Dear Barb—On Occasion

Dear Barb:

Well, another Valentine’s Day and nothing from my sweetie.  We have been together five years and get along great.  If I ever do get married, Jay will be the one for me.  The only thing is he is not sentimental and doesn’t honor any special occasions.  I am not sure why he is like that, but it bothers me. 

He will come home with flowers for no occasion and often brings me a small gift, like earrings, but nothing on birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, or anniversaries.  I have tried to talk to him about it, but he says that is just the way he is.  I feel bad when I my friends with their flowers and chocolates.  Do you think this is something worth making a big deal about, or should I just accept the fact that he is this way? Looking for direction, thanks, Emma. 

Hey Emma:

I hope you had a good Valentine’s Day despite not receiving the traditional gifts.

I will offer some information about how Valentine’s Day came to be, although most information is cloaked in mystery.  One legend has recorded that Saint Valentine was a bishop from the third century A.D.  who performed weddings for couples who were forbidden to legally marry.  Emperor Claudius II wanted to recruit men for his army, forbidding them from marriage, as he believed marriage would be a deterrent for men to join his army.  When he discovered that Saint Valentine was performing these marriages, he sent him to jail.

While in jail Valentine continued to spread the love that he said Jesus had wanted him to.  Eventually Emperor Claudius grew to like Valentine and offered to pardon him and release him from jail if he would renounce his Christian faith and worship the Roman Gods.  Valentine refused and was sentenced to die.  He was beaten and beheaded on February 14th.  As a result, his loving ways were remembered and celebrated every year on February 14th.  – Quite the story.

You and your boyfriend have been together for 5 years and your relationship is still good although he does not believe in gift giving.  So obviously you have learned to live with this and accept it.  I would suggest you not make a big deal about it at this point.  However, you can still celebrate these occasions by presenting gifts to your boyfriend.  It is possible that at some point he may reciprocate.  As you said your boyfriend brings you small gifts, so you know he is thinking of you and cares deeply.  Sometimes we must choose what is important in life.  Enjoy your day Emma and thanks for writing.

Email your questions to Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality; your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.