August 7, 2012

Teen Talk: Gifts at 3-month anniversary? Boyfriend, girlfriend disagree

DEAR KELLY: My girlfriend and I just celebrated our three-month anniversary.

DEAR KELLY: My girlfriend and I just celebrated our three-month anniversary.

I had no idea we're supposed to get gifts and stuff. She's my first serious girlfriend, so I had no clue.

When I asked my friends, they said you only celebrate after six months and one year. It was awkward and uncomfortable because my girlfriend showed up with, like, three presents and a serious card about how much she loves me and wants to be together forever.

She was so angry she left my house and didn't talk to me for, like, two days because I was wrong to forget "our day."

I like her and I don't want to break up yet, but she's really mad at me and says that maybe we shouldn't go out anymore if I don't take our relationship as seriously as she does.

I wouldn't cheat on her or lie to her, and don't talk to other girls, but I don't take it so seriously that I celebrate our anniversaries or talk about being together forever and in love because we are only 15.

I know we'll break up someday, so why say "forever" when we know it's not true?

Any advice? Time to break up, even though I like her and we do really get along and have fun when we are together?

Was I that wrong?

– Confused Guy

DEAR CONFUSED: I don't know if it's time to break up but it's definitely time for a serious discussion.

You are correct to see the unrealistic expectation of staying "together forever" at 15. My guess is that she doesn't think it will happen either, but it's something young couples seem to say to each other, knowing the chances are very slim it will ever happen.

You might be taking her "forever" literally while she may just be saying it because it's what everyone else seems to say.

I don't think you were wrong as much as you sound like a 15-year-old guy who just didn't know any better.

I'm not sure if this is a miscommunication or more of a gender issue. Girls seem to take important dates more seriously than guys, so you are in good company for letting the three-month anniversary slip by.

She (and probably most of her girlfriends) saw this as a significant day, and you and your buddies didn't. Nobody is wrong for what they thought the day represented, but I think she was wrong to expect you to see it as she did and buy her presents.

Before you close the book on this relationship, ask her if you can have a talk. Tell her that you like her and that you feel committed to her in the sense you would never cheat or talk to other girls because you know that would hurt her.

Then tell her that you are sorry you didn't know you guys were celebrating your three-month anniversary, and that you're sorry she was so hurt when you didn't honor it the way she did.

Next it is time to talk about how serious you want to be. Perhaps you share that the word "forever" makes you uncomfortable because you know it's a young relationship and "forever" feels more like something you save for someone when you are older.

Maybe you ask her not to use "forever" and just stick to saying you "like" each other instead of saying "love."

Tell her that if you two are to stay together, you need better communication about days she might think are important. Perhaps you agree that if you are together at six months, you will give each other a homemade gift or go on a date to a dinner and a movie.

If she is willing to talk with you and be open to keeping things light and fun in the relationship, you have a chance to keep the relationship because you like spending time with her.

If she gets more upset when you share what you are looking for and how you want to be realistic about the words "forever" and "love," then it's time to shut the door on this relationship. She may be looking for more in a relationship than you are, and it's good you found out before you get too involved.

Honestly, I don't think you are confused at all. You seem pretty self-assured and aware of what feels right and what doesn't.

The next relationship you get into, be sure to talk about these things right from the get-go. Let the next girl know right off the bat that you are saving the word "love" for an older and mature relationship, and that you aren't big on celebrating anniversaries unless it's for six months or one year. Offer what you can: honesty, trustworthiness and faithfulness.

That should be enough.

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