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I've been with this girl for 2 years now. Got to say it's been great for me because I actually love her and I have a feeling she does reciprocate those same sentiments. We moved in together at the end of last year and socially, we are fine. We are both earning our lives well and I even brought her to meet my parents, which is something I rarely ever do unless I am serious about someone.

The thing is though, that I am always the one buying gifts or treating her to surprises. Valentine's day, New Year's eve, date nights, birthday presents, holiday trips, even once at Christmas...you name the occasions. I have always made it a point to please her with something nice. And she LOVES it. The opposite though cannot be said of her. The most she has done is inviting -without me knowing- my closest friends over for my birthday party last year, which to be honest was pretty good. Aside from that, no sweet letter, no little present, nothing. I am starting to get the impression that this relationship might just be a one-sided thing. My assumption is that I see many other couples using those little displays of affection as an intimate and material way to show each other love. All this prompted me to question things internally.

How do I expose those feelings of mine to her without sounding needy of some reciprocated love or flat out stupid?

  • Do you know, whether she learned this ("only boy makes presents, girl only receives presents") from her family and circle of friends? Are there couples around both of you that treat each other more they you're looking for (and whom you could use as examples in the upcoming talk)? – Arsak Jan 2 at 13:20
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    Hey there! Welcome on IPS. We can't tell you whether you're giving too much importance to gifts and whether you're too scared to break something in your relationship; sadly, those are intrapersonal issues that we can't help you with. It'd be glad if you could edit your post to remove those questions and narrow your issue down to how to expose this situation to your girlfriend. Feel free to ask for help if that's unclear. Have a great time among us! – avazula Jan 2 at 14:03
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    Hey, I took the liberty to remove the off-topic questions (because we can't answer them here). Feel free to edit back if the changes doesn't suit you – Ælis Jan 2 at 14:09
  • The question in itself is somewhat of a contradiction. You want to "make" her buy you gifts, yet not sound needy. Yet by trying to "make" her do something, that comes across as needy by itself. I think this is a symptom of a larger problem in your relationship that this question can't address. – baldPrussian Jan 2 at 14:56
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    @baldPrussian I think the use of the work 'make' here does give that impression, but the context of the question seems like it might be how to ASK the girlfriend to reciprocate gifts, rather than actually how to MAKE her or force her. – Meg Jan 2 at 20:48
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You may want to do more reading about the concept of 'love languages'. It seems you want to show and receive love by giving, which is one of them. Check to see if your girlfriend fits any of the others. Maybe she shows her love by touch? Spending lots of time with you? Words? Small acts of service? Maybe she already does one of these and you just don't notice because it's not how you express love?

I would suggest that you ask your girlfriend to take one of the many free online tests available to see which your love languages are together. That can lead into a discussion about how she can make you feel appreciated as well as how you can make her feel appreciated. Love languages, just like Myers-Briggs personality tests and similar things should of course be taken with a huge grain of salt. There is to my knowledge no science behind them. They can however give insight into your though patterns and be a good way to notice which little ways your girlfriend expresses her emotions. Not everyone fits neatly into one category, but it's in my experience a good way to notice what your partner does for you if you have different ways of showing love.

The idea is not to completely change how you show love, but rather to become aware of how your partner shows love so you can feel more appreciated. And so you know how to really make your partner feel loved. If it turns out she prefers words, then you can try to tell her how you feel more often, and she can remember to pick up little gifts for you and organise events to make you feel better in the relationship too.

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