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He always buys me presents

Solve your life dilemmas with expert advice from Maura O’Neill

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Frequent presents aren’t necessary

Frequent presents aren’t necessary

Frequent presents aren’t necessary

Dear Maura: I think my marriage only works when my husband buys me things. We married late in life — three years ago.

I’m 58 and he’s 65. There’s a lovely bond between us and we have a lot in common career wise, which is how we met. Passion is part of the relationship and sex is good but infrequent.
That doesn’t bother either of us. We like going to expensive restaurants and away for weekends and it’s great that we can do all of that again. We’ve had a few awkward times with the pandemic which in a way gave me a chance to step back and see what this marriage is all about. He buys me presents for no reason and I know, what am I complaining about? But part of me feels it’s forced. I want him to just relax and stop working on ways to make me happy. I am happy, but he doesn’t seem to get that.
We’ve bought into a lifestyle that we both enjoy, and he operates at this level. If you feel down, go out and buy something. It’s tricky because I don’t necessarily want to change him, but just tweak him a bit without making him guess his every move.
Answer: This man of yours is certainly intense, but he means well. Maybe this is just his personality.

However, his habit is an issue for you and before it seriously affects your marriage you will need to talk this out. Going by your description of him, I think this is just part of who he is.
You could explain that it’s enough for you to just be together, in a nice restaurant, an evening of conversation and flirting with no present in sight. You just need his company.

That’s the best gift he can give you, a bit cheesy I know, but maybe emphasise this. Is this his first marriage?

Maybe he lacks confidence and feels that spending money is the way to stay in a woman’s heart. Be gentle with him.

Boyfriend refuses to talk about family

Dear Maura: I’m with my boyfriend three months. He’s told me from the start that he never wants to talk about his family. All he said was that something sad happened when he was 16, he’s 24 now and he’s never talked about it.

We met his brother one night and he seemed a lovely lad, chatty and friendly. I wish I never heard that there’s a situation in his family because all I can think of now is what could have happened. I thought if I got to know his brother a bit better,

I could talk to him. It’s a lot to ask someone who is getting close to you. I don’t need to know everything.

Why did he say this in the first place? Can this relationship develop if there’s a secret or whatever you’d call it?

Answer: Your boyfriend’s instinct is to protect the past. This is embedded in him and is an automatic response to meeting anyone new.

For the moment I don’t think you can go anywhere near this part of his life and certainly don’t talk to his brother. Over time he may feel comfortable to open up to you.

I think he needs to see a therapist to work through this pain. You will have to let him take everything at his own pace and decide if this is a relationship you want.

Email your problems to

  • Dr Angela Brokmann dr.angela@sundayworld.com
  • Maura O’Neill maura.oneill@sundayworld.com

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