My husband and his female business partner, both in their early-40s, have been very successful for over 15 years. Ten years ago, another man joined them on contract and is essential to their progress, so it’s really the three of them making all the big decisions.
All three are in touch daily, and there are often breakfast- and lunch-time meetings involving all of them, but occasionally just the two partners.
I also work full-time at a completely separate career. I dearly value the evenings when my husband and I have dinner together, especially when our late-teenage children are at home.
Recently, my husband said that his partner (married, with no children) would prefer to have their meetings over dinner, when not rushed to get back to the day-to-day demands of their business. She’s apparently mentioned this to him several times.
I have no issue with this woman as my husband’s partner; I like and respect her. But I do have an issue as his wife, on behalf of our relationship.
He’s already working from 7am to 7pm, and I believe that the few hours he has left before sleep are needed for enjoying a stress-free meal, and connecting with his family, especially me.
Also, I don’t like the optics of a regular dinner-for-two, even though there’s been no hint of anything suspicious.
Am I wrong to insist on no dinner meetings (except for emergencies)?
This woman is a full partner in their business set-up, from the start, and has equal rights in setting meeting times.
However, your rights in the spousal relationship are equal to his, and you feel strongly about this, with good reasons for his benefit as well as your own, and that of your kids.
A compromise might satisfy all, and is worth a try: Your husband could recommend holding dinner meetings once a month, and that the third “essential” member of their business group be invited (which eliminates any uncomfortable “optics”).
However, if his partner doesn’t accept that compromise, then he needs to find out why the “dinner” plan is so important to her.
Perhaps she’s dissatisfied with something in their partnership, or with the other man’s status in the company (too close to her own?).
He needs to hear her out – even if that’s over just one dinner at a restaurant (OR, you could offer to have it less public, at your place, while you’re occupied in another room).
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the pregnant mom, upset because her husband watches porn and follows scantily clad models on Instagram (December 22):
Reader – “For Christmas 1972, as my wife was “very pregnant” with our first child, she gave me a year’s subscription to Playboy Magazine with a note: “For you to read ‘the articles’ and to ‘fantasize about their (the often very scantily-clad Playboy models’) waists.’”
“For her next two pregnancies, my wife told me how she wanted sex, depending on her changing hormones and feeling.
“Your recent column advice to this woman was right on: “I believe you should speak up about what really matters here. That you still are a sexual person while pregnant, wanting the reassurance of a loving touch cuddling and sexual connection. Say that it’s an important bond together while it’s possible – until too close to delivery.”
“Once I was more aware of what my wife really wanted and not being afraid of hurting her, it got much better.”
Ellie – Your wife’s very wise approach those many years ago is impressive.
FEEDBACK Regarding your call for inspiring thoughts for 2019:
Reader – “I ended 2018 while fighting a serious health challenge. In this new year, I’m focused on the “now” by saying Yes to all my friends and family who are offering their support and help to me.
“Also, I’m trying to show gratitude and appreciation to family, friends, caregivers, medical professionals, and also random people who cross my path, either with a smile or kind word. Cheers to a kinder and gentler 2019!”
Ellie – I’d hoped that a fresh resolution could change readers’ perspectives to new inspiration.
For you and others who’ve experienced health challenges or other setbacks, it would be all too easy to just feel sorry for oneself.
But to determinedly turn your thoughts to positive acceptance of support from family and friends, and to express gratitude as a return gift to everyone in your life, is not only inspired, but also emotionally healing.
Tip of the day:
A couple’s enduring relationship requires at least as much careful tending as a longtime business partnership.