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Woman Called Out By Sister For Letting Mom Pick Pricey Restaurant Her Boyfriend Couldn’t Afford

man signing restaurant receipt
Grace Cary/Getty Images

When children with a close, healthy relationship with their parent(s) grow up, they often want to do nice things with them to “pay them back” for their lifelong support.

Houses, trips, cars or just a nice meal are all things adult children might choose to buy for their parent(s).

A pair of sisters with a tradition of treating thrir parents to a nice restaurant meal once a month found themselves in conflict over financing the outings.

So one of the sisters turned to the “Am I The A**hole ” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.

Kindkunzite asked:

“AITA for letting my mom choose a restaurant without checking with my sister if her boyfriend can afford it?”

The original poster (OP) explained:

“My sister Jen (28, female) and I (27, female) are from a lower middle class family not in the United States.”

“Our parents worked very hard to provide for us, so when we both graduated from university (same major and faculty) we agreed that we would take our parents out to eat at a nice place monthly and take turns paying in addition to helping them with what we can.”

“I met my husband Tom (33, male) when I was in my last year of university. He’s rich—only child of 2 doctors and he himself a biomedical engineer—and he adores my parents.”

“We married last year—engaged for 2 years before that—and since we’ve been engaged, Tom has been paying for our outings.”

“He took my family to the nicest places, citing YOLO, and we always had the best times.”

“Jen chose to do what she loved and while her pay could have been better, she never struggled financially. She was able to take the family out until last year when she decided to pursue a graduate degree, thus not earning any money.”

“Tom and I said we would still have our monthly nice meal, and we would just pay for everyone.”

“Jen started seeing Rick (29, male) 9 months ago. Five months into the relationship, Jen asked if she could bring Rick to our meal, and we said yes.”

“Rick worked a similar job to Jen’s but in a more senior position. When Rick started to join us, my parents craved a certain type of food, so the restaurants we chose were not overly extravagant.”

“Rick noticed how Tom or I always paid and said he would like to cover the bills next time. Everyone said OK.”

“My mom chose a nice restaurant for our last outing. My parents and Tom proceeded as usual, but I noticed Rick and Jen looking a little tense.”

“When it was almost time to pay, Jen pulled me aside and asked if she could borrow some money. I told her I would happily pay for the meal.”

“Jen said it would make Rick look bad to not be able to pay when he said he would. I told Jen Rick could put everything on his credit card and I would send him money later.”

“Rick ended up doing that, and after we four sent my parents back home, I asked Rick how much money he would like me to help him with.”

“We were already out of the restaurant—previously sent my parents home via taxi—out in the parking lot. No one other than the four of us was around to hear what was said.”

“Rick said he did not expect to dine with such elites and it was classist of us to spend so much on just one meal. Tom said if he couldn’t afford the place, he could just tell us, and we could have changed the place.”

“Rick then accused Tom and me of calling him poor and beneath us. He said he would rather go into debt than accept our help.”

“I could tell Tom was mad’ but he just took me home. Jen later called me and said I was inconsiderate for not asking our mom to choose a less pricey restaurant.”

“She said if Tom and I thought the restaurants we had been dining at so far were normally priced, we were out of touch with reality. She said Rick was also mad at her for making him lose face.”

“We live in Asia—English is not our first language. I roughly translated most of this post.”

“Meals Rick previously attended had cost around $200 for 6 people. The meal Rick paid for was around $400 for 6 people.”

“My mom told everyone about the restaurant she picked six days in advance. The restaurant has most menu items listed online with prices.”

“When Tom and I were engaged, we took my family to moderately nice places, like $200-$300 for 5 people. Jen could afford about the same, though Tom always insisted he paid for himself as well as any extra drinks, so Jen was only paying for four people.”

“Jen started grad school about the same time Tom and I were married. It was only then that Tom began taking my family out to really pricey restaurants, averaging around $400 for five people.”

“Jen has been rather absentminded since starting grad school. I guess she is so invested in studying.”

“I have a colleague who recently came back from his study leave to grad school and he told me it was tough and his brain was pushed to full capacity, so I understand to a certain degree why Jen thought I should pick up her slack in communicating with our mom and so on.”

“I work and my pay is better than Jen’s previous job—different sectors. I don’t know how much Rick makes, but I assume he would make about the same amount I do since his position is more senior than Jen’s was.”

“A person making my salary would not be able to breeze through $400 a meal every other month, but also not struggle.”

“To provide clearer context, Rick attended four meals which Tom and I paid for. Totals for six people at those meals were roughly $150, $150, $320 and $200 for the previous meals, so $400 was a jump.”


The OP summed up their predicament. 

“I let my mom choose a relatively expensive restaurant—because she was used to my husband treating her—without checking if my sister’s boyfriend could afford it.”

“I could be the a**hole because the restaurant my mom chose was out of a normal income’s price range, and by choosing this restaurant, we may have embarrassed my sister’s boyfriend when he struggled to pay.”

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors decided the OP was not the a**hole (NTA).

“Why is it OP’s job to know how much her sister’s boyfriend makes?”

“This is all on Jen and the BF. They embarrassed themselves by making a big deal out of it and sticking up their noises when OP and Tom offered help.”

“Such a stupid hill to die on.” ~ faulty_rainbow

“NTA. It’s not classist to go to an expensive restaurant. If they had treated the guy poorly for not being able to afford it, it would’ve been classist, but simply choosing an expensive restaurant isn’t classist.”

“People spend money on what they care about—it wouldn’t be classist to spend money on an expensive hobby, and if food is something you love, that’s a valid thing to spend money on. Spending a lot of money to compensate a lot of labor properly is also not classist.”

“As a 29-year-old, he should have already learned to better deal with his insecurities and vulnerabilities without lashing out at others like this or invalidating something they care about.”

“OP and her family clearly highly value their time together at restaurants. It’s more than just food on a plate for them.”

“This man doesn’t just have vulnerabilities. He also clearly has a big ego and demands his egobe everyone’s priority, and that’s what merits criticism here.” ~ lefrench75

“Your sister and her man-baby are the a**holes.”

“If they both knew it was his turn to pay for the bill, and they knew which restaurant your mother picked, then Jen should have expressed their concerns and asked mom to choese a different restaurant.”

“They sat down, ordered, ate, AND THEN there was an issue‽‽”

“But he was gonna feel embarrassed about his financial status anyway if you kept going to super fancy restaurants when it was your turn and much cheaper restaurants when it was his turn.”

“So you were all headed this way anyway—you just got there faster.” ~ TheMaStif

“NTA. Why does the sister think OP should have spoken to their parents about the restaurant? The place was known beforehand, so why didn’t she Google the prices and speak to the parents?”

“Sister is to blame in all of this. She picked him, brought him, indulged him, and now has the nerve to defend his tantrum.” ~ EchoThis2

“NTA. It’s not your fault that Rick has such a fragile ego.” ~ Iam_Gay_Deal_With_It

For many Redditors, Rick’s delicate ego is not the OP’s, her husband’s or her parents’ problem.

That’s a Jen problem.

The tradition predates Rick’s involvement and would only be getting changed to make him feel better.

The family is under no obligation to coddle him.

Written by Amelia Mavis Christnot

Amelia Christnot is an Oglala Lakota, Kanien'kehá:ka Haudenosaunee and Metís Navy brat who settled in the wilds of Northern Maine. A member of the Indigenous Journalists Association, she considers herself another proud Maineiac.