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Dear Mari: Wife’s business irks him

BETTER COMMUNICATIONS is the answer to a conflict over his resentment of her business (Shutterstock photo).

Dear Marilyn,

I have been married for 12 years, and I have three children. I have had a small business, with a partner, for seven years. It has been mildly successful. During the last two years, it has been really improving, and I have high hopes for some real success. Recently, I was talking to my husband about the business. He blurted out that he does not like me to have the business, and he never has!

   Now, I knew that once in a while he was frustrated because I have had to travel for the business. This occurs about once a month. I travel on weekends, so that it will cause the least amount of disruption to my family.  I do most of my work from home. When I do need to go places for the business, I do it during the day, while the kids are at school. I really try to limit how much impact the business has on my family.

So, I was shocked and saddened when he made that comment. I really didn’t know how to respond. So, I just simply said, “I’m sorry that you feel that way.” It was kind of a cop out answer, I know. I would like to have a real conversation with him about it. I’m kind of afraid to start the conversation, though. I’m really not sure how much I should give in to him about the business. I feel that his reaction is selfish, and that he is not acting like he is proud of me.

I am afraid that this issue is causing festering anger and resentment in me. Maybe it is for him too, I don’t know. What do you suggest?

Signed, Back In Business

Dear Back In Business,

You have every right to want approval and support from your husband, especially now that the business is doing so well. I can understand your hurt and resentment in that you don’t feel you are getting these things from him.

   However, you two have a serious communication issue. You need to talk to each other about the business, and you need to do it right away.

   First of all, you need to find out more about what he is thinking and feeling. How are things going at his job? Is he doing well? Or, is he bored with his job? Is he worried about it? Knowing more about that situation will help you to understand his reaction to your growing success with the business.

   The next thing is that you need to find out if your weekend business trips really are the least intrusive time for you to travel. Perhaps it would be easier for him if you did go during the week. You need to ask him.

   Finally, take a look at how you have been treating him. Do you think that he is feeling like you don’t need him anymore? Do you think that he feels treasured by you? Or, do you think it’s possible that he feels that he is in third place in your life … behind your children and the business.

   Think about these things, and then have a heart to heart talk. I hope that once the air is cleared that you will find out that deep down he is proud of you. He may just want to know that you are proud of him too.

Dear Marilyn,

I am a college student, and I have made some wonderful new friends.   I love hanging out with them. We have some really great times.  The problem is that I am having a hard time getting through with all of my obligations each week. Between school and my part time job, I can’t seem to find time to get everything done.

I know that I should be focusing on my responsibilities, but I would really rather spend the time with my friends. I have always been kind of a loner, and I didn’t have a lot of close friends in high school. Maybe that’s why it has been so much fun for me to have finally made these close friendships.

How can I balance out all of my obligations, and still have the time to hang out with my new friends? I don’t want to jeopardize these new friendships that I have just started to build. I really need your advice. What do you suggest?

Signed, New Pal

Dear New Pal,

   Having close friends is such a blessing. This must feel especially true to you, since you haven’t had a lot of experience with close friendships. Don’t worry. Your friends will understand when you can’t spend time with them. I know that you would rather spend time with them then to work or study, but the reality is that you can’t, and you shouldn’t, ignore those obligations.

   You need to organize your time. Plan out your time for each week, rather than just kind of winging things each day. Determine how much time you will need for work and school, and then plan time with your new friends during what leisure time you see is on your schedule.

   That way, you will be able to spend time with them, and not feel guilty about things that you might otherwise have neglected. You just need to prioritize your obligations and balance them with your desire to have fun with your new friends.

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