Valentine’s Day― the most Hallmark of Hallmark holidays ― is synonymous with inflated expectations and overpriced everything. But you don’t have to shell out a lot of money to make your S.O. feel loved; a small, thoughtful gesture goes a long way.
Unfortunately, even that’s too much to ask for some people. Below, readers share the very worst Valentine’s Day gifts they’ve ever received from an ex.
1. “He paid to get the brakes in my Jeep fixed. Then, when he found out it needed more parts, he gave me the rest of the bill.” ― Sara S.
2. “A $100 gift card to a spa filled out and dated two years before we met ” ― Carey V.
3. “He bought me and one of my best friends almost identical presents. He had had a crush on her for years.” ― Heather B.
4. “The worst gift my ex ever gave me on Valentine’s Day was nothing. Normally, it wouldn’t matter, but a week before Valentine’s Day, my ex told me that every other man she had been with exchanged gifts and we must do the same. I got her a gift and when she didn’t have one for me she said, ‘I forgot.’” ― Matt S.
5. “A Bible and a lecture about how I had been dressing ‘inappropriately’ by wearing anything relatively form-fitting.” ― Diana B.
6. “My ex had promised I would love my gift. ‘It’s something we can do together,’ he said. I knew it had to be a trip. That night he presented me with an envelope over a romantic dinner. I opened it expecting to see two plane tickets fall out. What fell out was a receipt for a one-year paid membership to a gym. There’s only one thing to say when you get a gift like that on Valentine’s Day: Bye.” ― Amy K.
7. “A weekend getaway with her brother and his wife. She didn’t have a good relationship with her brother and thought that a weekend with all four of us would be good for her. Needless to say, the narcissistic gift of 60 hours imprisoned with the two of them was horrible for me and for her brother’s wife! Misery loves company.” ― Bill D.
8. “He took his single ‘friend’ out for dinner and a movie on Valentine’s Day. Worked out well for them. They’re now engaged.” ― Deanna G.
9. “One year my ex completely neglected to make any plans or get any cards, flowers of gifts. I assumed the lack of any acknowledgment all day meant there was a big surprise coming later. Walking in our neighborhood gourmet market, bombarded with chocolates, decorations and cards, he grabbed a card, bought it and handed it to me, unsigned. In the checkout line.” ― Abby K.
10. “Valentine’s Day was his birthday, so it was ‘his’ day. Ten years with him, I didn’t get anything.” ― Gianna K.
11. “A portrait of myself and our dog. His heart was in the right place but the painting was awful. I looked like a linebacker with some kind of ’80s new-wave hairdo gone wrong. My ex wanted to hang the picture over the fireplace but there was no way that was happening. I finally let him hang it in our bedroom, where I got to sleep under my own creepy gaze for several years. I used to joke that I would have to burn the house down to get rid of the thing because I would never be able to sneak it into the trash.” ― Trish S.
12. “Definitely not a bouquet of flowers. Instead, I received a big fat seed of doubt when the mailman delivered a card to my husband sent by another woman.” ― Lisa F.
13. “A bow and arrow. He wanted me to go hunting with him… for Valentine’s Day. I should’ve known.” ― Carla E.
14. “A waffle maker. A waffle maker on its own isn’t a terrible gift except I don’t like waffles. We’d been together for five years and had eaten breakfast together hundreds of times and I’d never ordered waffles — ever. He never made me waffles, which was fine since I don’t actually like them, but the kicker? I found out a couple of weeks later he’d won the waffle maker at a work fundraiser. Needless to say, we are no longer together.” ― Julie S.