My friend’s fiancé asked me for a Rolex watch as a wedding gift

Can you tell me a bit about you?

I’m in my early - mid 30’s and am currently in between jobs (changing career). I live with my partner who earns about £250k annually.

What happened with your friend and her partner?

Earlier this year one of my close friends and her partner said they are getting married and having a destination wedding in India, as that’s where they are both from. They invited my partner and I, and since I'd resigned from my job just before that catch up, I told them that as soon as I found a new job I would book the flight. My partner wasn't able to make it to the wedding due to it overlapping with a work trip.

What happened then?

Shortly afterwards I met up with them again and during a conversation about the wedding her partner came out with something that shocked me. He suggested, because in their culture the bride is supposed to give the groom a gift at the wedding, that I should buy my friend either a Rolex watch (which would cost about £5K apparently) or some other type of watch (I don’t remember the name of the brand since my brain stopped working at that moment - but the watch would cost about £15k according to him), and give it to her. She would then give him that gift at the wedding as if it’s from herself.

He said it because he knows my partner earns a well-off salary. The truth is that a lot of that money goes on taxes, child support (my partner has 2 children from a previous marriage), supporting his parents with some money each month, and not to mention he is the sole breadwinner in our household right now. So after everything is paid, its not like we are swimming in money or anything like that. We are comfortable by all means, but not comfortable enough to gift a friend something worth thousands of pounds!

How did you react?

I was so shocked to hear him say that. Out of politeness, I said "I will see what I can do" and looked at my friend as if to say ‘is he serious!?’. He then proceeded to ask her what gift she would like to receive from me, and with a serious face, she said she wouldn’t like anything.

From the way she reacted, I knew he wasn’t joking. It was such a sad moment for the friendship. When I got home that day I decided I would be skipping the wedding because - since he’s behaving like this - I don’t see us being close friends in the future.

How do you feel about it now?

The wedding is due to happen soon and I am definitely not going. I didn’t end up finding a new job anyway, so it actually worked in my favour as I don't have to search for an excuse.

All of the expenses associated with the trip would have been pretty much a month of after-tax salary. Instead, I’m enjoying my time off, healing mentally after my last job and spending some quality time with my family!

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