Here's how to handle it if you don't like a gift given to you by a partner.

If You Don't Like A Gift Your Partner Gave You, Here's How To Handle It

It doesn't have to be *totally* awkward.

Originally Published: 

It's probably safe to assume there isn't a single person on the planet who doesn't like getting presents — especially when it's to commemorate a birthday, anniversary, or holiday. Often, new relationships encourage both partners to put their best foot forward when it comes to gifting, but it can take a bit of trial-and-error to figure out what to give the person you love. Even a partner you’ve been with for years can get you present that doesn’t thrill you, and if you’re not sure how to tell your husband you don’t like his gift, then here’s how handle it.

When you don't like a present your partner gave you, it's easy to feel guilty. After all, it should be the thought that counts, right? Totally — but that also doesn't mean that you should keep quiet about gifts that really aren't your style. Pretending to like something your partner bought you can be tempting for so many reasons — the main one being that no matter how you spin it, you don't want to make them feel disappointed that their efforts didn't put a smile on your face. But as with many other things, feigning satisfaction is a slippery slope, folks. (Orgasms, I'm looking at you.)

VioletaStoimenova/E+/Getty Images

If your boo gives you a pair of Crocs for your anniversary and you pretend to love them, then guess what? You're reinforcing that gift as something you like, and the next time they're ruminating on something to get you, they're going to have a misleading impression of your taste. Needless to say, this could go on forever if you don't bite the bullet and be honest. "If you really abhor the gift (and you know it was expensive), then you must be honest," best-selling author and NYC dating expert Susan Winter tells Elite Daily. "The reason your partner gave you a gift was to make you happy. It's counterproductive to not only waste money but displease you."

It might also be good idea to consider why you're not vibing with the gift, especially if you’re caught up on the amount of money they spent on it (or how much money they didn’t spend). As matchmaker and dating coach Karenna Alexander previously told Elite Daily, “A romantic gift can be bought or made for a small amount of money," says Alexander. "Don't discount love poems, flowers picked from a garden, or art that is homemade." It's important to remember you might not yet have an accurate picture of your SO’s financial situation, and if you truly love each other, then it shouldn't be all that important how much money was spent.

But if you're worried their subpar gifting is a reflection of the fact that they just don't "get you," then you should definitely speak up. How exactly do you navigate that potentially awkward convo? Here’s what the experts have to say.

How Do You Tell A Partner You Don’t Like Their Gift?

According to relationship expert Anita A. Chlipala, LMFT and author of First Comes Us: The Busy Couple's Guide to Lasting Love, considering your phrasing is key. She suggests that "at the beginning of a relationship, and this includes a few years in," try something along these lines: "I appreciate your thoughtfulness and effort in getting me this gift. Thank you. We are still learning about each other and I prefer/like [fill-in-the-blank]. I am not saying this to hurt your feelings, you know I love you and don't want to hurt you, but I think it is important for us to understand each other as we're still learning about each other." That way, your SO will know you’re coming from a good place.

How Do You Avoid Hurting That Partner’s Feelings?

NoSystem images/E+/Getty Images

Both Winter and Chlipala warn against being too critical, and instead, suggest focusing on the type of gifts that are a better fit for you and your personality type. While it's easy to feel superficial for putting emphasis on getting "good gifts," the truth is that this is totally a legitimate way that some people are wired to receive love. "If your top love language is receiving gifts, talk about that," Chlipala says. "People erroneously believe this love language means you're materialistic, but it's not true — it really is the thought that counts." When your partner gives you a thoughtful gift, it’s a sign they value your relationship, and your appreciation may have nothing to do with material gain.

How Can You Encourage A Partner To Shop For Better Gifts?

If you're still worried things will come off wrong, Chlipala recommends giving your SO a positive example of a time they got you something you really appreciated, even if it was small. "Bring up a positive experience with your partner," she says. "'Remember when you got me that pint of cookie dough ice cream because I was having such a bad day at work? That meant so much to me.' You're showing it's not the amount of money spent that matters, but being in tune with each other and thoughtful that matters." Never doubt the power of positive reinforcement.

Being honest about certain things can feel a little awkward, but in the end, open communication needs to be a top priority. Not everyone takes direction super well, but if their heart is in the right place, then they will make noticeable adjustments for the next occasion. Unless it becomes a pattern, try not to dwell on it too much.


Susan Winter, best-selling author and NYC dating expert

Karenna Alexander, matchmaker and dating coach

Anita A. Chlipala, LMFT, relationship expert and author of First Comes Us: The Busy Couple's Guide to Lasting Love

Editor's Note: This story has been updated by Elite Daily Staff.

This article was originally published on