Dear Annie, My wife and I have been friends with this couple for over 10 years. We met when our children were in elementary school. We met this couple regularly over the years for dinner and drinks, while the kids stayed home.
When we go out, we always split the bill 50/50. Fast forward to today, your kids are always joining us for dinner and drinks. When it comes time to pay the bill, they always ask for a check and expect us to still split the bill 50/50. We have tried doing separate checks, but they keep asking for one. How do we politely tell them that we don’t want to pay for their family’s food and drinks? – Paying more than our share
Dear Paying More: If these dinners are frequent, like once a week, then you must tell them that dividing the check in half is not fair. But if it’s just occasional get-togethers, remember that friendship shouldn’t require such precise math. If the bill really bothers you, invite them over to your home for a drink and a snack.
Dear Annie, My wife has started to withdraw from our relationship and tells me that I do not support her. Last year, we agreed that he could quit his full-time job to pursue his dreams of owning his own business and pursuing his master’s degree in business administration. During that time I completely renovated their new commercial space and maintained my own job that provides stable income and health insurance for our entire family. I cook most nights, keep track of bills, and keep the house organized, all while she frantically runs her business out of the seat of her pants. But the moment I ask her something, she goes crazy and tells me I don’t support her. I have tried to have these conversations with her, but every time I mention my feelings to her, she is quick to talk about herself. How can I communicate with her while keeping her civil? – Home alone
Dear Home Alone: It is inspiring that your wife is chasing her dreams and it is commendable that you are making it possible for her, but it cannot be at the expense of her family. She needs to contribute to the well-being of the house, and that is up to you two.
Maybe she’s making dinner every night. Perhaps you are reaching a deadline for your business to start generating income for your family. Maybe it’s managing household finances, cleaning on the weekends, or dropping the kids off at school. The bottom line is that your career goals are not an excuse for neglecting your responsibilities to the family.
A couples therapist can help you communicate effectively and create these clear guidelines.