Q: How do couples share responsibilities for food in a relationship? I get the sense that my boyfriend expects me to be almost 100% responsible: purchasing, preparing, clean-up — yet he eats three times as much as I do. I love to cook and share, but spending $20 each night on dinner (a very conservative figure) adds up to something unaffordable over the long term. He doesn't have as much money as I do, but I'm still a student and besides I think it's unfair. I don't know how to broach the subject without hurting feelings.
Sent by Jenny
Editor: Jenny, it might help to have a little more information. Do you live together? Or do you just eat together a few times a week? If it's the former, and you have set up a household together, then a very straightforward discussion on sharing responsibilities, financial and otherwise, would be a good idea. If you don't live together, but he just likes to come over and eat with you, then perhaps you can suggest that you eat out from time or that he plans one meal a week.
Overall, a direct approach is best here. A good relationship should have open lines of communication about such things. You don't need to say you feel taken advantage of, or that it feels unfair. Simply ask if you can clarify your responsibilities with respect to food. Ask him what his expectations are. Once you know what he really thinks (he may not even expect these things or realize you feel this way!) you can say that you feel that you do the lion's share of the cooking and shopping, and you would love to find a way to share those responsibilities.
Readers, what do you think? How have you navigated this space in your own relationships?
Related: Kitchen Etiquette: Tips for Shared Kitchen Spaces
(Image: Flickr member madmolecule licensed for use under Creative Commons)