Dig Baton Rouge

The Bitter Lemon

By Holly A. Phillips

“I know presents tend to be a big part of the holidays. With him, I thought if we exchanged gifts, it would solidify our relationship.”

Given that there’s a giant, decorated tree at the end of my street, and bins of cinnamon pinecones at my neighborhood market, it would seem the holidays are here.

I’ve only spent one Christmas with a boyfriend. We’d been together for three years, and had yet to take things seriously – we hadn’t exchanged gifts.

It was about this time of year (many years ago) when I suggested we buy presents for each other. He liked the idea, and asked me to make a list.

I asked for a necklace, an oversized watch, and Mignon Faget’s Single Knot ring. I was giving him options.

I knew exactly what I wanted to get him: one of those single-blade, old fashioned razors and a nice shaving kit. I ordered it off Amazon, and was so excited when it came in the mail.

One night, on the phone, he mentioned that he hated shaving every morning. He wanted an electric razor so it would be a quick, mindless chore.

I was silent.

“What’s wrong?” he asked.

I told him what I got for him, and he let out a chuckle.

“You got me exactly what I didn’t want,” he said. Even so, he assured me he would love it.

But, I wanted him to be happy. So, I sent my original razor back, and ventured to the mall in search of an electric one.

I found a nice one, wrapped it, and placed it under my tree.

We exchanged gifts on Christmas Eve – he’d gotten me the ring, not bothering to wrap it, as it was in its original store bag.

“I looked at your list and went with the most expensive item on it,” he said, proudly.

On Christmas, I went with him to his parents’ house and met them, along with his sister and her husband for the first time.

I was wearing my new ring, but it was as if his family had never even heard of me.

We broke up four months later – it was the worst breakup I’ve ever had. I was devastated.

As with any breakup, I threw out everything that reminded me of him (down to his cans of Coke in my fridge).

And then there was the ring. I didn’t want to throw it away, but I also didn’t want to keep it.

So, I posted it for sale on eBay.

Coincidentally, it sold to a woman right in Baton Rouge. I made $80 on it, and I used the money to buy a completely sexy pair of high-heeled, grey suede thigh-high boots.

About a year ago, I ran into him at Ruffino’s. I was wearing the boots I’d bought with the ring money, and it was empowering.

Well, until I found out he was a week away from getting married.

I know presents tend to be a big part of the holidays, and I love a lavish gift just like the next person. With him, I thought if we exchanged gifts, it would solidify our relationship.

As cheesy as it sounds, I can’t help but wonder how I would have felt if he’d just told me he loved me that Christmas.

It would have been something genuine, instead of all the list-making and stressful shopping. After all, I could’ve bought the thigh-high boots on my own.

Read more about dating during the holidays on Holly’s blog, TheBitterLemon.com.

Giving Gifts

Handling Presents in a Relationship:

1. Get a Clue: Decide if you’re exchanging gifts or doing something else to celebrate (such as cooking dinner for each other).

2. Start Looking: Avoid the gift list, if possible, and hunt for a meaningful gift.

3. Wrap With Love: Present your gift with a bow (and a kiss) and remember to thank your partner for their gift, too.


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