At first, I found my husband’s “bromance” with his new boss, Fred*, quite endearing. He would come home and wax lyrical about Fred’s latest venture, from the new “collaborate and contemplate” area in their office, to replacing the plastic cups by the water cooler with a new cup-for-life scheme. But, six months on, I’ve started to find it all rather grating.
Last month, for example, my husband Jake* sacked off our 11-year-old son’s football match to play golf with Fred, much to our son’s disappointment. I had to mollify our son with a trip to McDonald’s to soften the blow. “But Dad hardly ever misses a match,” he said. “What’s the big deal about this Fred bloke, anyway?” Well quite, I thought.
Then, yesterday, my husband casually announced that he had invited Fred and his partner to dinner this weekend. I am usually quite happy to play the host, but given my husband’s fervent desire to impress his boss, I’m feeling rather on edge about the whole thing. What wine should we get in for the man who has everything? Will they eat shellfish? Does it mean I have to make the pudding from scratch?
I hate to say it, but I’ve gone from being rather bemused by my husband’s newfound enthusiasm for the head honcho to finding it quite a turn-off. Seeing my husband fawning over this man is, I find, rather emasculating. It’s not as though he was a real alpha type to start with – but now he’s become a total toadie, the whole thing seems a bit distasteful. I wish his doddery old boss, who bore more than a passing resemblance to John Major, would come back from retirement.
It’s also made me feel like something of an afterthought, and I am resentful of the fact it’s turned me into a nag. I never used to have to phone to find out what time Jake was going to be back home or whether he’d be eating with us that evening, but now he’s at the pub with Fred and colleagues several nights a week. I have, much to my horror, become that wife who keeps texting and becoming increasingly irate when he doesn’t answer. I find I get more and more shrill with each passing hour and by the time he’s got home, I’m really quite angry.
When I try to speak with Jake about it, he tells me I’m overreacting and that I should be supportive of him, especially in light of the fact his last boss was such, in his words, “an old fart”. He thinks we should welcome Fred into our lives and also says that, if he plays his cards right, a promotion could be on the cards.
There’s also talk of them starting a new company cricket team, which means the weekends would be even busier than they already are with football for our son and riding lessons for our daughter.
Perhaps I’m just jealous and need to be a bit more supportive but it’s been ages since my husband has shown me the same level of enthusiasm he now reserves for Fred. I suppose that’s not surprising after 15 years of marriage, but it’s hard not to feel resentful at times.
What’s next? A working holiday? Or maybe he’ll suggest we go to the same villa that Fred goes to every year.
I’d really have to put my foot down at that, wouldn’t I?
*Names of boss – and husband – have been changed