The original poster (OP), a 25-year-old, has a brother Paul. They’d often go out to eat with their parents. Whenever it was OP’s turn to pay, the parents chose an expensive restaurant, but always chose a cheap restaurant when it was the brother’s turn to pay. OP called their parents out on it, and ended up wondering if they were wrong.
OP and Brother Both Moved Close to Parents
Quite recently, and totally by coincidence, OP and their brother both moved close to their parents.
They Would Go Out to Dinner Regularly
OP and Paul agreed that they would like to go out with their parents for dinner on a regular basis, twice per month.
OP and Brother Made the Same Income
OP and his brother Paul both make about the same amount of income. They were not poor, although they certainly were not overly well off either.
OP and Brother Decided to Pay for the Parent’s Dinner
Although the parents were also doing fine financially, as a nice gesture, OP and his brother decided that they would take turns paying for the family dinner twice per month whenever they went out with their parents.
OP Noticed His Parents Were Choosing More Expensive Restaurants for Him
Although they were paying for the dinners, they left the choice of the restaurant up to the parents. Here is where OP started to get a little irritated. It appeared as though his parents were choosing much more expensive restaurants whenever he had to pay compared to when his brother had to pay.
OP Was Paying Too Much
Whenever his parents chose restaurants that OP would be paying at, they went to extremely high-end and fine dining locations that ended up costing a great deal of money. However, whenever it was brother Paul’s turn to pay, their parents went to cheap restaurants or even food court locations where the whole meal would usually not even cost as much as a single plate at the restaurants where OP would pay.
OP Confronted Their Parents About the Disparity
Eventually, OP got very frustrated with the situation and decided to confront their parents about it. They asked their parents why exactly they were favoring Paul over them and why they would always choose much more expensive restaurants when OP was paying.
Paul Has Always Been Closer to the Parents
On an interesting side note, OP also noted that their brother Paul was always much closer to their parents than OP was.
The Parents Said They Were Just Trying to Help Paul
The parents responded by saying that they were only trying to do something nice for OP’s brother Paul, and that there was no favoritism going on. They mentioned that Paul was now well over 30 and that he had a girlfriend. They were trying to help him save money so he could build a future for himself.
Apparently, OP Could Afford it Better
The parents also went on to say that OP was still young and single, so OP could obviously afford to pay more for dinner than Paul could.
OP Told Their Parents They Were Being Unfair
OP was extremely upset with this and went on to tell their parents that they were being extremely unfair.
OP Decided to Stop Going to Family Dinners
OP told his parents they were being far too unfair, and that until they decided to stop favoring Paul, that they would no longer be joining family dinners. But OP is left wondering if they are being childish about the arrangement.
The Readers Respond
The readers responded, and the consensus is that OP is not being immature or unfair. The reality is that they were always paying far more money for the dinner than Paul, and the readers find this to be extremely unfair.
“NTA. It is not childish to stop paying 3-4x the amount of money that your brother is expected to in order to fund these ‘family nights’. I would tell them that their choices have consequences. Then I would let your brother know that mom and dad are really looking forward to the day he settles down, so much so that they’ve decided to help out by only requesting food court offerings from him, well at least for as long as he has a girlfriend anyway.”
“They are your PARENTS. They were willingly making you pay WAY MORE. They could have chosen the same kind of not so expensive restaurants for the both of you. But when you were paying they took blatantly advantage of you. They owe you an apology AND THEY should pay for the next couple of months. (If you ever want to have dinner with them again….) NTA.”
Should the Brother Have Spoken Up?
Although everybody agreed that it was totally unfair how the parents were treating OP, many people also noted that the brother could have spoken up as well. Many people said that the brother should have noticed that he was being favored over OP, although many also said that those being favored often don’t notice.
“The brother should at least have noticed the disparity in the restaurant choice even if he hasn’t guessed the reason behind it.”
“When you’re on the “winning” end of a disparity sometimes you don’t question it, and sometimes you don’t notice it because you figure it may be evening out somewhere else. Even OP thought there was a bonafide underlying reason at first.”
“They should just split every single dinner 50/50.”
Should the Parents Pay?
Many people even went on to note that it is the parents that should have been paying for the family dinners, not the children.
“NTA. I am flabbergasted that parents would let their kids pay at all, no matter their age. This is so contrary to how I was raised.”
“NTA, sounds like everyone should be paying for themselves. Why are your parents not taking turns paying? I’d absolutely refuse to pay, though I’d offer to join and pay for yourself.”
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