Gender roles in a relationship play a lot of strange parts. One of the strangest of these is how to split up the bills at mealtimes on nights out. And it’s not a one size fits all kind of situation; not every person is going to want to alternate bills, or pay the full tab every single time.
Redditor throwaway_31231221 is one such person who isn’t okay with these expectations, which he, in no small terms, communicated with his girlfriend. Unfortunately, she was not as receptive to his want as he’d have liked her to be.
Uncertain if he had somehow overstepped his bounds, he went on the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” for feedback from impartial strangers.
“AITA for not wanting to alternative meals out with my girlfriend?”
Our original poster, or OP, gave us the background on where this argument came from.
“My gf (26f[emale]) and I (26m[ale]) have been together for a little over two years. However we have had an argument come up several times which I’m not sure if I am TA for or not.”
“My GF loves to go out to eat, whereas I’m more of a homebody and prefer to cook. That said I’m happy to go out once a week for dinner if it makes her happy.”
“The disagreement is, she believes we should alternate paying the bill whereas I prefer to just get separate checks.”
“Now normally I wouldn’t be opposed to alternating, but the issue is we have very different philosophies when it comes to ordering.”
Their philosophies don’t match in that one is frugal, and one enjoys.
“I typically get a lower to midrange option on the menu and water… that’s it. She on the otherhand will often order the more expensive items on the menu, add-on things (like $3 extra guac on the side), get one or two glassses of wine/cocktails, sometimes desert or an appetizer.”
“Now, by no means are her orders unreasonable… it’s just much more than I would personally want to spend on a dinner out. When we get separate checks, it’s not unusual for her bill to be 2x or even more what mine is.”
But they don’t agree on the best way to handle this because of the symbolic gesture of the couple.
“Now, she says getting separate checks makes her feel uncomfortable, and that it doesn’t feel like we are a couple, it’s less romantic, etc.”
“I however feel because she orders so much more it wouldn’t be fair to me to pay half the time and I’d much rather just get separate checks.”
“Additionally I feel like there is less pressure on me (or her!!) to just order what we want rather than worry about how it impacts the other.”
“The reason I may be TA is we both make pretty good money (and I make a bit more) so it’s not like this really financially impacts me greatly… but it would take away some from my financial savings goals.”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Redditors didn’t see anything wrong with requesting separate checks…or with OP’s girlfriend’s request.
“I think the underlying issue is that you’re not romantic 👀 If it’s such a big deal to her that you pick up the tab to make your simple, weekly dinner more romantic, you might wanna look into doing something special for her.”
“It’s not about the money, it’s the gesture. Get her some flowers without an occasion or write her a letter or something. 👀”
“NAH for the money thing, imo, but i think this is definitely a ‘read between the lines’ thing.”
“Romantic gestures go a long, long way 😌”~peanutbutter_vibez
“Being financially compatible in a relationship is important too. Maybe he wants to save money for a house and she wants to spend €100 per week on restaurants. That adds up over time.”
“They definitely need to have a good talk. NAH for not having the same values.”~ik101
“NAH. She wants you two to go on dates. Dates are often where one person treats the other.”
“For her, a meal out is about the food, company, and setting. This is a nice date to her.”
“Instead of alternating meals out, why not alternate dates? You go out to eat one week and the next week you do something you enjoy more.”
“Alternate paying as well and keep the price similar (for the most part) so it’s always fair.”~EmpressJainaSolo
“Damn everyone is giving OP a hard time here. Yes it might be worth addressing what her motivations behind her position are.”
“But finances are also important in a couple and best to be talked about how to manage. In other situations people would always side on OP if it weren’t romantically involved.”
“OPs girlfriend isn’t being clear on what she wants or open to suggestions and also isn’t respecting how he feels about the money.”
“OP has already compromised on eating out more regularly than he would like to to appease the gf.”
“They need to communicate on what would make them both happy and make the girlfriend feel special.”
“Some people have said its the splitting the bill not the money that she has a problem with but OP said she wasn’t okay with other ways to make it more equitable without splitting the bill there.”
“Money is certainly part of it and even if it isn’t for the gf it is for OP and that is a perfectly valid position.”
“People would think it were outrageous if the gf demanded she be taken out to dinner paid straight up for as part of the relationship. Please give OP some respect.”
“He is NTA. He needs to have a proper conversation with the gf to understand whether she is TA or not.”
“Also to decide whether this is his hill to die on. It is a perfectly valid one but to your point of if shes worth it.”
“Personally I dodnt think its about the cost of the meal but her respecting his finances and his view.”
“If she won’t have a conversation or be open to other ideas that’s a red flag to me that they arent going to be treated like equals.”~PuzzledPoet9313
The whole point here is that OP and his girlfriend have different ideas of what those nights out are.
“My concern would be whether the ‘dinner out’ issue is symptomatic of essential differences in values and priorities that will eventually make this relationship not stable.”
“Gf wants the whole ‘dinner out’ experience. OP just wants some food and to save his money. I don’t think either of them is particularly wrong to want what they want, but they don’t line up.”
“Where those differences come from and how they’re handled can impact a lot of other things as their relationship continues.”~calling_water
“NAH, but be careful on insisting on your way because it will likely affect your relationship.”
“If you alternate paying, you are alternating treating each other. It’s not just a different way of splitting the cost, it’s taking care of each other and giving to each other.”
“It’s emotionally a very different thing and your girlfriend is making it clear that it’s important to her. It’s an act of love and appreciation for her.”~lamamaloca
“Have you thought about a shared date account where you each contribute the same amount of money every month to use for dates?”
“If each of you puts in $100(or whatever amount), you’d have $200 for the month to spend on dates. That might mean your girlfriend thinks about what she orders and you both find more things to do.”
“I won’t lie, I like to get a cocktail when I go out for a ‘date’ night and possible order dessert etc. I don’t want to go overboard, but a joint pool can help things.”
“It can cause more discord if you get uncomfortable at what she’s ordering, but if she understands, ‘here’s the set amount for dates for the month,’ then maybe it doesn’t matter as much?”~dezayek
“NTA- in the beginning of our relationship, I refused to split bills evenly with my now husband at dinner because he would order beers and expensive items.”
“My portion would be $15 and his would be $40. Why am I going to contribute to that? I flat out told him it was the monetary difference that led me to that decision.”
“Now when we go out, he remembers this and actually keeps his drink consumption down and splits an entree with me.”
“He likes the savings account we have now compared to living paycheck to paycheck LOL”~danirdaniels
And while someone could make her at fault here, the truth is, the event just means different things to both of them.
“NTA. You wouldn’t even be going out to eat so often if it wasn’t what she wanted, so it’s unreasonable for her to expect you to pay for meals that were her decision to even go out for.”
“I would tell her that, if you are the one who wants to go out then you will pick up the check, but if going out only happens because she asks for it.”
“Then you can either pay separately or she can pick up the check and that your ‘contribution’ to shared meals will be doing the cooking when you eat at home.”
“Alternately, create a ‘meals out’ fund that you both contribute a reasonable amount to in order to pay when you eat out; once that fund is empty for the month, the person who wants to go out has to pick up the tab.”
“Or one of you pick up the whole check and the other venmo their share.”~the_last_basselope
“NAH I kinda get it from both sides, it would irritate me too, spending that much on dinners but I get that she likes to actually go out and enjoy the dinner. And to her going out means all the fun extras.”
“Why not make a going out to dinner fund? You both contribute, and that way you can’t go over that amount, but then when it comes to pay the check, you ‘pay’ the money you both contributed.”
“This way it feels like you are paying the whole bill and she feels like it’s an actual date, not a hangout.”~Trebondginger
“I had a friend like this and had bf that hated going out to dinner but what a lot of people don’t realize or appreciate is that dining out is a hobby for a lot of people.”
“She enjoyed trying different chefs, experiencing different cultures, enjoying the ambiance.”
“He on the other hand preferred outdoor activities and to be a good partner she did those activities with him.”
“She bought the hiking boots, the clothes, the fishing gear, and whatever other crap and it cost her a fortune.”
“She did it because she loved him and he didn’t return that kind of love to her and her hobbies. They didn’t end up together.”
“Make sure you are really taking a step back and looking at the full picture of your financial life together (cost of shared hobbies, travel, family events, weddings etc.) before you push back.”~Olympic_napper
“NTA precisely, but you are kind of obtuse. She’s telling you how she feels about a thing, and what she needs from you emotionally, and you’re telling her that the numbers just don’t add up.”
“Maybe you should bring a spreadsheet on your next ‘date’? You know, just in case she missed the point you’re trying to make?”
“It’s obviously not a money issue for her. She’s not trying to take advantage of you, or what she ordered would be different based on who she thought was paying.”
“Do you reduce all of your other relationship issues to a transactional basis? Do you keep meticulous track of who’s giving more or less in other areas? Or just money?”
“From her perspective you may seem stingy and hyper focused on money, when she wants to focus on a good experience.”~alligatorchronicles
So while this argument seems a bit surface level, really, it’s pointing to something deeper.
The good news is–this is an easy fix, and OP has plenty of good advice to choose from.