The Beautiful Watch


IMG_2297My ex-husband, when he was my husband, pretty much never bought me gifts.  I figured that was fine, we were blissfully happy in so many ways, so I just bought myself something nice every birthday and Christmas.  I rationalized it away.

Until we weren’t happy and he was in love with someone else.  Then it was another thing to hold against him.

IMG_2297But…back when we were happy, and as together as two people could be, it wasn’t a big deal.  Not worth making a big deal out of.  And compared to all of the things that were right, what did it matter really?

I did, however, tell him straight up what I wanted.  I told him flat out, a month out from Christmas, what I wanted or needed.  I accepted that ‘he wasn’t good at getting gifts’ or knowing what I wanted, so I told him.  And gave up on the element of surprise.

Still, nine years out of every ten I got a CD by an artist I didn’t even like, after he’d bailed on helping prep for Christmas Eve dinner by running out of the house at 4pm on Christmas Eve, after confessing to me  that he hadn’t bought me anything yet, when we were due at my parents for the traditional German Christmas dinner at 6pm.

Every year, it was the same.  Sometimes he bailed at 3:30pm.

Except one year. The year I wanted a watch. A nice watch. I’d had enough of wearing cheap ass fashion watches, and I wanted a pretty watch, a quality watch. Smart watches weren’t a thing yet, so I found a watch I really liked, and pointed it out to my husband.  It was under $150, not extravagant.

I admit, I watched the credit card for a charge of the same price as the watch.  It didn’t appear.  On Christmas Eve, I went and bought myself the watch.  Like every other year. I wrapped it and put it under the tree.  I really wanted to open a present on Christmas Day, and I wanted it to be that watch.  I loved that watch.

Except this year was different.

Christmas morning there were two boxes with my name on them.  Identical boxes.  One I had bought, one I had not.

Have you ever had your heart sink and soar at the same time?  It was a first for me.

I kept the receipt.  I always did. Optimist.  It was all good.

I hid the watch that I bought, shoved the box behind the pot plant next to the Christmas tree, and pretended it never existed.  But he saw, and we laughed about the fact that I’d bought myself a watch.  I held both still wrapped up packages, and we both knew what was inside each, and it was funny.  We laughed a lot.

Then he said “I hope I got you the right one.”

I unwrapped his gift.  Not the same watch.  Not the watch that I loved. Not the same as the watch that I bought myself.  A completely different watch.  That I didn’t like.  At all.

So I tossed one aside.  It wasn’t what I wanted after all.

I strapped the other one on my wrist, proudly and happily, excitedly showing how happy I was.  I showed him how much I loved the watch he bought me by wearing it with a huge smile, and wearing it every day.

I returned the watch I bought myself a few weeks later.  The ‘beautiful’ watch.

I still have the watch my husband bought me. I wore it every single day for eight years.  I changed the batteries several times and I still wore it when all the fake gold had worn off around the edges.  Just like our relationship.

I don’t wear it anymore.


  1. I understand. I’ve been married for 29 years (yeah, the same guy), and in those 29 years, I have received one gift from him. Just one. The first Christmas we were married, he bought me a brand new Kenmore sewing machine. He said, “I saw how your eyes just lit up when we passed it at Sears, and you talked on and on about how you’d make things…Merry Christmas”. I still have it. I never did make much except some curtains, and put some hem’s in long pants. But I still have it. I wouldn’t part with it for the world. He’s just not a “gift giver”, so like you, I have for years and years, bought my own birthday and Christmas presents. I know what I like 🙂

    Go buy yourself a new watch. A nice one.

    • It’s a smart watch I desire now Melissa, and as soon as it supports my phone, I’m making a purchasing decision :).

      I love the sewing machine story. I would never part with it either! No matter what. And you’re right, when you buy your own gifts, you always get what you want 🙂

  2. I have never bought my wife one darn thing she has not returned. I love it at some level. Sheryl is as frugal as a woman can be. She wants the deal. If I give her a dollar, she is happy, if I give her $100, she is happy. How could that be? She shops the same way to spend one as another.

    She has always been a very cheap date. After 38 years, she still is.

    • That’s the thing Rick, I would NEVER return a gift. I would wear/use/show it off with pride because it was given in love <3. And it then becomes what I love 🙂

      Sounds like you and your wife have worked out what works best for you - a cheap date! LOL! From the comments you've made, I'm quite sure you're a very lucky man. But from knowing you I know she's a very lucky lady too. Best to you both.


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