Fog Creek Software
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Wives and Entrepreneurship

This applies to any significant other to an entrepreneur.

As I've been starting my software business, we've gone through a couple of years of "lean" times.  I've had to make some business model changes on the fly, and we're finally getting somewhere.  But accounts are still hard to come by, and there is no definite pipeline I can point to and say "hey, here's all the money that is gonna be rolling in!"  But I do know we are seeing signs, and we are getting some customers and making some cash as we go.

But my wife is not a "risk taker" like me.  She has played along because I've been taking side consulting gigs all along to keep the money flowing.  I pay all the bills.  She keeps a horse and all of her money goes into paying for the horse.  But lately, she's less like a wife than a sales manager, she is always questioning me about accounts, when is such and such gonna close, what's in the pipeline, etc.  And she is wanting me to buy a new house right now, one that I will be sorely stretched to buy.

So now I'm thinking of chucking it all and taking some staff augmentation gig just to get her off my case.  I love her dearly, she is beautiful, and we have a beautiful child.  But I just can't stand the sniping and the disappointment anymore.  The comparisons to all the rich people at the barn where the horse is boarded. 

I know given time I can make my business highly successful.  But not while fighting the sniping on a daily basis.  It actually helps when I travel on business,  so I don't have to hear it.

Is this a common problem of entrepreneaurs?

me
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

And I used to be a bit ticked off just because my wife was not paying much attention to my efforts to start and run a business.  If I were you, I'd consider going out of town on business permanently.

MT
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

It took 4 years and considerable hardship before my SI concluded that I wouldn't be stopped.  I think that is the key...  Going concern principle?

Anyway, once she realized that it would end when they put me in a box, it started to get better.

This is not to say that it wasn't a major source of tension, in-laws live in the same city and whenever I have any concerns, I just ask my father-in-law... He knows EVERYTHING!  (He won a $Million in a scratch and sniff-- No Shit! ...and the only thing worse than an asshole is an asshole with a million dollars! LOL )

I too, periodically entertain thoughts of chuckin' it and she's now the one urging me to continue.  YMMV

Special Ed
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Common - probably, Problem - probably not.

First, it is good to have someone push you for outcomes.  Some people spend good money on "coaching", which in the end is someone who makes you define goals and then meets with you on a regular basis to determine if you are meeting them. 

As for "seeing signs", I am reminded of a movie: "There are signs everywhere.  Most of them say wrong way." If you cannot explain where the money will come from, how do you know you are seeing signs?   

It appears you have a bit of resentment that you support her (and the horse she rode in on).  Now the difficult question is are you mad at her (and read your comment, you are mad), for asking or for being right? 

Three suggestions: 
1. The difference between a wish and a goal is a plan.  If you do not have a real plan, with measurable goals, you are wishing for an outcome.  Make a plan.  You may find it forces you to focus. 
2. Provide a status to your wife.  Bringing in someone else, can help keep you on track.  The reason people see success from coaching is they don't want to explain to someone that they did not "feel" like making the sales calls this week.  Or they did not want to update their plan due to market changes.
3. Ask her if she thinks you two need to see a marriage counselor.  Too many people let these things go and then they are surprised to hear "I'm lleaving."  I cannot explain the "gender thing" but guys tend not to hear "we need help."  If she things maybe that is a "yes."

Good luck. 

MSHack
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

how old is your child?  newborn?

you wife may be hinting toward more of a "lets have a steady consistent stream of money"  i.e.  full time job,  rather than the volitile situation you are currently in.

Before your child she was probably more receptive to the risk taking, but now the child's care come first over gettting rich.....

apw
Tuesday, March 23, 2004


My wife has been supportive, as long as she can see progress being made. 

I can't imagine what it would be like if my partner was my biggest deterrent.  Of course before we were married I had discussed that this was in my future and she thought it was a good idea.


Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Apologies if I'm stating the obvious, and I don't know either of you personally, but maybe her negativity comes from fear and/or a (perceived) lack of security. 

Would it help to give her a definite goal and timeframe?  Something like "If the business isn't bringing in revenue X by date Y, I'll go back to a regular full-time job"?

An objective third party (read: counselor) can help, too (the problem is finding a good one).

Good luck...

- former car owner in Queens
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Ill assume that like me, you went at it on your own because being employed by someone else never quite worked for you in terms of personal fullfillment and that kind of stuff.
I also assume that your child is more important to you than your wife.

Your child is best served by having a happy and carefree dad. Worried, stressed out, and irritated people make lousy parents. And remeber, any kid is better of with happy parentes in a cottage, than in a masion with two manic depressives.

What then, will make you happy?

Could you just walk away from your endevour, knowing that it may begin to work out in 6 months or so? Could you do so with beginning to resent your wife, or even end up hateing her for it down the line?
Can you go back into dilbert land after having tasted freedom?

On the other hand, if your buissness doesnt take off, how will that affect you as a person(and your child)?


Id like to think, that even those who fail never regrett giving it their best shot.

Eric Debois
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

I hear that leaving a severed horse head in someone's bed is a great way to make a point.

Somehow you need to discuss your feelings about her needling without getting into a fight.  Some opportunity when you can start a conversation about where it isn't you vs. her, when you can talk to her without thinking about the ways in which you are in conflict.  Then lay it all out on the table about how much being an entrepreneur is important to you, how that requires some sacrifices, and her support.  If you are able to support your wife, your children and a horse, you really aren't doing that badly! 

Something I recommend *not* saying:
"Why don't you go and marry one of those rich guys at the stables!"

Keith Wright
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Ive been running my own moderately successful business for 3 years now.
My partner has always had a thing against home businesses...her parents run their own and never had time for holidays or the kids, and mostly never had a lot of money.

So my partner has grown up with a thing for a steady income and weekends off.

Up until now we have always been renting (no kids here yet), but just in the last few months an interesting change has taken place....she has developed a surprisingly intense longing to own a house and have children.
It feels almost like a switch was flicked, on day we were happy with renting and no kids, the next she wanted to buy a house and populate the world.
Women are interesting creatures :)
whats my point?  ah, yes....a similar process may be taking place with your wife.
Talk to her about it, find out whats changed and where her mind is.
Then you need to make a decision about where to go from here...maybe the best thing is to keep moving forward, maybe the best thing is to move into a more secure job.
The house needs even more discussion....taking on a load that you cannot afford is stupid.

FWIW we have come to a compromise on the house...we have started seriously saving for it, another year or so and we will have the deposit.
The kids are coming...off the pill shes gone and we are letting nature taking its course, so sometime in the next year or so (all going well) we should have the wild screaming of a small child about the house.

Find a place of compromise, identify each of your requirements and then find a place where you can both stand.

Im not a great fan of sacrificing everything for your partner, personally I think thats more destructive than anything. 
Im also not a great fan of expecting your partner to sacrifice everything for you....talk and talk and talk...leave it for a week and then talk again.
There _is_ a good compromise out there, all you and your wife have to do is find it.

Good luck.

FullNameRequired
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

FullNameRequired,

Get used to sacrafice once the little one enters the world :)

apw
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

I thought trying to get my husband interested in what I am doing was hard. But he at least has no complaints about me cutting my paid-work hours down to ten per week and the two of us scrimping by on his wage.

We do talk about it alot though. If I were working fulltime we would have a little bit of money saved by now, so we discuss this and our options. How long will I try to get this program up and running before we decided it is not in our best interests etc.

And I am compromising, I am going to spend a day pulling weeds on Saturday. I will get $80 cash for it, and a good day in the sun (I do enjoy the odd day of really hard and dirty work), it is all good to throw everything into the hopes my program will work, but we still have to live.

Aussie Chick
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

"Get used to sacrafice once the little one enters the world :)"

<g> Im interested in whether I feel a sudden desire to sacrifice everything for my kids...that feels less destructive and more positive to me.

ah well, another of lifes great adventures.

(and I never _did_ get to take my 6 month skiing holiday in austria)

FullNameRequired
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Maybe it's just me, but if she's concerned about money, why does she have a horse? Isn't that a pretty big "luxury" expenditure? Just wondering.

tim
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

"Maybe it's just me, but if she's concerned about money, why does she have a horse?"

believe me, its best not to go there.  He has his 'needs' (big, kickass tv perhaps, his own business) and she has hers (horse, security maybe wants her own job and him to look after the kid sometimes)

The point at which the focus is on what the other person should or should not be doing is the point at which both parties are losing.

With both parties trying (its not easy and we are only human) to ensure that both of them get what they want/need the chances of it all working out increase.
Once each party is trying to make the other give up what they need/want its either a blip that must be worked past, or its all over bar the divorce.

FullNameRequired
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Actually, if you aren't constantly buying big Tv's, a horse and nerd toys aren't necessarily comparable. The horse is an ongoing expense. If money is an issue, then you cut your luxury expenditures. Get a cheaper car if you can't afford payments on a BMW, sell your horse, cut back on the deluxe cable package, whatever. Note that when I say nerd toys, I mean "ones already bought," not "things I like are better than a horse." Obviously if you buy $400 "toys" every month, you can cut back/eliminate that, and should if you wish your wife to give up her horse. And you can always sell your toys on ebay or some such.

Basically, I'm seeing this issue as "she spends all her money on the horse," and "wants me to give up what I do for something that will immediately be more stable." Both sides can give up something. Changing your job when she won't give up the horse seems unreasonable to me. Out of curiousity, how much does it cost / month to take care of the horse? Just curious.

Anyways, good luck with the situation. Obviously your marriage and child take priority over everything else, job or horse.

tim
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

<g> not to argue this _too_ strongly, but IMO if he gets to keep his business, then she should get to keep her horse at the bare minimum.

FullNameRequired
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

"Basically, I'm seeing this issue as 'she spends all her money on the horse,' and 'wants me to give up what I do for something that will immediately be more stable.'"

No pun intended, surely.

Kyralessa
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Sell the horse.
If the wife complains, sell her as well.

Stephen Jones
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

So the horse and the business can both be classified as non-essentials or entertainment?  That reminds me of the how I would try to get my wife to understand the difference between me buying $100 worth of technical books and her buying $100 worth of CDs - the fact that one purchase would eventually bring a return just never registered.

MT
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

My father spent some time as an entrepreneur some years ago.  Which meant that my mother was the sole breadwinner while he wasn't making much.  We were all covered by her insurance.

That worked out well, even though the business didn't.

I mean, the risk/reward for entrepreneurship is pretty big.  You could make nothing for years and end up with millions down the road.  You could make nothing for years and have a failed business.  And there's nothing like being able to do things right.  When you succeed, you will have made much more than you would have by taking an office job.

Being an entrepreneur does tend to cause problems in general.  I talked to one who said that his best friend, who he started his company with, and him haven't spoken in years.

I mean, the problem is, you sound like you have marital problems in general.  Love is more than remembering to buy your wife flowers for valentine's, it's also having the same goals, the same vision for the future.  Remember that most couples break up over finances, not romance.  So you really need to reassess both of your priorities here.

Flamebait Sr.
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Funny thing is, with us, my missus is the risk taker and I'm the boring bastard.  I find it works reasonably well - she gives me the kick up the arse I need at times and I reign her in to risks. that we can walk away from.  I'd have thought if you both were risk takers life could get a little hairy.

a cynic writes...
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

"So the horse and the business can both be classified as non-essentials or entertainment?"

broadly speaking, yes :)

There is a tendency for people (men especially) to argue that their work is more important than the <whatever> of their partners.

The point about the $100 on technical books as opposed to cds is a classic example of this.

Its an easy argument to make, we can pontificate about the possible return, we can blabber on about the future riches or we can mutter about how important we are to our clients.

all of which is true, but those arguments are almost always made when we want something :)  I want to buy more books, she wants cds..I can get what I want by grabbing the moral high ground.
I want to buy a new computer, she would like a new car...unfortunately I need it more because of my business.

I want to go on holiday in august, she wants september, gosh but look I need to be here in september because of my business.
Overtime, regardless of the moral highground, the tendency is for the partner to make all the sacrifices in terms of what is bought and what decisions are made, while the business (or job) is used as an effective club to ensure my control.

Thats fine if you _really_ want to force your partner to make all the sacrifices :)

_dont_ make the mistake of assuming that your business gives you a moral highground over her horse, be honest with yourself and admit that your business is as much needed for personal reasons as it is because you expect to get rich.
which puts the horse very much at the same level of importance as your business.

all of which means...instread of spending your time working out how to persuade her to give up the horse, you should spend your time working out how you can help her keep the horse, and how she can help you keep your business.

If sacrifices must be made (as often they must) then be prepared to be the one who makes them, _and_ be prepared to be the one who insists that your partner make them.

Maybe you can get a part time job to help cover her horse?  maybe she will give up the horse if you agree to get a part time job that provides a stable income until your business really begins to 'cook'

Avoid trying to grab the moral highground in any discussion (sometimes its impossible to avoid, but when that occurs go back to her once you calm down a bit and try again)
The moral highground almost always leads to a short term win and a long term loss.

FullNameRequired
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

and that doesn't even begin to cover the question of how important her horse might be to her....trivialising the needs and desires of our partners without trying to understand them is the quickest way to end a relationship.

FullNameRequired
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Yes, it's a common problem for entrepeneurs. It took several years for my wife to understand the way I work. She accepted it when I started to make money.

You probably wouldn't be happy taking some dumb staff job, unless it's really senior and they're paying heaps. Which won't happen.

So you have to be happy and confident in your work, and maybe try to be happy and confident with the "rich guys" at the stable. The she'll start to be happy.

Also, landing a couple of big gigs is good.

Me And The View Out The Window
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

>Is this a common problem of entrepreneaurs?

Yes ;-)

Let's be real here though - the situation could be just as appropriate if you were poor schmuck in a menial job.  It's not a situation unique to entrepreneurs where reality!=expectations.

As for solutions, you're on your own there - this is a situation better put to a counsellor than your online mates.

The only advice I'd give is that you don't fall into the trap of thinking your business/plan CANNOT fail.  Businesses have a high rate of failure and you would be deluding yourself to think that you are immune.  Riding out failure is easy when you're single.  Needless to say it's a whole different kettle of fish when you have a family.

Motown (AU)
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

You know the expression, "Behind every great man, there's a great woman"?  What "great woman" really means is "nag".  Some amount of pressure is healthy and motivating.

As far as the comparisons to the rich people at the stables, buy her a copy of "The Millionaire Next Door".  She'll then learn that most rich people started their own small businesses and built them up slowly over time.

Nick
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

I second the recommendation to get her "The Millionaire Next Door".

It's a great book that strongly demonstrates the values that contribute to wealth - frugality, a healthy approach to risk, a strong marriage, etc. You might also want to look into Thomas Stanley's other books, such as "The Millionare Mind".

Burninator
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

"The Millionare Mind" has an excellent chapter on the relationship between wealth and marriage.

The book in general would certainly help shed some light on your current situation.  Its very enlightening.

Canuck
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Behind every great man is a woman... taking cover!

Special Ed
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

You need relationship counseling big time, and this isn't the place to get it.  But any competent therapist would tell your wife that, this stage in life, a horse is a unrealistic luxury and that she needs to uphold her side of the partnership, get rid of the horse, and stop ragging on you.

jqb
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

"not to argue this _too_ strongly, "

You went on to write 12 paragraphs arguing it.

"but IMO if he gets to keep his business, then she should get to keep her horse at the bare minimum."

That makes no sense at all; it's like saying if my wife
gets to keep her singing career then I should get to keep my yacht at the bare minimum.

jqb
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

"You went on to write 12 paragraphs arguing it."

well no..that was a different post.

<g> ah well.

and now you are making me post even more...when will this madness end?

" it's like saying if my wife
gets to keep her singing career then I should get to keep my yacht at the bare minimum."

umm...yes...its exactly the same as saying that in fact.

whether not it makes sense depends pretty much on the person reading it, and the curcumstances around it.

For instance if the wifes horse has been with her for 10 years and shes become extremely emotionally attached then maybe its worthwhile for the OP to work to help her keep it.

<shrug> my main point is dont be in a hurry to push your own wants and needs (the business) over that of your partners..even when you have the apparent moral high ground IMO its still a shaky process.

it takes _strength_ to push for your partners desires as strongly as you push your own.

FullNameRequired
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

FNR's advice is well thought out and displays a lot of wisdom about relationships, and the frailties of us geeks -- I know many geek friends, along with myself, who perpetually justify their geekly purchases under the veil of being business/professionally related, while everything the wife wants is frivilous luxuries.

.
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

> "You went on to write 12 paragraphs arguing it."

> well no..that was a different post.

I *said* "went on" ... in a later post, since it obviously wasn't in the *same* post, and I never said so.  Sheesh.

I'm sorry that you think that a vocation like a singing career is equivalent to an unaffordable luxury like a yacht.

" and now you are making me post even more"

Learn to take responsibility for your own behavior.

jqb
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

"I know many geek friends, along with myself, who perpetually justify their geekly purchases under the veil of being business/professionally related, while everything the wife wants is frivilous luxuries. "

The issue here is a business that someone has put time, effort, and shared marital resources into, not "geekly purchases".  That you have to change that into "geekly purchases" to offset a very expensive luxury like a horse
shows that you don't have a real argument.  Any financial
advisor would tell a family with a child seeking financial
stability and unable to afford home ownership to DUMP THE HORSE.

jqb
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Wow, wonderful and amazing to see all these posts, and very cathartic I may add.

The horse costs about $1000/month to keep.  We keep it in an urban area where the stables are costly.  This horse has a blood sugar condition, so there is the vet cost and the medicine.  Then you have the horse shows, and the clothes for the horse shows, shoeing, saddles, bridles, etc.

In my wife's view, horses are not really just a frivolous luxury.  I know her so well, it's her life.  And her mother has horses also.  Both are from very modest backgrounds, btw.  But they do spend all their spare time at the barn, or at barn parties, or shoveling shit at the barn, etc. 

Funny thing, $1000/month was really nothing to me until it became much tougher to make money in this business.

Anyways, what I'm going to do is suck it up and just make it happen with a fallback plan of getting a contract gig if necessary.  It's a major pain in the ass having the horse, and most people in my shoes really wouldn't put up with it.  But I love my family and I'm just going to find a way to make things work - with the horse included.  And find a way to build the business with some kind of safety net of income.

Anyways, I'm currently at a gig I just sold and made about 30k lump some at.  I've always been resourceful at making large chunks of money, just going to find away to make the magic happen again!

Thanks a million for the feedback, it's great!

me
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

The costs for the horse will expand as you make more funds available -- it's Parkinson's Law.  Of course your wife doesn't think it's frivolous ... that's the problem.  You need to get marital and financial counseling.  If you don't, you will deeply regret it, and you will end up resenting her (even more than you do now).

jqb
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

:) dont suck it up too far...you definitely need to talk things over with her and let her know you need a little support.

Between you both you should be able to find a path forward that can suit you both, but _talking it over_ is the key.

never, ever stop talking it over.  take breaks, leave it for a week if neecessary and then come back to it, but whatever you do _dont suck it up_

Its not about _coping_ its about living as well as possible...you dont necessarily need money to do that, but you do need your family on your side as much as possible.

FullNameRequired
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

FullNameRequired, where were you when I needed ya?  I've been married 6.5 years, and let me tell you, he speaks truth.

Still Married, Still Learning
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

You pay the bills for both you and your wife while she spends all her money on the horse.

This is NOT normal. From this, it is clear that she is dominating the relationship. She is dominating you.

Because you love her a lot, you let yourself be dominated.

This probably makes you unhappy.

This may not matter a lot now, but belive me, in 10 or 20 years, it will matter.

Little things accumulate, and you may become a nervous wreck.

My advice to you is to start seeing a psychologist, and tell him or her about your relationship.

From what you said, it is clearly a dishonest, unfair relationship.

The psychologist can teach you to stand up for yourself. He or she can help you have less fear towards your wife, and handle her requests and her comparisons with rich people better.

Johnson
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Will you guys stop this already? 

None of us are in any position to give any useful advice based on a few lines of text on a board.  We know NOTHING about the real-life situation.

You (us) married guys should know better.

For a laff consider....

"Honey, I 've given it a lot of thought and I think the guys on JoS are right.  I think it's  best if you  give up your horse so we can get our dream house sooner.  They also led me to this book on how I can become a millionaire in my business.  It's got some really great ideas for you to follow up on."  No jury would convict her if she shot you then & there ;-)

For the love of all that's holy, talk to your wife, ask family and *close* friends.  If need be see a counsellor.  Completely ignore everything you've seen here, no matter how "sensible" or "right" it sounds.  The only thing that matters is how sensible or right things are between you and your wife.  Don't give a damn if it appears stupid or wrong to everyone else - those people don't matter.

Motown (AU)
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

A bit about "talking it over", as FullNameRequired written.

Talking it over may be VERY useful.

However, several kinds of problems may appear:


1. She may ignore you. She may say "yes, yes, you are right", and then simply not take into account what you say.

If this kind of problem appears, you may talk it over every day for 6 months and she still won't really take into account what you say.


2. Every time you attempt to talk it over, she may start a fight.


Whatever you do, don't "suck it up".

The problem is that if you "suck it up", this creates a precedent, and you will "suck it up" more and more, for different things.

The more you "suck it up", the harder it will be to stop "sucking it up" in the future.

Johnson
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Johnson, you're over reacting. It's his wife and she loves horses. Nothing wrong with that at all.

"Talking about it" is the way to destroy a good relationship. It says there's a problem and sooner or later, the springs come unstuck.

No, the thing to do is to be happy and strong and look after your wife. If she's concerned about the future, the horse is probably her only consolation.

Me And The View Out The Window
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

"For the love of all that's holy, talk to your wife, ask family and *close* friends.  If need be see a counsellor.  Completely ignore everything you've seen here, no matter how "sensible" or "right" it sounds.  The only thing that matters is how sensible or right things are between you and your wife.  Don't give a damn if it appears stupid or wrong to everyone else - those people don't matter."



best post yet :)  its bang on.

(Ironically that means Im advising you to take the advice within it, which means completely ignoring everything posted here which means...gods I hate being a geek sometimes)

FullNameRequired
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

He should decide for himself which advice is apropriate for his situation.

T
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Your wife is a major stakeholder in your business. She expects transparency from you just like a shareholder. I think that you need to respect that and when she questions you about the business, treat her like a shareholder.

She is also a stakeholder in your life and vice versa. I think that you need to seperate the two things very clearly. Why does she want *you* to buy a house ? Does she mean that she wants your business to buy a house ? That would suggest that the two things have become too interconnected.

Woodentongue
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Her horse and his choice of job are equivalent - remember, he's working independently because he *wants* to. So how come she has to give up the horse she loves so that he can keep the job he loves?

Time for someone to read "The Gift of the Magi" and think about what's *really* important in the relationship...

A couple should be a team - the two of you should sit down together and draw out a plan (already mentioned) for getting where you need to go. Issues to be dealt with:
1) The objective plan for your business, with milestones and deadlines.
2) The financial plan for her horse.
3) The financial plan for buying a house.
4) IIRC, you said all her money was going to the horse, which you then said costs about $1k/month. If she's only making $12k/year then you can also figure out a plan to increase her income. :)

If she's not willing to sit down and objectively talk through *all four* points, then seek counseling.

Best of luck! My marriage survived an unhappy contract, but it wasn't easy.

Philo

Philo
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Forgive me, I'm going to be blunt about this ... normally these issues are none of my business but you made it our business when you posted it on the board.

Frankly, the ways things are going, if the business doesn't succeed there will be a divorce within 3 years.

It's not so much the horse per se, but the fact that she is making demands while spending money she didn't earn on the horse. That sort of control and conflict is a recipe for disaster.

I have my own set of things that I spend thousands of dollars a year on ... but as important as they are to me, if I wasn't working I certainly wouldn't expect my (future) wife to be supporting my hobbies while trying to get her business of the ground.  And I certainy wouldn't be nagging her into buying a house at the same time. She should stop nagging about the house or get rid of the horse.  But she probably won't ... so call me in a couple of years and I'll refer you to a divorce lawyer.

NoName
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

> Her horse and his choice of job are
> equivalent - remember, he's working
> independently because he *wants*
> to. So how come she has to give up
> the horse she loves so that he can
> keep the job he loves?

No, they are NOT equivalent!

Remember he pays all the bills in the house.

He contributes to the house, food, clothing payments.

She contributes NOTHING to these things.

This makes a huge difference.

The relationship is unfair.

He provides for her, she doesn't pay a penny, yet she wants him to be like those rich guys at the stables.

Why?

Probably she wants to suck more money out of him.

Not fair!

Johnson
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Having my own business was just not completely a "personal" decision, although I do take personal ownership of my situation.

After 9/11 and I lost my long term consulting gig, I started my first venture, mostly because I could not find a job, they were scarce, and wasted a year on it, and it never panned out.  My fault, but I was learning, and I didn't know any better, made some bad business decisions and some rookie errors in judgement. 

Trouble was, it got me behind the 8ball, and into some debt.  So with my debt, it would have taken forever at a full time job to pay it back, if ever.  So my decision was to stay in business in order to be able to make chunks of money big enough to get out of debt.  I managed to get out of debt, and even took on my wives premarital credit cards.  But then I hit another slow spell and slipped back into debt.  But I have been maintaining the household payments and then some.

I've been thinking this over.  What I may do is get a contract (if I'm lucky enough to find one in this environment) just long enough to get financially stabilized again.  It won't take long, as my debt has been minimized greatly.  I can work my business interests on the side.  I'll make sure of a stable sales pipeline before making the jump again.  I am determined to keep my relationship together and be there to watch my daughter grow up, it's the greatest joy I have.

me
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

> even took on my wives premarital credit cards

What?!?!

You pay the house's bills, and you also paid your wife's premarital debt?

Man.. this is not normal.

In my opinion, from the situation you described, she has exploited you, and now she's pushing to exploit you more (by wanting you to get a better job and give her even MORE money).

Go to an assertivity course. Speak with a good psychologist (you don't have to tell her that you are doing this).

Learn to stand up for yourself.

Johnson
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

> I am determined to keep my relationship
> together and be there to watch my daughter
> grow up, it's the greatest joy I have.

You can do this while your wife dominates you and exploits you.

Or, you can do this while standing up for yourself, learning to be assertive, and building a fair relationship.

Johnson
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

> you don't have to tell her that you are doing this

If you don't, honey, there'll be hell to pay when you get home tonight.

And no you know what for months!
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Sell the wife, keep the horse.

hoser
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

If this guy runs out of money, no more wife in his life.

--
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Couldn't he save some money by feeding the horse the old tech books. They become obsolete after a couple of months anyway.

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

>What?!?!
>You pay the house's bills, and you also paid your wife's premarital debt?
>Man.. this is not normal.

Where I come from this is very normal. Something about the "two becoming one" etc, isn't that was marriage is about?

I do see her point, even if she is paying nothing, and regardless of how high she sets the goals for household income. My husband and I just got to a point where we are financially on our feet, and then (after talking about it) we decided I could pretty much quit my job and throw my effort into getting myself a good job (ie my program, and uni as opposed to being a receptionist), it is a big gamble, and in the meantime instead of having one entire wage which we can save/spend as we like, we are living off only his wage. He most certainly has a right to an opinion.

Aussie Chick
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Interesting to see everyone's reactions.  Some are rather extreme.

"Talk it out"

A few comments to add:

1)  don't argue it out.  if the discussion turns confrontational, if you both end up on opposite sides of a debate, you probably won't be doing any good.  You need to both get on the same side of the issue:  Here is what we each would like in our ideal life, here is where we are, where are we going to go from here?

2) don't bring it up over and over and over again.  You don't want either side rolling there eyes as soon as they here "that again".

"The marriage is doomed"

Marriages have gone through tougher shit than this and pulled through.  Of course they have also broken up over nothing.  I don't think there is any reading tea leaves in a marriage.

"I can't believe you paid your wife's premarital credit card debt! Are you a fool!"

Who the hell said that?  It is family debt now!  High interest debt, no less!  Marriage is a pooling of assets and debt, if you don't want to share assets and debt, move in together and keep seperate accounts.  Does show that you are supporting the both of you pretty well, and she is supporting the horse.  A tick in your column, but score cards get you nowhere in marriage.  I don't think you can wave it around in her face, but it can be a gentle reminder--an example that in good times, your business has served you both well.

"You are too submissive"

Deciding that she is right and that you do need more financial security--that the house is an important goal--is not being too submissive.  If you aren't even weighing the different plans out in your head, and picking one because it will shut your wife up, then maybe this guy is right.

Keith Wright
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

> If the business isn't bringing in revenue X by date Y, I'll go back to a regular full-time job

To succeed in business the one thing you MUST have is persistence. So, if planning on giving up on date Y, you might as well give up now since you will not succeed. if you plan on succeeding no matter what, then at least you have a chance.

--

The situation as explained is outrageous.

Your wife is not only not supporting you dreams and your hard work to support her, but she is actively working against them. She has to get rid of the horse. She obviously cares more about it than your child. Get rid of the wife if possible, but give her a chance to change. Do consult with someone about your assertiveness problems too. Don't be such a pushover. Does her mother with all the horses live in the same town as you two? If so, move as far away from motherinlaw as possible. I promise this will help.

But the horse has to go NOW. If she won't get rid of the horse, you have to get rid of her. If you just insist on doing your own thing, perhaps she will leave you and spare you the trouble.

Also, tell your wife to get a job.

And next wife, find someone supportive of your work who is not such a selfish princess.

Dennis Atkins
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Thanks for all the feedback, this is great to hear all types of opinions.

After reading all this, it has changed my perspective somewhat, in the grand scope of things, my beautiful wife wanting a horse, and my paying off her credit cards is not the worst thing that can happen to a marriage.

She is faithful, she is a great mother, she keeps house while I'm frequently traveling on business.  She has wholesome hobbies like sewing and horseback riding. She's taking our daughter to Chucky Cheese tonight (I'm on the road).  Her family is supportive of me, and she is supportive of my sometimes oddball sisters and brothers.  She does have high aspirations, and I know she selected me as a husband somewhat based on my potential.  In all fairness, while we were dating and early on, I was earning a good deal more money. 

There are so many other things that can happen a marriage, illness, injury, person goes to jail, alcoholism, unfaithfulness, gambling, laziness, bad relatives, etc. etc. etc.  I think I'm pretty lucky, we have to spend a thousand bucks a month on a horse, $1500 is my current day rate.  All I have to do is get more gigs lined up!

Thanks much everybody for your input.

me
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Hang in there, me. You're doing the right thing and it sounds like you've got a lovely wife and family.

Break your balls to get more money in. That's what you have to do.

Me And The View Out The Window
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

How about she wakes up and finds the horse head in her bed :-)

But seriously speaking why don't you just put her on the phone and get her to drum of some business...a few weeks of cold calling and she will understand how difficult it is to make a living in such a situation!

Code Monkey
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

>>WHOOSH-CRACK!<< Buy me a house! 

>>CRACK!<< Buy me a horse!

>>WAPOW!<< Get a better job!

>> SNAPOW! << ME, work? To pay for the horse? 5 lashes for that! WAPOW! CLAPOW! CRACK! CRACK! POW!

Buy me a vacation property! Buy me a yacht! I'm not done yet, get me chauffeur and limo! CRAPOW!

~~~
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

He is blind by love.

...
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

OK - lets see if I have this straight.

The wife is actively bringing up the child, (saving mega bucks in childcare costs, don't forget) and also has a part time job. The money from this job is used to pay for her passion - a horse.

Fine so far.

The hubby has his own business, and is struggling a little (perhaps just in his wife's estimation) to bring in enough to buy a house (fairly bloody essential for a couple with kids, I'd've thought) but generally taking care of the finances ok.

Right.

And wife seems to have been making noises about stable (excuse me, it just slipped out) employment for hubby. Her reasons (and I may be stretching here, but it makes sense to me) are 1) wants what others have in terms of lifestyle, and 2) wants a stable unit, financially and otherwise, for her family.

Hmmmmmm.

On one level, (a fairly simplistic one, I have to admit) I'd say that if one partner wants more money in the relationship, that *particular* partner should take on the responsibility of getting it. But having a child upsets that, as a full time income minus childcare and house cleaning service equals why the hell bother. Especially when the other partner spends time on the road...

The buisness is his passion; the horse is hers. She's paying for the horse. They're both sacrificing for the business. What's the problem? Hubby acknowledging his wife is a person in her own right isn't going to make him a wimp. And if hubby has problems - talk it out with wifey, not us. You have to live with her, not us.

Yeesh
Thursday, March 25, 2004

Yeesh, pretty good summation except for this line:

>And if hubby has problems - talk it out with wifey, not us. You have to live with her, not us.

Fair go, he was not asking for marital adivce, the title was not 'my wife and my business', he was wanting to know how others got on with it in general.

Aussie Chick
Thursday, March 25, 2004

A marriage is like a plane with two engines. There is one engine on each wing. I shall call them engine H and engine W.

A plane with two engines can fly with a single engine running.

I think that, in a normal situation, both engines should pull the plane.

It is ok from time to time if one engine is broken, and the other has to pull the entire weight of the plane. It's absolutely normal.

But, if engine W is always not pulling, and engine H is always pulling, then we have a problem.

Engine H will wear out way ahead of it's time.


From his description, that's what's happening in his marriage: he is pulling hard, he pays all the bills, he paid her premarital credit.

She isn't pulling at all. She is in fact brakeing, by having the horse and by nagging him.


His business is NOT equivalent with the horse. If his whole income went into the business, then yes, the business would be equivalent with the horse.


My advice to him is to go to an assertivity course and, if possible, to see a good psychoterapist who will teach him to stand up for himself and for his rights.

Johnson
Thursday, March 25, 2004

Amazing that some people here think that marriage is such a ME thing.

A horse is a pain in the arse while you need the money for other things, but in the grand scope is not as big a deal as other alternative problems.

An entrepreneaur with an expansive mind would realize that this is a small cost for domestic bliss, and that they just have to be better at getting business, or realize that it's not a business at all.

yakov
Thursday, March 25, 2004

Maybe you'd best stay with the horse.

I mean, imagine if she started becoming emitionally attached to a bicycle!

On a more serious note what proportion of your income goes on the horse. If the horse is costing 25% of total income the you have a problem. If it's only 5-10% then forget about it.

To put it another way if you're worried about the horse because it is it, and only it, that is stopping you buying a house, then discuss with the wife. If, as I suspect, it is a symbol, then forget about it.

Another tactical point to bear in mind is that if the wife has the horse you can always bring up the nag when she starts nagging you. There are advantages to flogging a live horse!

Stephen Jones
Thursday, March 25, 2004

"She isn't pulling at all. She is in fact brakeing, by having the horse and by nagging him."

but thats entirely untrue, isn't it?

she is bringing up the kid(s)

Now if you want to talk about relative pulling strength then you have to take that into account...if she went and got a fulltime job then they would have to pay for fulltime childcare.

and that aint cheap.

Whats a good childcare place charge in the US?  per day?
5 days a week?  (more if shes in a job that requires she work to the job and not to the hours)

You have to remember, by agreeing to bring up the kidlet shes sacrificing the ability to bring in enough money to fulfill her dreams on her own.

FullNameRequired
Thursday, March 25, 2004

Ok, here's the thing.  You're going to have to work to make money.  She wants the stability of a steady check, you want the chance to make more money but with the risk of making less.  Either way involves work on your part.  Your day rate pays for her horse for a month and a half.  You should find out how long you can survive paying all bills at normal rate with zero income, all money coming out of savings.  Is it crash time?  If so, it's probably not so good to be risking striking out on your own unless you have a client paying you tomorrow.  If, on the other hand, your current savings widely exceeds the average time between clients, then go for it.

You should sit down with her, a pad of paper, and a calculator.  List all expenses.  Show her how much money you make.  Put her at ease.  Then do this:

Stop consulting as an independent entity and create a corporate shell, if you haven't already.  Make the company pay you that steady check she wants to see, and be willing to have the company eat a little debt from time to time to do it.  Set your personal paycheck low enough to pay your bills, including hers, (low enough?  Yes, low enough - stop the binge and purge cash flow.) and she won't stress so much because she will see the steady stream of cash.  When the company gets the consulting gig, charge out the wazoo for it, pay off its line of credit that was creating your paycheck, and stockpile cash for rainy days.  It sounds to me like you have enough experience to pull this off, and that the real stress her is the conflict between her need for stability and your need to build your business.  You can do both.

Aaron F Stanton
Thursday, March 25, 2004

Johnson, Baby - please tell me you ain't married, sweetheart. Otherwise all single women (or men, whatever)... worry like hell :-)

"Engine W" - how quaint - is firing on all cylinders. She has (count 'em if you will)

1) A part time job (pays for the horse)
2) A horse (makes her as happy as being self employed does Engine H)
3) A child and house to take care of

Tell me - which part of the above constitutes sitting on her arse?

Yeesh
Thursday, March 25, 2004

---2ell me - which part of the above constitutes sitting on her arse? "----

Sitting on her 'orse?

Stephen Jones
Friday, March 26, 2004

"Sitting on her 'orse? "

<g> to be fair, thats an _assumption_ on your part...I dont recall the OP mentioning that she actually rode it, just shovelled its shit...

hey, Yeesh...you sound like my kind of anonymous poster, fancy gettin together with a balding, fat geek?

FullNameRequired
Friday, March 26, 2004

"You should sit down with her, a pad of paper, and a calculator.  List all expenses.  Show her how much money you make.  Put her at ease. "

Save me please...

My SI and I are both small business owners.  The only thing that keeps us straight is our weekly Thurs morning 7:30am finance meeting in the living room.  I come with my Quickbooks info and he comes with his.  Money out, money in, pipeline for each of us, anticipated bills - including the biggies of payroll and rent - and where it looks like we'll be for the next 1-3months.  EVERY SINGLE WEEK.  We ask each other the questions a CFO/COB would ask if we had one.  It's healthy.

You need to know when you'll be successful as much as she does even if you'd rather fly by the seat of your pants.  She's probably just excited about all the potential she see's in your venture and is looking forward to success.  It's hard to see that when it manifests as frustration. 

It's not you against her silly...you're suppose to work TOGETHER!  She seems to have the focus on sales management and cash flow, so let her manage it.  You focus on the operation and whatever else you're doing to make it all work.  You need to agree on a -positive cash flow by X date- and hold yourself accountable.  Being an entrepreneur is not an excuse for driving your family to financial ruin.  If the market isn't right for your brilliant idea, move on to another and come back to that one later.

The marriage and family matter, the business is just your horse at the stable.  Don't confuse the two.

addicted to trump
Saturday, March 27, 2004

LOL Fullnamerequired... only so long as you don't mind me sitting on my big fat...'orse... every now and again :-)

Yeesh
Saturday, March 27, 2004

I'm seeing things a lot differently now.  Yes, this is not professional counseling, but hearing 75 opinions does put things into perspective.

My conclusion right now, I love my wife and I want to keep her.  She needs the horse, her associations there and the shows really are the most important thing to her.  I've always made good money in my life and the money to keep the horse has never until now been an amount that was significant to me.

And whether other people think this is "normal" or not is insignificant to me.  Because I know everyone has their own cross to bear in their marriage, and that divorce rates are greater than 50%.  In my view, marriage is about taking care of the other person and putting yourself second to that.  If it's not reciprocated at all, then reevaluating. 

In my case, if you boil it down to it's essence, my sales are not where they need to be, otherwise there would be no issue.  So I have to improve my sales, or reevaluate my business plan.  Time itself will not heal a faulty plan.  So I have to look to myself and my business plan and heal that first. 

me
Sunday, March 28, 2004

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