Dear Annie: I have been dating this girl, "Laura," for about two months. Things are going extremely well. She's kind, funny, intelligent — all the things I look for in a woman. But we've been on many, many dates, and she's only offered to pay once. I am happy to pay, and I want to — she's a special girl, so I feel fortunate to have the pleasure of her company, and I really do care for her — but I'm in law school right now, and my well doesn't run that deep.
I've tried to drop hints here and there — suggesting we go to a more casual restaurant instead of the one with the tablecloth, hit the matinee rather than the movie at the Saturday date-night hour, etc. — and she's always down for the change of plans, but she doesn't seem to get it. I don't know whether she's just that clueless or she actually has that expectation (and will continue to have it for as long as we're together). There's also a twinge of feeling as if she's ungrateful for what I do, which I don't want to grow. What's the best way to proceed? — I Ain't No Mr. Moneybags
Dear Mr.: Generally, I think whoever does the asking should do the paying. So if your partner's favorite restaurant is a ritzy, three-dollar-sign steakhouse downtown, by all means, she can take you. But she can't propose the idea and then expect you to foot the whole bill.
Seeing as how this is bothering you, it seems to be a red flag that she hasn't been offering to pay. Try raising your budgetary concerns in a friendly way, and keep the focus positive. Good on you for being generous these past two months. Chivalry is alive and kicking.
Dear Annie: I'm writing not with a solution for "Tired in Tulsa" but about her comment about being tired all the time since the birth of her baby. I want to encourage all people, especially women, to take better care of themselves.
I was exhausted and tired while raising my children and working full time. I wish now I had not expected myself to do it all. I would have been a better person, parent and wife if I had done something to reduce my workload either at work or at home. And I might be feeling better now in my 60s if I'd taken better care of myself. And I wouldn't be looking back with regret at how I treated the people around me because I was tired and cranky.
I realize it may not always be economically possible, but many of us could do well with less. I think my family and I would have been better off with less money if it had meant I was in a better state of mind after taking care of myself.
So my advice to everyone is to do the best you can to get enough rest, exercise and good food and take care of your emotional needs. It's not selfish, because it does benefit everyone around you. — Wishing I Had Taken Better Care
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