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Sep 10, 2013 04:42 PM

How to get my significant other's adult children to pick up a check??


This may sound trivial, but my significant other's adult children and spouses always select the most expensive restaurant to go to and then my S.O. always picks up the check because they don't offer to pay, or even contribute. I have suggested that he say "if I pick, I will pay", or "you choose, you pay", or even, "lets split the bill", but he won't do it.
A few weeks ago, he selected a nice pub style place with good food for dinner and his son said, "no we would rather go to "X" for a nice big steak"!!! I was brought up to think of this as VERY rude. It is as if the restaurant is more important than his father's company. Today, the son chose the new fancy Italian restaurant which we went to one time an d have decided not to go back to because it is really expensive. And, I am sure my S.O. will pay. These adult children are in their mid 30's and are all working. I think my S.O. is afraid that if he doesn't pick up the checks, he won't get to see his kids at all.
I have also suggested that he just cook dinner at home, but then the son raids his wine cellar, acts like he owns the place. BTW, the son barely finished high school, only had a few college classes and is in the restaurant business himself. Any ideas of how to handle this? I know it's not my problem, and I have been very careful what I have said, but I really think he is being taken advantage ot!! I appreciate your thoughts!

  1. <<I know it's not my problem, and I have been very careful what I have said, but I really think he is being taken advantage ot!! I appreciate your thoughts!>>

    Well I am sure its annoying and hard to see your partner being "taken advantage of", you are right. It's NOT your problem. Unless your SO has specifically asked for your help you are best to say out of it.

    If he has asked for your help stay focused on HIM and what he can do. Based on your comments it appears that you don't have any great respect for his children. You would be wise to keep your POV about them to yourself.

    My parents continued buying our meals until the day they died-always insisting we save our money. After a while you stop arguing and find other ways to "pay them back".

    In the meantime, welcome to the CH! Maybe you can search for inexpensive chow worthy places in your neighborhood to try. Might help you relate to the son since he is in the business and get you steered to less expensive, good food!

    4 Replies
    1. re: foodieX2

      I can't say it better than you Foodiex2. Great advice.

      1. re: Sandwich_Sister

        Another thumbs up to Foodiex2's advice.

        I also came from a family where Dad picked up the tab.

        I remember my best friend's grandfather saying "you're money is no good when you are with me" every single time when I would try to pay for my share of restaurant meals. He liked being able to "treat" us.

        But on the other hand, my ILs are total freeloaders when it comes to restaurant meals so I can appreciate the OP's seat at the table. I always kept my mouth shut (we could afford it) until my husband reached his limit. We don't go out to eat with them anymore.

      2. re: foodieX2

        Ditto. I had to wait until late last year - as my father was nearing 89 - before my father happily accepted being treated. Treating was part of his sense of his role (functional identity).

        Much like my fairly disabled 89 y/o mother, who hasn't been able to cook for several years, sees her role as monitoring housekeeping by my father. Drives him batty, but he understands her role hasn't changed, just the way she is able to execute it.

        General rule of wisdom: do not intervene between blood family. Actively or passive aggressively.

        1. re: foodieX2

          You, foodie, are a very smart cookie.

        2. I can definitely understand why this bothers you if you truly feel he is being taken advantage of. How does your SO feel about the situation other than the fact that he refuses not to pick up the check? If he's in a financial position to do so and it truly doesn't bother him, then I guess there isn't a whole lot you can do. Clearly you've already made suggestions to him that he has refused. I don't think there is anything you can or should do individually to get his children to pick up the check.

          Like I said, I do understand where you're coming from. My parent's are still married and always pick up the check for my siblings and I during family dinners out. I'm always very appreciative of it and I re-pay them in other ways. But honestly in my position, my parent's are far more financially stable than I am, so it's something they would never think of expecting me to take a turn doing. I don't however have final say on the restaurant we go to unless its my Birthday. I think if my parent's weren't together and one of them had a SO, i might be a little miffed by that person trying to switch up our dynamic regarding the check when dining out. However, it does seem like your SO's children are being a bit rude for vetoing his choice of restaurant and picking their own. They should be more greatfull. I wish you luck in hopefully finding a happy medium for everyone involved!

          1. I take it you don't have children.

            3 Replies
            1. re: fara

              I don't see that as the issue at all.

              We have grown kids. My husband makes multiples of what the kids probably ever will. At present they are still staring out and not making much more than their expenses. When we invite them for family occasions or out to dinner we always pay the check and aren't expecting them to. Still, they are adults and in life, generally speaking, they are expected to behave like adults. Socially that means making a contribution at whatever level is reasonable for them.

              On the big family events, we ask them to bring something -- beverages or appetizers -- by way of participating completely and we are happy to accept their invitation to the occasional brunch or dinner as a way of acknowledging that they are independent and generous adults even if they don't have the same resources we do. We find ways to contribute and ease some of their financial burdens but we are proud that they have the personal pride to hold their independence in high regard.

              Saying that, I'm sure it's very different for blended families than it is for those of us who raised them from infancy together.

              1. re: rainey

                When my parents were alive, we had the mirror-reverse of this situation. We made more money than my parents had dreamed of, and once they retired, we made sure they never paid for meals with us again. When we visited, annually, I'd even bump Mom out of the way at the grocery store & pay for her cart of food. Made us feel useful, and after they both had died, found out from their finances that our little "bumps" had actually been necessary for them.

                1. re: pine time

                  You're a good kid and I bet you enjoyed being able to do that while your parents were alive but I can only imagine the relief of eventually seeing in hard facts how much it must have improved their lot.

                  I think you richly earned all the satisfaction that must have given you! Mazel tov!

            2. You can't change people. You can't make the kids pay and you can't make your partner force them to. He might appreciate it if you stop hassling him about it. After all...he raised these kids so he created the situation. Maybe he doesn't care.

              As for the one son "only" finishing high school and some college- so what? It's safe to assume they're aware you're judging them.

              1. Thanks everyone, for the feedback. I really do appreciate it. FoodieX2, you are right, I will continue to keep quiet about it and let him take them where they want to go. I will be supportive and keep my opinions to myself unless he asks me about it. I don't see anything wrong with them all going out, and him picking up the tab, but don't understand why he lets his son always pick the most expensive place. That's the part I don't get. And, please don't misunderstand my comment about the son's education, there are lots of people who barely made it through high school who are leading fantastic lives and are successful. I guess when this son's traits are rolled up in a know it all, it stings just a bit. I won't judge, will keep quiet, and let them have all the dinners they want. Thanks again!!

                3 Replies
                1. re: elegantedge

                  " I don't see anything wrong with them all going out, and him picking up the tab, but don't understand why he lets his son always pick the most expensive place. That's the part I don't get."

                  So it's not the lack of reciprocity, but the dollars you're concerned about?

                  This is the way he has raised *his* children and it's quite possible that it gives him pleasure to share generously with them. Even if not, it's their relationship dynamic, not yours. I say, just enjoy the meal and don't resent their accepting his generosity.

                  1. re: elegantedge

                    The key phrase is "he lets". This is his choice to allow his son to do this. If it bothers him, he needs to figure out why he allows it to happen. Maybe you are the only one who is bothered.

                    1. re: elegantedge

                      If the son is a chef himself, maybe the 'know it all' is deserved and your irritation is about something else.