Cornered by Love

The Navigator

Q:  I am currently seeing a girl but we are not in an exclusive relationship.   Her birthday is coming up and I have no idea if I am expected to get her a gift.  She has mentioned it a few times so I feel like she is expecting me to do something. I’m hesitant because I’m not ready for a relationship and gift giving feels like something a boyfriend would do.

A:     You seem to be walking a fine line and I can understand your confusion.  Trying to decide about what behavior is expected in a nonexclusive relationship can be tricky and complicated.
I am going to assume that by “seeing” you mean that you are hooking up with this girl and trying to avoid relationships all together right now.  If that’s the case, then gifts for special occasions would depend on the length of time you have been hooking up.

If it’s been less than 3 months, then I would say avoid giving her a gift altogether, or if you’re feeling generous or see a future with her, then a cute card should suffice.
Once you have past the 3-month mark, things can get even more complicated.  By that time, most girls will absolutely be expecting a gift.  She may also be expecting a relationship so be careful what you choose.  Don’t spend too much money, no more than $30, and keep the gift as unromantic as possible.  Maybe give her some scented lotions, or even some accessories for her cell phone depending on her personality.

Understand that certain gifts send messages to girls and if you give her a gift that is really unattached, like a ballpoint pen, she will probably realize that you are not interested in ever becoming her boyfriend.  That would likely open a whole new can of worms.

Now, if you’ve been hooking up for more than 6 months, its probably time to either take the next step or call it quits if your still not ready for a relationship.  By that time emotions are likely involved and special occasions can get really awkward and confusing.  Most girls would appreciate you moving on and not wasting any more of her time on a dead end situation.
The best advice I can offer is to be honest with yourself and with her about what you expect out of this relationship.  It will save you both from a lot of potential drama in the future.

Good luck!