Ask Amy: Wife wonders why gift-giving is her job

Dear Amy: My husband and I have been married for four years. Even before tying the knot, I noticed that his family always contacted me regarding details for birthdays, get-togethers, celebrations, etc.

I am bombarded with messages from his mother, aunts, grandmother and cousins asking if we will be participating in gift exchanges, to please provide gift lists for my husband and myself, to let us know when holiday dinners are taking place, etc.

Amy, my husband is a responsible guy! These are his family members!

Every year, I try to politely (behind gritted teeth) steer these queries toward my husband. Every year I am sought out (ahem, hunted down) for information.

We are both close with each others’ families, but early on decided that he would buy gifts, cards, remember birthdays and anniversaries and such for his family, and I would handle the same for my family. Now I’m handling both.

Am I being too sensitive? Does this happen in other relationships, where the family matter details are delegated to the woman? For the sake of my blood pressure, please help!

Dear Stressed: Yes, this gendered treatment does happen, and yes, you are being too sensitive.

Drop the notion that your husband’s family is only seeking your opinion on gifts because you’re a woman. Consider another, more shocking alternative: they like you.

It sounds like these relatives are reaching out because you are part of their family. Keeping special occasions as his-and-hers events is a bold goal, but I know from experience that it doesn’t work; families are messy, and the sooner you drop the idea that each spouse deals exclusively with their own side, the better.

Before your next special occasion, instead of waiting with gritted teeth for these relatives to contact you, you (and especially your husband) should take the initiative and contact them first. You and he could also basically “switch sides,” with him handling your family stuff, and you handling his, and see how that goes.

Dear Amy: Our daughter is a college graduate, working full time and living at home. She has been with her boyfriend for six years, and while he is a “good guy,” he has few aspirations and life goals. He is a college dropout, and has only worked at menial jobs.

My husband and I feel that she is postponing her dreams because of him, and this concerns us. We’ve gently discussed this with her. Sometimes, she has been receptive; other

Source:: The Denver Post – Lifestyle

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