D ear Amy: Three years ago my wife left a large firm to start a business along with her mentor from the firm. Though there were rumors that they’d had an “inappropriate relationship,” I had no doubt that their relationship was entirely professional. Her mentor was married and had a young family; we all socialized; nothing nefarious happened.
Fast-forward three years. Their business was a success. My wife and I had a baby. The mentor left his wife and his family, with much discord.
Over time, my interaction with her business partner, “Danny,” got increasingly strained. A few months ago he bought my wife a $1,000 bag. Then they started traveling a lot together. She would remove herself from my presence when talking with him on the phone.
One night the three of us went out. He seemed so awkward toward me it weirded me out. I looked at my wife’s text messages for the preceding couple of weeks and saw statements from him such as, “I’ve left everything for u — u can’t keep me waiting forever.”
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When I confronted her, she admitted that the relationship had “gone too far” and that it was having a negative effect on our marriage. She also said she wanted to pursue counseling — she would go first, both of us later — which made sense to me.
I wonder what to do about her business relationship with Danny — he’s still the mentor to a degree and has an upper hand in the business. My wife has agreed that I don’t need to see him and that he’s not to be around our baby daughter. But, knowing what he said to her, I can’t get past it. Is it right to draw a line over further ridiculous gifts? Spending time together for lunches and office parties?
Other than counseling, do you have any suggestions?
— Heartsick Husband
Dear Husband: It is not only logical, it is also reasonable and necessary for your wife and her business partner to severely limit their nonprofessional interactions if your marriage is going to survive. So no gifts, no co-travel, and your wife must provide complete transparency regarding their contact.
Your relationship can survive this, but your wife doesn’t get to dictate the terms. If she isn’t willing to engage in the repair process alongside you (including couples counseling), then I’d say the future for your marriage is shaky. The best book on this issue is my oft-recommended “Not ‘Just Friends’: Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Infidelity,” by Shirley P. Glass with Jean Coppock Staeheli (2004, Atria Books).
Dear Amy: My nephew “Hugo” was invited to his friend’s wedding. The bride’s family has limited the number of guests, so Hugo cannot bring a companion. Hugo’s girlfriend of about a year and a half (“Martha”) told Hugo he is “disrespecting their relationship” because he plans to go to the wedding without her.
Martha also said Hugo is being treated like a “B-list guest” because he did not receive his invitation until a couple of weeks before the wedding, rather than six weeks in advance, and should protest by not going. (The friend did send out a “save the date” notice months ago.)
Martha barely knows the groom. I don’t see how Hugo’s going to the wedding amounts to disrespecting their relationship, nor do I think Hugo is being treated like a B-list guest. Am I wrong? Shouldn’t he feel free to go to the wedding if he wants to?
— A Meddling Aunt
Dear Aunt: I agree with you that “Hugo” should go to the wedding if he wants to.
Maybe he'll meet a nice girl there.
Dear Amy: “Frustrated at Brother” wrote about a nephew who was graduating from high school and had sent a letter to relatives boldly asking for money for a trip. Your thinking that this kid deserves a trip is absurd.
I’d tell him to get a job.
— Up from Poverty
Dear Up: I don’t think this teen “deserves” a trip. I think he asked for it very badly.