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 three years.
After her mom provided some financial help to my business eight 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.