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Contractor wants to fire wife, but save marriage

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Dear Abby: I am a self-employed general contractor, and have been for the most part successful. My wife, “Janine,” worked in the mortgage industry, but because of the economic downturn hasn’t worked in 3 years.

After her mom provided some financial help to my business 8 months ago, Janine decided she wanted to work for me doing the office work and bookkeeping. The problem is, she doesn’t show up until late afternoon and stays only a short while. She doesn’t get any work done, and then she leaves. She constantly rushes to get the bills paid at the very last minute.

Although my wife is college-educated, she really can’t handle the job. Her work ethic is terrible. I started my company and I’m the boss. When Janine doesn’t agree with me about something, she yells so loud I’m sure the people who work next door can hear her. I have talked to her about this, and we have fought about it. I tried to fire her but she says if she can’t work for my business, we might as well get divorced.

I never wanted a partner and didn’t ask for one, and now I feel trapped with an employee from hell. I love Janine and don’t want a divorce. How can I get her to quit and still stay married?

– Needs Help in California

Dear Needs: Your wife’s behavior is immature and inappropriate. If her being in your office is connected to the money her mother loaned you, my advice is to repay it immediately before your wife’s “dabbling” as a business partner disrupts the business any further.

You may love Janine, but if the only thing holding your marriage together is allowing her to play at working in the office, then I’m sorry to say you don’t have much of a marriage. Wake up and smell the coffee. You need an assistant and your wife needs something else to occupy her time.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Dear Abby: I was abused as a child through my teenage years. I told my mom and we talked about it. My stepfather was the molester.

Part of me is still angry about what he did to me, but another part thinks fondly of the life we had as kids. What’s wrong with me? Is it normal to have conflicted emotions about a person who hurt you? None of my siblings know about my past. My stepfather is deceased now and so is my mom.

– Survivor in Maryland

Dear Survivor: You deserve credit for not only being able to acknowledge your pain, but also emotionally mature enough to look back and not diminish the good things. It’s a sign that you are healthy. Your feelings are normal, and you are to be congratulated for being able to view your history in its entirety.

Dear Abby: The women I work with are now starting to have grandchildren. That’s great, but when did it become trendy to have baby showers for the grandmothers? Personally, I think this is over the top. What about you?

– Shower Overload in Minnesota

Dear Shower Overload: I don’t agree. It may have become trendy around the time that so many grandmothers assumed responsibility for raising their grandchildren. Or, the women may be so excited about welcoming a first grandchild that they want to celebrate with a party of their own. Because you feel differently, simply decline the invitations.

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