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home : columns : dear harriette January 25, 2020

11/23/2019 3:06:00 PM
Reader concerned about cheap husband

DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband is a cheapskate. He does not like to spend money on anything extra -- especially clothes. For this reason, he has been wearing the same clothes for years. Normally that doesn't matter, but we have a couple of big events to attend, and he does not have the proper clothing to wear to them. He needs a suit. The last time we bought one was probably 10 years ago, which is way more than 10 pounds ago. He tried on his suit recently, and he couldn't button the jacket. The whole thing was way too small. When I said something about it, he just scoffed. He cannot go to my work function wearing a suit that is so ill-fitting.

How can I convince my husband that investing in one suit will be valuable for our future? He works with his hands, and his work clothes are jeans and a dirty T-shirt. I have a professional job, and I have to wear a suit or a dress. -- Opening His Eyes

DEAR OPENING HIS EYES: Remind your husband that it is helpful to you and your life as a family if he is willing to dress up in a suit every now and then and go with you to business functions. Point out that rarely do you ask him to do this, but make it clear that his participation counts for a lot. Tell him that you would very much like to select a suit for him that will be comfortable and look perfect. If he is unwilling to go to the store, do your best to figure out his size and purchase two different sizes for him. Have him try on each suit, and return the one that doesn't fit.

Since he doesn't often go with you to these types of functions, remind him of the expectations so that he can feel comfortable and at ease. Express your appreciation that he is willing to support you and your family in this way. Do not take for granted that he will comply. When and if he does, be obvious with your gratitude so that he has no doubts about your sincerity.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a new boyfriend who is a lot of fun. He enjoys taking me out to dinner, movies and other social activities. I like spending time with him doing these things, but I also like my quiet time. I am a reader, and I like to carve out time every day to read a little bit. He, on the other hand, does not read at all. He watches cable news and reads a bit of online news, but that's it. He doesn't have patience for my reading. He doesn't like to sit still for too long. When I curl up with a book, he is ready to leave. I don't intend to stop being a reader. How do you suggest we work through this difference in behavior? -- Not a Reader

DEAR NOT A READER: Your boyfriend's lack of interest in reading does not have to be a deal breaker. You do enjoy many activities together. Perhaps you can designate a certain period of time as "private time," during which you can read or do whatever else you may like while he finds what he would like to do alone. Agree with him that your reading time is important and you are happy to give him space for his own activities.

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