A dating and relationships friend asks,
“My birthday was a few months ago and my boyfriend offered to buy me a new phone. He sent his daughter money for her birthday the previous week but when my birthday came, no phone and said he would give me the money instead. A week later, still nothing. A week after that, he told me he gave his mom money for her birthday, and still no phone. I was very disappointed but I try not to show it. I know he didn’t forget it, he just doesn’t mention it. I figure there were some money issues but that didn’t affect the ability to give gifts to the family. I was very disappointed because in the past he has always kept his promises. Why does this still bother me? I want to forget about it but every time I see him using his phone, I remember his offer to buy me the same one. Is this a red flag of broken promises?”
Comment arrives later,
“To update you Addy, because I really needed a new phone, I went out and bought myself one.”
You cannot know the situation he is in with his mother and daughter. I imagine he is under pressure by his daughter’s jealousy towards you, and felt forced to buy her one, and forgo yours. He’s more than likely grateful that you are mature and level-headed, and may assume you understand his situation.
He may not have had the money to buy everyone a phone, and is embarrassed to talk to you about it. If you take the stance that it’s a red flag, and suddenly put yourself on high alert, you may be hurting your relationship.
Perhaps, you could give him some rope; he will appreciate this in the future. It will show him that you are the bigger person, and will score you points instead of faults. He may surprise you with something in the future. If you criticize him for it, it may hurt him, causing a trigger that results in a reluctance to offering and buying gifts: as in promising gifts equals trouble.
If he does this repeatedly, makes promises then breaks them, then I can see concerning yourself with red flags, but people often make promises they can’t keep for reasons unknown to us, so I wouldn’t consider this something to be highly concerned about.
Seeing your new phone that you bought for yourself is probably making him feel badly enough.