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Ask Lisi: Rich friends expect us to go halfsies on pricey wine

The only thing you can do is speak up, and best to do so while planning your next outing. Not before, because that will be awkward when the time comes.
Advice columnist Lisi Tesher.

Dear Lisi: I’ve never asked for professional advice before. But after talking to my friends, the jury is out on what I should do.

My husband has a friend who is a very successful business man. He took risks that paid off. So, he lives a very nice lifestyle.

His wife is nice enough to have dinner with a few times a year, but she doesn’t have much to discuss other than her children and her travels. She doesn’t work, volunteer, or seem to have any interests of her own.

They usually choose the restaurant, and it’s always the latest, hard-to-get-in hotspot, which is a treat for us. My husband and I know it’ll be more expensive than we usually spend on a night out, but we’re fine on these few occasions.

The problem is that the husband has recently started learning more about wines, collecting, and becoming somewhat of a connoisseur. He’s quite knowledgeable and the wines are tasty. However, I don’t drink at all. I take one sip from my husband’s glass to taste and that’s it. And my husband can only have one glass for medical reasons.

But this man orders the most expensive wine on the menu and then expects us to go halfsies when the bill comes. How do we explain to him that we don’t think that’s fair and we’re not interested in spending that kind of money on something we don’t need, want, or appreciate?

Not a wine aficionado

A standard bottle of wine holds about five glasses. Since you’re not going to pay a fifth of the cost, the only thing you can do is speak up, and best to do so while planning your next outing. Not before, because that will make it a “thing” and then awkward when the time comes. And if you wait until you’re at the restaurant, it will feel antagonistic.

So, when they call to make the next date, just say offhandedly that since neither you nor your husband drink, you’d prefer to not share in the cost of the wine. But then your husband has to politely decline when he offers him a glass.

Dear Lisi: My wife and I are both very athletic and our careers revolve around sports. We each have our mornings to train, work out, or play while the other gets the kids up, fed, and out to school. We’re very evenly split on our schedules, and it’s amicable.

Spring is our heaviest season since our preferred sports are mainly outdoors, and our two kids play baseball. I have to travel for work once a quarter but only for a few days. My wife never does. We both travel, separately, for our sport twice a year.

This year I was invited to participate in an event, out of the country. It is a huge honour to have been invited and I believe it will also enhance my career. But it’s two weeks at the end of June when everything is in high gear, as in, end of school events, end of season events, etc.

My wife isn’t going to be happy. What do I do?

Honour vs. Honour

I’m hoping you have a good support system. If you have parents, siblings, friends who can help out, now’s the time to hit them up. Then talk to your wife, but the sooner the better. Tell her you understand what bad timing this is and that you’re going to do whatever you can to help set her up for when you’re gone. But explain why you strongly believe this is the right thing for you to be doing — from a personal and professional standpoint.

Be organized and prepared. Hopefully, she’ll appreciate your effort and compassion.

FEEDBACK regarding the tattletale kids (April 22):

Reader – “One thing I did when my kids entered the tattletale phase was to stop them before they had a chance to tell and ask them ‘in, out or both?’

“Meaning, are you telling me this to get your sibling in trouble, out of trouble or a mix of both? If it were merely to get someone in trouble, they weren’t allowed to tell me. If it were to get someone out of trouble/harm (playing with matches), they were to tell me right away. And if it were a combo of both, they had to figure out a way to tell me focussing only on what we could do to get the sibling out of trouble.

“Worked like a charm!”

Lisi – This is brilliant!

Ellie Tesher and Lisi Tesher are advice columnists for the Star and based in Toronto. Send your relationship questions via email: or

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