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Couples split over bad gifts, poll finds

What are these breakup-worthy presents?

By Kristin Wong Nov 13, 2012 4:58PM

Isn't it the thought that counts?

Well, thoughtless or not, a significant number of couples actually split over bad gift giving, according to a new poll.

Photo: Westend61/Getty ImagesThe survey finds that one in six couples have had a full-blown fight over a bad gift, and what's more, one in 20 couples have actually broken up for the same reason.

Related: 50 signs he's not that into you

John Starr Gift Card and Voucher Week, an annual event in November, commissioned the study, which included more than 2,000 men and women. Starr says he found it's mostly men who get gifts wrong. He told MSN's The Heart Beat:

 “It can be a little insulting for women when the person they know best in life hasn’t got a clue what to get them."


But hey, it's not easy on guys, either:

"Even the most thoughtful of presents can be received with caution by women, who seem to assume that with every gift comes a hint."

Related: 20 'annoying' girl things he secretly loves about you

Bad gifting is nothing new, but the surprising statistic is that some couples actually split over poorly thought out presents.  I suppose if a relationship is liable to breakup over a present, the bond wasn't that strong to begin with. Or, maybe the gift was just that bad.

Starr also found that a whopping 80 percent of women think their partner genuinely tries but still gets the gift wrong. Conversely, 21 percent of men say their significant other doesn't get it right, either.

So what are these bad gifts that couples are receiving? Men complained that women have a tendency to buy them clothes and shoes they hate. Women, on the other hand, don't particularly appreciate sex toys or anti-aging products.

As the holidays close in on us, it's easy to get caught up in the materialism of gifting. But lovers, remember -- the greatest gifts are free. As Princess Diana once said: "I don't want expensive gifts … I just want someone to be there for me, to make me feel safe and secure." With that kind of support and love, who cares if you get an occasional bad gift?

But then again, Lady Di probably never got this.

At any rate, here are the top 10 gifts men get wrong, according to the study:

  1. Underwear
  2. Toiletries
  3. Perfume
  4. Kitchen utensils
  5. Cheap jewelry
  6. Chocolates
  7. Shoes or slippers
  8. Vacuum cleaner
  9. Flowers
  10. Exercise clothes or DVD

And the top 10 gifts women get wrong:

  1. Clothes
  2. Cheap gadgets
  3. A man bag
  4. Soft toys
  5. Shoes
  6. Jewelry
  7. Chocolates
  8. A meal out
  9. Aftershave
  10. A framed photo

Photo: Westend61/Getty Images

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Nov 16, 2012 6:40AM

would love to buy a women a gift, never could figure out what they wanted

Nov 16, 2012 5:39AM
One Christmas I had noticed that there were no gifts under the tree from my husband to me.  I had all kinds of crazy thoughts like he bought me a car or something too big to put under the tree.  We had been married only a year and a couple of weeks and I was excited.  My Mom was there Christmas morning when we were opening presents, still no present under the tree to me from him.  Then he excused himself and left the room.  I noticed he picked up some of the paper and boxes and I thought he was throwing out the trash.  Much to my surprise, he came back with the same box he left with.  He handed it to me.  I opened that box and found all of his dingy old underwear,  you know with those brown stains that just don't bleach out.  Wrapped inside was a sample gift set of some perfume I couldn't stand.  I was mortified.  To this day my feelings are hurt.  In retrospect I should have left him but it's 20 years later and he still is as stupid now as he was then.  Hate it.
Nov 16, 2012 4:24AM
they don't make a scale big enough for my old ladies fat ****, don't they stop at 300 pounds?, I laugh every time I see her turn side ways to get thru a 3 foot wide door way, together 38 years and keeps getting bigger, tells me to kiss her **** all the time, I say babe there isn't enough hours in a day to finish kissing one side much the other side 
Nov 16, 2012 2:23AM
What wrong with flowers, unless you give them because you seeing some one else.  Chocolate covered cherry are my favorite. Only thing better is a assault rifle with ammo.
Nov 16, 2012 12:59AM
if that person splits up after you gave them the wrong gift trust me they did you a favor don't let the door hit you were the good lord split you
Nov 15, 2012 11:03PM
My ex-boyfriend would disagree over #8. He broke up with me because I made a very expensive - $ and timewise - four-course gourmet meal at home for his birthday  instead taking him out to dinner.  He had mentioned to me how he gets so tired of eating out all the time for business, so I foolishly thought an intimate dinner at home would be nice. This was in January. For Valentines Day he gave me  flowers he pulled up out of his yard  - dirt, roots and all - and tied them with a ribbon,  and offered me a bag of potato chips,  and didn't give me a card. Thinking he had had a REALLY bad day at the office I gently suggested we order a pizza - my treat -  he finally blurted out how hard he tried to ruin Valentine's Day for me like I ruined his birthday for him. I have been single by choice ever since.
Nov 15, 2012 10:45PM

Guys are easy to buy gifts for... just ask us what we want and we'll be excited to tell you! and bonus: it'll still be a surprise to open because we don't remember anything :^o


Women have trouble receiving gifts sometimes because guys don't "get" all their hints, then when we get it wrong, they psychologically discect the meaning behind the item being given.  The meaning they decipher is the one that makes the worst assumptions about the giver and they're usually waaaaay off and probably just being too sensitive. Or who knows... maybe it's just simply a crappy gift sometimes.


humans are weird.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Nov 15, 2012 9:34PM
One year, my ex asked what I wanted and I told him I wanted a nice fleece throw blanket - any color besides orange because I hate that color. He heard "orange" and ignored everything else I said. So, I got an orange fleece blanket. I dumped him not long after because he never listened to me.
I don't think people break up because of bad gifts. They break up because their partner doesn't take the time to listen or actually care about what they think.

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