How to Buy Gifts for a Boyfriend

Buying gifts for a GUY is hard enough. Buying one for a relationship where things are uncertain can be impossible.

  • What do you get a man for Valentine's Day after the third date?
  • What do you get if he just said "I love you"?
  • Do you buy a man something for the holidays if you just went on the first date?

We have some great ideas to help you buy gifts for the different stages of a relationship. The 'gifting matrix' at the end of the page should get you started.

Boyfriend Stages

Each relationship goes through stages as it develops. The timing varies from couple to couple. Some relationships move at lightning speed. Some take months or years to move along. The key is to know where you're at so you can make the right gifting decision.

  1. Initiation
    "This stage occurs when you first meet someone. It's exchanging pleasantries and facts about yourselves. It’s the brand-new "getting to know you" stage."
    • Gifts are simple, inexpensive, thoughtful
  2. Experimentation
    "During experimentation, you dig deeper into the interests and values of the other."
    • Gifts are thoughtful and a little more involved
  3. Intensifying
    "This stage is sometimes called the "bliss" stage. The reason for this is because things are starting to become more serious and intense. You have found out enough about each other that you now want to share more deep and intimate information about yourself with the other person. Feelings start to develop and there is excitement about being in the relationship."
    • Gifts are expected for most occasions and usually say something about the relationship
    • Gifts might be more intimate
  4. Integration
    "You will start to blend your lives together. You develop routines and habits as a couple. Your family and friends also start to recognize you as a unit. In other words, you have gone from "me and you" to "us.""
    • Gifts may be shared
    • Gifts are expected for all occasions
  5. Bonding
    "The bonding stage is when real commitment tends to happen. Both of you are very sure of the bond you share, so you will either move in together or get married. Everyone has their own way of showing bonding, but regardless, this stage involves some formal commitment in the eyes of society."
    • Gifts are expected
    • Gifts might have mutual benefit

Gifting Occasions

The gift occasion creates a unique challenge for couples. How do you know what to get for a holiday? or a birthday? Each event has a 'theme' you can focus on.

  • Anniversary
    An anniversary is about the couple and might represent a month together, a year together or a decade together. The longevity of a relationship will definitely impact the type and price of your gift.
  • Birthday
    A birthday present is all about the GUY. Often, it's the thought that counts and price isn't super important.
  • New Year's
    New Year's gifts are a celebration. They're a reason to rejoice and have a great time.
  • Valentine's Day
    A Valentine's gift is typically a romantic focus on the couple. This one can be tricky if your relationship is uncertain.
  • April Fool's Day
    This might be the funnest gift. Find something creative that doesn't put your partner in danger.
  • Father's Day
    Celebrate a man for his awesome roll as a father. Get him a gift he enjoys or something that can connect the him to the kids.
  • Halloween
    Your gift is likely costume related. Either go as a couple or find something creative to do solo.
  • Thanksgiving
    Thanksgiving is about sharing time together and eating food. You can't go wrong focusing on the food.
  • Christmas
    The Christmas holiday is the most versatile gift giving holiday. It can be a challenging one for couples. However, you may be able to focus on Christianity or the holiday season to be safe.

Stage/Occasion Matrix

The timing of birthdays, holidays and other special occasions can really put you in a bind while you wonder if you should get a gift and what kind of gift to get. The earlier on in the relationship you are the more confusing it might be.

Use this matrix to help give you some ideas. Figure out where your relationship is and then find a gift to match.

  Initiation Experimentation Intensifying Integration Bonding
New Year's          
Valentine's Day          
April Fool's Day          
Father's Day          


The key in any relationship is to send a caring message with your gift without miscommunicating.

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3 Most reviews are based on personal experience from one of our content editors. Some are based on research and the opinions of other reviewers.

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