Dear Annie: My wife and I have been friends with this couple for over 10 years. We met when our kids were in grade school. We would get together with this couple regularly over the years for dinner and drinks, while the kids would stay at home.
When we go out, we would always split the bill 50/50. Fast-forward to today, their kids are always joining us for dinner and drinks. When it comes time to pay the bill, they always ask for one check and expect us to split the bill 50/50 still. We have tried to do separate checks, but they keep asking for one. How do we politely tell them we do not want to pay for their family’s food and drinks? — Paying More Than Our Fair Share
Dear Paying More: If these dinners are frequent, such as once a week, then you should tell them that dividing the check in half is not fair. But if they are only occasional get-togethers, remember that friendship shouldn’t require such precise math. If the bill really bothers you, invite them over to your house for drinks and appetizers instead.
Dear Annie: My wife has started withdrawing from our relationship and tells me I am not supportive of her. Last year, we agreed she could quit her full-time job to pursue her dreams of owning her own business and achieving her master’s degree in business administration. During which time I completely renovated her new commercial space and have held down my own job that provides a stable income and health insurance for our entire family. I cook most nights, stay on top of the bills and keep the house organized, all while she frantically runs her business by the seat of her pants. But the second I ask anything of her, she loses her mind and tells me I’m not supportive. I’ve tried to have these talks with her, but every time I bring up my feelings, she is quick to make it about herself. How do I get through to her while keeping her civilized? — Solo at Home
Dear Solo at Home: It’s inspiring that your wife is chasing her dreams, and it’s commendable that you’re making that possible for her — but it can’t come at the expense of her family. She needs to contribute to the well-being of the household, and it’s up to you two what that means.
Maybe it’s cooking dinner every night. Maybe it’s
coming up with a deadline for her business to start generating an income for your family. Maybe it’s managing the household finances, cleaning on the weekends or dropping the kids off at school. The bottom line is that her professional goals are no excuse to neglect her responsibilities to the family.
A couples therapist can help you communicate effectively and create these clear guidelines.