By Amy Alkon
My girlfriend of a year is enormously wealthy and very generous. Despite my protestations, she loves buying me nice clothes and other gifts, and appears to expect little or nothing in return except my love. I have a professional job but much more modest means. There’s no way I can return her generosity in any material sense. How might I be able to give a visible and meaningful sign of my commitment to her? She wears rings on both hands with huge diamonds, and anything I might be able to afford would seem trivial by comparison.
It’s a losing battle, giving jewelry to a woman who prompts thoughts like “Is that a diamond on your finger or have they discovered a new planet and given it to you to wear?”
You’re actually lucky you can’t take the spendy way out. It makes it too easy to drag a duffel bag of cash to the obvious places: the jewelry store, the cashmere store, the handbags that cost more than some compact cars store. These items aren’t exactly horrible gifts, but a better choice is “the gift that keeps on giving,” which, I know, sounds like something you get from drinking the water in Mexico. It actually describes a feeling you give another person — the feeling that she’s loved — through showing her that it means a lot to you to make her happy, and not just on Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and days you’re trying to say you’re sorry for doing something you shouldn’t have.
By truly listening when a woman talks and then using the intel you get to make her life happier, easier, and more fun, you tell her a very loving thing: “I’m paying attention to who you are.” You can say this by going out of your way to pick her up a latte or her favorite snack; by making a $50 book with your photos and captions about all the things you love about her (Shutterfly.com, Apple.com); by sending sweet, funny, 30-second videos you shoot of yourself on your phone; and by fixing things she didn’t realize were unwieldy, uncomfortable, or broken until you made them better. In other words, any guy with a spare $100,000 lying around can buy a woman a ginormous diamond. It takes a really special guy to give her a bag of pinecones (assuming he’s trying to remind her of happy times she spent at her family’s cabin as a kid, and not just getting rid of tree litter he cleaned out of the bed of his pickup).
(c)2012, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol.com (advicegoddess.com). Weekly radio show: blogtalkradio.com/amyalkon