How do I make my spouse more supportive of my business?

Dear Aunty B,

I started a small business five years ago and we have about 10 people. I take a good salary from it and love going to work. The problem is my husband resents the business and the hours I work. I have structured the business around a 50-hour week, (8am to 6pm-ish), never work evenings and just the occasional Sunday afternoon (he plays golf).

I also try and focus on our relationship and not talk my business all the time.

It has come to a head because I am taking a business trip for 10 days and he has asked me not to.

My husband says our relationship should be the centre of our lives, not my business. He also tells me I need to get things in perspective and that I run a small business that is never going to change the world and that he assumed I would change my priorities as I got older.

I feel like a 50-hour week is reasonable and I am not sure that I can or want to delegate more. Is he being unreasonable? How can I make him more supportive, because I feel at some point he is going to make me choose. I never want to go back and work for someone else anyway. What do other women who run businesses do?



Dear JL

What a sad letter! I feel for you because I think you are at a crossroads. Women who run their own businesses continually tell me that one of the reasons for their success is a supportive spouse.

In fact, many end up dumping unsupportive spouses who don’t support their passion for their business and either find one who is supportive or they go it alone.

You don’t mention children and I get the feeling you are an older woman who loves working. In this case, you have to be very clear about your passion. You are proud of what you have built and you love your work. That’s who you are. He has to accept that. He also sounds like a very self-centred man who is incapable of celebrating your success – which must be very hard for you.

I am also wondering if he has recently retired and is at a loose end. Often people who have nothing to do, start to make unreasonable demands on those employed.

My feeling is that you need to go and get relationship counseling quickly. This is about a lot more than your work hours and a business trip.

Good luck,
Your Aunty B


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