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Dilemma: I resent the Christmas gifts my wife gets from her boss

Jo Brand / 16 November 2018

A reader is fed up of his gifts comparing unfavourably with the gifts his wife receives from her richer boss. What will Jo Brand make of it all?

A man watches his wife open a Christmas present with a grumpy expession

Dilemma: I resent the gifts my wife gets from her boss at Christmas

My wife is a PA to a high-flying executive. For the past few years he’s bought her an expensive gift at Christmas – jewellery or a high-end fashion accessory.

On one occasion the gift obviously cost a lot more than the present I gave her, which gave my self-esteem a bit of a knock.

I’m not the jealous type (maybe I should be!), but it irks me and makes me feel something of a ‘poor relation’.

How can I get him to temper his generosity?


How to cope with jealousy in a relationship

Jo Brand's advice

Oh dear… where should I start with this?

One would like to think that your wife appreciates the thought that has gone into getting her a present (you), rather than the amount of money it has cost (boss). You do not say what her reaction is to the very expensive gifts. If she is a nice person, and I am assuming she is, it is highly unlikely she prefers his gift to yours even if one cost 200 quid and the other £27.50.

You are on dodgy ground thinking that you should somehow try to influence the amount of money the boss spends on her, and it will be hugely noticeable if last year’s luxury wristwatch is replaced by a novelty pinny.

If you can possibly manage it, step back from the somewhat jealous attitude you seem to have: that you need to best every other man who gives presents to your wife. He is her boss, for heaven’s sake, not her lover!

I would also suggest that you don’t try to change things, and make your wife feel guilty, because you resent the boss’s wealth. Why not let her enjoy her expensive Christmas gift, but truly appreciate yours?

I know what would ruin my Christmas: a husband barely disguising his resentment when I want to enjoy a gift from someone for whom I’ve worked very hard.

Be the better man, put those less than generous feelings aside and have a happier Christmas!


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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