Can giving your significant other an undesirable gift impact the relationship? Research says yes, if the person receiving the gift is a male.
Men felt less similar than the gift giver when the giver was both a new acquaintance or a significant other. The receipt of an undesirable gift also negatively impacted the men’s view of the relationship.
Women, on the other hand, saw no change in similarities when they received an undesirable gift from a new acquaintance. However, when the undesirable gift was received from a significant other, the perceived similarities and view of the relationship increased. It is suggested that this occurs because women feel the need to guard the relationship, even when they do not do so intentionally.
Women reported that they too believed that receiving an undesirable gift would impact their view of the relationship in a negative way, just like the men.
They were wrong!
Dunn, E. W., Huntsinger, J., Lun, J., & Sinclair, S. (2008). The Gift of Similarity: How Good and Bad Gifts Influence Relationships. Social Cognition, 26(4), 469-481. doi:10.1521/soco.2008.26.4.469
Crystal Henson, MA