked her.

Then half a year later her birthday rolls around, I have a gift for her and book a dinner together while also placing a request for a cake to be brought to our table without notice. The waiter turned out to be a a*hole - he basically came up to us after we sat and said "should I just bring the cake now?" Surprise spoiled. And guess what - right next to us we had another party of four who had their waiter bring out a cake with candles without any prompting. WTF. We come home and have an argument till well past midnight. Basically she was expecting me to make up for it somehow without her prompting her and I had no idea how. Basically she would drop a hint and then when I tried to do something she would get angry and threaten me not to do it because it's no longer a surprise. Then, I would do nothing and she would get pissed again dropping a hint. Imagine this loop continuing for half a dozen times.

Fast forward 4 years and I can recount a dozen occasions like the one above. It has now gotten to a point where I am dammed if I do or don't If I don't I don't give her surprises and if I do, it's because she asked me to, because I want to avoid arguments and not because I love her. Once it was a real surprise, but then she looked up the price of the gift and started complaining it wasn't expensive enough. Once when I ordered something from amazon, she received a notification because she has her number listed on the account as well and that spoiled the surprise. So next time, I create a new account and order something she said she wanted. When she got it she said it was going to be that bracelet because she mentioned it before.. so no surprise.

It has gotten to a point where she says she is now going to give me a last chance to give her a surprise to bring a closure to everything and I better not blow it. And the gift better be a heart stopping one. I am lost I don't know what to gift her which meets all of her expectations. There is now anticipation and tension in the air and it's only getting worse.
 

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So. she is wrecking your marriage over surprise presents? Entitled much? She sounds pretty spoiled.
It wasn't your fault the waiter blew it -- so why did YOU have to bear the brunt of it?

I would tell her that this whole surprise present thing is getting ridiculous and is destroying the intimacy you have for her.
Nobody needs stress like this over a PRESENT for God's sake.

It's not like you forgot the dates or got her nothing.

What crazy wonderful thing did she get YOU for your birthdays or anniversaries?
 

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Yeah, I have to agree here. She sounds spoiled rotten. She also seems immature, like she's playing games, specifically the "if he really loved me, he'd just know what to do" game. You can't read her mind, and most men don't do well with hints, since they think differently than women do.

I'm guessing her top love language is gifts, but she has unrealistic expectations.
 

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I can’t relate to your wife at all, I wish everyone would forget my birthday and I could pretend I’m 30 something until I die.

Can you call one of her spoiled friend’s husbands and get some advice here? That’s so much pressure to put on a guy. I feel bad for you.
 

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Easy ones if you have cash are trips. Book a trip and don’t tell her. Get business class tickets and a five star hotel. To make it really surprising let her know she has only an hour to pack and you have a car showing up to take you to the airport. Hire a good car like a Lincoln town car not a generic Uber. Tell the hotel it is a surprise for your wife and they need to book a spa treatment for her and have it on the books already pre-taken care of. Have champagne waiting in the room.

If that doesn’t work I’d be shocked.
 

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Easy ones if you have cash are trips. Book a trip and don’t tell her. Get business class tickets and a five star hotel. To make it really surprising let her know she has only an hour to pack and you have a car showing up to take you to the airport. Hire a good car like a Lincoln town car not a generic Uber. Tell the hotel it is a surprise for your wife and they need to book a spa treatment for her and have it on the books already pre-taken care of. Have champagne waiting in the room.

If that doesn’t work I’d be shocked.
Why, why should he play into her game?

Honestly, she sounds like some crazy, twisted, malevolent queen.

Why should that be rewarded with a TRIP?
 

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It has gotten to a point where she says she is now going to give me a last chance to give her a surprise to bring a closure to everything and I better not blow it. And the gift better be a heart stopping one. I am lost I don't know what to gift her which meets all of her expectations. There is now anticipation and tension in the air and it's only getting worse.
Bloody hell.

While I was reading this, I just felt she's likely incredibly insecure to not be able to accept your loving gestures for what they are, and some fear that extends within her friend group of not being good enough. Almost like she needs convincing that she deserves this... I don't mean the surprises and gestures, I mean deserving of love. I wonder what her birthdays were like growing up? Whether she was made a fuss of, or if it was the complete opposite and she's looking for you to fill a void that's within her. Or perhaps she has lived in a bit of a bubble and these demands are a result of that.
 
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I agree not to be complicit in trying to put together an incredible surprise. I'd likely try to understand at a deeper level what this is really all about - or do you have insight to this already?
 

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Curious... where you've had fall-outs, is she posting photos on instagram?
 
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This has less to do with you, then her.
Obviously..

Her inner critic is brutal and it lashes out at you.

@heartsbeating mentioned her childhood, I suspect this is where she learned this behavior. She did not receive much positive reinforcement (then) and it damaged her.

What was her mother like? Weak or very demanding?

Was her father absent?

She is extremely insecure and her social anxiety is off the charts.

Your wife is immature and is locked down by peer pressure. This is the stuff of adolescence.

She needs individual counseling, or she will suffer divorce at her own hands.
 

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She needs to stop comparing her life to others and be thankful for what she has. I feel for you, what an entitled spoilt person she is. Trouble is that you married this hgh maintenance impossible to please woman and must have known what she was like.
 

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Just trying to help him out here. Maybe her love language is receiving expensive surprise gifts. :devilish:

FWIW my wife absolutely hates surprise gifts and I like giving them.
Who cares if she likes expensive surprise gifts? That " like" of hers doesn't excuse the absolute crap way she treats her husband (who is actually providing gifts-- it's not like he's not putting in thought and effort).

She's got him dancing like a puppet on puppet strings, emotionally.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Easy ones if you have cash are trips. Book a trip and don’t tell her. Get business class tickets and a five star hotel. To make it really surprising let her know she has only an hour to pack and you have a car showing up to take you to the airport. Hire a good car like a Lincoln town car not a generic Uber. Tell the hotel it is a surprise for your wife and they need to book a spa treatment for her and have it on the books already pre-taken care of. Have champagne waiting in the room.



If that doesn’t work I’d be shocked.


This sounds like a good idea but there is also a good chance it ends up in disaster. Here's what can happen ... she'll complain there isn't enough time to get ready, that she doesn't have proper clothes. Without these the pictures won't come out good. Plus she has hormonal issues resulting in facial hair and without a visit to the spa the pics will be an absolute disaster. I remember we were once due to go on a long 500 mile road trip with me as the sole driver and I remember telling her I want to sleep early and well the evening before. She wakes me up at 9PM and insists we go wardrobe shopping because she doesn't have anything to wear (not true and even if it was, she should have acted the weekend prior). We fought long and hard until 1AM when we decided we'll just stop by the next morning before starting. Apparently she just wanted this assurance from me.

Anyway, I want to make this work so I'll still try this out but it hurts me greatly when it ends up bitterly after all my efforts
 

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Read “No More Mr Nice Guy” by glover and apply it. It’s a free pdf and short.

You are teaching her how she can treat you. Why in the hell would you keep rewarding her for bad behavior? It’ll just get you more of what you’ve been getting.

Stop doing the pick me dance.
 
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