I always pick the bill. It’s not news, neither am I bragging. Regardless of whether it’s convenient for me or not, I compulsively just want to take care of things. I’ve paid for entire night-outs, hotels, fees, dinners. I’ve handled rent, charges, travel for other people. I’ve gone out of my way more than I can count. I don’t think about it usually, but this morning I thought about it, and I may have a problem.
I don’t want validation that I’m nice (or not), far from it. You see, I grew up in a family that was broken from when I was conscious of it. I’m still in it. By broken, I mean my parents live together, wear their rings but they’re really not married. They don’t even co-exist well. It just doesn’t work, but societal pressure binds them together.
When I was a teenager, I saw through it all. My father has told me the same stories countless times; the stories of how he used to be in charge, how he was a hotshot, and how things went downhill. He never learned to accept my mum being in charge of things, and he never will. I saw through his stories from when I was 16.
Sometimes, he appreciates the support. Other times, he hides it behind a mask, and complains about disrespect. I can’t tell my father how much I make or what I pay for in the house because I don’t want him to feel less than. He will never be a supportive person because he’s obsessed with being the provider. When I think about it, I don’t think he doesn’t realize it. He just can’t help it.
And that’s why I’m scared. What if I’m just the same? There’s never been a time in my life when I’ve been unable to provide. In all my relationships, romantic and platonic, I’ve been the provider. What if I unconsciously build my relationships that way, looking forward to people needing me to help? What if I look forward to the validation? What if I’m setting myself up for being unable to accept someone else picking the bill?
Is it a wise decision to start learning to shut up and allow other people pick their own bills?