A husband has been branded ‘controlling and miserly’ for refusing to go out for a fancy meal to celebrate his wife’s 40th birthday and their tenth wedding anniversary.
A post by the unnamed UK-based wife on parenting forum Mumsnet outlined the marital spat, and asked fellow forum users what they thought about the situation.
The post revealed that the couple ‘both earn decent salaries’ but things have been difficult for a few years while they paid off debt, took on a higher mortgage and renovated their house.
But they now have an extra £800 to spend and her husband is expecting a bonus, so she thought it would be a good moment to treat themselves, after missing their 40th birthdays and 10-year anniversary celebrations during lockdown.
However, her husband doesn’t want to spend £70 each on a nice meal out with six courses.
Commenters were divided, with some claiming he’s ‘joyless and tight’ and others arguing that there’s nothing wrong with not wanting to splash out on an expensive meal if he won’t enjoy it.
A couple (not pictured) have been having rows after the husband refused to spend £70 per head on a meal to celebrate the couple’s 40 birthdays and their wedding anniversary (stock image)
According to the post on Mumsnet, the husband reacted as thought his wife had suggested ‘blowing £50k on a faberge egg’ when she said they should go out for the fancy meal
Explaining the situation, the woman wrote that they have ‘had a tight few years financially, with a couple of kids in full time childcare, a bit of debt to pay off, taking on a higher mortgage and a house that needs some work’.
She continued: ‘So although we have managed, we’ve been on an economy drive with no spare cash for fun things – no holiday since 2014, only the very occasional dinner out (maybe once every 3 months) to cheap places with the kids so we don’t have to pay for a babysitter, no birthday/christmas presents for each other.
‘Finally, the youngest child is now at preschool, we’ve paid off the debts, remortgaged at a better rate and finished doing the most expensive jobs in the house. We now have an extra £600-£800 per month, and will have even more come September when the youngest starts school. Husband will also receive a 4 figure bonus at the end of April.
‘We both turned 40 during lockdown and had our 10 year wedding anniversary, but didn’t do anything to celebrate. Now that we can afford it, I suggested going out to a fancy restaurant that we have both talked about going to for ages.
‘It’s not cheap, £70pp for 6 courses, but given it is to mark a total of 3 special occasions I thought we could push the boat this once. But he has reacted as though I have suggested blowing £50k on a faberge egg or something.’
The woman added: ‘Apparently we absolutely cannot afford to do something so extravagant and it is a ridiculous suggestion to waste so much money on just one meal. I now feel like an unreasonable, spoilt princess for even suggesting it.
‘But I also feel really deflated. What is the point in working so hard to have this spare cash if we can’t enjoy at least a bit of it? We don’t spend any real time together between the kids, work, housework and aside from the treat of going out for dinner I thought it would be lovely to reconnect a bit. AIBU?’
Numerous commentators thought the husband was being stingy – with one even branding him ‘controlling and miserly’
The post garnered mixed responses, with many commentators feeling that the husband was being unfair.
One wrote: ‘He sounds v controlling and miserly. But why is he so afraid of spending money? I’m serious. Is there a back story here?’
A second agreed, adding: ‘Urgh he’s so tight. You have the money now.’
And a third felt even more strongly, writing: ‘He’s being a joyless t***. You need to have a chat about how life is going to be now you have extra money, as if he’s going to continue with the miserly existence he’s gotten used to, then it’s going to be a miserable affair all round.’
Although many said the husband was being stingy, a fair number of commentators thought £70 was a lot to spend per person
However, others felt the cost was prohibitive, and agreed with the husband.
One Mumsnetter wrote: ‘I don’t think you are being a princess but equally I think £70 pp is a huge amount on a meal but I am more of a cheaper dinner then theatre show type of person.’
Another added: ‘That’s an awful lot to spend on a meal. More so, when you have been so used to scrimping and saving.
‘I think once you’ve bought a couple of bottles of wine, taxi’s, babysitter etc, you might not get much change out of £300.
‘Could you compromise, and go somewhere more reasonably priced? For the meantime anyway?’
And a third said: ‘Nah not a hope in hell would i want to fork out over 300 quid for a meal out after scrimping for years for 300 quid you could have a nice weekend away instead.’
For many forum users, the best idea seemed to be compromising, and finding a fun activity that both husband and wife could enjoy, without feeling stressed about it
Many felt it came down to spending time together, and finding something the couple could both enjoy doing as a compromise.
One said: ‘I don’t think YABU as such, but it sounds as though it’s not something your husband would enjoy – a question of you liking different things. I can see why he might not want to spend a fortune on something he wouldn’t like – bearing in mind these are joint celebrations. I would see if it would be possible to compromise on a less expensive meal.’
Another agreed, writing: ‘OP tell him fair enough, but you want to be treated like a princess so can he please make that happen at home with I don’t know, beautiful cooked meal he makes, petals on the bed, hot bath with your favourite bath products Netflix n chill, whatever. Doesn’t have to be pricey and also what’s wrong in acting like a princess when you more than deserve to be spoilt?’
And a third added: ‘I’d also look at the point you made about not spending real time together – that would be a major priority for me, once you had babysitting money.’