Should one share a gift with others?

Maya asks:

Hey Shirelle 
Are relationship gifts meant to be shared? 
For instance say I am in a relationship.  My boyfriend buys me something for our Anniversary, then I permit my sister wear it, or maybe she takes it without asking me, and I am like, very okay with sharing it. Tell me Shirelle, what are your tips when it comes to buying and giving out gifts, like are they meant to be shared with others?  Because I believe the significant other won’t feel good about it.  What do you think?

Hi Maya –

I love sharing, and I love even more when things are shared with me, like whatever Handsome is eating!

But of course, people take gifts very seriously, especially when a lot of thought and emotion has gone into them.  And even thought the gift is arguably “given,” some gifts are actually requests.  The easiest example of this is a wedding ring – if I give you one, and you accept it, you’re giving me yourself in marriage.  And I’d sure be bothered to see you re-gifting it to someone else!!  (Don’t worry, I’m not actually proposing to you; I’m fully committed to Handsome.  But hey you could do worse – Handsome tells me I’m quite a catch!)

On the other hand, if I gave you, say, a book, and you let your sister borrow it, that probably wouldn’t bother me at all.  And even if I had given you a wedding ring, I’d probably be honored to see your friends try it on and see how beautiful it was, and tell you how lucky you were to have me, “Oh Maya, you got the best dog EVER as a spouse!”

Now with your question, this is a tough one.  I’m sure your boyfriend would be bothered if you actually gave his gift to your sister.  That would seem very insulting.  But to let her borrow it – maybe he’s fine with that, I don’t know. 

I think the best thing would be for you to ask him what he thinks is best.  But – and here’s my main advice here – ask it in a very specific way.  Tell him how beautiful it is, and how much it means to you.  And then say that it’s so beautiful that your sister really wants to borrow it and wear it to something special.  But, while you want to make your sister happy, it’s more important to you that he be okay with it. 

Do you see what I’m doing here?  Instead of letting her wear it and making him feel unimportant, you’d be telling him just how important it is to you, how special.  Because that’s what matters most.

I have a funny story that deals with this.  When Handsome was a teenager, he was dating a girl whose parents didn’t trust him with her, and especially her father didn’t like him much at all – just because Handsome was dating his daughter.  For her birthday, Handsome baked a cake for the first time, and it came out pretty awful – one side rose but the other didn’t, some was fluffy some was almost liquid.  He tried to fix it by adding extra icing on the one side, and it didn’t work.  But of course it still tasted okay – it just looked lousy.  He brought it to her, with many apologies, and took her out for the evening.  And when they got back to her house… they found that her parents had eaten half of it!  Was he upset that his gift had gone to someone other than his beloved?  No way – he was thrilled!  Their eating the cake made him feel more accepted by them than he ever had before! 

So there’s no single answer.  Try my words with your boyfriend, and I imagine all will become clearer.

And if you think of it, send me a photo of what he gave you!  I’d love to see it!



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