Asked by Anonymous

My girlfriend's parents constantly makes me pay for meals when we eat together. They know that I'm well to do, and I know they are not. Am I just being petty?

I've eaten with them about 5-6 times, and only once did they pay. While they didn't insist I pay, they also did not offer, but allowed me to get the bill every time. Should I say something?

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  • Yinglin Chua
    Yinglin Chua
    Level 4. Prodigy
    Answered on 15 Jan 2019

    Let's start off with what you are thinking.

    You feel they are taking advantage of you by letting you pay? Your concerns are noted in this forum. Won't judge whether you are petty as the circumstances are unknown.

    1) Are the parents retired and not earning any income now? 2) Who initiated to eat out with the parents? 3) Who chose the eating location? 4) Who did the ordering?

    I would be extremely wary of the family if it's the parents who always want to eat out when you are around (and they normally don't do this), chooses expensive places and orders expensive food, then expects you to pay simply because they know you are well off.

    If they want to eat out, and it's probably just 1 time a month, chooses low to mid range places, seldom order expensive seafood (the most expensive and sometimes bo hua dishes) on the menu... And does pay occasionally, they seem normal. After all, once the kids have earning power, parents seldom pay for their own meals and is paid by the kids (unless you don't, that's why you don't feel it's normal). You are being too petty and reading too much into the situation.

    I would be cautious if it's the gf who suggested eating out everytime, choosing high end places and dishes, bringing family along just so to allow you to get into their good books but yet, not offering to pay or go Dutch at times. In this case, I suggest you talk to your gf.

    If parents are retired, goes out with both of you to eat (cause the gf asks them to), usually don't have much opinions on location and order... Then you are indeed petty if you are more well off, is earning a decent income and is being calculative with the parents. As your gf, I would be wary of you to truly care and love your family.

    There can be more permutations. But if you are going to hawkers, food courts with them and you harping here on paying for their meals, you are not just petty but stingy.

    But in short, yes, you should always communicate with your gf if you have concerns. Just with your gf.

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  • HC Tang
    HC Tang, Financial Enthusiast, Budgeting at The Society
    Level 8. Wizard
    Answered on 14 Jan 2019

    Discuss with your gf privately in a nice way, sharing that you felt it seems like you're the one paying the bills even when her parents is around. Is there any particular reason or is it misunderstanding ?

    If is just misunderstanding then try to clear it up so all side understood, let her communicate with her parents nicely.

    If for a / other reason, then ask yourself if you mind and if you want to continue to pay for the bills ?

    If you don't, then just pay for it and share with her that you don't mind as she will help to contribute in other ways, like helping to do things etc.

    if you do, then share with her nicely that you mind and ask if she think it is right or not and that she can also share with her parents how she felt. Maybe temporary don't have meals together with her parents until things get clearer.

    At the end of the day, it's about communicate clearly and nicely sharing how each side felt and find out about the reason or is it misunderstanding, try to get each side expectations clear to consider and decide if you willing to or not willing to and decide the next steps.

    Cheers. ​

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  • Charmaine Lim Xiaomei
    Charmaine Lim Xiaomei
    Level 4. Prodigy
    Answered on 15 Jan 2019

    In my POV, your girlfriend and her siblings (if any) ought to be footing the bill instead since they should be responsible for their own parents. But given that you are 'well to do' and plays a part in eating as well, you should probably help to split the bill too.

    Also, try pursuading them to eat out less often. Cooking together is actually pretty fun and good for bonding!

    Otherwise, do opt for cheaper food options or take advantage of discount apps such as Entertainer, Burpple, Groupon, Shopback Go...

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  • Boonhow Eng
    Boonhow Eng
    Level 3. Wonderkid
    Answered on 14 Jan 2019

    communicate this before it rolls into a bigger issue in future

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  • Chin Guo Qiang
    Chin Guo Qiang
    Level 3. Wonderkid
    Answered on 18 Jan 2019

    But have to do the math, at least provide all parties with a clearer picture, not to be calculative but see properly where the family finances stand.

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  • Jaxe Pan
    Jaxe Pan
    Level 2. Rookie
    Answered on 16 Jan 2019

    How often do you meet them and who suggested eating out?

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  • Steph Yeo
    Steph Yeo, Auntie Uncle Whisperer at Agency for Integrated Care
    Level 5. Genius
    Answered on 15 Jan 2019

    If you're uncomfortable with it, you should talk about it w your girlfriend. I don't think you should worry about "being petty".

    The price of the meals sound secondary to you since you explicitly said you are well to do, so i guess it's more about the principles here. But is your gf well to do too? If yes, maybe alternate btwn both of you paying?

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  • Ck Chai
    Ck Chai
    Level 4. Prodigy
    Answered on 14 Jan 2019

    Just wondering usually what is the expense range for each meal? Is it always going to expensive restaurants or depends? While the parents do not offer to pay, does your gf ever offer to pay? If so, do u ever rejected her paying out of egoistic?

    If most times is going to Coffeeshop or hawker place which should be rather affordable meals, the elderly might be having the mentality since the meals are cheap & affordable, you can well afford it, may not really be trying to take advantage of you.

    But if every meal were to go for expensive ones which you feel uneasy of, then you need to understand why is it so? Do you feel you are taken advantage of? Maybe you need to communicate with your gf. Coz eventually if you were to settle down, u guys need to sort out and agree on how to manage the finances etc

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  • Mingli Lin
    Mingli Lin
    Level 3. Wonderkid
    Answered on 14 Jan 2019

    Nothing wrong with being generous with friends and family if you can afford it. Butif you’re not comfortable with it then voice it out. Talk to your girlfriend. Do you love this girl for who she is (including her family) ? Love and marriage on the long term perspective is more than just 2 people. If you’re uncomfortable now, the future is daunting.

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  • Yiyang Chen
    Yiyang Chen
    Level 3. Wonderkid
    Answered on 14 Jan 2019

    No, u r not petty. They know u can afford and take advantage of it. If it is at eateries that are not within their means like in restaurants in malls, and this happens frequently, they r taking advantage of you. Draw the line with your gf. Both of you to split the bill. It’s not you being petty or calculative but drawing boundaries here.

    U got to be careful here especially if both of you intend to marry. Be clear with your gf. That you are not solely responsible for her parents. And that they have to live within their means. If you don’t, once married, her parents might start asking u for money to go on holidays or pay for hefty medical bills.

    I have seen it happen.

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  • Rave Ong Ci De
    Rave Ong Ci De
    Level 5. Genius
    Answered on 14 Jan 2019

    Are your parents there too? Maybe the his parents can tell her parents if they only listen to 同辈.

    Being generous is okay, but not being taken advantage of. The fact that you would ask means you feel like you are being taken advantage of. Talk to your gf and let her know. See if she wants to come up with a solution with you. (One way is saw people resolve, is for the girl to give money beforehand to the guy, before the guy pays for the meal. )

    Comments (2)
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    • Phoebeta Tauri
      Just pay half half behind the scenes will do. That's what me and my bf does
      14 Jan 2019
    • Rave Ong Ci De
      You get the idea. What I feel that in this case, the gal can pay according to how much she can afford, which shouldn't be zero. If it is, maybe they should go somewhere else more affordable to eat. (On a side note, your bf is damn lucky to have you. )
      14 Jan 2019
  • Nicholes Wong
    Nicholes Wong, Diploma in Business Management at Nanyang Polytechnic
    Level 6. Master
    Answered on 14 Jan 2019

    It would be good to say out now better than future they ask you pay for every single thing. If she think you are petty after you tell her about it, then you might need to reconsider the relationship honestly

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  • Jeff Yeo
    Jeff Yeo, amateur Social contributor at School of social sharing
    Level 6. Master
    Answered on 14 Jan 2019

    I think it is fair to go Dutch.

    You can always declare the per pax cost on the spot and get everyone to pay their share.

    You can be generous to them and give a treat from time to time but it should not be a case where everyone keeps quiet and you become the default person to pay.

    Comments (1)
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    • Elsa Goh
      May be fair but i dont think it is feasible. Damn awkward to go Dutch, esp if it is all in one bill. One should pay for all, but now the question is who is sposd to be the one.
      14 Jan 2019
  • Yong Kah Hwee
    Yong Kah Hwee
    Level 6. Master
    Answered on 14 Jan 2019

    You might want to consider talking to your gf about it. Don't beat about the bush. Tell her how you feel honestly, and ask her if there were any misunderstandings.

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  • Gabriel Tham
    Gabriel Tham, Kenichi Tag Team Member at Tag Team
    Top Contributor

    Top Contributor (Apr)

    Level 8. Wizard
    Answered on 14 Jan 2019

    Yes, it is not fair. You have to decide is it true love? or are they gold diggers? What if they ask you to pay for the full cost of house and wedding next time?

    Comments (2)
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    • Elsa Goh
      Haha i think this one a bit jumping the gun.
      14 Jan 2019
    • Phoebeta Tauri
      I agree with this though
      14 Jan 2019
  • Alex Kaikeong
    Alex Kaikeong
    Level 1. Freshie
    Answered 10h ago

    You are not Petty but calculative. As you mentioned you are well to do, I am sure these bills are peanuts. I am sure the parents are not dining at expensive restaurants or ordering exclusive dishes like shark find, bird nests or Abalones. Of course if they also bring along brothers, sisters or uncles and aunty, than you can voice out. If you are a Chinese race, than usually paying for the parents are sign of being under one roof. Respects to elderly like in law's etc. If you don't feel comfortable, just try not to go out together especially dining.

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  • Qingling Wu
    Qingling Wu, Digital Marketing at Temasek Polytechnic
    Level 2. Rookie
    Answered 2d ago

    First of all, no you are far from petty.

    It seems like your kindness and background has been taken for granted. Even though you are well to do, they should be more understanding that you also have things to pay for (daily expenses, mortgage etc). Moreover, I believe you will be more willing to pay for them if they are the ones who fight to foot the bill. But anyhoo in this case, your gf is the problem and not her parents. She should be the one telling her parents about this, and if she doesn't see a problem, then that is a problem.

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  • Tina Sharon Lee
    Tina Sharon Lee
    Level 3. Wonderkid
    Answered on 16 Jan 2019

    First it's meals then will be household expenses , medical vacation etc. It's the mentality. You may be well off but you are not an ATM. If they including your gf have this type of mindset then the future is bleak. Cut your losses and head for the door!!

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  • Elsa Goh
    Elsa Goh
    Level 5. Genius
    Answered on 14 Jan 2019

    Actually if u can afford i dun see the problem. What exactly is the concern here?

    Comments (5)
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    • Galven Lee Keng Yue
      Then it is about principles and what is transpiring through the minds of his girlfriend and her family, which should/would matter eventually for marriage.
      16 Jan 2019
    • Elsa Goh
      Agree galven. But as someone below pointed out the critical thing is how the gf behaves. Think her ans is best la.
      16 Jan 2019
  • Singchang Toh
    Singchang Toh
    Level 2. Rookie
    Answered on 15 Jan 2019

    Yep, you're petty.

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