Wife Complains When Husband Eats Without Asking, But He Says It's His Right Because He Pays For All The Food

She wondered if she was wrong for wanting her husband to ask before he eats.

family cooking together in kitchen August de Richelieu / Pexels

A woman wrote into the English parenting forum Mumsnet seeking advice on an ongoing conflict within her household. She explained the “long-running argument” between herself, her husband, and their children that centers on her husband’s “habit of mooching around the kitchen looking for food.”

The woman complained that her husband eats food without asking, but he says it’s his right because ‘he has paid for all of the food in the kitchen.’

“He feels that anything in the kitchen is (and should be) fair game,” the woman stated. “He gets very upset when we shout at him for eating something that we feel he shouldn't have.”


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She offered multiple examples of moments when her husband ate food without asking permission to do so. One example she gave was when one of her kids baked cookies to share. They left the tray on the counter, “anticipating that lovely treat later and then [came] back to find their father has eaten a third of the tray before they’ve even offered.”

woman complains husband mooches foodPhoto: Elina Fairytale / Pexels


Another example was her kids’ experience of cooking their own food for school lunches. “They leave it in the fridge or somewhere to cool, [they] come back, and it’s gone.”

Her final example was that when she cooks dinner, she plans the meal so that every member of the family gets a certain amount of food, like “three sausages and two bits of bacon. He comes in and nicks two bits of bacon from the pan right before we are about to eat.”

Her husband believes that he shouldn’t have to ask for permission to eat whatever he wants because he’s the one paying for the food.

The woman stated that her husband thinks that “if we have plans for some of it and haven't allowed enough to share then it's our fault for not making enough.” He maintains that “we should just make lots more of everything to allow for others having some.”

“He feels that we are not being generous and that, in spite of his best efforts to model generosity, we are all just being mean,” the woman explained. She asked if she and her kids were being unreasonable to expect him to “at least check in [about] whose food it is and whether it has a destination before just eating it.”


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Most comments from people on Mumsnet upheld the belief that checking to see if food is available to eat is common courtesy, especially as within a family unit.

As one person explained, it’s “basic manners to just check.” “It’s about living in a mutually respectful way,” said someone else.

Another person explained that her husband “needs to feel the consequences” of taking food without asking, especially from his kids. As they explained it, “he needs to make [the] child a replacement lunch; he goes without bacon in his dinner if he’s already eaten it; he needs to do the shopping and cooking to be having all this spare food around for him.”

woman complains husband mooches foodPhoto: Mart Productions / Pexels


As one person noted, her husband’s repeated decision to eat food indiscriminately “sounds to me like he is saying he is going to step up and plan, shop, and cook from now on.”

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Others believed that his self-declared “right” to eat what he wants as the main breadwinner is indicative of a larger, underlying issue that touches on entitlement and inequitable divisions of household labor.

“He may have paid for the food, but did he write out a list, drive to the shops, purchase the items, put them away and later prepare them for eating?” Someone asked. “I’d suggest the amount that he pays for food is probably less or equal to the cost of labor for all of the above. If he wants more [for] himself, maybe he should start contributing to this labor.”


Being a proactive part of a family requires flexibility, compassion, and communication. The father in question has shown how little he actually respects the rest of his family. Even though his wife and kids have repeatedly established how his actions negatively affect them, he refuses to consider any form of change.

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers parenting issues, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.