I have a conundrum. I apologize if the post is garbled but it's hard to put this stuff into a good order.

My girlfriend is expecting and encouraging me to get her dad a gift on Father's Day. We've been in a relationship for three months but have known each other for years. I brought her mother flowers on the Saturday before Mother's Day since we were going out to dinner together to celebrate her brother's college graduation. I think flowers are different from a gift, a NY Giants spatula in this case. She has already picked out a funny coffee mug for my dad.

So... what do I do? Go with the flow? Resist? Because it feels downright weird to me and slightly inappropriate because I am not his son nor will I be anytime soon. She is definitely a keeper and I do care about her a lot but it's only been three months and the "L word" has not been said.

Any help is most appreciated. Thanks.

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It feels weird to me too.  I think a good answer might be, "That feels weird and inappropriate -- as if I were trying to get on his good side.  I don't want to send that message."

Or you could let the "gift" be that you and she take him (and presumably her mother) out to eat:  shows generosity, but doesn't feel like a bribe.

Does she participate in any other gift-giving to non-relatives for Mother's Day and Father's Day (at the office? at church?)?

3 months does seem soon, etc., etc., but gift-giving and holidays are major areas where otherwise similar families can have very different customs. For example, my in-laws give cards for many occasions for which my family gives gifts, including Mother's Day and Father's Day. My family hardly ever gives cards.

It sounds like you're looking at pretty small amounts. Even 3 months into a relationship, these are the kinds of things my family would be giving and receiving just-because (or because we like shopping) or for whatever holiday comes up next. It sounds like your girlfriend might be like the women in my family, in which case, her father knows the deal (that the gift is really from her), and I'd recommend just rolling with it.

[OTOH, my now-husband gave me a pair of earrings when we first started dating that I physically can't wear. Now, a couple years later, I said I was going to give them to someone who could use them. He told me they were actually from his mother, and we'd better keep them. So the father could be clueless like me.]

Sounds weird.

I've been married over a decade (and dated my now-wife for nearly 5-years before that) ... and I've never bought my wife's parents gifts for father's/mother's day.  They're not my parents or the mother of my kids ... so I don't see why I ought to.  Actually, I don't even personally buy them gifts for Christmas or birthdays ... my wife does, from our whole family.  Father's/Mother's day gifts aren't even designated as from the family, though.

Maybe its just a "so, that's how it is in their family" sort of thing.  Talk to her.  Tell her that's not how you've done things, and so you're a bit uncomfortable with it.  If she's hellbent on it, let her pick something and put your bloody name on it (preferably along with hers).

The dinner idea ain't terrible ... though I'd still just rather take them out for dinner for no reason at all than to actually take him out for father's day.  Its like taking my friends' wife out for Valentine's Day.  Yeah, its a hallmark holiday.  Yeah, she qualifies to celebrate it.  Yeah, she ought to go out.  But ... not with me.


You did set a precedent with the flowers the day before mothers day. I know that there was another event not directly related to mothers day but a connection could be made. If the spatula isn't really expensive or at a similar price to the flowers. . . it follows the precedent. Now a big screen TV would be out of the question. It also (maybe falsely) give the impression that you know something or understand something about her dad. And, everyone likes to  be appreciated.

This seems weird to me too.  He's not your father, nor is he likely to be your father-in-law anytime soon.  Picking up the tab or buying him a drink could be passed off if you and your lady were out with him, but a gift seems very strange at this point in the relationship.

Thanks for the quick feedback, everyone.

I spoke to mom and she leaned to the no gift but then I spoke to my dad and leaned to yes. I don't think there is a right or wrong answer here, but to do what I feel is right... kind of. I feel that I shouldn't but my girlfriend feels otherwise and many things come down to her. It's not that big of a deal and not a big gift ($25). I'm gonna give him the gift. As my girlfriend said, it's good to have more points and the more with her dad, the better.

Now... how to wrap it...

Tissue paper and a box. It's really the only way to do it nicely, and I've tried others.

That sounds good, thanks.

Does he enjoy a drink?  How about getting a six pack of good craft beer or a bottle of scotch or something, then sit down and have a drink with him while you watch the game or grill some brats or something.



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