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Seeking advice on my wife's work travel


trco
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Hey guys, 

I'm in my late 40s and my wife is just a few years younger. We are a blended family and have 2 kids, 13 and 17, and both have successful careers. I'm in IT and she is a lawyer. 

Because of our parenting arrangement, we have my step-daughter about 95% and my son 50%.   Both exes are trainwrecks so this is as good as its ever going to get and we're fine with that.  But their ages and the parenting split has made it hard for us to get adult vacation time.  Common problem when kids are involved.  Our last big vacation together was our honeymoon 7 years ago and it was glorious.  Now that we have a driver, we can start planning for more "just us" trips which is something that is very important to both of us.

A note about our jobs:  I work in corporate America and she is a partner for a small firm owned by her longtime friend and law schoolmate.  Her boss is also a friend of mine and is a very generous person.  For example, he has a beach house and regularly invites our entire family down to spend a week there; he even gets our airfare.  I care about their law firm and have helped out in many ways throughout the years with office moves and all of the little tasks and errands that need to be done to support a trial, of which there have been a few.  We have a very good relationship.

Our lives have changed drastically last few years (the covidy ones).  For me, I went from working in an office everyday with travel to 100% remote, although my job will require travel when that opens back up.  She, on the other hand, works from an office and her boss rewards the partners of the firm with a yearly retreat.  These retreats tend to just be vacations and I don't begrudge them that because being a lawyer is tough.  They need a break from life and I understand that includes me and the kids.  It's all good.

So I'm ostensibly homebound while she necessarily can't be.  It's our reality and we're dealing with it.  Our last 2 years have been a struggle (duh, haven't everybody's?) and we've had some personal and family problems during that time that have made things just a little more difficult.  It does feel like we're pulling out of it and can see the horizon.

Here's what is stuck in my craw at the moment:  Her boss, while very kind, isn't always very considerate and has a tendency to just do whatever he pleases.  4 weeks ago, I was informed that they were going to Hawaii this week for their retreat. 

I have a few problems with this:

1. 3 weeks' notice with the expectation that I'll just adapt and cover

2. I've been talking to my wife about us taking an adult vacation this year and she told me to pick out some places.  On my list: Hawaii because she and I have never been together.  In fact, I've only been once and it was with my ex who basically ruined the trip for me

3. Covid numbers have been awful recently.  Not the best time to travel

4. Work/life balance.  My wife has vacationed with her coworkers more than me over the last 4 years at about a 4:1 ratio

My wife is an adult and she DOES NOT need my permission to do anything; however, I've been consulted about these trips in the past and this one just didn't land well for the reasons above.

So that's it.  I don't want to start any problems and I would never think of laying any of this on my wife because she has no control over the situation.  But I do want some common courtesy in this situation so that I'm not left feeling like I don't matter at all.

I just want to be consulted as a common courtesy as opposed to just being told its going to happen.

As my friend, I feel like I could at some time in the future address this with her boss over a beer.  Just a quick, "hey, I get that you guys need these trips and I'm happy you get to take them.  But could you at least check with me in the future to make sure it's not trampling over my plans?"

But I want your advice.  Again, I don't want to do anything to make her work life more stressful.

Thanks in advance

Edited by trco
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4 minutes ago, trco said:

4 weeks ago, I was informed that they were going to Hawaii this week for their retreat. 

I don't want to start any problems and I would never think of laying any of this on my wife because she has no control over the situation.

It's a tough one because you have a good relationship as well as a good rapport with her workplace/boss. 

She told you 4 weeks ago? It's normal to feel envy and some resentment for holding down the fort while they are off at this resort.

Talk when she gets back about how you two could do some vacationing away from it all. Work kids household etc. Everything. Go to Bermuda.

Perhaps rekindle with a second honeymoon. Check with your child's mother and your families to see of they could take the kids and give you two a chance to reconnect.

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49 minutes ago, trco said:

Her boss, while very kind, isn't always very considerate and has a tendency to just do whatever he pleases.  4 weeks ago, I was informed that they were going to Hawaii this week for their retreat. 

It's a work trip.  You can't really be yourself on a work trip regardless if you have some free time.  I would be supportive, and stop busting her balls. Lower your expectations for a vacation for now.  Age 17 is plenty old enough to watch the 14 year old, and have grandparents/aunts/uncles come stay or pop in, while you do a Long weekend trip.  Get an Air B&B with a hot tub or whatever.

And ultimately, you're just jelly.  And btw, her boss doesn't need to consult with you over their company.

Edited by tattoobunnie
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57 minutes ago, trco said:

As my friend, I feel like I could at some time in the future address this with her boss over a beer.  Just a quick, "hey, I get that you guys need these trips and I'm happy you get to take them.  But could you at least check with me in the future to make sure it's not trampling over my plans?"

Nope. No.

Regardless of you considering this person to be your friend, they are your wife's employer. You have to know where the line is and not step over it. Her employer is not obligated to consult with you before making any kind of work related decisions. Should they consult with all of the spouses? That doesn't make any sense.

Your wife is the one you need to speak to. Why can't you tell her your concerns and give her the opportunity to address them?

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49 minutes ago, Wiseman2 said:

It's a tough one because you have a good relationship as well as a good rapport with her workplace/boss. 

She told you 4 weeks ago? It's normal to feel envy and some resentment for holding down the fort while they are off at this resort.

Talk when she gets back about how you two could do some vacationing away from it all. Work kids household etc. Everything. Go to Bermuda.

Perhaps rekindle with a second honeymoon. Check with your child's mother and your families to see of they could take the kids and give you two a chance to reconnect.

Thank you, wiseman. Your username does not lie.

We are planning an Alaskan cruise for this fall.  Both very excited.

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Just now, boltnrun said:

Nope. No.

Regardless of you considering this person to be your friend, they are your wife's employer. You have to know where the line is and not step over it. Her employer is not obligated to consult with you before making any kind of work related decisions. Should they consult with all of the spouses? That doesn't make any sense.

Your wife is the one you need to speak to. Why can't you tell her your concerns and give her the opportunity to address them?

Fair and I appreciate the response.  To clarify, I'm the only spouse who cares.  He's not married and the other partner has a spouse who never wants to travel.  I'm a coalition of one. 

But I get your point and it's a valid one.  If I know him, he'll acknowledge that this trip was planned in a bit of a ham-fisted way and be a bit more considerate in the future.  Again, we're friends.  I'll abandon the notion of bringing it up to him and just have faith that it will work itself out.

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Given covid please please let her go and say nothing and do not interfere with her boss. Please.  We all need a break.  Turn the other cheek and suck it up as my 13 year old would say (the suck it up part).  It's not her fault your ex ruined Hawaii.  You will get to do vacations.  Your kids are not toddlers.  Just be the bigger person.  Better to be close than to be right.  

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23 minutes ago, tattoobunnie said:

It's a work trip.  You can't really be yourself on a work trip regardless if you have some free time.  I would be supportive, and stop busting her balls. Lower your expectations for a vacation for now.  Age 17 is plenty old enough to watch the 14 year old, and have grandparents/aunts/uncles come stay or pop in, while you do a Long weekend trip.  Get an Air B&B with a hot tub or whatever.

And ultimately, you're just jelly.  And btw, her boss doesn't need to consult with you over their company.

I guess I appreciate you responding but I think you missed the point.  I've busted no balls nor am I just jelly.  What I am is covid weary and wanting some vacation time with my wife.  If you think I don't get to feel feels because of that, maybe you should stop giving advice.

And, btw, we are working out plans for a few trips.  Together, like a couple of adults.

But maybe I can give you some advice... Don't be a jerk to someone who is just asking for some guidance in an emotionally tricky situation.

Edited by trco
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2 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

Given covid please please let her go and say nothing and do not interfere with her boss. Please.  We all need a break.  Turn the other cheek and suck it up as my 13 year old would say (the suck it up part).  It's not her fault your ex ruined Hawaii.  You will get to do vacations.  Your kids are not toddlers.  Just be the bigger person.  Better to be close than to be right.  

Great advice.  THanks for the gut check

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My advice is that you need to be honest with yourself - you are having this emotional reaction to the trip because you've been house bound for too long with work and kids and so this is triggering some envy. However, that is your personal issue that shouldn't be taken out on your wife or marriage. Something you need to get a grip on internally.

That said, absolutely do not speak with her boss/partner. This would be grossly inappropriate. Your marital dynamics do not involve him and should not involve him.

Rather than focusing on what you can't do and big vacations you can't take, focus instead on what you can do to alleviate the housebound boredom. For example, can you arrange for your kids to stay with family for the weekend or can your younger child have a sleepover with friends, so you and your wife can go have some adult time briefly. Rent a cabin or drive out somewhere that's not too far. Get creative.

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1 minute ago, DancingFool said:

My advice is that you need to be honest with yourself - you are having this emotional reaction to the trip because you've been house bound for too long with work and kids and so this is triggering some envy. However, that is your personal issue that shouldn't be taken out on your wife or marriage. Something you need to get a grip on internally.

That said, absolutely do not speak with her boss/partner. This would be grossly inappropriate. Your marital dynamics do not involve him and should not involve him.

Rather than focusing on what you can't do and big vacations you can't take, focus instead on what you can do to alleviate the housebound boredom. For example, can you arrange for your kids to stay with family for the weekend or can your younger child have a sleepover with friends, so you and your wife can go have some adult time briefly. Rent a cabin or drive out somewhere that's not too far. Get creative.

More great advice.  I've got a short -term quick trip planned for a month from now, a longer one planned for the end of the summer.  And once this covid spike is over, I've got plans to just get out of the house more

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3 minutes ago, trco said:

More great advice.  I've got a short -term quick trip planned for a month from now, a longer one planned for the end of the summer.  And once this covid spike is over, I've got plans to just get out of the house more

Maybe plan to get out of the house more in general on a daily basis. Even if it's running an errand or simply going for walk or a drive around. Being between four walls gets exhausting no matter how nice those walls are. Getting out regularly for even just random stuff will alleviate some of that stress you are feeling.

 

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21 minutes ago, trco said:

More great advice.  I've got a short -term quick trip planned for a month from now, a longer one planned for the end of the summer.  And once this covid spike is over, I've got plans to just get out of the house more

What we did - married with a 13 year old son - was we did a few road trips last summer to different states then we flew to Vegas for Thanksgiving week as we could be outdoors a lot (hiking-day trips) and of course our 13 year old could pay for the trip at the casino (jk).  We also miss traveling a lot. We've never been on a vacation without our son since he was born.  It's our reality and it's ok.

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I too work from home so I know what it's like to be home all the time. But I live completely alone (my cat companion died in October) so I don't even have anyone to talk to! And I live in a tiny studio apartment so I don't even have a backyard. No balcony either.

So I go for walks several days each week. And I make it a point to do SOMETHING, even if it's just to go buy a plant or get some takeout food, on the weekends. Anything to get out of my apartment. And I ask my son or my brother to get together every few weeks so I can have that social interaction. It's vital to get out of my apartment and have some kind of contact with other humans lol.

I think you'll feel a lot better after your trip with your wife. And try to make it a point to do even short day road trips every so often to get out and about.

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I can sympathize, but I hope you'll consider that speaking directly to wife's boss not only implies that he should consult you before planning his own company's business, but it undermines your wife's position there as a lawyer who can certainly plead a case for her own family.

You're her partner, so it's not a great look to sideline her and come off as though you're adopting a role as her parent. 

Head high, and hang in there. Choose the right time to raise your concerns with your wife, then allow her to work the issue as she sees fit.

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I think this is BS. The boss/friend isn’t yours. 
 

You wife should have said something about Hawaii and the fact that the two of your were talking about going as a couple and declined to go. I would never go somewhere like that without my wife, even if it cost me my job. 
 

Seeing how they have done retreats like this often, declining to go on this one shouldn’t have been a problem. 
Your wife doesn’t care if you are with her or not. What a great wife you have. 
 

You have every right to be put out by this. Your feelings of *** are legit and you need to talk with your wife about this. Not whining about it but telling her to do what she wants but it’s kind of F’d up your going with your boss to our talked about romantic getaway. Enjoy your trip. Then schedule a trip of your our where ever you want the day after she returns. Same number of days. 
 

It would be different if this was something that happened once a year and wasn’t a couples destination. 
 

There was a thread back in 2012 I believe where the couple went through something similar. They had been together around 20-25 years and had teenage kids. The wife’s company did a yearly retreat. That year it was to some nice resort in the Bahamas. The husband couldn’t show up until the next day. When he got there he found out 2 things. First one was that she went to the local nude beach with most her coworkers and wives/husbands. Seeing how this is something she had never done before or even talked with her husband about doing, he was taken by surprise by it. Second thing was the fact that she shaved herself bare below the waist. This is something he had asked if she could do for him every now and then through their relationship. She had always refused, say it was gross and she didn’t want to. So her boss and coworkers saw her clean shaven before her husband ever did. This lead to him repacking his bags and heading home mad as hell at her. Also wondering who she might be cheating on him with. She shaved herself for someone that wasn’t her husband. He posted this a few months after it had happened. There relationship was tanking, they went from sex 5-6 days a week to nothing for those few months. He did state that he would have loved to have gone to a nude beach with her if she had talked with him about it. It’s the fact that she did it behind his back that pissed him off. His thought was why she couldn’t of waited til he had gotten there and then gone with him. Then being so adamant about not shaving her privates to clean shaven for her coworkers. 
 

Sorry, but this just doesn’t fit right. There have been way to many people that cheat under these circumstances. 
 

Have there ever been any red flags between your wife and her boss?

 

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On 1/21/2022 at 1:01 PM, trco said:

Fair and I appreciate the response.  To clarify, I'm the only spouse who cares.  He's not married and the other partner has a spouse who never wants to travel.  I'm a coalition of one. 

But I get your point and it's a valid one.  If I know him, he'll acknowledge that this trip was planned in a bit of a ham-fisted way and be a bit more considerate in the future.  Again, we're friends.  I'll abandon the notion of bringing it up to him and just have faith that it will work itself out.

Those that sit by and watch are soon left behind. 
 

Relationships take work and actions, neither of which you seem to want to put into it. 

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On 1/21/2022 at 1:05 PM, trco said:

I guess I appreciate you responding but I think you missed the point.  I've busted no balls nor am I just jelly.  What I am is covid weary and wanting some vacation time with my wife.  If you think I don't get to feel feels because of that, maybe you should stop giving advice.

And, btw, we are working out plans for a few trips.  Together, like a couple of adults.

But maybe I can give you some advice... Don't be a jerk to someone who is just asking for some guidance in an emotionally tricky situation.

It doesn’t seem your wife wants vacation time with you. Of course she will be enthusiastic about anything you might plan for in the future. She just doesn’t give a damn if you are with her or not when she goes. Seeing how vacations/retreats are 4:1 in her boss/partner’s favor, my point proven. It seems like she has been out enjoying life for the past two years while you stay home and babysit the kids. 
 

How many vacations have the two of you had in the past 2 years alone?

How many retreats has your wife gone on with her partner, where you had to stay and watch the kids, in the past two years?

How many vacations/retreats have you gone on with/without your wife in the past 2 years?

Edited by Usa1ah
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1 hour ago, catfeeder said:

I can sympathize, but I hope you'll consider that speaking directly to wife's boss not only implies that he should consult you before planning his own company's business, but it undermines your wife's position there as a lawyer who can certainly plead a case for her own family.

You're her partner, so it's not a great look to sideline her and come off as though you're adopting a role as her parent. 

Head high, and hang in there. Choose the right time to raise your concerns with your wife, then allow her to work the issue as she sees fit.

She just has chosen not to plead a case for her husband/family. 

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Just now, Usa1ah said:

She just has chosen not to plead a case for her husband/family. 

No, she's chosen to do what is required for her job.  Many many people travel for work to "couples" destinations.  My husband has traveled to Europe and beautiful places in the US.  My going would have been impractical, very expensive and there's the childcare responsibilities. 

When I traveled for work I wasn't married yet but dating seriously and I stayed at fancy hotels with my boss in lovely cities and had dinner with him and other meals.  He was my boss and mentor and of course I shared meals with him when we were traveling on business.  Sometimes I would meet up with  a boyfriend on his business travel and vice versa but not because it was inappropriate for him to be there on his own.

It's called work, career, making sure you show up and show your boss you're there to help, contribute, serve customers or clients or whatever.  Family comes first if there is a family emergency. 

Not because it's a couples destination. Obviously a couple can decide that neither of them will ever take a job that had those sorts of travel requirements.  I fully respect that -that is a choice and might mean less $ or opportunity but it's a valid choice for certain couples. But no the husband doesn't get to tell the wife where she can and cannot go on business travel.

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7 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

No, she's chosen to do what is required for her job.  Many many people travel for work to "couples" destinations.  My husband has traveled to Europe and beautiful places in the US.  My going would have been impractical, very expensive and there's the childcare responsibilities. 

When I traveled for work I wasn't married yet but dating seriously and I stayed at fancy hotels with my boss in lovely cities and had dinner with him and other meals.  He was my boss and mentor and of course I shared meals with him when we were traveling on business.  Sometimes I would meet up with  a boyfriend on his business travel and vice versa but not because it was inappropriate for him to be there on his own.

It's called work, career, making sure you show up and show your boss you're there to help, contribute, serve customers or clients or whatever.  Family comes first if there is a family emergency. 

Not because it's a couples destination. Obviously a couple can decide that neither of them will ever take a job that had those sorts of travel requirements.  I fully respect that -that is a choice and might mean less $ or opportunity but it's a valid choice for certain couples. But no the husband doesn't get to tell the wife where she can and cannot go on business travel.

It is a location that they have talked about going to together. The boss is a family friend, she could have easily explained that if she wanted to. 
 

This isn’t a business trip, it is a retreat to relax on for a job well done. It would not hurt her career  if she doesn’t go by what was posted. Nothing was said about it being required. The boss on a whim decided to take his staff on a vacation/retreat. 

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4 minutes ago, Usa1ah said:

It is a location that they have talked about going to together. The boss is a family friend, she could have easily explained that if she wanted to. 
 

This isn’t a business trip, it is a retreat to relax on for a job well done. It would not hurt her career  if she doesn’t go by what was posted. Nothing was said about it being required. The boss on a whim decided to take his staff on a vacation/retreat. 

A retreat with one's boss is related to her job.  It's a business trip.  He needs to have appropriate boundaries re: her work even if he is friendly with her boss.

I attend a zoom staff meeting weekly.  It's been a response to covid since many of us are still teleworking.  Often it's really to gather and have some casual conversation (only for a few minutes but no it is not all business related).  But - it's part of work.  We're expected to be there, expected to gather.  If my husband wanted to do an activity with me during that time there is no way he would ever say "but it's partly a social gathering, to relax so tell your boss -or I'll tell her -that you can't go because I need your help with something". 

Husband doesn't get to judge what is work related just because it's an end of year retreat.  Those retreats -and holiday parties- often are part of what makes the boss value the employee and is part of team work and collegiality with colleagues.  

Edited by Batya33
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On 1/21/2022 at 11:57 AM, trco said:

Here's what is stuck in my craw at the moment:  Her boss, while very kind, isn't always very considerate and has a tendency to just do whatever he pleases.  4 weeks ago, I was informed that they were going to Hawaii this week for their retreat. 
 

4. Work/life balance.  My wife has vacationed with her coworkers more than me over the last 4 years at about a 4:1 ratio

trco, can you please explain what these retreats are. You stated that they are vacations that the boss takes them on. Does this one have anything to do with work? 

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