This user is dating a man with less money than her. He always worried about impressing her, and when they went out to dinner with her friends, all the men could pay but him.
Beauty and the Beast
OP (Original Poster) is a 24-year-old woman dating Ben, a 26-year-old man, for eight months from OP’s posting. Ben and OP are from different income brackets, and Ben has told OP that it sometimes makes him a bit uncomfortable.
Doing the Best You Can
Ben is, at heart, a gentleman, so he struggled occasionally, thinking that OP wasn’t impressed by any of his gestures. OP told him not to worry about that, and she isn’t concerned about these “types of things, either way.”
A Night on the Town
The night before she posted, she and Ben went out with some of her friends. Three men, counting Ben, and five women, counting OP, went out together.
Par for the Course
By the time dinner was over, two men, “Max” and “Harry,” offered to pay for the meal. This situation was standard in her friend group, and no one thought anything about it.
Out of Sorts
Ben, however, did care and told OP that he wasn’t entirely comfortable with two guys paying for his meal. OP said she would chip in to take care of it, which Ben was thankful for, but he had another request.
While Ben was glad she would help, he asked if she could reimburse him if he put in the money. He didn’t want her friends to know she was paying and possibly think less of him.
An Absurd Situation
At that point, OP thought his entire problem with the situation was absurd. She thought it was unnecessary and that he probably couldn’t afford to even split the bill with how expensive it was.
Not a Competition
She also thought that Ben was trying to engage in a “p****** contest” with her friends. She believed that Ben was being childish about the entire situation.
Time to Split It Up
OP told everyone she would chip in for a third of the bill. No one cared, except for Ben, who OP said “started sulking” when she offered to pay.
A Big Problem
The problem that OP had was that now Ben was angry at her for speaking out in front of the whole group. He didn’t want her friends to know that she was paying for him, and she had announced it to everyone, which made him feel “emasculated,” and he thought he looked terrible.
The Drama Queen
OP dismissed Ben’s feelings as overly dramatic and said that none of her friends cared. Due to how upset he got, she’s wondering if she was an a**hole for not letting him “save face.”
Redditors’ Two Cents
The community was split, with many people having one initial reaction and then changing their minds.
At first, many sided with OP, with one user saying, “Not the a**hole! And it sounds like he didn’t have the money to afford it or know how to tell you. Super weird.”
Another Redditor said, “Not the a**hole. I don’t understand him taking credit for you paying. This situation is not normal.”
A Change of Mind
However, as more people thought about the situation, the general outlook on what OP did changed.
One commenter noted, “Not the a**hole. You’re not an a**hole, but I also think you missed Ben’s point a little bit. Blah blah blah modern society, but in this particular context, as you stated, it was common for the men to pay for the women. Ben has entered the situation, and the writing is very clearly on the wall that he should step up and pay for part of it as one of the men in the group. Outdated as it may be, your group clarified that that was normal in that situation. Your boyfriend leaned over to talk to you about it because of that clear, sudden social pressure to chip in as one of the men in the group. Again, I don’t think you’re the a**hole in this situation because you misread it. However, I think you might want to sit down and talk to Ben a bit and let him express himself with what was going through his head in that situation.”
A Reasonable Response
Many Redditors agreed that OP had missed the importance of the situation to Ben. Some even took it further than that.
One said, “After reading some of your comments, you are 100% the a**hole. You invited Ben. They were your friends who had money. You went to a restaurant you knew he couldn’t afford. At the end of the night, a situation arose where Ben felt like he had to pay or at least be seen to pay because of how your friends pay for the girls. Ben most likely didn’t want to look bad to your friends. He probably wants your friends to like and respect him and got put in a position where he wanted to save face and not look broke. Rather than supporting him, you intentionally went, ‘Nah, I’ll pay,’ and didn’t give a damn how it made Ben look or feel.”
What do you think about what OP did? Should she have just let her boyfriend save face, or was there nothing wrong with how she handled the situation?
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This post first appeared as She Refused to Let Her Boyfriend Pretend He Paid for the Meal. Instead, She Did It Herself, Making Him Feel “Emasculated” and “Look Bad” in Front of Her Rich Friends on Quote Ambition.