my husband doesn’t want me to go on a business trip to Vegas

A reader writes:

My company sent managers to Las Vegas last February for a corporate business trip for three days. My husband was very upset. While I was away, he made me upset the whole time with his anxiety of what-ifs and what-nots.

Just recently I have found out I will be sent out again. I have informed him and he hasn’t taken it very well. He mad at my company and questions the motives.

He wants me to refuse to go, but I think I could lose my position in the company or be treated differently. Since I took the position five years ago, they have sent management on a three-day business trip each year. I am angered that every time I have to go he seems to have an emotional breakdown. Do I refuse to go to save my marriage or go on the trip and try to keep good stance in my company?

There’s a third option: Insist on marriage counseling with your husband.

Business trips are a normal fact of life in many jobs. Married people travel for work all the time, even to cities with a greater-than-their-fair-share amount of vices around, and they typically behave responsibly and stay faithful.

If your husband doesn’t trust you to handle three days sitting in conference rooms in Las Vegas with your coworkers, that’s a fundamental relationship problem. And it’s going to be a problem in your relationship whether you go on the trip or not.

You are married to someone who spent three days while you were traveling for work burdening you with groundless questions about your conduct. Assuming you haven’t given him real cause for those worries (like a history of cheating), this is insulting to you and awful for the health of your relationship. (And he’s questioning the motives of the company in having the trip in the first place? That’s pretty seriously delusional thinking. Companies hold meetings in Vegas because it’s a popular corporate destination, not because they’re plotting to destroy employees’ marriages.)

Marriage counseling is the only way you save this. Whether or not you go on the trip is secondary. That said, I’d say go on the trip, because I don’t think you should pander to his lack of trust in you. But truly, it’s a secondary concern here.

Note: After I wrote this answer, I received more details about the letter-writer about exactly what her husband’s objections are. She wrote:

His main objection is the fact that the trip is located in Las Vegas. Sin City. The whole phrase “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” bothers him. He’s worried the worst would happen: I cheat, someone spikes my drink, someone kidnaps me… He says he has asked other people about the situation and everyone objects that they would even let their significant other go. I don’t know if this is a sexist response from jealousy? I tell him that if he was in my shoes, I would be supportive. Yet he says he would not even go without me. I am the main provider in our home, and it angers me that it seems he wants to sabotage my job because of his insecurities.


I mean … There isn’t a rash of kidnappings in Las Vegas, and “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” is an advertising slogan for college students and wedding parties, not a warning to spouses of business travelers.

If this is really about more than the fear of cheating, it sounds like there are pretty serious anxiety issues in play here.

Either way, he’s being unreasonable and interfering with your career, and counseling to figure out what’s at the root of that is still a good step here.

{ 721 comments… read them below }

  1. Mes*

    OP’s husband sounds like my mom. “You can’t leave the house, there are kidnappers everywhere!” I wonder if he needs help with general anxiety rather than marriage counselling.

    1. strawberries and raspberries*

      I agree with this- even if she were able to somehow get out of the trip without professional repercussions, I’m quite sure he would find something else to stress about and restrict her from owing to these kinds of irrational fears. Marriage counseling implies that she has some part to play in this; individual therapy for him would help him manage his expectations of realistic safe behavior in a marriage and at work.

      1. The Cosmic Avenger*

        Well, they need to work on their relationship. He definitely is the one that needs the work, but ideally I would think they should have both couples sessions and individual sessions for him. However, as he’s not likely to acknowledge his issues without some therapy, couples counseling is probably a sensible place to ask him to start.

        1. Snark*

          I think you’re right, but it really needs to be highlighted up top: a lot of people tend to think that couples counseling is for “us” issues, and this is 100% a “him” issue. This is control issues and fear and jealousy and toxic masculinity, not a thing that needs compromising on or a relationship issue.

          1. Anita*

            I want to push back, snark, in case anyone else reading sees your comment and decides that couples isn’t a good course of action because the issue is with one person in the couple.

            In fact, couples counseling can be a useful path to helping a partner address individual issues that are affecting the partnership. For example, many people have inherited cultural baggage that makes them scoff at the idea of therapy, which they think is for crazy people. But a positive first encounter with a therapist can change that, because, you know, therapists are trained to defuse and help unpack their misconceptions.

            Couples counseling is also useful for people with issues that make them disposed to try to please and/or look from approval from their therapist. If your partner has been in therapy for years and isn’t making progress, it’s very possible that their therapist doesn’t have the full picture. People are able to manipulate their therapists, and there are also just plain bad therapists: what if the OP’s husband is in therapy already with, for example, a religious provider who reinforces his moralistic fears about Vegas?

            A good couples counselor who can handle the individual issues after using the couple-relationship to establish a good rapport with an individual who is resistant to treatment in a traditional one-on-one setting is not a bad way to start tackling these issues, and has the added bonus of giving the OP an opportunity to select a therapist she trusts. There are few things worse than insisting that your partner go to therapy, and then having them misrepresent the situation and use therapy to validate themselves.

            And, this IS an “us” issue: his insecurities are damaging the relationship. Just my two cents.

              1. SC Anonibrarian*

                I understand where you’re coming from, but this board sees people from all over the world, and there are still lots of places and lots of religious/cultural environments where patriarchal/masculine control/policing of women’s behavior/assuming the worst of women is absolutely the norm, and there are enough of them scattered around everywhere that I don’t think it’s a case of ‘not everyone can have sandwiches.’

                Advising someone that ‘most’ religious counselors would agree with professional norms doesn’t help someone in Bible Belt USA or traditionally Catholic Ireland or in rural Saudi Arabia. Either they’ll know already that it doesn’t work that way, or worse, they’ll try it and end up handing more ammunition to the husband.

                Absolutely OP should seek out couples counseling, but if the husband’s concerns are a reflection or enhancement of their religion or culture, just be really careful in vetting the counselor/therapist they choose to work with.

                1. Engineer Girl*

                  Your argument is based on extremes.
                  Certainly the OP needs to be careful with couselors. But to throw the baby out with the bath water is beyond ridiculous.
                  The same counselors that would demand that the woman submit would also tell the husband to man up and provide for his wife.

                2. LS*

                  I’m surprised that you specify ”*rural* Saudi Arabia” given that Saudi Arabia is one of the least egalitarian countries in the world, with virtually no freedom of religion.

                3. LKW*

                  That he’s asked several people for their opinion, and said opinions are “I wouldn’t let my spouse go to Vegas without me!” I think this is a valid suspicion.

                4. Annonymouse*

                  I’m curious about how he phrased it.

                  If it’s “my wife is going to a business conference.”

                  And people are all “I wouldn’t let my wife go…” we have done bigger problems here.

                  If it’s phrased as “Wife wants to go to Vegas without me for 3 days but go with a bunch of random guys I’ve never met before!”

                  Without any business context then yeah, lots of people would object to that.

                5. sstabeler*

                  the religious environments patriarchal enough that it would be an inherent problem would ALSO have a problem with the woman being the one who works. (also, the remedy would normally be that both the wife and husband go to Vegas, not that the husband bans the business trip)

            1. Snark*

              “I want to push back, snark, in case anyone else reading sees your comment and decides that couples isn’t a good course of action because the issue is with one person in the couple.”

              I certainly didn’t want to give that impression! Far from it – I want to underline that couples counseling shouldn’t be taken as being only for “us” problems, and that couples counseling can be very effective for problems that rest entirely in one person’s lap. Sorry if I didn’t tie that up explicitly enough.

            2. Artemesia*

              Couples counseling may be useful but controlling spouses are sometimes effective manipulators and in those situations couples counseling is a terrible idea.

              She is doing the heavy lifting in supporting the family and yet he wants to control and damage her control. If it were me I would be seriously considering leaving the relationship especially if there are not already kids. Unless therapy can move him beyond this pathetic lack of respect for either her or confidence in his own worth, this is a nightmare of a lifetime to contemplate.

              She should go and she should make therapy a minimal condition of continuing the marriage. Grownups don’t treat other grownups like this unless they are fundamentally abusive.

            3. LizM*

              I agree. My husband has been in counseling and on medication for his mental health. Couples counseling has given us a neutral forum to figure out how to face it together, to help me express how his behavior effects me and our family, and for me to learn how to support him.

              We actually started in couples counseling and it was working through that process that convinced him to go to individual counseling and go on medication.

          2. IrishUp*

            To expand a little bit on what Anita and others above have posited:

            Regardless of whether this is solely an artifact of having absorbed toxic masculinity, or an anxiety/perseverative/compulsive thoughts issue, or some combination thereof, my experience has been that successful treatment of such issues will likely involve at least some behavior change on the part of the OP, and the OP stands to gain a lot of helpful personal skills by being an active participant (as appropriate) in whatever mix of interpersonal, couples, or cognitive behavioral therapy that they find.

            OP’s partners’ behavior is affecting her directly. Learning new response skills can only help her overall situation. If it’s an anxiety or OCD issue, there are specific skills that partners and caregivers need to learn to support treatment goals and avoid inadvertently “rewarding” the problematic thoughts and behaviors. From my experience with family members with these issues, I needed to learn how to help create a healing environment at home. Bonus was that the skills I learned translate to my professional and personal life *every day*.

            If it’s cultural issues, OP may still benefit from help separating herself emotionally from the baggage her husband is carrying, and learning scripts to counter-act the stuff he has internalized, that is causing friction. One doesn’t just spontaneously undo decades of enculturation, on either side, and women are taught that we are *supposed* to accept emotional baggage AND that it is OUR JOB to do the emotional labor of “fixing” other people’s negative emotional states. A therapist will be of substantial benefit to OP in uncovering these typically subconcious assumptions and patterns, and mindfully challenging them and acquiring a different and more equitable relationship with her husband.

            OP, I believe that professional help figuring out what exactly is going on (including ruling in or ruling out a medical cause like primary anxiety or OCD) and getting professional treatment based on that, is the best first step for you here. Best of luck!

          3. Annonymouse*

            Couples counselling isn’t about sharing blame as it is figuring out problems in the relationship and working together to find solutions.

            Also it can help having an objective outsider there.

            It’d be easy for the husband to dismiss the wife’s concerns as “Well SHE wants to cheat. Of course she’s going to say I’M the one with a problem. I’m not controlling or irrational, I’m protecting my marriage!”

            An outsider can actually say “Husband, this behaviour isn’t normal or good for your relationship. Your wife is doing a normal thing and has given no signs she isn’t anything but committed to you. Why do you feel this way?”

            Also by facing the problem together wife will know what steps he need she to do to get better on this/call him out if he isn’t doing it.

      2. Where's the Le-Toose?*

        My wife is suffering from both major depression and anxiety, and she has her individual sessions to work on her mental health issue and we’re in marriage counseling to work on ourselves as a couple. The OP should do both.

        My wife has these same kinds of fears during my daily commute, let alone when I travel for business. Her starting point is out of love–she doesn’t want to lose me. However, she expresses that love with some convoluted discussion about the risk of driving a car 8 miles from our home to downtown. Marriage counseling is good for her so she can express her love for me without sounding like a hypochondriac. Marriage counseling is good for me so I know how to commute to her and not roll my eyes and whisper “not this again” when she does go off the on a tangent.

        1. BenAdminGeek*

          “not roll my eyes and whisper “not this again” when she does go off on a tangent.”

          So that’s what I’ve been doing wrong all these years!

        2. birchwoods*

          I have some of this kind of anxiety myself and totally understand where your wife is coming from. I deal with these irrational fears with a sort of ritual where I always leave people I love on a positive note and let them know how much I love them, since the thought is always running through my head that I may never see them again. I obviously don’t TELL people I have these thoughts because it tends to freak people out! And I recognize that this is 100% My Problem and I need to adapt my behaviour to deal with it. Sounds like this husband needs to identify exactly what he is afraid of–I highly doubt that both his wife cheating and her getting kidnapped are equal fears because they stem from different insecurities, but hey, maybe he’s insecure about everything. And then he needs to communicate that to his wife in a way that proves he understands it’s not his place to restrict her behaviour based on his irrational fears. Then they can work together to find a way to work with his fears, like maybe she checks in with him a few times a day at certain times.

    2. ThatGirl*

      Yep, this was one of my thoughts — this might be a seriously overactive anxiety problem at work. I speak as someone whose husband is both a counselor and anxiety-sufferer. I mean, marriage counseling could still be useful, but an anxiety screening, too.

      1. Snark*

        It’s just as likely that he’s just jealous and controlling, like every other sap who clamps down on his partner’s autonomy. Not everything is anxiety and depression, AAM commentariat.

            1. Lissa*

              I think you’re right, but I think just as often people jump to an abuse/controlling scenario when it involves a relationship. So, considering that this issue really could be either one, I suppose it’s no wonder we’re seeing a lot of both here and it feels like they are…competing? Like, people bring their own experiences to the table here, so might feel invalidated or defensive when it’s suggested it’s the other explanation.

              I mean, we really can’t say from the letter which it is, but it’s so easy to read into it either “anxiety” or “controlling/toxic” depending on what we’ve personally experienced.

              1. Observer*

                Actually those are not the only two choices. There are so many things that could be gong on here.

                I think that couples counseling is the best place to start, no matter what the underlying problem is, because it’s a relationship problem that he’s laying on her. Hopefully, a good counselor will see what, if any, underlying issues may be playing into this mess and refer him in the right direction.

                1. Lissa*

                  Ah, sorry, didn’t say they were the only two choices! Just that it could be either one. Could also be a mix of the two, or something nobody has thought of yet. But they are the obvious two and also both hot-button topics on this forum. And we have no way of knowing, so a lot of people are going the “when this happened to me it was X, so that’s what’s happening here.”

                  Agree counseling would be a good place to start.

          1. Koko*

            Your feigned hysteria of all caps and multiple exclamation points comes across like a rude caricature of people you disagree with. I actually agree that the comment section here can jump to that explanation a little too quickly and without anything in the letter to support it, but they aren’t in hysterics about it.

              1. Koko*

                Either way, the poster is mimicking them in an exaggerated way in order to make them appear more foolish and unreasonable than they would if portrayed accurately.

          2. M-C*

            Gift of fear is fine for some things, but lacking in partnership issues advice and perspective. Much better is Lundy Bancroft’s “Why does he do that?”. And I’d highly recommend that book to the OP, so she can try to tease out for herself whether she’s just got an insecure, underemployed husband, or one who’s using jealousy as a control mechanism, at least in part so that he may remain comfortably underemployed.

            And while anxiety is common, abuse is even more so. Armchair diagnosis of either is not useful, but it doesn’t hurt to remind people of possible things to consider.

        1. Alternatively...*

          Not everything is an abusive relationship, AAM commentariat.

          P.S., you forgot to shill “The Gift of Fear.”

          1. RabbitRabbit*

            The worrying about her cheating leads me to consider there might be a problem with control/abuse, possibly. Unless he’s got super-deep anxiety, how do you just kind of throw out “but you might CHEAT on me if you go to Sin City!!!1” into a discussion?

            1. Snark*

              And let’s not forget: it’s entirely possible for someone to dabble in being a controlling, selfish jerk without really rising to the level of abuse or being an abuser. I certainly didn’t forget that, in case anybody’s wondering.

              1. RabbitRabbit*

                Very true, which is why I separated the two as “control/abuse”; they’re not necessarily part of the same package. It could be an extreme level of anxiety manifesting as control (“I can’t measure up/if you go away somewhere glamorous you’ll realize I suck”), especially if he’s not otherwise doing anything questionable.

        2. Ennigaldi*

          It’s possible that that’s part of it given the cheating aspect, but the “worried the worst would happen” is a very, very common anxiety symptom called “catastrophizing.” He is unable to let go of these thoughts on his own, they are interfering with his and his spouse’s quality of life, so he needs some help.

          1. Emi.*

            A few weeks after I started a great job, my mother-in-law literally messaged me and my husband to ask if we were able to put food on the table and should she send us money, so I can relate.

              1. Cactus*

                Same with mine. She keeps asking us (no matter how many times we decline) if we need her to buy us Amazon Fresh groceries. We live a block away from a grocery store. Going to the store and picking out our own groceries is the easiest thing in the world for us.

        3. ThatGirl*

          No, it’s not, but again – I’m not just speaking out of my ass here; I have seen similar anxiety issues firsthand. It may not be, in this case. But there’s no need to snark at me for making/agreeing with a suggestion.

    3. Elizabeth H.*

      Same. Some people get really over the top anxious about things like this such that it becomes its own problem, maybe even more of an independent factor than the sexism thing (which kind of compounds it because it’s a societal trope that reinforces some of what would otherwise seem more ‘out there’ on the face of it).

      1. Snark*

        But honestly? Whether anxiety is a contributing factor or not, that’s all it is. The big issue is that he’s being controlling and jealous in a really misogynist way, so I’m not actually all that concerned with or sympathetic about notional anxiety issues at this point.

        1. JenB*

          Yeah. Maybe this is anxiety and maybe it isn’t – not every illogical or inappropriate behavior is mental illness – but mental illness is never an excuse to be controlling or abusive.

          I say this as an anxiety disorder sufferer who becomes excessively worried when my partner travels for work, but of course I support him regardless of the fact that it’s stressful for me –m y anxiety is on me to manage in a healthy way.

          1. myswtghst*

            Yes, this. My husband has some mental health issues (and some life experiences) that make him prone to excessive worry when I travel for work, and in my last job, I traveled A LOT. Often to far away and less-than-ideal places, safety-wise, sometimes for 2+ weeks at a time, and pretty frequently alone. But we had conversations where we discussed what I was doing to stay safe, and we had agreed upon methods of checking in (calling / texting at certain reasonable times, for example). He never once demanded I not go, or made me miserable the whole length of my trip, just because he’d be less anxious if I was home.

          2. ThatGirl*

            Right. In no way am I saying “if he does have anxiety it’s totally okay for him to be a controlling ass” – not at all. Just that it might be (MIGHT) an explanation.

          1. Snark*

            Maybe so, but I know plenty of people who, as JenB says above, have anxiety and don’t express it in toxic and gendered ways that we’re really talking about two problems.

        2. Engineer Girl*

          I don’t see it as misogynist. The same concerns would translate for a man. But he is controlling. That is the problem.

        3. Observer*

          I don’t think it’s all that misogynistic – cheating isn’t the only thing he’s worried about. He’s worrying that someone might hurt her, too.

          Not that it makes it ok, at all. He needs to understand that what happens in their marriage is between them (and their counselors) and not random strangers, acquaintances and “friends”. And he needs to understand that his fears are his to manage, no matter where they are coming from.

          On the other hand, the OP could surely use some help in setting some reasonable boundaries and communicating as effectively as possible in the circumstances.

    4. Ms. Meow*

      My boyfriend used to freak out every time I had to travel for work. He was already in counselling and they focused on this issue for a while. The base issues came out to be general worrying about me travelling by myself (tons of catastrophic ‘what if’ scenarios) and FOMO (she’s having such a great time without me…). He’s been working through them and he was much better during my last work trip. He knows that travelling for work is non-negotiable, so he’s willing to put in the work to make it easier for both of us.

      OP, this is HIS issue, not yours. You say you’re the breadwinner. How would it feel if you lost your job or got demoted because you stopped travelling due to his shenanigans?

      Good luck.

    5. Snarkus Aurelius*

      My mom is convinced that as soon as the sun goes down, everyone is a drunk driver. Unless you’re her son. Then everyone is sober.

    6. Sketch*

      As someone with an anxiety disorder myself, I can understand the uncontrolled thoughts the husband is having. It does sound like some type of anxiety as these worries are extreme. In addition to marriage counseling, he or both may want to consider individual counseling as well. Both individuals will benefit from communication tools to use in challenging this kind of worry-filled thinking.

      I’d also check out books such as When Panic Attacks and How to Stop Worrying and Start Living Life. Both are filled with similar anecdotes and stories. Sometimes it’s easier to understand from the outside by hearing other stories about how irrational thoughts can impact our lives.

        1. Sketch*

          I’m not diagnosing at all. Only discussing the precise words given in the letter:
          “While I was away, he made me upset the whole time with his anxiety of what-ifs and what-nots.”
          The letter writer specifically ASKED about anxiety. On which I shared my personal experience and directed to resources where these be explored further. I also suggested going to counseling for professional diagnosis and treatment. This is the exact opposite of what you’re suggesting, Ramona.

          1. Ramona Flowers*

            Sorry Sketch, that wasn’t aimed specifically at you. I do think it’s a leap to assume the husband’s anxiety is the kind you get in GAD, but basically the comments are full of armchair diagnoses and I was exasperated.

        2. Bianca*

          Thanks! Also she is sole provider for family? Maybe he is just a lazy dude who wants to keep his cash cow working and under his thumb?? Sorry not sorry.

          1. Ego Chamber*

            “Breadwinner” isn’t necessarily “sole provider.” My ex used to pick up stupid little fun jobs part-time while he was going to college, while I was working full time and also going to college. His income was mostly for his own frivolous purchases, my job paid the rent and most of the utilities (he paid his own phone bill and bitched about it nonstop).

            These dudes tend to not understand how little they’re contributing in any significant fashion, and they’re shocked—shocked!—when the women they’re with realize what’s going on and leave them.

          2. Chucky*

            Hello thanks for the comment but I do work I manage over 400 rental properties and I’m a professional gardener for a estate. I haven’t missed a day other than scheduled vacation. At tax time we make about the same but for my emergency calls it’s hard to keep up. I do have anxiety and PTSD from my days in the army. I love my wife and we bought land and a home. We look out for each other. Only time we have really argued is this stupid Vegas trip which isn’t mandatory. Last year when she went not only did I work my 2 jobs but I tiled our laundry room to stay busy and keep my mind on things. But I did find pictures of her with male strippers so yeah I’m nervous she’s younger and hasn’t traveled like I have the world can be dangerous. But I’m not lazy I just love my wife and after 8 yrs of marriage I’m worried she’s bored with me. There’s other stuff to when she was in Vegas last she dressed differently and the way she talked to me. She acted like she wasn’t married. So thank you for the comments. But my wife really worded it in a way to get the I’m a crazy jealous husband. You have a good day and thank you

    7. Susana*

      Nah… this isn’t about irrational fears on his part, it’s about control. I got a sense of that with first part of the letter, but then the follow-up indicated he said his pals would not LET their spouses/sig others go… well, that’s a pretty bright red flag there. And she’s the main provider in the family? I suspect this has less to to with irrational fears of the big, bad world, and more to do with an outdated, sexist view of the man being in charge of his woman. I’d seriously question the value of marriage counseling at this point, unless he’s willing to fundamentally change his views of his power over another adult.

      1. Emma*

        I’m in the same boat as the OP. My husband makes every work trip a miserable experience for me and is angry at me for days before and days after. I’ve pretty much given up on trips for fun. This is definitely a sign of relationship problems and is not normal. (I’m in counseling FWIW, he won’t go.) The more I advance in my company, an the more trips I take, the harder it gets. He may make it seem like you are “choosing your career over your marriage,” which of course causes you to feel guilty, but as my good friend said recently “you’re not choosing your career over him, you’re choosing yourself over him.” I’m trying to take that advice to heart OP, hope you can too!

        1. Snark*

          This is just….rage-inducingly bonkers. I LOVE it when my wife travels. She comes back with cool stories and we have something to talk about besides work and what’s for dinner. She takes trips with friends, or solo, a few times a year. I do the same. You’re not choosing your career over your marriage when you take three days to sit in a conference hall, for chrissake. OH MY GOD your husband makes me so pissed. I can tell you this’d be a divorce-level issue if I did it with my wife.

          1. anycat*

            same. my husband has his guy trip (fishing)… this year i took a weekend with my mom. i went away for a few days for work, but had some cool stories to come home with. of course i’m very careful around others who drink and make it a point to be responsible and not get carried away, kwim?

          2. The Other Dawn*

            Same here. I love it when my husband goes camping with the guys. He does that three to four times a year. I go on a vacation with my sisters, or go to my cousin’s house in PA. We enjoy the time apart. Many people we know (work, friends, sometimes family) just can’t wrap their head around the fact that we don’t need to be joined at the hip 24/7 and that we’re not jealous. We always have a good laugh when one of my husband’s coworkers asks him, “You actually ‘let’ your wife go away without you?!” Um, I’m going to my cousin’s house. My *70 year-old* cousin’s house. In Amish country. The extent of our excitement is shopping at the outlets, maybe visiting Hershey and watching movies in our PJs. And I really don’t want to camp with a bunch of guys drinking beer, poking the fire and talking about cars (or whatever it is they talk about).

            But yeah, we’re both supportive of the other taking trips. I’ve had several week-long business trips in CA the last few years and it’s a non-event. This is OP’s husband’s issue, not hers. It doesn’t sound as though she’s given him any reason to be so insecure.

            1. Snark*

              And even if you weren’t going to your cousin’s house! You could be going to New Orleans for Mardi Gras and “uh, yes, of course she can go away without me” is still the correct answer.

            2. hermit crab*

              I like backpacking/camping and my husband does not (at least, not for extended periods of time). So, later this year I am going on a two-week hiking trip with a couple of friends — one of whom is a man, even! — and my husband’s main reaction has been “I hope you have a great time, and I’m glad you are not trying to get me to go too.” OP’s husband’s friends would have a conniption if they heard about my situation!

            3. Floundering Mander*

              My husband usually goes on an annual drinking trip with his buddies (they all go to a particular beer festival in a nearby city). Sometimes they go on a similar trip for birthdays etc. (like when one of his good friends turned 50). I like having the house to myself for a weekend.

              I can’t imagine getting upset because he went on a business trip.

          3. Barney Stinson*

            Ah, but you have a job, and I’m guessing are presumably a more equal breadwinner in your household. I think that makes all the difference here…OP doesn’t just have a grinding job. She has a job where you travel, and to him that probably sounds like she’s achieving well (and she very well is) when *he is not,* comparatively.
            Business trips for him are salt in a wound, I’m guessing.

            Studies show that men who are outearned by their wives and cannot cover the household’s bills with their own income generally act out more about their successful wives.

            Of course, this is all conjecture. She needs to act on what’s happening, and then maybe delve into the why with AAM’s excellent advice.

          4. Grumpy Mouse*

            Agreed. Just the past 2 weeks I’ve taken a 3-day hiking trip, completely alone, and also a trail running workshop weekend with a group of other runners. I’ve also recently spent a weekend away with a close friend at a lake for a swimming event, and numerous overnight trips to see my family or friends in other parts of the country. I’ve also gone on holiday with my mum and my grandmother for a week or two at a time. In fact, I’ve been on more trips without my partner than I have with him! And it’s great – he enjoys the time alone, we get to talk about interesting stuff we’ve both done when I get back, we both get time to decompress in ways which benefit us the most. He loves listening to me talk about my trips and my hobbies and adventures, and I love hearing him talk about how he spends hours painting toy soldiers. I think it’s one of the things that makes our relationship so strong.

            On the flip side however, I do know some couples who haven’t spent a night apart in 20+ years. One woman I met recently on a week-long work trip said it was the longest time she’d been apart from her husband in 15 years. That’s not out of reluctance to “let” either one out of their sights, but more because when they have the choice to be together, they will be together, and when it’s unavoidable, they make do as best they can.

            It takes all sorts.

        2. lex*

          Ultimately I did choose my career over my marriage and now I’m in the the middle of a divorce because of it. I’m good at what I do and I don’t want to be made to feel bad because of it. Everyone’s mileage will vary of course, but that’s the choice I made.

          1. Guy Incognito*

            That’s exactly what I’m doing right now too and it will be so much better when I don’t have to justify the work trip to my husband and I don’t have to pander to his unfounded insecurities.

        3. Koko*

          Choosing your career over your marriage is only possible when your husband turns a normal business situation into an ultimatum.

          1. The OG Anonsie*

            This x1000000.

            And when your husband does things like that, why would you choose him over anything else?

        4. Temperance*

          Your friend is a wise woman. I might also take your friend’s statement a step further, and point out that he’s the one making your marriage adversarial. In a healthy marriage, there is no spouse v. spouse, and there’s room for career, hobbies, friends, etc.

          I hope counseling is helping you.

          1. Stone Satellite*

            It’s crazy how often this happens. I talked to a financial planner about my divorce before I decided to go through with it, and it turns out she and I married the same guy too!

        5. Tina*

          Good luck, Emma. You don’t deserve to be treated that way. I know it’s easier to say “Leave him!” to someone else than it is to actually leave your spouse but please know that leaving him over this would not be an overreaction.

        6. Optimistic Prime*

          My husband used to be pretty bad about my work trips, too. He’s gotten better over time, but he still guilt-trips me before I leave and makes sad noises about how he misses me so much and we never spend enough time together. The thing is he takes work trips more often than I do! (And I love it when he goes on trips: he likes traveling.) We’re in counseling together though, which is one of the reasons he’s gotten better.

        7. Artemesia*

          Life is short. You are not required to live it with someone who makes you miserable and is not willing to work on the problem.

        8. many bells down*

          I was also married to this man. I didn’t have to take many work trips, being a teacher, but I did occasionally go to educational seminars. On every occasion, he made “rules” like I could never go anywhere alone and I had to call him at a specific time every day. He framed it as “concern for my safety” but it was really about control. He even did it the one time I was staying *in a convent*. With NUNS.

          1. Competent Commenter*

            Oh yeah, the “concern for your safety.” I didn’t go on work trips while married to mine, but I remember going on a girls’ night out (bachelorette party, with a limo to take us places) and him being livid that I didn’t call him during the evening to check in. This was pre cell phone so it meant finding payphones. Being worried about my safety seemed a bit off since I was being chauffered around with a group of his female relatives. When I said “but no one else called their boyfriends” he then he shifted to “well, if you want to have a relationship like THEIRS…” I think it doesn’t take much poking at this topic to find out if your spouse is anxious or controlling. Of course, they can be both…but then IMHO, that boils down to controlling anyway.

        9. Laura*

          I’m so sorry, Emma. This isn’t normal, as you say, and a good husband will support you as you travel. I hope you find a guy who does that for you. They’re out there. I have one. And honestly he would be the first to say that the breaks when I’m away, and he can eat PBJ sandwiches for dinner, are refreshing for him too.

      2. Hey Karma, Over here.*

        Yup. “Everyone he talks to agrees with him.” Well, first of all, they don’t. He’s using the great, ambiguous They to give his personal feelings more weight. Maybe LW could ask her own friends’ opinions, and LW, if you can’t think of anyone to ask, is that because husband has systematically eliminated outside relationships?
        He’s a control freak who will beg, lie and manipulate every situation to get his way.

        1. Koko*

          Yeah, I had a boyfriend in college who I’d started dating after being part of the same friend group as him for a long time. Whenever we had a fight he would kowtow me with how “everyone” agreed with him and had various complaints about me that they’d apparently shared with him but never brought to me. In addition to bolstering his position in our argument it had the nice (for him) side effect of alienating me from all of my friends who I believed were talking crap about me behind my back.

          1. Specialk9*

            Two birds one stone! Yeah, support common technique, but we don’t know what we don’t know, till we know it.

        2. The OG Anonsie*

          This is a pretty classic controlling partner move. “Everyone agrees with me and thinks you’re unreasonable and crazy. Everyone thinks you’re wrong.”

        3. Lynn Whitehat*

          Giving the husband the most benefit of the doubt possible, it’s possible he rants and raves and his friends all go “hmm, interesting.” Not seeing any benefit in engaging someone who’s clearly nuts on the subject. And then he interprets the lack of disagreement as agreement.

      3. MassMatt*

        That isn’t what the follow-up says, it says “they object that they would even let their significant others go”.

        Perhaps it’s a typo, at first glance I thought it said “wouldn’t” as it’s an awkward construction otherwise. Perhaps Allison can clarify and correct if needed?

        1. fposte*

          I think the intent is clear, though; it’s that the nameless sources would object to their spouses’ going. Alison doesn’t usually change letter writers’ words, so I think it’ll probably stand as is.

      4. That Would Be a Good Band Name*

        The follow up is what took it from possible anxiety issue on overdrive to controlling husband for me. If a person has surrounded themselves with a bunch of people that thinks it’s normal for one spouse to tell the other what they are/aren’t allowed to do, that’s a beyond red flag. That’s a bright, flashing red sign.

        1. Annabelle*

          Same here. Also deploying the “well everyone else thinks you’re wrong too” thing is a really immature way to work through a disagreement.

        2. fposte*

          Or it’s an indication that they live in a different culture than the one you know. The country really isn’t so homogeneous on this kind of experience that you have to seek out people to agree with you on this no matter where you live.

            1. fposte*

              It can be; it can also be a culture that has different views on what’s important in a relationship. “Not like us” isn’t automatically the same thing as “toxic.”

              1. SC Anonibrarian*

                Just because some of the people in that culture are ok with it doesn’t mean it’s magically not ‘controlling behavior’ because it’s culture/religion. It doesn’t have to be automatically a negative-value-weighted word (which is admittedly hard for me to do because of my own bad background with a controlling culture and religion) but on the flip-side, I think we should not give ‘cultural differences’ veto power to prevent us from calling out specific and tally-able patterns of behaviors that some people see as personal red flags or interpersonal deal-breakers.

                1. fposte*

                  I agree with you on the personal deal-breakers, but that’s not the discourse that’s going on here at the moment. (I’m also not sure you can un-yoke “controlling” from its pejorative overtones, given that most of us have plenty of things we’d require partners not do and we don’t call ourselves “controlling”–it’s always something somebody else does.)

                2. Layla*

                  Some things are objectively controlling behaviours though. That’s where domestic abuse resources and charts come in. I also don’t think cultural relativity is relevant when OP is clearly uncomfortable with his behaviour.

              2. Rusty Shackelford*

                But this doesn’t seem to be important to the OP – she recognizes that she should be allowed to go on business trips. Him trying to get her to conform to a cultural norm that she’s rejecting isn’t necessary toxic, but just because it’s somebody’s “culture” doesn’t mean they get to impose it on others. Even the others they’re married to.

                1. Natalie*

                  The threading makes it a little unclear, but that’s not the part under discussion:

                  Top-Level Comment: “If a person has surrounded themselves with a bunch of people that thinks it’s normal for one spouse to tell the other what they are/aren’t allowed to do, that’s a beyond red flag.”

                  Response: “Or it’s an indication that they live in a different culture than the one you know.”

        3. Artemesia*

          This. I did business trips to the Middle East. People at our church would say ‘I can’t believe your husband lets you do that.’ My husband would laugh and laugh. ‘let’ has no part of a marriage unless it deeply affects the partner and then people need to work on it together.

          Life is short. Living with someone like this for the rest of your life sounds like a real misery. I’d be wondering if it isn’t time to reconsider the marriage. If he gets therapy and can get his anxiety and toxic masculinity under control, that would be one thing. But if not, why would you stay with this. I didn’t hear that there were kids. All the more reason to get out and build a life with someone who is your partner and not a leach who wants to cripple your independence and your career.

      5. blackcat*

        Yeah, my cousin isn’t “allowed” to travel without her husband. She has thus far missed out on several family gatherings and her best friend’s wedding, because her husband could not get off time to go.

        She and I have spoken about it, in part because I travel without my husband a lot, including to family stuff. She has mentioned it makes her sad, but she takes the “obey” part of her vows very seriously. She’s very, very conservative Christian, as is her husband.

        Her husband is a lovely person in general, but comes from a family that cares very much about keeping up appearances. So anything that could be perceived poorly at their church is not allowed. Since it’s the church he was raised in, she feels like his judgement rules on that. But, at least in that case, she was 100% aware of the power dynamics she signed up for in entering the marriage, unlike our OP. And she’ll never be the breadwinner, but again, that’s what she signed up for from the get-to.

        1. Soon to be former fed*

          I would have not reacted well to this if I were the best friend. Or the wife, for that matter. Sometimes, friends are there after husbands are gone. I don’t understand giving up agency as an adult just because I got married. It seems a loving husband would have found a way for his wife to attend her best friends wedding. What if he dies? Is she free to travel then? Marriage should be about love, not control. Ugh.

      6. Observer*

        This is actually a place where marriage counseling can be extremely useful. If his problem is that his marriage doesn’t look the way a marriage is “supposed” to look (and let’s get real here – we absolutely do NOT have enough information to be as sure as you are) then a good marriage counselor can help him to readjust his notions.

    8. a girl has no name*

      OMG! I thought my mom was the only one like this. She once had a fit that I was going to Target at 8:00 on a Wednesday. She thought surely I would be kidnapped in the “dark” parking lot. What the hell? Should I never go anywhere? Boundaries we a serious convo. after that. Sorry about the side note. I just love when you have the “oh you too?” moment with strangers on the internet.

      1. nnn*

        My mother too. She worries about me being out alone after dark – and it gets dark at 4:30 p.m. in the winter here. Out alone after dark = commuting to a job that has normal office hours

      2. Nervous Accountant*

        I wasn’t allowed to take late classes in school bc “good girls dont stay out after dark. If your classes are in the evening then change your major.” mmmmmmm..yeah. (FWIW I’m married and work FT and during tax season I’ve come home at 10-12 PM. Not a single word uttered).

      3. Kj*

        Oh, god, me too! When I moved to a big city to go to grad school, I got ALL KINDS of concern, especially when I started working swing shift and got home at midnight! Mom freaked out, but fortunately for me, my Dad was there to help and reassure her AND we’d had enough family counseling after my teenage years that I knew how to set boundaries. I think she was happier than I was when I got married because, in her words “Mr. Kj will notice if you don’t come home one night.”

      4. Sylvan*

        My mom believes that her quiet suburban neighborhood and my own are overrun by prowling sex offenders when the sun goes down. I love her, and I know she “warns” me about this because she loves me and she wants me to be safe, but I’m just really glad to see I’m not the only one right now!!

        1. Annabelle*

          Omg that sounds so much like my mom. Somehow everyone turns into a sexual predator after dark. When I was a teen, she wouldn’t even let me walk the dog around our boring, gated community if it was dark out.

        2. Temperance*

          My mother is like this about my neighborhood because I’m miles away from Philadelphia. Meanwhile, there are fewer property crimes in my very small town than there are in hers, and we haven’t had a murder since the 1990’s. She visited exactly once, got off in a suburb where the homes start at 300K and started screaming about getting shot at.

          1. One of the Sarahs*

            I used the work on policy areas around crime, and in the UK, people places with low crime rates have a much higher fear of crime than people from high crime areas. Of course, it also relates to what the right wing media say, and it’s super-hard to tackle.

          2. JustaLurker*

            My in-laws (who I no longer speak to) freaked out when my wife and I got our current apartment because they found out it was across the street from the best Mexican restaurant in our city. Never mind that this area was completely safe and middle-class; never mind that the apartment complex had 24-hour security; gated parking; never mind that this Mexican restaurant is not a whole in the wall, is regularly featured on Food Network, and is a regular spot for bringing out-of-town clients for virtually every company in our city. Nope. According to my in-laws, any apartment within walking distance of a Mexican restaurant had to be in a horrible and crime-infested part of town…

            1. Snark*

              I usually find that veiled anxiety/fear of minorities is at the root of “cities are dangerous and scary and you must never go out after dark” fears, but rarely is it veiled so thinly.

              1. Temperance*

                Oh that’s my mother’s thing, too. I just point out that there’s more crime in her trailer park, and she gets huffy about it. It’s absolutely true, and she gets so

                1. Ego Chamber*

                  Yes, but trailer park crimes are good, upstanding crimes like cooking meth and domestic violence, and obviously those crimes are less dangerous to bystanders than being attacked by a sex criminal just for walking down the street.

                  (That started as a joke but I think I might actually be onto something, re: familiar vs unfamiliar crimes and the perceived danger of each.)

      5. Gazebo Slayer*

        When I first moved to the city, my mom told me to never, ever go anywhere after dark.

        I shut that down fast by reminding her I was working an evening shift that ended at 11 PM.

      6. Optimistic Prime*

        When I was in grad school my mom once had a fit that I was walking home from class at around 4:45 pm on a random Tuesday evening. Her explanation was that she knew that the sun set around 4:15ish at that time of year and it was dark outside, therefore I should be inside.

      7. Miss Pantalones en Fuego (formerly Floundering Mander)*

        The first time I visited Scotland (as an undergrad) I was on a school trip and we went to Orkney, in the far north. In summer it doesn’t really get properly dark at all, and not until after midnight. I called home from a pay phone on the street around 10pm UK time and she freaked out because I was outside, at night, with nobody around who knew me!

        It was still broad daylight, and I was with a group of fellow students. Yes, we were taking advantage of the fact that 19/20 year olds can go to the pub in the UK, but we were still hanging out with the professor while we did so. I still tease her about it.

      8. NaoNao*

        My mom too! My mom has cooled off a bit now that I’m almost 40 (!!), but she saw danger everywhere. I actually didn’t tell her I got K&R insurance when I worked in the Philippines and had to travel to an area where nearby skirmishes were going on and kidnappings WERE a concern. But in her mind, as another comment perfectly said, as soon as the sun sets, everyone is a drunk driving, human trafficking, drug kingpin. Anywhere in the USA or abroad. There’s no scenario that she can’t find a worry for. Eating a meal? Don’t choke or burn yourself! Walking to work? Don’t get hit by a car!! Biking to work? Don’t get in a bike accident! At work? Don’t get hit by a stray printer that someone threw out a window in a rage while you have a cuppa with a buddy outside!
        And so on.

    9. Temperance*

      I’ll be honest, my first thought was not “anxiety”, but “control” and maybe “future abuse”. I have anxiety, and so does my husband … and this isn’t really an anxiety reaction, but a control issue. Or maybe it’s anxiety fueling a control issue, but I highly doubt that anxiety treatment will help.

      1. JenB*

        Yes!! I have anxiety disorder and I do worry excessively (one time to the point of a panic attack) when my husband travels for work, but that’s on me to manage. I don’t “let” him go on trips because we don’t manage each others lives like that, but I do support his career and any travel that entails even if it’s stressful for me.

        Illogical or inappropriate behaviors like this are not always a sign of mental illness and mental illness is not an excuse to be controlling or abusive, EVER.

      2. I woke up like this*

        Exactly. For the OP, this is a marriage problem. Sure, anxiety may be amplifying his concerns, but anxiety doesn’t make a respectful, supportive, loving spouse demand that their wife refuse to attend a business trip. He made her upset the entire trip last time. For the OP, that’s the problem here.

      3. Annabelle*

        Agreed. I suppose anxiety could make his control issues more prominent, but to me his behavior is just a glaring red flag.

    10. LSP*

      I think it’s not up to any of us to determine what OP’s husband’s major glitch is. Maybe he has heightened anxiety. Maybe he’s an abusive dick. But we should really just be taking OP’s word for it that the issue she outlined is the issue there is. And yeah, they probably need some counseling, and people often start off with Marriage counseling before moving on to individual counseling *on advice of their counselor*!

      Let’s stay in our lane, please.

      1. MassMatt*

        I agree, the posting guidelines specifically ask that we not attempt to diagnose mental issues, it tends to devolve into discussions about theories of mental health and people sharing their mental health stories vs: helping the letter writers.

        The husband is acting like a jerk and the OP needs to figure out whether this is something/someone she can live with and whether he is capable of improving. I would think about whether this fits in a pattern of other bad behavior. Is he OK generally and just bad about work trips? Or is he bad whenever you are off doing anything on your own?

      2. Matilda Jefferies*

        Yup, agreed. It’s either anxiety or abuse, or both, or neither; and none of those things address the husband’s *behaviour* or the OP’s next steps.

        I think (I hope!) we can all agree that either way, Husband isn’t likely to change his behaviour without some outside intervention, so I do hope that counselling is an option for them.

      3. Zillah*

        I agree. I think that there’s value in saying, “this could be going on, and it might be something to watch out for,” but definitive statements that range far, far beyond what’s in the letter are really problematic, both because they can end up being irrelevant and because they can make the OP dismiss the rest of the input being offered, because the read on that particular aspect the situation is incorrect.

    11. Hills to Die on*

      FWIW, I am a married woman and had to travel to Vegas many times for work, and had to drive to dozens of locations the entire time. I was fine. I know that you aren’t the one with the issue, but just letting you know. And my husband was completely fine with it. Get that man into counseling, pronto.

      1. yasmara*

        Yeah, my husband takes business trips to Vegas multiple times a year. It’s fine. OP’s husband’s response is way out of line for a normal response.

      2. Lln*

        Yeah, Vegas is like Disneyland now. I’m certain he is imagining some lawless back alley den of sin. But regardless, he needs to respect the demands of her job and treat her like an adult.

    12. Elizabeth West*

      Yeah, this seems so over the top I’m having trouble thinking it’s just about relationship issues. Of course, I’m only going by what was in the letter. But general anxiety on this level is still causing them problems and will in future if he can’t get it under control. I hope they can find a solution.

    13. Observer*

      Maybe he needs counseling for anxiety. But they definitely need marriage counseling. Who thinks it’s normal to ask around if he should “let” his wife go on a business trip, etc. And his anxiety is HIS to manage, not hers.

    14. Venus Supreme*

      This reminds me of when I studied abroad in London and my mom warned me about people like Jack the Ripper.

    15. Amy*

      Even if it is a general anxiety issue, speaking as someone with plenty of personal experience with that, there’s still a relationship issue here. He can’t expect his partner to sacrifice herself to the whims of his anxiety. First, it doesn’t work–anxiety will inevitably find things to be anxious about, ultimately–and second, it’s not reasonable or feasible to ask someone to do that. Even if he does have some kind of anxiety disorder, he needs to recognize that this behavior isn’t reasonable in a relationship, and marriage counseling is a great way to work out problems in a relationship.

    16. TrainerGirl*

      Absolutely. Because someone who’s having this kind of anxiety is going to get worse, not better if they do nothing to address the underlying issue. Honestly, things could happen anywhere, so his questioning that the trip is in Vegas sounds like a cover. You definitely need counseling, and he may need his own as well.

    17. Chucky*

      But she did not mention that she had her picture taken with male strippers that she would never told me if hadn’t found them. And when she called home she was mean to me and I noticed she fixed her hair differently and she looked very happy. And I’m sure there’s a lot more I don’t know about. She doesn’t like it when I had lied to her but it’s alright to lie to me and I’m not welcome to come along and stay in a another hotel. Is a 4 day trip to Vegas worth loosing a 10 yrs relationship. And there’s more but I here these comments and the whole story wasn’t told. But the husband is the asshole how dare he worry about his wife

  2. Taco Salad*

    Absolutely get counseling. If he refuses to go, go alone. This is not a normal or healthy response from a spouse, and it needs to change. The lack of trust here is pretty disturbing, as are his over-the-top fears. (Is he really afraid you will be kidnapped or is he being hyperbolic to try to convince you to stay?)

    And no matter what, go on the trip. Do not sacrifice your career for this.

    1. la bella vita*

      This. Seriously, OP – this is *NOT* normal. Get yourself some counseling, with or without your husband (and explore whether or not this is the type of relationship that is healthy for you to continue to be in). Certainly do not risk your career by bailing on this completely reasonable work trip.

      1. Infinity Anon*

        It is not normal or rational. Everything he is afraid of is very very unlikely to happen and no more likely to happen in Vegas than any other city.

        1. Koko*

          That’s the weirdest part of it to me! It’s like he thinks Vegas exists in some parallel universe with different logic and laws of physical, and that upon landing in Vegas all of his wife’s usual behavioral norms and all concern for her life beyond Vegas will simply evaporate. Vegas isn’t a magical dimension. It’s just a normal American city that happens to have the nation’s most vast square footage of conference hall space and some of its cheapest business-class hotels. I don’t even like Vegas and end up there twice a year because it’s such a common conference location because of the affordability.

          1. MashaKasha*

            ^ +1000, this was the most mind-boggling to me as well. I’ve been to Vegas. Other than me being bored out of my skull, nothing happened!

          2. blackcat*

            I’m wondering if he’s ever been to Vegas? And, if not, perhaps he and the OP should take a trip together there (not on one of her business trips). I totally went on a family trip to Vegas when I was like 12 or so, and there was plenty of family friendly stuff to do. So, yeah, count me as baffled by his “OMG, VEGAS IS SIN” attitude.

            I strongly suspect it is not actually about Vegas, but perhaps a trip full of family friendly activities there could solve his issue if it is, in fact, about Vegas.

            1. Snark*

              Vegas’ skeezy rep is about 50 years out of date at this point. It’s adult Disneyland with spendy big-name restaurants, booze and slot machines, at this point.

              1. blackcat*

                Yeah, my parents clearly decided that it was a great place to take the kids nearly 20 years ago, and it was. So it’s not like it’s all new…

                1. Snark*

                  And Hunter Thompson and Oscar Acosta are dead anyway.

                  HEY HONKIES! YOU WANT SOME SKAG?

                  *barfs all over side of red Cadillac*

            2. Drago Cucina*

              I really hate the bad rap Vegas gets. I go there once or twice a year for my relaxing vacation. I don’t gamble much. I meet family from California. I went just this month with my husband. I played the slots for all of 5 minutes and that was it. I lounge by the pool, eat really good food, order wines not available in my area. We walk through various casinos and gawk. We hike through Red Rock Canyon or the Valley of Fire. I have a friend who doesn’t drink, gamble, or smoke and Vegas is one of her favorite vacation places.

              Remember, what happens in Vegas stays on YouTube forever.

              1. Moi*

                I also love Vegas. The whole city is like a giant theme park for adults. I loved the weird, entertaining shows on the street, the warm evenings, the bustle and cheer. The main drag did not feel dangerous to me at all. And there is plenty to do besides gamble.

              2. Artemesia*

                Well the place was built by mobsters to skin the rubes in casinos . It isn’t like the reputation just happened by accident.

              3. SebbyGrrl*

                It’s one of my spa vacation destinations.

                Stay at Luxor for dirt cheap, or Mandalay Bay for the pool.

                Spend the whole day 10+ hours (for me) at the Bath House in Mandalay Bay. w/o massage $45, pools, hot tubs, steam, sauna, nibbles.

                And yeah, if one doesn’t leave the primary resort where the conference is, almost zero worry of bad experiences/people.

          3. Emi.*

            I’m guessing it’s because Vegas sounds like it’s all casinos and bars and drunk parties, and if I learned anything in college it’s that bars and drunk parties are teeming with predators.

          4. TrainerGirl*

            I went to Vegas last year and didn’t do anything “Vegas-y”, other than see one show. We went to the Grand Canyon, went ziplining in the mountains and had a great without ever stepping in a casino. I know that many conferences are held there, and wouldn’t bat an eye at my fiancee going there without me. Because really…if the intent is there, a spouse can cheat anywhere. They don’t have to go out of town to do it. Someone with this kind of insecure, controlling behavior could be sitting next to you 24/7 and they’d be wondering what you were thinking, if it got to that point.

    2. Snark*

      My feeling is that he’s coming up with post-facto, emotionally triggering justifications for something that has absolutely no basis in any rational apprehension of reality.

      1. fposte*

        Right. I’m reminded of when my flying phobia was at its worst, and I was going to take a flight on Friday the 13th. I’m not superstitious, so I was aware that it was completely bogus that my fears concentrated on that fact, but they nonetheless did.

      2. crookedfinger*

        Hmm… She’s probably going to cheat on me in Vegas because that’s what people do in Vegas…Wait I can’t say that, of course she’s going to deny it…hmm, what else can I say to convince her to stay… “Kidnapping! Rape! You’re going to DIE!”

        1. fposte*

          Though those are also the traditional bogeymen for women out on their own, as evidenced by the many people talking about their mothers’ fears. He doesn’t have to be consciously choosing these–they’re already out there.

          1. crookedfinger*

            Whether he’s choosing them consciously or not, he’s certainly trying to use them as a weapon to manipulate his wife into doing what he wants.

          2. Lissa*

            Yes, this could actually be what he really is freaking out about, in my experience. I don’t want men to dismiss women’s fears, but I have personally had more experience with the opposite – men deciding to tell me why I can’t/shouldn’t do something adventurous. The number of dudes who felt the need to tell me how unsafe my backpacking around Europe with my best friend was was pretty high.

            But even if it’s absolutely true that he’s worried about this, NO WAY should OP allow her husband’s irrational fear sabotage her job! IMO once you start catering to this kind of thing, it does not ever get better. They just find more things to get worried about. My own brain is like that. “Oh, good, don’t have to worry about Massive Problem A — oh hey, Medium Problem B, let’s obsessively think about that for ages!”

            And of course brains being not rational, could be a whole soup of “something bad will happen” which combines kidnapping, cheating, meeting someone else and Vegas-marrying them despite already being married…regardless, I think OP should go on the trip.

    3. Hills to Die on*

      Agree that you should go to counseling by yourself if he won’t go. I’ve done that before too, and it was invaluable in setting healthy boundaries in a sane, functional manner.

    4. Emmie*

      His response is not reasonable except in AAM’s answer. I wonder if there are other circumstances in which he exhibits similar behavior. Go on the trip. Do the counseling (alone or with him.) And do not – to the best of your ability – get wrapped up or play into his anxieties, or irrational fears.

  3. SushiRoll*

    Has the OP’s spouse ever even BEEN to Vegas? Yeah you can get into some crazy stuff there for sure, but lots of people bring their small children to Vegas for vacation too (which bugs me somewhat but hey whatever). It’s not some ridiculous naked sex drug party. There are tons of huge conferences that take place there all the time. Last time I was there staying at the Cosmo some HR conference started in the hotel (funny as an HR person) He is seriously out of whack and I would not put up with him.

    1. Amber Rose*

      I know right? There are people just, everywhere, even at 2 am. You’d have to make an effort to get kidnapped, I think. And nobody is reasonably going to crazy drug orgies where they might be at risk, during a work event.

    2. KR*

      Yeah, Vegas can be a skeezy place but I haven’t found it to be any worse than LA, Nashville, Cincinnati, New York, Seattle, Boston, or any of the other cities I’ve been to.

    3. Lil Fidget*

      I suppose, trying to be as charitable as possible, I would agree that Vegas has kind of a skeezy reputation and I would prefer a reputable company to do the trip somewhere more … wholesome. However, the husband is being ridiculous. The reason companies go there is because there’s big convention centers and lots of cheap flights.

      1. Temperance*

        Vegas and Orlando are excellent places for corporate retreats because they’re relatively cheap to fly to and they’re set up for this kind of thing. I might just be flinching at the use of the word “wholesome”, though. To me, that means childish.

        1. Lissa*

          When I hear “wholesome” I picture a stereotypical 50s scene with aprons and apple pie and “gee golly” instead of swearing. :D

      2. Recruit-o-rama*

        There is nothing “unwholesome” about Vegas and plenty of reputable companies send their employees there for conferences because the city is set up for it with numerous transportation, hotel and food options.

        1. sunny-dee*

          Well, yeah, it has a bad rep, that they intentionally, though jokingly, promote with the “What happens in Vegas…” and Sin City marketing campaigns. It was literally created by the mob and has legalized prostitution and gambling. Just on the wholesomeness scale, it tries way harder to be “cool older brother” than, say, Omaha or Iowa City.

          1. Recruit-o-rama*

            Actually, prostitution is NOT legal in Las Vegas and gambling is legal in a Million places in the United States. Furthermore, Vegas ALSO markets itself as a family vacation and business conference destination. ALSO, there is nothing inherently “unwholesome” about prostitution OR gambling. They are for sure marketing themselves as a place you can party it up (and you certainly can do that) but again, that’s not “unwholesome” in and of itself.

            1. Lil Fidget*

              I’m sorry, I’m not trying to be a jerk, but if you don’t think there’s anything unwholesome about prostitution (direct quote) I think you may be a cultural outlier. I think OP and her husband are from a more conservative background.

              1. Annabelle*

                Eh, sex work is legitimate work. I see “wholesome” as “suitable for minors and conservative folks”, so yeah, sex work isn’t that. But it’s also wildly irrelevant in terms of a OP’s business trip.

                1. Blue Anne*

                  Bartending is legitimate work too. But not wholesome. Whether it’s legitimate is pretty much beside the point.

                2. Recruit-o-rama*

                  I mean, were talking about adults going on a business trip so “wholesome” shouldn’t even come into it. I don’t know any sex workers and it certainly would not be for me, but I’m not going to clutch my pearls and start labeling other people,s choices as “unwholesome” and I have a big eye roll for people who do.

            2. NaoNao*

              To me, wholesome is about the primary purpose of the activity. Is it indulging in a pleasurable vice? (Overeating or eating rich foods, drinking, drugs, gambling, or sex?) or is it not? This is NOT putting a judgement on those activities, but all of them can and do carry a pretty significant “risk load” (money spent, possible diseases, lost time, etc) and that’s why in general, society rates them as vices.

              If the city is a well known destination to indulge in vices ( sex outside of a relationship for pay, drinking, drugs, gambling) than it’s fair to say that it’s not the most “wholesome” location.

              In many cities, there are few or no options to indulge in these vices, certainly not legally! You would have to go out of your way to find a casino, a lavish bar with topless entertainment, or an escort service.

              In Vegas, these things are part of the fabric of the city. They are readily available and heavily marketed–a sudden whim or fancy could be a reality very quickly. A spare hour or two could be spent at an adult themed entertainment show or casino, and that can honestly spiral. Unlikely if it’s not part of her character, but certainly more possible than in Eerie, Pennsylvania.

              *Now having said all that, I 100% agree that the husband is over-reacting*.

              People don’t completely change upon touchdown in Vegas. For example, I don’t gamble and drugs, etc have no appeal. Being in Vegas to me would be about eating at fancy restaurants, doing the neon lights tour, etc. I’m not going to be “lured” into seedy underworld just because it’s there!

          2. Lil Fidget*

            Yeah I’m kind of surprised people are acting like they’ve never heard anything bad about Vegas. One reputation of the city, deliberately played up in media, is that it is a raunchy “sin city” full of gamboling, sex, and wild parties. I’ve actually been there and I agree it’s overplayed and that corporate concerns are more about flights and conference rooms but … it’s weird to act like you’ve never heard this stereotype. If OP and her husband are from perhaps a small conservative town and the husband has never been, there’s a slim chance that he’s reacting to this reputation. BUT, I don’t actually think that’s the most likely explanation for his issues.

            1. sunny-dee*

              Yeah, this. I’m in business, so of course I know that a lot of conferences and normal things to do there, but it’s a little disingenuous to claim that a location that intentionally markets itself as Sin City doesn’t at least have a rep for vice.

            2. Lln*

              I don’t think anyone is acting like they haven’t heard the reputation, we’re just saying it’s silly and outdated.

              1. Jen S. 2.0*

                AND that a little drinking and dancing and playing roulette (pick your game), or even a LOT of drinking and dancing and playing roulette, which is what many people do is Las Vegas, is … not a particularly scandalous thing to many people. Sure, it’s too much if you’re super conservative, but then the root of the debate is not Las Vegas itself. You can drink and dance and play roulette in 43 of the 50 states.

                1. Indoor Cat*

                  I mean, listen, America is…big.

                  There are broadly different American subcultures because there are just so many people. Where I was originally from in Ohio, there are schools that don’t have proms because dancing is considered a vice, and thus shouldn’t be promoted by a school. There are counties where selling alcohol is illegal. I’ve met plenty of kids who were never allowed to even play Go Fish because playing non-gambling card games could lead to gambling.

                  When I talk to my friends nowadays (still in Ohio, btw! Just live in an exurb of a big city rather than a small town), they find this baffling. They sometimes ask if I’m from some sort of obscure cult, or something. But where I was from, the vast majority of the people in the region–hundreds of thousands, not just a handful–accepted these beliefs as reasonable. The “no Go Fish” rule was not present in my home, but I was told to respect the kids’s parents who’d made that rule and abide by it around those kids, because the rule seemed a reasonable difference between my parents and theirs (rather than wholly bizarre).

                  So Vegas actually *is* pretty scandalous to a *lot* of people. You’ve never met them, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist.

            3. NaoNao*

              Hee! I know it’s forbidden to comment on typos, but the “gamboling” is perfect! Gamboling is a type of frolicking around without a care in the world. For sure “gamboling” DOES occur in Vegas, same as “gambling” :)

          3. Liz T*

            Prostitution is NOT legal in Las Vegas. It is in some Nevada counties, but not Clark County (which includes Vegas.) In the places where it’s legal, it’s still only legal at licensed brothels–of which there are 24 in the entire state.

            Illegal prostitution happens in Vegas, to be sure–as it happens pretty much everywhere in the country.

          4. Natalie*

            Interestingly, prostitution is a county-by-county decision in Nevada. Not all of the counties decided to legalize it, and as a result there is no legal prostitution in Las Vegas or Reno.

          5. Allison*

            Nope. Nevada decriminalized prostitution at the state level and left it to the counties. It’s not legal in Las Vegas, although there’s probably a lot of escort services, you’re probably thinking of Reno, where they have legal brothels that have to follow a ton of regulations.

            1. Natalie*

              Nah, it’s not legal in Reno either – their county did not legalize it. All of Nevada’s legal brothels are in rural areas.

          6. JustaLurker*

            As an Iowa alum, I can personally vouch that I’ve seen more drunken debauchery in Iowa City than I have on the Vegas Strip. Just Saying…

      3. Office Manager*

        Vegas has more hotel rooms than any other city in America, and regular flights to an airport located in the city from every other major city in the country. It is ideally set up to host conferences. CES, the Consumer Electronics Show is held there yearly, and is a massive tech conference, millions of square feet of conference space.

        1. Koko*

          Yep, and because the hotels make most of their money through conference bookings and casino profits instead of room rentals, you can get really nice hotels for stupidly cheap. I don’t think I’ve ever paid more than $200/night in Vegas, often much less even after the resort fees are tacked on. Conversely I don’t think I’ve ever paid less than $200/night for a business-class hotel in NYC, Austin, LA, etc.

          1. sunny-dee*

            If you’re not going during SXSW or Austin City Limits, you can get hotel rooms consistently for less than $200 in Austin.

            1. Koko*

              Oh sure, but that’s why I specified “business-class” rooms, as in the 3.5 or 4-star Hilton/Hyatt/W Hotel, since those are the types of hotels that have attached conference/convention facilities and host large conferences. You can always spend less at a Days Inn or Holiday Inn or similar 3-star facility.

          2. VintageLydia*

            Just stayed at a swanky suite in the Venetian with a view of the strip for $140/night. A room like that in any other city would cost 3 or 4 times that.

          3. Drago Cucina*

            Yes, we fly in on Monday and are out by Friday. We stay at mid-level resorts and usually pay about $40 a night.

          4. Lln*

            Forget $200, I once needed to add a night to my reservation at the Rio last minute….it was $20. Twenty. Bucks. Yes, it’s off the strip, but my room was GIGANTIC.

            1. Koko*

              The Rio does have huge rooms! I remember being like, “What would I even DO with all this space?” ha!

              I stayed once at Palms Place, the long-term stay part of the Palms that is set up like studio apartments with full kitchens. $60/night + $30/night resort fee, and $30 worth of groceries for the week kept me out of the pricey restaurants.

              I probably filled up that Jacuzzi tub in the bathroom with $100 worth of water during my stay. Hey, if they didn’t want me to take 2 Jacuzzi baths a day they shouldn’t have put a TV in there!

          5. MsChanandlerBong*

            Might I suggest Hotwire? I’ve stayed in beautiful NYC and D.C. hotels for less than $130 a night. And I’m not talking rooms in crappy parts of town. I’m talking a hotel on Wall Street, just a block or two from the NYSE, and one literally around the corner from the White House.

      4. Peter the Bubblehead*

        I have been to Vegas twice (both in the same calendar year), once with my wife when she was attending a conference (hobby, not work related) and the second time with my (at the time) elementary school aged daughter. During the first trip I spent most of my time during the day sight-seeing by myself (or with tour groups) while my wife attended her conference and later meeting her and friends for dinner and evening events.
        There is SO much more to Vegas than gambling, booze, and illicit sex. Almost every hotel on the strip has some sort of tourist attractions – be it rides, shows, or other types of attractions – and you can spend the entire day walking from hotel to hotel to see what they offer and have a great (and relatively cheap!) vacation without ever spending a single quarter in a slot machine!
        The only people who would have a problem with visiting Las Vegas would be someone who has never been there!

        1. Emmie*

          Good points. The biggest “crime” I’ve personally witnessed is the outrageous price of food. That’s it.

          1. Snark*

            I took a look at the menu for Gordon Ramsay’s burger place and almost stroked out. $57 foie gras burgers and stuff, just total lunacy.

            1. Recruit-o-rama*

              OMG, but the burgers there are sooo good! There is so much good food in Vegas, I love it there. It IS super pricey though!!

          2. Koko*

            One of my biggest gripes about Vegas is that most of the hotels won’t allow food delivery carriers to deliver to your room. If I wanted to put on pants and walk across the casino I would just eat at a casino floor restaurant instead of ordering delivery…which I’m sure explains their policy more than security concerns!

        2. Elizabeth West*

          I’m really not interested in going–I don’t gamble, I don’t care for tourist attractions, etc. I might go if it were for a show I wanted to see that I couldn’t attend anywhere else, or if I had to go for work. But I suspect if I went for leisure, I’d be bored out of my ever-loving mind.

          1. Miss Betty*

            You could rent a car, though, and see lots of great places – Hoover Dam, Boulder City, Red Rock Canyon, drive around Lake Mead, drive through Death Valley, go to Scotty’s Castle, just drive down to Jean and Primm and back for the heck of it (we did that several times when we lived there), Mt. Charleston…. The best parts of Vegas aren’t actually in town. There are also lots of cool little museums as well. Plenty to do in Vegas besides gambling and shows!

          2. Shelby Drink the Juice*

            I went for the first time over the summer. We aren’t gamblers either. We saw a fun show with impersonators of Sinatra, Dean Martin, Cher, etc and fun dancers. Then we went to Hoover Dam on a tour. I’d do it again there’s a mob museum and some other things I’d like to see. But not the end of the world.

      5. The OG Anonsie*

        I went to Vegas for several scientific conferences back in the day, and I thought it was a weird idea until the first time I actually went. Flights and hotels are cheap, because of the focus on tourists everything is really convenient for travelers, the food is good, there are great conference facilities. If I had to plan something like this myself, it’d be at the top of my list for a lot of very practical reasons.

    4. MechanicalPencil*

      My SO has been to more conferences in Vegas than I think anywhere else because of the ease with which hotel rooms can be acquired. It’s simple to plan a conference because food, rooms, space are all within one building. And the entertainment options are essentially endless.

      On another note, with the amount of cameras in Vegas, kidnapping or any other untoward act would be fairly difficult if you’re staying in populated areas. And basic woman code of policing your drink would negate that fear.

      1. Abby*

        This was my impression as well– lodging, food, and entertainment is easy to get in Vegas, and (I would imagine) relatively less expensive than, say, a retreat in Napa. Unless OP has a history of partying hard and getting black-out drunk (which doesn’t seem to be the case), I think there’s little to worry about here. I mean, the worst thing that happened to me in Vegas was that I came back 10 pounds heavier from all the buffets.

      2. Jadelyn*

        This – giant conference centers attached to hotels are a dime a dozen in Vegas, tons of flights from everywhere around the country go to Vegas and there are always deals on those flights, it just honestly makes sense to plan conferences and business trips to Vegas, especially if they’re for very large events. It’s not about “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”, it’s about “Vegas has made themselves a very strong event destination, and that includes for regular businesses.”

      3. Vegas Accountant*

        I’ve lived in Vegas for over a decade and have attended many, many conferences here as well as in other cities. Marketing aside, Vegas is just a metropolitan center, and you don’t look lose your morals the second you step off the plane. It feels as if the OP’s husband is just latching onto the location as an excuse.

    5. Collarbone High*

      You’ve put your finger on one of the things bugging me most about this: the idea that the LW has no agency. It’s not like people are forced at gunpoint to have sex with a rando when they deplane at McCarran. Yes, you can absolutely get yourself in serious trouble in Vegas … but you can also have the most dull weekend imaginable. And opportunities to cheat — and people who will spike a stranger’s drink — exist in every city.

      1. neverjaunty*

        Exactly this. There is plenty to do in Las Vegas that has nothing to do with “sin” and can be done in any big city (restaurants, shopping, going to theater, etc.)

        And perversely it’s a lot SAFER than other big cities, because there are eyes everywhere, all the time.

        1. MassMatt*

          I was going to say this, the touristy areas and especially the casinos are crawling with security and cameras. If anything those are probably among the safer places in the country.

        2. blackcat*

          Yeah, there are definitely shady parts of Vegas, in the same way are in almost every city. But, because of Vegas’s layout & security, those places are no where near the big hotels/conference centers.

          By contrast, I spent a week this summer at a conference in a not-doing-so-well midwestern city. Rooms were kinda cheap, and I’m sure the convention center was cheap. But it was a pain in the ass to get there, I felt super unsafe walking around at night (as in, someone else from the conference actually got mugged–there were few street lights and the streets were deserted after dark), and the food sucked. The conference hall manager looked at my colleague–who requested a kosher meal–like they were crazy.

          Give me a conference in Vegas any day. I’ll be safer and better nourished (I am a run of the mill vegetarian, but somehow that was hard to deal with, too. The veg option at the two meals at the convention center consisted entirely of iceberg lettuce salad).

          1. Anony nonny no*

            I’ll willingly concede that “deglove” describes something altogether horrible, but “deplane” is an idiotic, unnecessary, invented word. What’s wrong with “disembark”? Or “get off”? Or “leave”?

      2. One of the Sarahs*

        I wonder if OP’s husband has watched too much CSI? I can completely see how people who watched the sensational crime shows can imagine the world is terrifying, BUT it’s TV, *not* real life.

    6. Poohbear McGriddles*

      “It’s not some ridiculous naked sex drug party.”

      Aw, hell… gonna cancel my reservation then!

    7. Justme*

      My co-worker (who doesn’t drink or gamble) went with their spouse a few months ago for a work conference. Co-worker had a wonderful time. It’s so much more tame than it once was.

      1. Rebecca in Dallas*

        I don’t gamble and am not much of a drinker/partier and I thought Vegas was great! My husband and I went for our honeymoon, we had so much fun just walking through all of the hotels and people-watching, plus saw some really great shows. And the shopping!

        1. Lindsay J*

          Same! I really don’t like the taste of alcohol. Slot machines are boring, table games make me anxious, I don’t like to lose money when I could shop with it instead. My boyfriend loves Las Vegas, I’ve gone several times and always have an excellent time. Food! People watching! Roller coasters! Street photography! Shopping! Food! (Pretty sure the best meal I’ve had in my life was at a Vegas buffet – there was bone marrow covered in like fig sauce – and the second or third best was at one of the steakhouses).

          And we always get gorgeous hotel rooms for ridiculously cheap.

          And I do like some gambling. The Sigma Derby game in the MGM Grand is a lot of fun. You bet a quarter, watch and yell at the fake horses running around in a circle, bet another quarter, repeat. And the Flamingo is fun because it’s what I imagine the trashy, gaudy old Vegas was like so when I’m there I pretend I’m like a mobster’s wife or something.

    8. kittymommy*

      Seriously, I grew up in Las Vegas. Yeah the strip can be crazy but so can Disney World. Vegas is a perfectly lovely city where people raise families and everything!!

      1. Allison*

        You just reminded me that a lot of Mormon fundamentalist families live in the suburbs of Vegas because people don’t bother polygamist families out there like they do in Utah.

        1. many bells down*

          That’s kind of hilarious because my ex was super upset the first time I went to Utah (current spouse’s family lives there), because he thought I’d “let” our daughter be kidnapped by polygamists. But he didn’t make a peep when we took her to Vegas for our wedding!

    9. JulieBulie*

      Yeah, I was in Vegas just a couple of weeks ago. It’s a lot different than when I first went in 1989, but even then it was quite suitable (ideal, actually) for a business conference. It’s actually better that way now… for example, it’s now possible to eat a meal without hearing about keno. (In 1989 there was 24-hour keno in practically every restaurant.)

      Of course people can get into trouble in Las Vegas. They can also get into trouble in their own hometown. The big difference is that OP’s husband can’t keep an eye on her when she’s in Vegas. That’s the issue here.

    10. Liz2*

      The obvious thing is that anxiety, fear and control issues are not rational, and no matter how many times you state the reality, it won’t change a thing.

      The next obvious thing is, we all get to be as irrational as we want. You really really need to have those shirts washed in that way? OK!

      But you don’t get to be irrational all over someone else without consequence. We get to decide what level of irrationality we are willing to handle in a relationship and if it’s based in fear and being used to limit who you want to be, that just doesn’t work.

    11. JoAnna*

      We did a family vacation to Vegas about six years ago (we’re about a 4-5 hour drive away). At the time, we had 3 kids and they were around 5, 3, and 18 months. We stayed at the Excalibur (the kids LOVED staying in a “castle,” saw the jousting show, the MGM Lions, the aquarium at Mandalay Bay, and we also took them to play games at Circus Circus. We all had a blast.

    12. Ellen Ripley*

      I was thinking the same thing. Las Vegas is not my favorite place ever because I don’t love big crowds or gambling, but it’s just a city. A city with a lot of hotels and legalized gambling, but it also has residential neighborhoods, malls, schools, etc. and a lot to it more than the Strip. Access to prostitutes, drugs, extramarital affairs, and excessive drinking and shenanigans is available pretty much in every town and city. In fact, were you inclined to cheat, you might be more likely to do so in a boring place where there’s much less to do (j/k, kinda).

      BTW, I hate the ‘what happens in Vegas’ slogan and commercials – as someone who did have a relationship end because of my partner’s infidelity, it’s not something that I find funny or amusing, and I can’t imagine I’m alone in that. Note to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor’s Bureau…

    13. Optimistic Prime*

      And you can get into crazy stuff in any city, really; Vegas has developed a reputation for it to bring in tourism money, but there are parties and bars and even gambling in lots of other large cities in the U.S. I went to Vegas for an academic conference once and it was soooo super tame.

    14. Indoor Cat*

      I accidentally ended up at a naked sex drug party once, quite to my own embarrassment, but that was in Akron, Ohio.

      So… maybe the husband should only attempt to veto conferences in the Midwest?

  4. Luku*

    OH my GOD….

    This is CONTROLLING and MANIPULATIVE behaviour. His friends also wouldn’t let their wives go? Congratulations, his friends are ALSO sexist and manipulative. It is NOT his choice whether you go!

    See a g- d- counsellor. It blows my mind that people see this as acceptable behaviour. As a woman and someone invested in ending the b- s- that is sexism (some may call me a feminist!) this makes me IRATE.

      1. Editor Person*

        Whoops, tried to highlight “he says” and stumbled into some html. My point was, she’s hearing about friends’ opinions second-hand.

        1. MakesThings*

          I also had this thought. Something tells me that his unofficial polling of his friends went something like this:

          Husband: “Oh my god, can you believe the irresponsible way in which my wife’s employer is taking them on a conference to… Vegas. Can you believe it? Vegas! Whoever heard of such a thing, going to Sin City for work! I mean, she could get kidnapped!

          Friend: Uh-huh. Yeah man, sure, that… uh… really sucks?

          1. EddieSherbert*

            This is also what I pictured – especially if he freaks out like this regularly-ish (every time she has a trip it’s a big ongoing issue for a chunk of time), his friends might have just learned to ride out the rant with general affirmative noises.

            (I mean, ideally, they’d shut him down, but hopefully, at the very least, they don’t actually agree and are just stuck talking to him about this against their will?)

          2. Allison*

            “Yeah man, I’d be super bummed if my wife went to Vegas and didn’t take me with her, I freakin’ love Vegas!”

      2. Chucky*

        Dude she failed to mention that she hid pictures of her with mail strippers and lied about it and when I seen what pictures she showed me she dressed up better than she ever dresses at home. I never said anything about kiddnaping I had 3 seperate friends get sexually assaulted there. I trust my wife but I don’t trust a lot of strange people. And I asked to go but that’s out of the question. So yeah something’s just not right. I’m sorry I love my wife and I’ve been to Vegas myself and my wife hasn’t traveled that much. Period

        1. IForgetWhatNameIUsedBefore*

          You sound like a real piece of work. Get some counseling, dood.

    1. anxietywife*

      Sometimes folks with untreated anxiety hear what they want to hear. Also, sometimes it’s exhausting to argue with an anxiety sufferer and you end up agreeing to get out of the discussion.

    2. Lily Rowan*

      And not for couples counselling, either — she needs to work on strategies to deal with him. He could also stand some counselling, I’m sure, but you need his buy-in for that.

    3. Elizabeth West*

      Maybe it’s the way he framed it to his friends, or maybe he wasn’t being completely honest about that. Unless they’re all really churchy (and the OP didn’t say), if any of my previous partners said that, I’d give it massive side-eye.

  5. Specialk9*

    OP, no idea if my experience is relevant to you or not, but the relationships in which the possibility of me cheating (never in a million years) was raised were the ones in which HE was cheating. This seems to be a common pattern, though of course not a certainty.

    1. Emmie*

      I agree. In these instance either he’s cheating, I’m cheating (not happening), or one of us is crazy. In either case, I should have ended it.

    2. Ophelia Bumblesmoop*

      Yeah, I hate having that thought, but that was exactly where my mind went – he is freaking out because he thinks OP is going to do what he did.

  6. Rae*

    If this were my husband, I’d point out that I’m statistically more likely to be murdered by him than by a stranger, therefore it’s probably safer to be in Vegas than at home. I don’t think that would help the situation, however.

    OP, I agree with the advice – you don’t have to choose between your marriage and your job if you don’t want to.

    1. grasshopper*

      I came to say the same thing. People have “stranger danger” drilled into their heads, but woman are far more likely to be hurt/assaulted/murdered by a domestic partner or acquaintance. I think that it is much more scary to be hurt by someone you know, so people are more likely to believe in the bogeyman dark alley scenario.

      It probably won’t improve the relationship to say this directly to him, but it is definitely something to keep in mind.

  7. Nope.*

    This is truly bizarre and worrying behavior on the husband’s part. Does he realize people, like, live in Las Vegas and have perfectly normal lives? It’s not a geographic nexus of evil or on a Hellmouth or anything, c’mon!

    I am not fond of the recent uptick in stories like this or men and women who won’t go on a business lunch alone because its with a member of the opposite sex.

      1. Sheworkshardforthemoney*

        I’ve visited Las Vegas several times and loved it. We went off the beaten track and it was just like any other city. I lived in Ottawa, our nation’s capital and it all suburbs and boring.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          My husband has been for business conferences. On work travel, it looks like meeting rooms and the booth in the exhibit hall.

          1. Lindsay J*

            Yeah, I sometimes hear about people who really want a job with a lot of work travel, or people who think being a flight attendant would be really glamorous, and I’m just like “meh”.

            When all you’re seeing is airports, shuttle buses, the hotel, and a conference room, everything kind of looks the same.

            1. Elizabeth West*

              Ha, my team at Exjob traveled all the time (consultants) and they said the only thing good about it was the FF miles and points. They always ended up going to what one of them called “armpit towns.” Even if they went someplace cool, they rarely had time to do anything ever.

    1. Sheworkshardforthemoney*

      I noticed that as well. Remember the man who wanted his female co-worker to dress like a Little House on the Prairie extra? It’s a slippery slope when someone starts demanding changes to accommodate their objections to acceptable societal norms. Especially when those demands result in diminished opportunities.

    2. Collarbone High*

      When I lived in Tokyo, articles would occasionally pop up in the U.S. media describing a particular neighborhood as “an adult playground” where foreigners fell victim to crimes, and well-meaning relatives would forward them to me with a warning to “stay away from here, LOL.”

      I lived in that neighborhood for five years, and was perfectly safe. Yeah, there were some shady businesses. There were also a TGI Friday’s, a Hard Rock Cafe and a Coldstone Creamery. Travel tip: if you go into a bar whose name would make Hooters say “whoa, too obvious” and use your corporate AmEx to cut lines of coke, you are probably going to run into some trouble. But that’s true everywhere, and you can easily avoid said trouble by, you know, not doing something stupid. Most people just went to Banana Republic and then did some karaoke. “Not a geographic nexus of evil” — that’s so perfect.

      1. RVA Cat*

        The kidnapping angle *might” make sense if it wasn’t Vegas but, say, Tijuana. But in that case Anxious Controlling Husband would worry the OP would leave him for a donkey…

      2. Janie*

        It’s doubly absurd because Tokyo is, I would wager, THE safest big metropolitan city in the world. And if you go to Roppongi or Kabuki-cho and get wasted at a sketchy bar, then yeah, turns out you have greatly increased the odds that someone will steal your wallet.

        1. Collarbone High*

          Roppongi it is! My colleagues and I used to parse the bulletins the U.S. Embassy put out about reported crimes against Americans, and so often you could read between the lines of someone trying to cover for a mistake. “A dancer charged a bunch of stuff on my credit card.” (sees where incident happened) Or maybe, you bought 10 bottles of Cristal for strippers and then panicked when your accounting department asked for a receipt?

        2. KV*

          Right!? Japan is absurdly safe, even if that is no comfort to people when something bad does happen. My partner has a fantastic story of stumbling on some kind of yakuza pre-dustup in Namba (in a Family Mart of all places). They were lost and just wanted to get back to the station, happened to see one guy had a gun and started crying–which caused all the guys to worriedly come over, try to calm them down, then send a guy to escort them personally to the train station. They figure the guys didn’t want any young white foreigners getting caught up in some kind of scuffle but still… Don’t start trouble, you won’t get trouble!

      3. Artemesia*

        We have friend who live in a neighborhood of Paris which Fox news publicized as a ‘no go zone’ because of all those Muslims and Sharia Law and such. It is a diverse and lively neighborhood with fantastic food choices and interesting shops. We are often there and then take the metro across town to the apartment where we stay at midnight. Have never felt nervous yet. And in small towns all over America people are being shot in churches, schools, shopping malls etc. The idea of where we are in danger is terribly skewed in the US. I don’t much care for Vegas. The smoke. The ugliness. The touristy gloss. Not for me. But it is a common business trip destination for the reasons others have noted and certainly poses no danger to anyone with common sense. (except those gun dangers present everywhere in the US.)

        1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego (formerly Floundering Mander)*

          I currently live in a part of London that I’ve heard described as a no-go area for those reasons. It is obvious that anyone who says that has never been here, because there aren’t even that many people who are obviously Muslims living here. Yeah there’s a mosque and an Islamic centre, but I’ve been into both for “visit my mosque day” and the imam was happy to talk to me (a white non-religious woman) and everyone was very nice and gave us snacks, so yeah.

    3. Specialk9*

      My take is that the uptick is in reporting and discussion, not the behavior itself. I think the conversation is worth having.

    4. Observer*

      This is WAAAY different than not having a closed door meeting with a member of the opposite sex, though.

      Not the least of which is that the people involved all made that choice for themselves – there was no issues of someone “letting” or not.

  8. Sheworkshardforthemoney*

    It’s notable that he took a of survey of other people to bolster his position. That is not rational and that is not how business or marriages work. The husband may need counselling to discover why he willing to sabotage the family bread winner. There are many issues at play here.

    1. JoanLynne*

      And who are all these people in his scientific study that are so against “letting” their SO go to Las Vegas for a business trip??

      1. la bella vita*

        Right? Last I time I checked 2017 hadn’t fully turned into The Handmaid’s Tale and women were allowed to travel for work without permission from their husband. Either his friends are also super controlling and/or prone to irrational fears or he totally fabricated the story about asking if other people would “let” their wives go to Las Vegas for work.

      2. bohtie*

        I wouldn’t be surprised if he straight-up made that up in order to lend credence to his “argument.” But I come from a history of super-controlling domestic abuse situations, so I’ve seen this behavior more times than I’d care to admit.

    2. Doodle*

      It’s also fascinating, because it makes me wonder about his friends. I guarantee if my partner surveyed their friends they would all tell them that they are being ridiculous to even question “letting” (ha!) me go.

      If you’re from a community where a spouse needs to sign off on business travel and “letting” you go is a real thing, I suggest couples counseling to explore that.

      If you’re not and this is out of the blue, it really sounds like his anxiety is getting the best of him (especially with the note about kidnapping), and he might need more individual help.

      Either way — you are not out of line; your company is not out of line; your husband is out of line.

      1. Purplesaurus*

        It’s also fascinating, because it makes me wonder about his friends.

        It mostly makes me question his survey methods, which I assume involved leading questions like, “would you let your wife go to a naked business orgy in Las Vegas?”

        1. Susana*

          Yes, but – even then, not a spouse’s authority to decide if hubby/wife can go on a trip, business or otherwise. He’s not Master of the House. Let’s not give credibility to LW’s spouse by arguing the matter of whether it’s really dangerous, or whether he has reasons to believe she will have an affair.

        2. Anon today...and tomorrow*

          My husband would answer that question with “Only if it’s inside. She’s too fair to be naked out in that desert sun.”

          I hate the idea that the LW’s husband feels like he has some kind of power to tell his spouse that she can’t go on this trip. The only time my husband would object to a business trip of this kind is if I had to fund it myself or if it was a conflict to another event on our calendar (wedding or family vacation).

      2. Rebecca in Dallas*

        Seriously, I think most of my husband’s friends have been to Las Vegas at some point for their jobs, no matter what their jobs are. It’s just such a common conference/trade show city!

      3. CMart*

        I’m not necessarily that suspicious of the friends. It’s really hard for people to disagree with their buddies in ways harsher than “well, I don’t know about THAT, but I can see where you’re coming from.”

        I can very easily see him going “would YOU let your wife go on some so-called ‘business trip’ with her sleazy coworkers to Vegas?? She’s gone twice now and all they do is drink and gamble! What the hell kind of business is even done in Vegas!?” and his friends being like “yeah man, Vegas is a scummy place for scummy people. If my wife was going off just to gamble and get wasted with other dudes I’d be against that too.”

        I highly doubt he posed it as “My wife’s company keeps taking business trips to Las Vegas. It makes me uneasy and I don’t want to let her go. What do you think?”

      4. Hey Karma, Over here.*

        I posted above about his “great and powerful They.” The Everybody who agrees with him. Someone this uptight probably doesn’t have friends. He may be social with neighbors and coworkers, but he’s not a friendly guy. He doesn’t have friends. He just says everybody so that it will give weight to his selfish wants. And here we are, reading a letter from a woman concerned that her career will destroy her marriage because everyone told her husband so.

      5. Kelly L.*

        He might be in some kind of internet echo chamber, like one of the misogynist subreddits, and all the guys in there told him “She’s totes just going there to have sex with random dudes!” because that’s the way those corners of the internet are.

        1. Gazebo Slayer*

          Ding ding ding! I would not be surprised if those are who his “friends” are. In which case OP should divorce his sorry ass posthaste, because those guys are genuinely dangerous and also do not deserve companionship.

    3. Antilles*

      Are we sure that survey actually happened? Personally, I think it’s far more likely that he’s just using ‘others’ or ‘my friends agree’ as a generic point in his favor without actually having asked them.

      1. Turtle Candle*

        Back in the days of Usenet, this was called “the lurkers support me in email,” which just about sums it up. It’s really easy to say “everyone else agrees (and they conveniently do so somewhere that you can’t actually see/hear what they said),” so anything that smacks of that strikes me as worthy of taking with a shakerfull of salt.

      2. NF*

        Nail on head, right here. I’d say the chances are > 50% that this guy never asked anyone anything. Trotting out the “results” of a bogus survey is classic manipulation, in many sectors.

    4. Tuxedo Cat*

      I wouldn’t be surprised if it were like 2 people. I have friend who grossly exaggerates the number of people who support his stance, nevermind the the biasing in surveying. And at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter because every time, it’s about something that doesn’t really have a right or wrong answer.

    5. Emi.*

      That doesn’t strike me as weird at all. I’ve often done a straw poll of my married friends to get a sense of whether something that was bugging me was a real issue or just a personal hang-up.

    6. a different Vicki*

      I suspect he asked a leading question, something like “My wife’s company wants to send her to Vegas with a bunch of single guys who like to stay up late drinking. Wouldn’t that bother you?”

      And then a few answers like “well, I wouldn’t exactly be happy…” and “yes, Jane needs nine hours of sleep every night” and “I’d really miss her” can be heard as “my friends wouldn’t like it either.” From there, LW’s husband might turn even one joking “I’d tell her she had to stay home, they can’t make her go” into “I asked my friends, and they wouldn’t let their wives do that,” and might not even realize that this wasn’t what all of his friends thought or how their marriages work.

  9. My 2 Cents*

    Go on the trip, do not jeopardize that job, you’ll need it when you come to your senses and get rid of this guy. That may be an overreaction, but something clearly isn’t working between you two, and he sounds emotionally abusive. You don’t ever want to put yourself in a position of relaying solely on his for financial support because you then lose the ability to leave if you need to.

    1. LCL*

      He and this whole situation is definitely unstable and unsustainable. I use the word unstable because I’m not diagnosing him with anything, but referring to what he is doing. Whether he is abusive, controlling, insecure, or driven by unmanageable anxiety we don’t know. But this type of situation can’t stay like this, so don’t jeopardize the ability to support yourself when things get worse.

      1. Elfie*

        Yup, wholeheartedly agree. I love my husband to bits, he’s a good man, but I would never ever ever want to be in a position where I was financially dependent on him. He’s disabled, finds it extremely difficult to cook for himself, and suffers from anxiety, and he doesn’t like me going on business trips. However, I have to stay in London for a couple of days next week, and he encouraged me to go – he said he needs to learn to be more independent and self-reliant. This – is so far outside of normal that if I were in your shoes OP, I would be socking money away so that I could leave him, unless there’s something you’re not telling us that could possibly justify how he treats you. Do please note, even if he does have terrible anxiety or other mental health issues, he’s also behaving in a really sexist manner, and being disabled doesn’t give you carte-blanche permission to be a jerk. I have to remind myself of that sometimes; I think you should remind yourself that too.

  10. Catalin*

    Holy smokes. Yes. This screams abuser and it will only get worse. Go on the business trip, set and hold firm limits with him (i.e., if you want to call him at 9 each night, great, but that’s it. No constant phone calls/other distractions.) Immediate marriage counseling is required and if he won’t go, see a counselor yourself. Your house is on fire, it doesn’t matter if you wash the car or not.

    1. cheluzal*

      Eh…I’m not calling a man’s insecurities abuse. I know many wonderful non-abusive people who would raise a hairy eyeball over this.
      I do think raising, where you live, and a worldly perception of Vegas play in. I only think bad things with Vegas and wonder why it’s chosen for a business thing (LW never said conference, so I wonder if it was chosen for the fun too).
      Counseling is legit, or ask him to come along. Many of my colleagues bring their spouse on conferences as a mini vacay for the fun of exploring new cities.

      1. Optimistic Prime*

        Bringing your spouse along on a work trip only works some of the time, and it definitely doesn’t work if the spouse has already exhibited controlling behavior. He’d probably drive her nuts the entire trip – monitoring when she comes and goes, trying to veto business dinners with her colleagues, calling her if she’s a minute later than she said she’d be…And if you’re working the conference, it’s exhausting and there’s not really a lot of time to explore.

        It may not necessarily be abusive, but it is controlling – it doesn’t get a pass just because other people would do it.

        Some people may have only a negative perception of Vegas, but the important thing is realizing that kneejerk perception is actually inaccurate. There are tons of families and people who live in Vegas or visit Vegas and do pretty normal things.

      2. Yorick*

        It’s often fine to bring spouses on work trips, but I definitely think she shouldn’t bring him in this situation. That would be buying in to his controlling behavior and it would be a bad move for their relationship.

      3. Iris Eyes*

        I suspect that insecurity over her being the primary breadwinner has a lot to do with it (deeply ingrained social conceptions are still a thing). Especially if as I suspect he doesn’t have a position or isn’t in a field where corporate retreats and meetings are a thing. If all he has to go off of are the stereotypes in movies and advertising then I can definitely see how it would be easy for him to be a combination of jealous and insecure. If it was possible to take him along I could see that potentially helping if the main issue is wrong information and assumptions.

        The whole “letting her go” thing could be controlling or abusive, but it could also refer less to physical ability to go there and more not letting her go in peace, or without a bunch of needy whining adult tantrums. But yeah, I would go to a counselor rather than skipping straight to a lawyer unless there are more flagrant issues.

      4. val*

        I find this so interesting. I personally hate Vegas, but I would never question the idea of sending a business trip there because it’s typically the cheapest place you can gather people from offices all over the continent. Vegas flights and hotels are cheap compared to anywhere else with their size convention/conference space.

  11. Mustache Cat*

    He says he has asked other people about the situation and everyone objects that they would even let their significant other go

    He is asking the wrong people. That’s an unreasonable stance.

      1. Damn it, Hardison!*

        Possibly the same people who don’t think they should ever be in a one-on-one meeting or dinner with a co-worker of the opposite sex.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Once when I ended things with a guy I’d been dating, he called me a few days later and said he’d taken a poll of his friends and they all agreed I didn’t have real cause to break up with him so we should resume things.

      1. ThatGirl*

        It seems infinitely more likely that what they actually said was “yeah man, that sucks, I don’t know why she would’ve broken up with you” as sympathy and he took it that way…

        but either way, you don’t date by committee! :)

        1. Grits McGee*


          It’s like the least romantic version of the old “I wore her down until she agreed to go on a date, and now we’ve been married for 30 years” trope.

          1. Oryx*

            That actually happened to my parents! My mom cancelled their first date and was always “busy” when he tried to reschedule until she finally gave in.

      2. Lil Fidget*

        I ALWAYS wonder in these cases if the guy actually did do this, or is just saying that he did to bolster his own stance. Like, do you think he really did take an opinion poll? Clearly it was a biased survey either way, but I’m just very curious :P

        1. Perse's Mom*

          I can totally see it being true… assuming his friends were not also her friends and therefore only ever got his side of the story on anything, so of course they believe him and think she’s in the wrong.

      3. seejay*

        I had an ex tell me, just after I left him, that he’d checked with his friends and they all agreed with him that I was behaving irrationally and crazily about everything I was upset about and had said was wrong with the relationship. You know, because they’d been there for the last year and had witnessed all of it and hadn’t just heard his side of the story through his rose-tinted glasses.

        Talk about gas-lighting attempts.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          Heck, immediately post break-up I think it’s normal for friends to say “Yeah, you were right, and they were in the wrong, and you’re a heck of a catch and I bet they’re really sorry.” Regardless of their private feelings about the truth of those things.

          It’s like the person who tried to quit, and their boss polls the other managers and then tells employee that the other managers all agree, employee does not have a good enough reason to quit. So they’re officially still working there.

      4. Fiennes*

        Did you say, “thanks for confirming that I need to get away from you immediately & forever”? Because that’s the only possible response to that stunt.

      5. NotAnotherManager!*

        One of mine once told me that his mom felt that I was being very unfair to him and was devastated that she wouldn’t get to plan our wedding. (Note: “relationship” = 3-4 months of long-distance dating, which I quickly realized was a Bad Idea.) He thought I should take his mom’s feelings into consideration and realize that I wasn’t just hurting him, but his family as well, and reconsider.

        Needless to say, I did not find this a compelling argument for reconciling.

        1. nonymous*

          There are some cultures where marriage is really about the blending of two families. If the boundaries within a family are so entangled (by normative American standards), it really is an asset to the couple when their partner has the skills to navigate those extended relationships. Just like someone might look for a spouse who is athletic or smart or has a certain sense of humor or earning power, it might be important that FutureSpouse has the skills to share a household with the in-laws.

      6. Susana*

        That’s even better than the Seinfeld episode where George’s girlfriend refuses to “accept” his decision to break up with her!

        1. College Career Counselor*

          A friend of mine was sort of that guy! He told me one day that the previous weekend, a few months before the upcoming wedding, his fiancée broke up with him while they were sitting on the couch watching TV.

          Me: What did you say?
          Him: I ignored it.
          Me: …Um, what now?
          Him: Yeah, she does this every couple of months, and it never lasts.
          Me: I dunno, man, that seems pretty significant to me. If someone says they don’t want to get married, there’s probably a good reason in there.
          Him: Something something she’s just got cold feet about the upcoming wedding.

          They did indeed get married, and unsurprisingly, it ended in spectacularly bad fashion.

      7. Jadelyn*

        My jaw literally dropped. You don’t have to have “cause” to break up with someone! How entitled can someone be to think that their ex has to “justify” wanting to break up and have a “good cause”?

        We live in an at-will dating society, where either party can end the relationship at any time, with or without cause and with or without notice. What is wrong with people?

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          One of my favorite Dan Savage letters was about whether they were broken up (his former girlfriend’s opinion) or not broken up (his preference, because it would mean he had to start dating again and who wants that bother?).

          1. Jadelyn*

            I…the…what??? You don’t get an “opinion” on whether you’re dumped!! That’s not how this works!!

        1. blackcat*

          I made this comment on the most recent one of those!

          It’s like some people don’t realize that it takes two people to have a relationship. When one leaves, it’s done!

          1. Starbuck*

            Unsurprisingly, this is a hard concept for controlling people to grasp; What do you mean, one person can unilaterally end a relationship with no input from the other person? That doesn’t seem fair! Hah.

    2. Zillah*

      I think it’s also quite possible that he’s either misrepresented it to the people he’s asked, misrepresented their responses to the OP, and/or hasn’t actually asked as many people as he’s said he has.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        Oh, for sure. An ex of mine and I were trying to be friends; he told me about a date he went on and I gave him my opinion (that he treated this woman like crap) and he was basically all, “Nuh-unh! Everyone else said she deserved it! That I was RIGHT!” I would bet money he didn’t tell “everyone else” the same story he told me.

      2. Susana*

        Bigger point being – IT’S NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS and not their place to weigh in. And LW’s husband doesn’t get to veto business trips, either.

        1. Zillah*

          Ehhh, I actually don’t see so much wrong with friends weighing in on aspects of one’s relationship – when a friend comes to me and says, “This is something that’s happening in my relationship, would you call that problematic?” I definitely don’t say, “It’s none of my business!” I give them my read of the situation, just as they do for me. For me, the issues here are 1) input from friends is useful to inform one’s own feelings, not make demands of one’s partner by committee, and 2) ultimately, the person most affected by the demands is in the best position to make the right judgment call. There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of recognition of either here.

      3. Falling Diphthong*

        Oh, every election season angry people show up at 538 to explain that a poll of their social group shows 100% agreement with OP on everything, and so clearly the official polls are generated by a Vast Conspiracy.

    3. The Ginger Ginger*

      I guess I read that differently than everyone else? I thought his friends were objecting to his stance and would “even let their spouses go”. “Even” emphasizing the point, like “even they said they’d let their spouses go” to Las Vegas.

      Either way, the fact that husband is freaking out and polling friends sounds like he, at least, needs to speak with a therapist, and both of you together would be even better to tackle this problem (the problem being his anxiety and the way it’s impacting your relationship, not the fact you need to travel). Anxiety is a beast, and the sooner he gets a support system and coping strategies in place for this kind of out-of-control thinking the better. It will improve not only this small piece of your relationship, but his whole life.

      1. fposte*

        I think the phrasing is awkward, but it’s in there because he brought this up to his spouse to justify his position, so I’m pretty sure he means they all agreed that they’d object to such a trip too.

      2. Perse's Mom*

        I think it was just awkward phrasing and the intent of the update meant his friends objected to the very idea of letting their spouse go to Vegas. OP’s husband doesn’t seem like he would have mentioned it if it didn’t support his own opinion.

    4. MassMatt*

      It seems like almost everyone is misreading this update. Look at it again. it says “they WOULD even let their significant others go”, not “wouldn’t”!

      1. fposte*

        I don’t think people are misreading; I think that the phrasing is confusing but that context indicates its meaning.

        1. MassMatt*

          Context does not change “would” into “wouldn’t”. Yes it’s a confusing sentence but I believe the OP comments elsewhere that she wrote what she meant, the people her husband polled WOULD allow their significant others to go. If something written is thought to mean the opposite of what it says that is not reading, it is MISreading.

          Many commenters are acting as though the husband made up this poll of people (“everyone”) to agree with him, which is not what she wrote or what happened.

        1. The Ginger Ginger*

          Wow. Okay. In THAT case, that is a super not-normal response, and it’s very strange that there’s a whole group of people who support this thinking. I’m a bit flabbergasted. Is it possible that the way OP’s husband expressed this question to his friends was leading? Or that he heard more agreement than was really being given by his friends? Or he’s over-reporting the level of agreement he got?

          I’m flummoxed that a whole group of people would respond this way to a very normal thing like a business trip, particularly when presented with the reasoning OP outlined in the letter. Business trips (and business trips to Las Vegas even) are such a normal part of work life that is is totally bizarre to expect you not to go simply because of the destination.

          Has it been made perfectly clear that this trip isn’t a mini-vacay/reward on the company’s dime, but is -in fact- a work trip where you will be doing work? If I squint really hard, I can kiiiinda see the objection to the first scenario (though still not really), but objecting to the second is very weird. So, OP, if you take nothing else away from this comment chain, hopefully you at least get some calibration to your “is-it-weird-o-meter”. It is.

    5. Liane*

      There are people whose mind translates any answer all, from “Hmm okay…how ’bout that Topic Changers vs. Distractors game?” to “NONONONONO! Never! Don’t! Just don’t!” as a 1000 decibel chorus of “YES! You are right!” Willing to bet that OP’s husband, regardless of what’s behind his behavior, is one of those.

  12. Murphy*

    You can easily avoid all the “sinful” things to do in Vegas, if you want to. I got sent there about a year and a half ago and I was thrilled (and my husband was happy for me). When I was there, I went to museums, saw a few shows, visited a shopping center…all during the day (except the shows) and safe. My husband got sent there on a business trip as well. I had no problem with it.

    I second counseling. Vegas isn’t the problem here.

    1. sam*

      seriously. It’s been a while, but the last time I went to Vegas, we went to a Cirque du Soleil show, did a lot of shoe shopping, and took a drive out to the hoover dam (and took a cool tour). And ate a lot of food.

      Oh, and I think I gambled about $20 on nickel slots.

  13. AndersonDarling*

    I’m going on a business trip to Vegas in a few weeks and I’m grateful the conference is there rather then other difficult travel to destinations. Vegas has a convenient airport, massive conference facilities, and tons of hotels that cater to business travelers. There are plenty of restaurants and even the pickiest co-workers can settle on a dinner location. For anyone who has traveled for business, it is a dream destination because it is convenient. I could care less about gambling and night time shenanigans. Frankly, there are very few cities that can handle massive conferences and Vegas may be the only option for the OP’s company.
    BTW- my husband didn’t blink an eye when I told him I was going to Vegas for a whole week with a male co-worker. Because my husband trusts me. He is just jealous that he can’t get off work and go with me!

    1. neverjaunty*

      THIS. My husband is just glad he doesn’t have to go with me, because more than a couple of days in Las Vegas is like being stuck inside a kaleidoscope.

    2. k.k*

      Exactly. I’ve been to Vegas a couple of times and saw a ton of business conferences and expos going on. Unlike other cities where the hotels and expo centers are spread apart dotted in among the rest of the city, the downtown area was basically built for tourists/travelers.

    3. Pretend Scientist*

      Exactly. Companies don’t plan things in Vegas to put their employees at risk. They plan conferences there because it’s generally inexpensive, tons of rooms and restaurants, and it’s extremely easy to get around–no real need for ground transportation besides getting to and from the airport. I’m going to a conference there in November for in-depth training on our electronic medical records system (not exactly a party subject!), and I’m excited to stay at Mandalay Bay because they have an aquarium.

    4. Danger: Gumption Ahead*

      Business trips are the only time I like going to Vegas. The non-work things generally aren’t my cup of tea and if I want shows/museums/food I’ll go to NY, London, Paris, Istanbul. etc.. For work, though, it is perfect. The place is set up for meetings and conferences, has so many airline and flight options, plenty of cabs/Lyfts/Ubers, and staff at the facilities has run into every possible issue that can crop up. My partner finds it funny that I get excited to go to Vegas for work and roll my eyes when it is a friend/social trip because he knows me so well.

    5. Castaspella*

      My husband nearly had to go to Vegas for a conference a couple of months ago (we’re in the UK so it’s pretty far!) and I was gutted. We’ve been a few times on holiday and love it – the shopping, the food… we don’t even bother with the gambling. I wouldn’t want him to go with work but only because I wouldn’t want him to go without me, it’s “our” place! And he wouldn’t like it either, we’d be heading down to the pool and see people going to conferences and feel sorry for them that they had to spend the day inside while we sat in the sun with a mojito. Nothing to do with trust, we just wouldn’t want Vegas tarnished by work!

    6. Erin*

      I went to Vegas for work once. I HATED IT! I will never ever return or step foot in an obnoxious casino. I worked 100 hours in 8 days. Setting up for a convention and working it and then the take down. One day was outside. The weather sucks in Vegas. It’s hot and windy and dry and sand gets every where. Who was the genius with the idea to build a tourist trap in a desert?
      When I was in Vegas I called my husband 3 maybe 4 times a day during my breaks because I was so depressed and talking to him made me feel better. He was worried about me, because I was over worked and only had about 4 hours of sleep per night. Maybe you can rest your husbands anxiety by telling him you’ll be too busy.

  14. Amber Rose*

    Well, this might seem like an obvious question, but have you told him that you need him to stop talking to you about this?

    Husband used to do this to me every time I drove anywhere in the winter. Even if it was a relatively nice day, the fact that there was snow on the road would just give him fits. I went two hours to the next town over for a Christmas party, and he spent days before hand stressing about everything that could go wrong on the highway.

    Eventually I sat him down and said something along the lines of, “Dude, you’re stressing me out. I know I’m a good driver, and that I can handle this, but every time you have these little worry fits you make me doubt myself. At this rate, I’m going to be too afraid to leave the house until spring, and that’s not acceptable. It’s also putting some stress on our relationship, because I’m starting to feel resentful about the time I have to spend reassuring you. Can you cut it out, or find someone else to talk to about your worry?”

    And to his credit, he cut it out. And the issue was never me, or our marriage or anything like that, it was entirely a him problem, his anxiety and fear due to an accident we had Christmas eve one year. And he, I think, talked that out with a therapist eventually.

    Marriage counseling is fine, but this sounds like HIS problem, and I think he needs to work on that himself if you’re going to get anywhere.

    And absolutely do not let his anxiety limit your life. You know you can go to Vegas and have fun and not be kidnapped or drugged. Don’t let his fear poison that for you, it won’t end well for your happiness or well being.

    1. EddieSherbert*

      +1 I think this is good advice! He may not listen and will keep bringing it up, but it’s worth a shot (and then repeating)!

      Especially if you think it is an anxiety-stemming thing, instead of a control-stemming thing.

  15. MuseumChick*

    Umm, so I’m not sure how to say this in away that won’t come off snarky, so let me apologize in advance for not be able to think of a good way to word this:

    This was not a questions for AAM. This is a question for a marriage counselor and/or individual therapist.

    1. Sara*

      Sometimes it’s hard to realize that the smaller part of an issue you’re focusing on is actually part of something bigger, and you need someone else to alert you to that. Hopefully this question to AAM will lead in the direction of help.

      1. MuseumChick*

        I really hope it does lead to the OP getting help. Hopefully the comment section will help the OP see what is going on here.

    2. Working Wife*

      I agree. I knew that Counsling was the best step but I needed professional advice to confirm my thoughts. I live in a small country area where most woman are not in my position & usually give in to husbands demands whether or not it is ethical.Counsling is usually never seeked out. Women will agree with a spouse to avoid conflict.

      1. Detective Amy Santiago*

        Good luck to you in standing firm. Think of it this way – if you give in on this to avoid conflict, what will be next?

    3. Zillah*

      I actually disagree. I think that there can be a tendency in intimate relationships to prioritize keeping the peace, and emphasizing why that’s a bad idea here and confirming that giving into the husband’s demands and not going on the trip should be off the table is valuable coming from someone who gives advice about workplace stuff. This is a really, really big deal. The next step absolutely should be counseling, but I don’t know that it’s fair for us to fault the OP for not making it the first step, you know?

    4. Jaybeetee*

      I do think there’s a shadow of a legit work question in there, in terms of when/if it’s okay to refuse work-related travel. I think on a more general level “Spouse doesn’t want me to go” *can* be an actual, non-abusive thing, in certain circumstances (new baby at home for example, or a health crisis or other emergency where “Hey, is there ANY way you can get out of this trip?” might be a reasonable thing to ask. “Forbidding” is a different story). In *that* sense, I think there can be a legit question about when you can gracefully bow out of a work trip, and when you have to stick it out and go.

      But yeah, even then I’m thinking more one-off or emergency situations at home, not “I don’t like that city!”

      1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego (formerly Floundering Mander)*

        Sure, but then the question would be “my boss wants me to go on a business trip but I have a new baby/my spouse’s parent is seriously ill/my house just flooded and I need to deal with insurance/whatever, how should I ask my boss if I can get out of it”. If the question was “my husband is forbidding it because of emergency X” then we still have the same issue. It’s the inappropriate (in typical American business culture) reaction of the husband that’s the issue here, not whether it’s legitimate to try and get out of business trips sometimes.

    5. Susana*

      I think Alison handled it extremely well – answering the direct AAM-style question (go on the trip for business reasons) while noting the disturbing indicators about marriage that require that kind of outside advice.

      1. whatshername*

        I have family in Henderson and go there every February to escape the snow. There are some really great desert trails out there!

    1. Health Insurance Nerd*

      Honestly, Vegas is what you make it, and it’s different things for different people. When I go I’m all about getting to as many different and awesome restaurants as humanly possible, and sitting by a pool with a book, when some of my friends go it’s about the nightlife, when my husband goes it’s about the sportsbook (this was my long way of saying that I agree with you).

    1. Health Insurance Nerd*

      Same. I get heated at the principle of spouses “letting” each other do things. I’ve never gone to a weddings and heard vows that included “I promise to love, honor, cherish, and ask your permission before I leave the house”.

      1. Jadelyn*

        THANK you. If my partner acted like he thought he got a vote on whether I was “allowed” to do things, especially things relating to my career, I’d laugh him out of the relationship so fast he’d get whiplash. He’s my partner, not my parent, not my keeper, and I’m still a grown ass adult who gets to decide what I do with my life. Should I take him into account? Sure – within reason. But there’s no “letting” about it.

      2. Guacamole Bob*

        I agree in principle, but I think it’s easy for certain couples with significant shared responsibilities to fall into the language of permission, and it’s not always a red flag.

        My wife and I have two young kids. Me doing anything outside of our normal routine puts an additional child care burden on her, and vice versa. It’s a constant negotiation and balancing act. She didn’t ask permission to go on a business trip this week, because I understand that her work travel is non-negotiable. And I don’t know whether I “asked permission,” exactly, to plan some activities on my own this weekend to decompress from a week of solo child care, but I did run it by her – she was of course supportive, but sometimes with this kind of planning there are scheduling issues we have to work out.

        Kids are the most common reason for this sort of thing, but other caretaking responsibilities can also lead to spouses being very accountable to each other for their whereabouts.

        1. Health Insurance Nerd*

          For me, this is a differentiation between asking for permission from the perspective of consideration for the other person (kids are the #1 reason here), and asking for permission because the nature of your relationship dictates that one person gets to decide what the other person can/should be doing.

          I don’t know that I am articulating this as succinctly as I could be, but I hope you know where I’m coming from.

          1. Guacamole Bob*

            I definitely do know what you mean, and what the OP describes is definitely on the problematic side of asking for permission – she listed off reasons the husband has given that she shouldn’t go to this particular place, not reasons why it would be logistically difficult for him or any other rational concerns.

            I think there’s sometimes a tendency in certain corners of the internet to equate “I have to talk to my partner about X before I can do it” or “My partner doesn’t want me to do Y” with “OMG controlling relationship!”, when there are lots of circumstances where that kind of thing is totally reasonable.

      3. Shadow*

        In most normal partnerships where you have shared responsibilities it’s not so much asking permission, as it’s checking in to make sure spouse doesn’t need you For anything at that time.

        And there usually are scenarios where getting “permission” is reasonable for a lot of people like if a spouse wanted to spend a lot of shared money or wanted to join a sports league that involved a big time commitment. making sure your spouse is okay with big decisions that affect both of you isn’t that unreasonable.

      4. Annabelle*

        Seriously. My cousin’s wife asks permission for everything and it makes me side-eye that entire side of my family. Unless you’re asking permission to uproot your family’s life or something it just seems infantilizing.

          1. Annabelle*

            They’ve had a lot of issues actually, and it kind of doesn’t work for her. But also, my aunt and uncle are pretty bigoted and I know they modeled the idea of a submissive wife and dominant husband for my cousin. You’re obviously free to disagree, but I think it’s archaic and not okay.

      5. Miss Pantalones en Fuego (formerly Floundering Mander)*

        We specifically took any kind of “obey” language out of our vows. My husband still asks sometimes if he’s “allowed” to go do things, like go to the pub with his friends without me, and it irks me because even though I know he’s joking I don’t like that he even pretends that I am a stereotypical “ball and chain”. I only want to know if he’s going to be out so that I’m not expecting him and can therefore do something else. We are individual people, and of course we take each other into account, but ultimately neither of us is the other’s possession or pet.

  16. CoffeeLover*


    I wanted to comment on the “everyone I talked to agrees with me” stance he’s taken. I highly doubt these people genuinely agree with him, but are more likely playing the “supportive friend” role. It’s just easier to non-committally agree with someone, especially when their view is bananas, than to get into a row with them and get involved in their marital issues. I mean sure it’s possible he’s found someone that shares his view, but I think it’s mostly him just hearing what he wants to hear. I dont think thats something you really need to dive into OP (since that’s not the real issue here), but I thought I’d mention it to say that youre not the one that’s offbase here.

    1. The Cosmic Avenger*

      I don’t know, I think you are underestimating how the Internet has magnified the echo chamber effect. We were already pretty good at forming social subgroups with people who are more like us, but now that we have instant online communities for any reason or belief, the effect has grown, and we can choose to associate more with people who agree with our beliefs. I can believe that he chooses to associate mostly with people who share his views on sin, evil, and temptation.

      1. fposte*

        Sorry, I’m a “nope” here. I think this is a little parochial, in fact. There are lots of places in the country where the approach the OP describes is perfectly normal, and where it’s a lot harder work to find somebody who disagrees. That doesn’t mean I believe totally that hubby polled everybody and reports the results fairly, but it really doesn’t have to be an indication that he ignored a local majority to find like-minded people.

    2. Kathleen Adams*

      Actually, it would be easy for my husband to find someone who shares these views. Fortunately, he wouldn’t even ask because, (1) jeez, who needs survey results to help you navigate your marriage? And (2) he’s not paranoid, controlling or insecure. It would never occur to him to equate a dang business conference held anywhere outside of a strip club with sexual abandon.

      But I do agree that it’s extremely possible the OP’s husband is, consciously or unconsciously, skewing the results in his favor. Either he’s being very careful who he asks so that he’s only asking people who would agree with him, or he’s converting noncommittal answers (e.g., “Yeah, I can see that you’re upset”) into “See? Wilberforce agrees with meeee!”

      Besides, the OP is going to spend most of her time in a conference room that looks like every other conference room in the western world, anyway. At least that’s what happens to *me* at conferences whether they’re in Kansas City or Honoluhu.

    3. Jaybeetee*

      He might have a collection of like-minded friends who really would agree with him. The other possibility is that he’s skewing the hell out of the question somehow to make his stance seem more reasonable, like “Would you guys be okay with your spouse taking off to Vegas and drinking and partying all weekend for “work”?

      1. Kathleen Adams*

        Which update is that? I’ve looked at the posts from the OP (“Working Wife”), and in the first place, she hadn’t posted when I posted this. And in the second place, there’s definitely nothing that conflicts with the fact that surveying one’s friends is not a great way to navigate one’s marriage.

      2. fposte*

        Not sure which update you’re looking at–she says she meant “wouldn’t” in that sentence, which means exactly what Coffee Lover is saying.

  17. The Cosmic Avenger*

    Casinos are some of the most secure and highly monitored public places you can go. It’s not bad practice to not accept food or drink from strangers, or let your drink out of your sight at a bar, but I’d worry about those things much less in Las Vegas than in a local bar.

    And as Alison so deftly explained it, the rest is all a matter of trust within the marriage. And if you don’t trust your spouse, why would you want to remain married to them? You can find prostitution and gambling in lots of cities, large and small, if you’re looking for temptation. There are opportunities everywhere for illicit behavior, even at home.

    1. Sheworkshardforthemoney*

      Agree with the high level of security even on the streets. We felt safe walking around at 2AM. It’s in Las Vegas’s best interests to keep visitors safe.

      1. Jaydee*

        Plus, if you’re on the strip, you don’t ever really have go “on the streets.” You can pretty much get from one end of the strip to the other cutting through casinos and over skywalks.

    2. Alton*

      That’s what I was thinking. Casinos are closely monitored and have security, and it’s a very touristy city, so I imagine there are a lot of people out and about at night (at least near the strip). I think I’d feel safer there than in my own city, where things can get desolate sometimes.

  18. KL*

    My almost 60 year old mother goes to a medical conference in Las Vegas every year. While she comes back with great stories of what she saw people doing, she’s never felt in danger or anything like that. I agree with Allison – I think marriage counseling may be a good think to look into.

  19. Working Wife*

    Thank you so much for your response! I’m trying not to bring up the topic for awhile till he meets with a counselor individually or together. I hope this topic can also help someone else facing simalry issues.

    1. Amber Rose*

      Make sure that appointment is booked. If you leave it as a “we’ll go eventually” and never book it, and also never talk about it, things are gonna get worse.

    2. Doodle*

      This makes a lot of sense, and I think it’s a good strategy.

      I do think some commenters above have some good thoughts on why this might require individual counseling (in addition to or instead of couples’ counseling), but it sounds like you’re pursuing both, which is great.

      I think you’re going to get a lot of pile on against your husband here — I do hope you feel supported and not overwhelmed. If your husband is otherwise kind and reasonable, it’s important to know that this is a very unusual stance for a spouse to take, so I’m glad you’re taking it seriously.

      1. Working Wife*

        Thank you, other wise my husband is very supportive. He’s a great husband who is loving & shows affection in many was. He is ambitious & caring.His insecurities have gotten the best of him in this situation.

        1. LawBee*

          I admit I am one of the “omg WHAT” commenters. He needs to get over this, though – if for no other reason than the financial security of the family. This is part of your JOB. You have to have the autonomy in your relationship to perform the required duties of your job; it’s not like you’re going to shaking it on top of a table at the Cosmopolitan.

          Why won’t he go on the trip with you? He can see how boring Vegas really is. One casino is the same as another, the food isn’t as good as it once was (you have to go off-strip for the REALLY good stuff), and it’s crazy expensive. Companies have meetings there because the hotels are set up for them, and it’s incredibly easy.

          I hope he really is as great as you say, and that this is a one-off. But it’s a pretty serious one-off.

        2. Purplesaurus*

          I hope he can get help and is able to recognize this about himself, since you say he’s a great husband otherwise. I think the fact that he’s willing to go counseling (am I reading that correctly?) is a really good sign!

        3. Guacamole Bob*

          I just want to comment in support of you and your husband. My spouse also has some anxiety issues, and will develop obsessive worries about certain irrational things. It can be challenging to know when to kind of cater to her anxiety (she is able to relax much better if I check the door locks before bed than if she does it, so I do it – but never more than once a night), and when to decide that her worry about a particular issue has passed the point where I can be supportive and is just on her to manage (I refuse to provide reassurance for a 7th round of “what if this offhand comment I made at work was overheard by the wrong person and totally misinterpreted and I get fired and then I can’t find another job and then we lose the house?”).

          This is a case where you cannot cater to his anxiety or insecurity. His concerns are irrational, the trip is a reasonable expectation from your employer, and so you need to go and let him manage his feelings about it.

        4. blackcat*

          Then maybe, if you can swing it, a weekend trip there for the two of you would be a good idea? See some shows, enjoy some good food, go on a nice hike. If his fears really are Vegas-specific, spending time there might help.

        5. Specialk9*

          Working Wife, I truly don’t know what your marriage is. I’m just going to share my experience – if it doesn’t fit, let it roll off your back.

          When I was years into my emotionally abusive first marriage, I had a long list of all the ways he was great. (No, actually, a real list.) I thought I was the problem, and he was kind and honorable and funny and thoughtful…

          I just knew I was so unhappy and was starting to hate myself (but that was me! And not his fault, it was mine! Cuz he was awesome.).

          It took getting out (and lots of tears, letting some of the love-roots pull out from my heart with time and distance, and lots of therapy) to realize that he really was some of those things and others he wasn’t, but it was irrelevant because he was still hurting me. He wasn’t healthy for me.

          It’s just worth knowing that having a long list of good traits doesn’t mean you aren’t in a problematic relationship, or that you can’t choose “nope” for your own emotional health.

        6. Anonymous Max*

          I am late to this thread but Working Wife, I want you to know that I was in a similar situation when I first married my husband – he was excessively concerned with stuff like this, with the subtext that he was afraid I would cheat. It was BAD. We had screaming matches over ‘girls’ night out’ or any activity that might throw me in the path of men. He was so untrusting, I wondered if I had made a huge mistake in marrying him – we had only been together for a little over a year before marriage.

          We have now been married 5 years and this is a thing of the past. We talked about it a lot and it turns out that most of his fears were based on baggage from previous relationships (2 of his exes cheated). Now that we have been together longer, he has settled down and has learned to trust me. I go on frequent trips completely by myself, or with girlfriends, and he is not at all jealous/controlling (he doesn’t love travel like I do which is why he’s not going with, suits us fine). He can be kind of inflexible about certain things so the fact that this is 180 degrees from where it was should give you hope. It has helped me also to understand where that response came from – not just the ex baggage, but early childhood experiences damaged his basic trust, which he is working on. I would say most of his issues stem from his childhood trauma and some possible but undiagnosed Asperger’s (he has closely observed human behavior to figure out what’s expected, is a brilliant programmer, works on empathy).

          Anyway, TL;DR, there can be hope for these situations, despite what the commentariat here may imply. Good luck!

    3. Danger: Gumption Ahead*

      OP, I have a few questions: do you travel overnight to other places for your work? If yes, how does he handle those trips? Is it only the Vegas trip where he has the outsized reaction or is there some anxiety for safety around all trips?

      My partner has some anxiety when I travel to remote, rural areas by car, especially when I am alone. He stresses less when I go somewhere urban. He wouldn’t try and prevent me from going on one of those trips because it is work, but he used to fret quite a bit and if I didn’t text when he expected (or didn’t have phone service) he would panic (as in call highway patrol level panic). We partially worked around it by him pack me an automotive emergency kit since rental cars tend to lack flares, reflectors, etc. and getting an emergency beacon. If his anxiety is more travel related than trust related, there may besome reasonable actions you can take together to smooth them out

    4. Close Bracket*

      Working Wife,

      Something I would like you to keep in the back of your mind:

      I don’t know whether your husband has anxiety or not, I don’t know whether he is controlling or not. I do know that the way he is handling his concerns is controlling, right down to gaslighting you by saying everyone agrees with him.

      Probably he is a reasonable person, perhaps he has an anxiety problem. In that case, marriage counseling is great.

      It’s possible, though, that he really is controlling. In cases with a controlling spouse, marriage counseling is not recommended. What happens in counseling is that the controlling spouse learns new language to gaslight and manipulate their partner with, and things get worse instead of better. If you find that it seems like your husband is starting to use the counselor’s words against you to get you to do what he wants, then leave counseling. Find an new therapist to go alone so you can undo all the damage that marriage counseling with a controlling spouse has done.

      I deeply hope that he is just sort of neurotic and doesn’t handle it very well. I wish you the best.

  20. Sara*

    I have a friend that refuses to go to Vegas because he believes its ‘the modern Sodom and Gomorrah’. There’s a weird dichotomy with that place. None which should be affecting your ability to do your job. I agree with the counseling suggestion. Your company wouldn’t put you in harms way, and your husband should trust you enough to no cheat or do something ‘vegasy’. Its probably rooted in a sexist view and I don’t know who he’s talking to ‘everyone objects’ to their partners going because that’s insane. You’re adults. You go on trips, no one ‘lets’ you go.

    1. TootsNYC*

      it’s really funny, because Vegas has lately been billed as a great place to go for a family vacation!

      The businesspeople in Las Vegas want to make money. There’s a limit to how much they can make if they limit themselves to those who want risqué and sleavy.

    2. Fiennes*

      As a non-gambler I found Las Vegas boring as hell. (Of course, I live in New Orleans, where we do not need to seek out extra liveliness.) I never felt less inspired to “sin” in my life. I only wanted to get someplace, anyplace, without slot machines.

      1. KR*

        Same. Husband and I live three hours away from Vegas. It’s just boring to us because we aren’t into flashy lights and gambling. Fun for a night or two a year, too much otherwise.

        1. Emily, admin extraordinaire*

          I cordially dislike Vegas. When people ask me why, I reply that I don’t drink, gamble, or enjoy naked women, so there’s little to attract me there aside from some pretty good food, which I can get anywhere. Most of the shows aren’t appealing, either, and they’re almost all too expensive.

      2. MashaKasha*

        My then-husband and I spent three days in Vegas with two other couples, and the most “sinful” thing we did was see a strip show that our group leader had accidentally bought us all tickets to. (The sales guy told her, “it’s just like any other dance show, but at half the price and without the headdress!” I recognized the name and tried to talk her out of it, but she believed the sales guy over me.) My husband and I sat way in the back and giggled through the whole show. Other than that, we gambled, we ate a lot, we walked a lot, saw a lot of family-oriented and kid-oriented activities… swam in the hotel’s outdoor pool. As sinful as it gets, I tell ya! The hotel was phenomenal, though! And dirt cheap – which I am guessing is why so many business conferences are set at that location.

      3. H.C.*

        Actually if you go off the Strip there’s quite a few things to see and do around Vegas (also non-gambler here), desert hikes, assorted museums (notably neon art & the mob), and – my personal favorite – the Pinball Hall of Fame which has 100+ playable pinball machines (old and new). Also, thanks to Zappos, downtown is being rejuvenated as an artsy community of sorts, with galleries, boutiques and – yes – hipstery eateries.

        1. MashaKasha*

          Oooh, I’ve heard of the mob museum. And have been wanting to take the Grand Canyon tour.

          It’s been 12 years for me. Might need to go back.

      4. Erin*

        I love New Orleans! I don’t gamble but I love New Orleans it feels like an adults only carnival. Why would you visit Vegas when you live in NOLA, unless it was for work.

  21. Anonymous Poster*

    I’m a husband sometimes prone to irrational fears about if my wife is okay. It’s stupid of me, I know. I build these horrific scenarios in my mind about what supposedly happened. For example, my wife likes to go for walks, and sometimes takes a scenic route while enjoying herself outside (She loves hiking and exploring in nature). Meanwhile, I’m building a scene in my head where she’s been kidnapped and terrible things are happening to her. So I understand, at some level, where the husband is coming from when he thinks about these horrible things happening to his spouse.

    What helped me was to realize that this is something I’m prone to do, recognize it when it’s happening, and mentally tell myself what’s real and what’s not real. What’s real is my wife is going for a walk in a safe area, she’s smart and wouldn’t put herself in danger, and the chances of anything happening to her are incredibly low. My anxiety would destroy her ability to enjoy herself, and that’s not fair of me. What’s not real is all these horrible things I’m imagining happening to her.

    It’s partially a trust issue, and partly the horrible stories some people tell themselves. I’ve needed counseling in the past to deal with some trauma that led me down that path, so I wholeheartedly agree with Alison that you both face this problem head on. Perhaps this is exhibiting itself in more ways than just this instance, and if so, it’s especially something you’ll want to address head on and as a team. My wife has said that the best way to think about it is that there’s a problem with how I view things. Regardless of how we got here, it’s a problem that we as a couple are facing because of how I’m viewing things. Take the same approach; it’s a problem affecting you both that you both want to fix. The only ‘sides’ are you both addressing a bad frame of reference that your spouse has. It’s you both versus these scenarios he’s building, not you versus him and his mindset.

    At some level, I doubt he even realizes at this point what’s going on. But you’re his spouse and in a perfect position to help him understand what’s going on and try to help fix it!

    For the more immediate concerns, maybe you could also suggest scheduling a phone call every night or something to help put his mind at ease, and that y’all meet with a counselor to help work through his concerns.

    Good luck to you both. I’m rooting for you!

    1. Doodle*

      As someone who also suffers from anxiety and irrational fears about my partner’s safety, this is such a kind response and vivid description of how (otherwise) reasonable people can become unreasonable. The part about staying on the same team is so, so key, and I hope the OP’s husband approaches this as thoughtfully as you have.

      1. NotAnotherManager!*


        I also suffer from anxiety that could be debilitating, if I allowed it to be. I also have a lot of real/not real conversations in my own head. Based on the way anxiety distorts reality and actual risk, I could easily not allow my children to participate in things or have small measures of independence. (And there is outside reinforcement for this – my MIL things I’m insane for letting my 10-year-old go to the bathroom, which I can see clearly from our restaurant table, alone.) I have developed similar coping strategies and work very hard not to allow my brain’s bad wiring to negatively affect those that I love.

        1. Doodle*

          In my family it’s my mother (yay genetics!), but yes, getting reinforcement on the anxiety (in this case from the friends the husband surveyed) can definitely make things worse.

    2. RabbitRabbit*

      Thank you for sharing this. I’m glad you have found enough awareness around this issue to help you handle it.

    3. Detective Amy Santiago*

      I’m someone who immediately leaps to the Worst Possible Scenario thanks to my anxiety. You’re five minutes late? Obviously you were in horrific fiery car crash. Don’t answer the phone? Clearly you’ve been abducted. Thank you for acknowledging that this is not ‘normal’ and is something you can work on.

      However, I’m not sure if this is the crux of the LW’s issue since her husband clearly said that he has a problem with the “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” mentality. That leads me to believe his concerns are less… altruistic.

      1. Anonymous Poster*

        Could be true. It also couldn’t be. It’s really hard to say without getting into his mind.

        I’m also someone that really tries to give the benefit of the doubt though. We don’t know enough about how the spouse acts in other scenarios to draw larger conclusions. Perhaps it’s Vegas’s advertising being really effective with him, or perhaps it’s something larger. I trust that the letter writer would be able to better identify whether or not that’s the case here, and trust she’ll be able to address it appropriately with a skilled counselor.

      2. Doodle*

        I see where you’re coming from, Detective, but I think the additions of “spiked drinks” and “kidnappings” shift it for me a little bit toward anxiety. They’re both really worst-case-scenarios and things that happen *to* the OP.

        I do think the OP should be cautious and watch for other signs of controlling behavior/abuse, but if this is an aberration (and she says above that it is), I don’t think the “what happens in Vegas” is enough to shift it for me.

      3. Natalie*

        I don’t think it’s either/or, necessarily. Disordered anxiety changes shape to fit inside whatever container is available, which might be infidelity or kidnapping or alien abduction. I’ve known controlling people that became that way because it was a learned coping method for a disordered brain pattern – not that it is a good coping method, mind you, but it is one.

      4. Liz T*

        He says it’s specific to Vegas, but it’s possible that he’d be anxious no matter where OP went. Some people really aren’t used to being apart from their partners.

    4. Jillociraptor*

      This is very aptly put Anonymous Poster. Especially your point about this not being an issue of “sides.”

      I have the same problem and have since I was a child. One of the most important things I learned in therapy is that even though my feelings are real, they are not reasonable and not helpful, so it’s not appropriate to expect others to change their behavior to accommodate them. It was a hard thing to learn (“Look, Mom, it’s so simple, just literally never leave the house and I’ll never be anxious!” sounds SO rational in your head when you’re facing lots of catastrophic thoughts!) but it was the backbone of learning to manage anxiety.

      If this resonates with you, OP, about your husband’s behavior, something important to know is that there is no appeasing this line of thinking. There is no amount of structuring my life that would have kept me from feeling anxious. If I had succeeded in keeping my mom from ever leaving the house, I would have started obsessing about the iron falling off the board and burning the house down, or everything flooding, or, or, or. It can feel very cruel to set boundaries and do what you need to do for yourself when it feels like your partner is suffering, but the accommodations are just very temporary band-aids. It is okay for you to make normal daily choices even if your husband feels anxious about them. I really hope he is able to get help and you are both able to get to a better way of engaging with each other on this. It’s tough but definitely not impossible.

    5. Nan*

      So I get the safety concern. My hunny is not a fan of me getting up at 4:30 and going running in the dark by myself. The compromise? I wear a light, carry a phone, and stay in my neighborhood where I know what’s normal and what’s not til the sun goes up. That’s worrying about what other people will do TO me.

      Worrying about cheating, sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll, is worrying about what I will do. That shows lack of trust in me, and that’s no bueno. If you don’t trust me, and I have not given you reason not to, we’re done. I’ll be finding myself an apartment when I get back from Vegas.

      It’ll be a cold day in Hell before my husband allows/gives me permission to do anything. We’ll discuss, compromise, agree to disagree, but I do NOT need permission.

    6. RPL*

      Yes, this. People in my family are prone to anxiety disorders manifesting themselves in this way (including me, yay!), so I’ve seen it a lot. Irrational fears are just a normal part of life, especially in these days of social media and around-the-clock news coverage, but when they either start holding you back from doing things you want/need to do or start negatively affecting the people in your life, that’s a sign you’ve stepped over the line of “normal” and should seek help finding that line again.

      However, it’s crucial that he recognizes his behavior as a problem and is committed to fixing it. I can’t quite tell from this letter if he does yet or not…nor if it’s a true anxiety issue or straight-up manipulative, controlling behavior. Whatever the cause, a therapist will best equipped to help.

      I’ll throw this out too just in case. In my experience, OP, the best thing you can do to convince him counseling is the answer is to focus on YOU when you’re talking to him. You feel this way, you’re affected in this way, you would like to see this happen, and so on. The point being that because he cares about you, he will do whatever he can to make his relationship with you as strong as possible.

      OP, good luck!

    7. mirinotginger*

      I’m so glad to see this response here. I have horrible anxiety. I remember when I was young, if my mom went out to run errands and said she’d be back at 4 and it was 4:15 I would panic. My spouse (temporarily) lives in a different state than me and if I call them and they don’t answer my mind immediately assumes that they’ve been in a car accident. I worry about things constantly. I’ve been in enough therapy to know that’s my brain lying to me, and my spouse and I work together to come up with coping strategies to help ward off these thoughts, but they are always there in the back of my mind. This absolutely doesn’t make the response of OP’s husband right in any sense, but figuring out ‘why’ they are feeling like this can be helpful and can help figure out where to go from there. If it’s an issue that they don’t trust OP, that probably needs counseling. If it’s a crippling anxiety issue, a solo visit to a therapist and their GP for anxiety meds might be more effective.

      1. Observer*

        I’m going to disagree with your last sentence. If this is anxiety, OCD, or any other disorder then therapy for himself is absolutely necessary. Nevertheless, couples therapy is ALSO necessary, because this is something that affects them as a couple and that they need to manage as a couple, even though the main onus is on him for managing his fears or whatever other issues he has.

    8. Susana*

      This is great, Anon Poster. And I’d add that there’s a difference between (unwarranted) demands rooted in irrational fears, and those rooted in control/trust issues.
      I’ve been unattached most of my life, and am in a life partnership now. About 3 months in (together 3 years now), I went for a very long walk, in a not-well-lit, bad sidewalks area, as I was used to doing. It got dark on my (2-hour!) walk. Fine with me. I came home to find my SO sitting on a bench, pissed and worried – thought I should have called. My knee-jerk reaction was to say, you don’t dictate where I go, I was just out for a walk, for Chrissakes. And wondered aloud how he would have been if we’d been together in the days I was traveling to Kosovo, Bosnia and Iraq as a newspaper reporter. Then I realized that he was not being irrational – he was worried, and it was not a burden for me just to check in once in awhile, especially if I am on unfamiliar dark roads. Honestly, I just wasn’t used to having someone worry about me.
      The difference is – it wasn’t that he didn’t trust ME, or that he was worried about me getting drawn into some “sinful” situation. I still think he worries about my safety a bit too much (and whoa, good I’m not headed to war zones at this point in my career!), but accommodating him a bit on that is reasonable, in my book – and most importantly, has zero to do with his feeling ownership of me or thinking his wishes trump my work demands, and more to do with just wanting to be sure I’m safe. That sounds like you, AP – but the LW’s husband sounds like the former. Of course, we’re all operating with limited info, and (let’s be honest) a natural inclination to cme to the defense of an AAM reader/writer..

    9. S*

      Thanks for your thoughtful self-awareness.

      Scheduled calls are a great idea. My husband gets nervous whether I’m traveling for business or just about town (granted, I’m not the best driver). Scheduled calls keep him more relaxed.

      Caveat: I don’t think scheduled calls ALONE will solve OP’s issue. But it’s a good idea to add in.

    10. Anonymous 40*

      Thank you so much for being the voice of reason here. I really wish people would take the time to think beyond their first assumption in issues like this. Of course control issues are a possibility. Anxiety is also a real possibility and I hate how offhandedly it’s been dismissed in most comments. Especially with comments like, “I have anxiety and I would never act like this!” Not everyone’s anxiety is the same.

      I’m familiar with the kind of irrational worst case scenario anxiety you’re talking about. It’s better than it has been at times, but it never quite goes away. Just last night I got home around sunset to find my wife’s car in the driveway, the garage door open, all the lights off, and the house still and quiet. I was just sure my wife and son were either missing or dead. Turned out my wife was in the backyard mowing but had taken a break before I drove up and my son was upstairs playing quietly on the computer.

      1. DArcy*

        Excuse me? The kind of overwhelming, intrusive anxiety postulated here is still a control issue, 100%. It’s not particularly reasonable to expect a teenager to make scheduled check-in calls, much less an adult!

    11. Where's the Le-Toose?*

      First, thank you so much for sharing your insight. This captures so much of what anxiety sufferers like my wife go through and what spouses like myself have to find a way to work through with their partner. I wish this would have been the first comment because it frames the issue perfectly.

      From so many comments above, what people are missing here is that none of us knows whether the LW’s husband is an anxiety sufferer or a control freak. And AP, as your comment captures, and what Alison’s advice does, is to put the LW in a position to find out which one it is. To give the LW the tools she needs to see if this is something she can work through to save her marriage and save her career.

      AP, this is just a wonderful post. Best of luck on your issues, and I hope you get the resolution you’re seeking!

    12. Student*

      My husband is like this, perhaps to a slightly lesser extent.

      I go on business trips. He gets anxiety about it, but he doesn’t try to stop me from going – he knows it is part of my job. I call him every day to give him some reassurance that I’m fine, and that helps. Sometimes, we’ll go together on business trips (one of us taking it as vacation) – this isn’t something you can do every time, but it also seems to help him tremendously, especially on his own business travel.

      I’ve encouraged him to take trips on his own without me, especially when I’m on travel. It gives him something else to focus on, so he isn’t sitting on the couch by himself, watching TV and brewing in anxiety.

      I also tried talking through some of his wilder concerns. It doesn’t take the anxiety away, but it seemed to dull some of the crazier bits. When he’d worry about what to do if, say, the house burned down while i was gone, I pointed out he could handle it just fine. He’d go get a hotel room, and give me a call; he wouldn’t be instantly homeless and alone, and I couldn’t magically fix a burned house anyway. If I died while on travel, he’d get an insurance payout and be able to live without working for X months; then he could remarry or move or whatnot. He’d get support from his friends and family. If I got raped on travel, I’d still be the same person when I came home; it’s an injury and it’d make some things inconvenient, it’s unpleasant to think about, I’d need to get STD tests before we were intimate again, and I’d need some hugs from him once I got home, but getting raped is not the end of the world.

    13. Trout 'Waver*

      “What helped me was to realize that this is something I’m prone to do, recognize it when it’s happening, and mentally tell myself what’s real and what’s not real. ”

      I know you know this, Anonymous Poster, but I want to add something to this statement. What Anonymous Poster is describing is a learned skill that a therapist can teach mot people.

      To the letter writer, if your husband walked into a therapist’s office with Anonymous Poster’s comment and said, “That’s what I want”, the therapist would either be able to teach him that skill or refer him to someone who can.

  22. Big10Professor*

    Companies hold meetings in Vegas because there are tons of conference rooms, hotel rooms, and restaurants, and it’s easy to get a direct flight there from virtually anywhere in the country, not because there is some bizarre motive to break up marriages or cause scandals among employees.

    I’ve been to very big conferences in cities that can’t really handle them, and it’s obnoxious to have to wait in line for 30 minutes to get coffee or make a hotel room reservation months and months in advance. Vegas is not somewhere I’d vacation, but conferences there are very smooth and convenient.

  23. CatCat*

    Refusing to go on this trip is highly unlikely to save your marriage. Your husband has some very abnormal thoughts and I can’t any scenario where you not going to Vegas has any bearing on the kind of warped thinking going on in his brain. Counseling is the best and most realistic option for helping him get into a healthy head space.

  24. bunniferous*

    My own husband went to Vegas for a conference a few years ago. I trusted him, he was fine.

    If something was going to happen to you, it could be anywhere. Y’all need some marriage counseling.

  25. paul*

    This is a relationship problem, not a work problem. Your husband is being insecure (at best!). he needs to straighten his…stuff…out.

  26. Look What You Made Me Do*

    It really sounds like your husband is trying to control you. I’m sure he must have good qualities, but this isn’t one of them. He should not be demanding that you refuse to go on a business trip and unleashing all of this unfounded anxiety on you. Definitely ask him to go to counseling ASAP to work out these issues in your relationship and like Allison said, if he refuses to go it could be very helpful for you to go alone.

  27. palomar*

    “He says he has asked other people about the situation and everyone objects that they would even let their significant other go. I don’t know if this is a sexist response from jealousy?”

    It sure could be, also it’s pretty weird that he’s getting such a homogenous “I would NEVER let my spouse go on a trip to Vegas for their job” response from everyone he’s discussed this with. Either he socializes with very retrograde people, or he’s snowing you when he tells you that he’s enjoying full-throated unquestioning support of his attempt to stifle your career.

    But yes, OP, this does smell of jealousy. You’re the breadwinner? And he’s trying to sabotage your livelihood with his nonsense? Therapy, now, for both of you so that you can discuss this issue, and potentially solo therapy for him to address his issues. Because a healthy, loving partner does not do this. Either he’s got anxiety driving him to act out this way, which can be addressed with talk therapy to learn new coping mechanisms (also, medication is an excellent tool that could help)… or, he feels threatened by your success in business and is seeking to sabotage you to keep you in your place. Honestly, given his insistence that your company is basically trying to ruin your marriage by sending you on a business trip and the tenor of the conversations he’s had with others about “allowing” you to do your damn job, my gut screams “traditionalist underachieving man threatened by successful wife”.

  28. Leatherwings*

    Does he not control other things about your life OP? It’s so odd that he seems so fixated on Vegas (which can be perfectly harmless, I went there many times as a small child and turned out just fine).

    1. Doodle*

      I do know some people (who have never been to Vegas!) who believe the TV/movie depictions of the city and sort of forget that there are people who live there and work there, going about their everyday lives.

      I had a meeting at a school outside of the city and a friend was shocked that there are elementary schools there. She’d never thought about it because she’d only seen the “Strip” depictions.

      So I do think there’s a chance this is just a “Vegas” thing.

  29. Nanc*

    Having just returned from an exhausting but informative 3-day event in Las Vegas let me assure you when you’re at the conference center/hotels there is security up the wahzoo and those folks are awesome. Granted, the event I was at was for a Fortune 100 company but in addition to the hotel security, they had private security and company reps everywhere. It sounds like there’s a lot you two have to work through but if his primary concern is for your personal safety, as other folks have mentioned, Las Vegas is actually pretty safe for a big city. Good luck and enjoy the trip.

  30. Mina77*

    A few years back my older sister went to LV on a business trip with others. At first I was shocked, but that was only due to the misconceptions about that place. We both very quickly realized it’s quite safe, and a really interesting place to be, in a good sense. Lots to see and do. Her hotel room was amazing, and I’m pretty sure it had a little museum in that hotel too. I think whatever LV *was* once, it’s not anymore.

    1. Lil Fidget*

      Yeah I’m trying to tell myself this kind of misconception is the kindest possible explanation. But I’m not at all confident this is the source of the husband’s issues :(

  31. CS Rep By Day, Writer By Night*

    I have been to Las Vegas many times over the years on business, including a few times when I was completely on my own without co-workers to hang with. Funnily enough, I never cheated, never had my drink spiked or got kidnapped during these excisions to sin city. My husband of 23 years has never objected to any business trips I’ve taken (not even the week-long trip to the Bahamas when our daughter was 8 months old), so I’m chiming in to say that what’s going on with your husband is super abnormal in my experience.

  32. Backroads*

    And my husband has two business trips of at least four days each in the next two months and I’m rather thrilled. I can fold laundry and watch chick flicks and read novels in the tub after the kids go to bed…

  33. TootsNYC*

    “He says he has asked other people about the situation and everyone objects that they would even let their significant other go.”

    Either he’s lying, or he’s manipulating these conversations so he hears only what he wants, or you guys need saner friends.

    1. The Ginger Ginger*

      I said this above, but I read this phrase as his friends were objecting to his stance and would “even let their spouses go”. Meaning they side with the wife on this one. Reading it again, it’s a bit confusing, but I still think the husband’s friends aren’t agreeing with him.

      1. fposte*

        From the OP’s subsequent posts, it sounds like they did agree with the husband, and that she’s in an area where that’s a more common approach.

        1. The Ginger Ginger*

          Yeah, I saw that. I’m betting it’s either a case of asking leading questions, an over-reporting of the amount of agreement received, or hearing more agreement than was actually being expressed on the part of OP’s husband. It’s just not reasonable to expect a spouse to not travel for business, and I can’t imagine a whole group of people who would say such a thing. Unless, it’s a SERIOUSLY homogeneous group, which…is possible…unfortunately.

  34. Snarkus Aurelius*

    The kidnapping/roofie argument is the same nonsense my parents used to justify not letting my sister and me go to slumber parties but my brothers could go on trips to Europe. You know, because men never get kidnapped or roofied.

    What’s more surprising is that you’re the main provider. I’ve known many a controlling spouse, but most of them know to keep it in check when it comes to the provider’s job. Most of them.

    1. Foreign Octopus*

      Yes, this!

      It reminds me of what my parents always said to stop me doing things. “It’s not you I don’t trust, it’s other people.”

      20 years later it still pisses me off.

    2. Observer*

      Which is actually one of the reasons why I think this is not just a control issue. Another is that he’s questioning the company’s motives. I mean seriously? It’s not just irrational, it doesn’t even make sense from the control freak point of view.

  35. palomar*

    I just want to come back to the point about where the first fear of his that you list off, OP, is that you’re going to cheat on him. Does he take this incredibly low view of your character whenever you’re apart from him, or is that just a terrible assumption he makes about you when you travel to Vegas? Because this thing where he insults the moral character of his beloved wife based on the fact that she needs to travel for work? It’s just unacceptable. If I were married and my husband told me that he honestly thought so little of me that he assumed I would cheat on him because I was going to Vegas for a business conference, I would be heartbroken. Couples therapy, NOW, to sort out this huge red flag.

    1. JanetM*

      I’m being somewhat sarcastic, but maybe a tiny bit serious: I wonder if the concern about her possibly cheating is some kind of fear that the evening networking event is actually a mandatory orgy?

    2. Starbuck*

      Yeah, cheating is a pretty terrible thing to accuse a partner of without any basis, and personally is an immediate dealbreaker for me. If you think I’m the type of person who would cheat… well I’m not interested in spending time with you because you seem to have a pretty horrible opinion of me. I don’t know, maybe other people are able to work through this kind of thing, but I couldn’t. I understand having those anxious thoughts, absolutely, especially if you’ve been cheated on in the past… but if you’re at the point of accusing your partner that they’ll take some hypothetical opportunity to cheat and are foricng them to defend themselves from a purely hypothetical accusation, there are serious issues.

  36. Turquoise Cow*

    The way I see it, OP, assuming you’re not a serial cheater who constantly engages in risky behaviors when your spouse is not standing over you, your husband is either really insecure about your marriage, or really anxious in general.

    In neither case do I think you should stay home, and I think you’re best able to answer the question of his motivations, and how to deal with them long term. If he doesn’t trust you, and is otherwise not riddled with anxiety, what’s causing that? Is he anxious about everything, or just the fact that you’re going to vegas? You’ve gone before and nothing happened, so why is he still freaking out about it? Is he jealous he can’t go with you? Is something going on in your relationship that he feels like you’re growing more emotionally apart, and physical distance will make him feel more alone? Or is it just that he’s an anxious person in general?

    You should go to counseling, alone and together if he’ll go with you, because I can’t tell if he’s super anxious, or just super controlling. You and a therapist will be able to figure that out and take next steps. I don’t think you necessarily need to fear him, but as other commenters have said, there are parts of this that seem dangerous and disturbing from our perspective. You (and a therapist) would know better. If you can get that sort of perspective before the trip, that would be great. In either case though, go on the trip. It’s important to you, and take not unreasonable that your employer would want you to go, nor is it an unreasonable place to go. Your husband is being unreasonable. This is more his problem than yours.

  37. Cobol*

    I may have missed a comment already saying this, but looking for a way to put the husband in the best possible light, does he work in a field that never had business travel?
    It could partly explain his reaction. On top of everything Allison said, it might work to show him how normal business travel to Las Vegas is. It’s not just a place to go party. I know that, but if I was in construction, or teaching, or something like that, maybe I wouldn’t.

  38. finderskeepers*

    OP can call out her husband by offering to buy a $1MM (or whatever number) life insurance policy for the duration of the vegas trip.

    1. TootsNYC*

      I’m not sure how that works!

      There’s no life insurance policy in the world that would substitute for my husband’s continued presence in my life and on this planet.

      If I genuinely believed he was in danger, this would be insulting beyond words.
      And if I only believed he was in danger because I have anxiety I can’t control, this wouldn’t help at all–in fact, it would probably make the anxiety worse.

      1. finderskeepers*

        People buy life insurance for people they love all the time, and don’t tell them to stay at home all the time to avoid the risks.

  39. TaxAnon*

    I agree completely with Alison.

    My husband and I both grew up in very traditional conservative homes, and so his support of my career means a lot to me. When I was fretting over whether to pursue a fantastic opportunity that would require a good amount of travel, he told me, “You’ve worked too hard to get where you are to not take ANY opportunity you want to take.” And he means it. Op, your husband is out of line and sounds very insecure.

  40. Gwen*

    As someone in the convention industry, Vegas puts a LOT of effort into being a top convention destination (low cost, lots of large all-in-one spaces, lots of options for event entertainment), and pretty much every industry will have events that rotate through there. It’s definitely a huge red flag that your husband takes a winky tongue-in-cheek ad campaign that seriously…

    1. LCL*

      I knew a woman who was very sincerely pious and churchgoing and lived her Christian values. And she would always schedule conferences for her small business in Vegas, for the exact reasons you listed. Vegas does business trips right.

    2. Ann O'Nemity*

      Some of the really big conventions and annual conferences only have a few places to choose from. My associaton’s annual conference rotates between about six places, and even in big cities like Chicago and Philly we need to use three nearby hotels to have enough meeting rooms and hotel rooms. Vegas is one of the cheapest options with the best meeting facilities.

      1. Jennifer Thneed*

        And insanely good airline availability and inexpensive flights. And the largest baggage-caroussel room I’d ever seen … and then I saw the OTHER baggage-caroussel room, that was unused at the time.

        (I’ve been to LV exactly once, for work. That was plenty for me, for the social experience.)

  41. Sarah*

    I’m curious if your husband is perhaps someone who has never really traveled anywhere, and the whole prospect of travel gets his anxiety going? I say this because I have a hard time believing that someone who had actually been to Vegas would hold these opinions about it — honestly it’s not my favorite place because I find it too crazy and overstimulating, but I have never felt I was in any kind of danger. And the concerns mentioned about “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” sin city, dramatic kidnapping scenarios, etc. seem much more based on portrayals in television/movies rather than reality. I’m wondering if perhaps your husband doesn’t have the life experience of travelling to big cities and realizing that all of them are much different than portrayed in the media?

    This doesn’t excuse the behavior either way, but I think could be something to specifically discuss with him in addition to the other suggestions people have here. If this is more an inexperience thing, it still needs to stop but I think it is less worrying than control/abuse issues. I always laugh about when I lived in the Bay Area and my mom would freak out anytime I mentioned doing something in Oakland…she really could not understand how the city could possibly be different than the way it is portrayed in the media, and assumed I was walking into some drug/murder den on a frequent basis. (Somehow I did survive!)

    1. Janonymous*

      I was thinking as I read the description, this sounds like it’s coming from someone who has never been on a business trip before (and re: the kidnapping, someone who’s watched too many movies). I’ve traveled to all kinds of “interesting” destinations where I’ve only seen the inside of the airport and conference rooms. Just because people traveling for pleasure to Las Vegas give the impression that it’s a place to go wild, that’s not what a work retreat/meeting is going to be like in any way. Businesses plan conferences in Las Vegas because the rooms are dirt cheap, not because they’re planning some sort of raucous party.

  42. Celeste*

    Counseling is a great start. It sounds like he may possibly have an anxiety disorder of some type. Untreated anxiety is a meat grinder to relationships. Maybe I’m wrong. But a counselor can assess it and go from there. Best of luck to you, LW.

  43. Jaguar*

    OP, you should look at this exclusively as a problem your husband has, not a problem with work or the relationship. You’re better equipped than anyone here to judge whether he’s capable of moving past his insecurities and choosing not to or if they’re something totally beyond his control, but you should get to the point of understanding that this is his own baggage and the only reasonable things you should feel about them is either sadness that your husband is falling to this sort of insane thinking or frustration that he’s letting his insecurities get the better of him, whichever of those you think is more appropriate to your situation. Don’t even consider that risking your job is a reasonable option here – your job isn’t the problem.

    1. Observer*

      I agree that the OP should not even consider not going on the trip.

      But I am going to totally disagree with you that it’s not a relationship problem. It totally IS. A relationship problem is not necessarily a problem where both people in the relationship are doing something wrong, but a problem that affects the relationship. And, in those cases both parties may need to adjust their behavior and / or way that they communicate. That doesn’t mean one party jeopardizes their job and career to make ridiculous accommodations, of course. But other things may be reasonable eg nightly call ins – and letting husband know that she is not going to call or answer his calls during the day. Because setting some reasonable limits is part of that.

  44. Temperance*

    LW, my husband would be honestly fine with me going to Vegas. He would be excited, even. So yeah, this isn’t something that everyone feels, nor is it reasonable.

    I’m going to second the suggestion of marriage counseling, but I think your husband sounds controlling and unreasonable.

    1. JanetM*

      My husband has cheerfully seen me off to conferences in Vegas, Austin, Reno, San Diego, Milwaukee, and other cities. He asks that I check in with him once or twice a day for hi-and-I-love-you. I think that’s reasonable.

      1. Temperance*

        Super reasonable! I was admittedly super jealous when Booth got to go to Orlando because Disney World is a lifelong obsession of mine, but I didn’t beg him not to go, or tell him that all the other wives I spoke to wouldn’t allow it …

  45. NewHerePleaseBeNice*

    So, OP’s husband would be fine if she was going on a business trip to Dullsville or Normalville or even New York City, but because she’s going to Vegas, specifically, he has an issue.

    He’s watched too many college Spring Break movies, right? Tell him to get over himself.

  46. bopper*

    Another option is to share info…when you get there take a picture of where you are staying…show the agenda, let him know what you are doing, check in at the end of the night.

    1. Havarti*

      I’m all for giving your loved ones the name of the hotel you’re staying at and checking in on a nightly basis (I’ve done it myself) but if he’s being controlling and/or anxious, there may be no amount of information that will be enough to assuage him. OP will just run herself ragged reinforcing his fears.

      1. Observer*

        Not necessarily. It’s really way to easy to armchair diagnose, and it’s not helpful.

        OP this is the kind of thing I’d bring up in therapy – what you will do and what you will NOT do.

  47. AvonLady Barksdale*

    One of my favorite business trips was a 3-day solo trip to Vegas. I had to speak on a panel one afternoon and give a presentation the next morning, but the conference I spoke at was not for my industry so I had no connections or contacts there. I had no other work pending and a ton of free time, so what did I do? Hmm. I bought a single-serve bottle of wine in the hotel convenience store and enjoyed it in my room. I ate at the bars of a few nice restaurants. I read books. I played Princess Bride slots for 45 minutes. I went shopping. I wanted to get tickets for a show, but it was sold out. I would imagine that’s what happens in Vegas for a great many solo work travelers. Did I stand out? A little bit, mostly to servers who thought I might be lonely and often came over to chat while I was having dinner. My only regret about that trip was that it was so last-minute I couldn’t get a ticket for my boyfriend, who has never been to Vegas and would have also enjoyed wandering through the hotels and playing a few slots for the free drinks.


    1. Delta Delta*

      Sounds great. Last time I was in Vegas (similar situation) I ate at a few off-strip but highly-rated restaurants. I had half a day free so I went horseback riding in the desert (which was spectacular and I recommend to anyone). Later I saw an art exhibit. I did a few Vegas-y things, but mostly I found really interesting things to do while not working.

  48. GarlicMicrowaver*

    Go on the trip and have a drink while you’re at it. This is none of his business and catering to his insecurities is not your responsibility. HE is the one who needs counseling; going together would send the message that it’s an “us” issue. It’s a “him” issue.

    1. Dee*

      I understand where you’re coming from, but even if this is exclusively “his” issue, joint therapy sessions can help each partner understand the other’s perspective. Having a neutral third party is really useful.

      1. nnn*

        And added to that: if the husband doesn’t believe it’s his issue, he’s not likely to be willing to do the work of finding a therapist and getting therapy. If the wife approaches it as a joint issue, that demonstrates goodwill rather than blame, and is more likely to get the husband into the therapist’s office.

        (Gendering the partners here solely for the purpose of clarity and conciseness. My comment is intended to apply to any combination of genders.)

    2. Natalie*

      going together would send the message that it’s an “us” issue. It’s a “him” issue.

      But the effect of his behavior on her is a “them” issue. Couples counseling can be super helpful even if the source (so to speak) of the problem is one partner.

  49. Samiratou*

    “He says he has asked other people about the situation and everyone objects that they would even let their significant other go.”

    Really? What “other people”? Vegas is an extremely popular destination for conferences and business trips. I’ve been to one (and my husband was only jealous of the food), and while I don’t like Vegas myself, I can’t deny that the Venetian knows how to run a conference. The big hotels are super experienced and the conference ran just about as smoothly as something of that size possibly could. There were plenty of women there without their husbands. And plenty of men there without their wives. Yeah, it might not be the safest if you’re wandering around at night by yourself (just like anywhere, really), but aside from being irritated by the smoke in the casino areas, I had no issues whatsoever.

    Agree with the advice for counseling. Your husband is way overreacting and y’all need to figure out why.

  50. Andrea*

    Regardless of whether the husband is trying to control you, or whether he is merely unable to overcome devastating anxiety, the effect is the same: You need to keep your job and live your life like a normal person, either so you can support him in recovering from this anxiety (pay for counseling, health insurance, treatment) or so you can escape what may very well be an abusive situation. It’s like Captain Awkward says — no matter why you’re standing on my foot, you need to stop standing on my foot.

    People — women, even! — travel to Las Vegas by themselves and with groups and for work and for play all the time and it is completely normal. Some women even LIVE in Las Vegas! They live there with partners and children, even! Many manage to avoid devil-worshipping sex orgy kidnapping extravaganzas for almost the entire year. You obviously know this, and you know that your husband is being unreasonable, but your framing — “Do I do this to save my marriage?” worries me, because it signals that you are in some sense accustomed to, or willing to seriously consider, accommodating your husband’s irrational demands instead of advocating for your own needs. That’s what tips me toward the prospect that your husband is on the “controlling” end of the spectrum and not the “real bad anxiety” end of the spectrum. Abusers often (successfully!) couch their controlling tendencies as “worry” and “concern,” because they know their victims will want to soothe and appease them, because they are just super nice worry-wart spouses who just really, truly, are so *concerned*. It’s an incredibly effective manipulation technique.

    If your husband is really giving you a choice between staying married to him and going on a business trip, the answer may be difficult to face, but he’s giving you a clear choice: You can live your life on his terms, with the threat of divorce hanging over your head if you participate in public and professional life in a way that displeases him, or live your life on your terms.

  51. Helpful*

    OP, I saw one of your responses saying your husband is otherwise kind. I just want to highlight this since some commenters are piling on about the husband being some kind of chauvinist keeping women down. Good for you,OP, for asking how to deal with a difficult situation.

    One suggestion is to be sure that any connection you two have while you’re on the trip is done in private. I would hate to see that whatever reassurances/checking in could have a negative impact on how you are perceived in your office.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Yeah — and I’ll add that it makes the advice people are giving much less likely to be effective/heard/followed by the OP if people are attacking a man she presumably loves and finds reasonable outside of this situation.

      1. Anonymous 40*

        And it ignores other possible explanations. If the problem isn’t the one everyone jumps on, that means the LW get a lot of useless advice on a problem they don’t have. Meanwhile their actual problem is almost ignored.

    2. LSP*

      I didn’t read him as being a chauvinist. I read it as him being anxious and unreasonable. He is obviously in distress, and rational or not, that is a bigger problem than just whether OP should go on her business trip.

      1. fposte*

        And it also sounds like this is unusual in their area, so it’s not a situation that he sees tons of people going through unruffled.

  52. Emily*

    My (mentally ill) mom does this thing where if there’s something she doesn’t want me to do, she makes up stories about how dangerous/stupid/inconsiderate/selfish/wrong of me to do it. The things she comes up with are completely fictional, not based in any kind of reality at all. This isn’t about whether or not the thing I’m about to do is dangerous–it is about her desire to control what I do. It often goes along with a dose of jealousy, as most often, this is about a nice vacation I’m going to take or some fun activity.

    I suspect LW’s husband doesn’t *really* believe she will be kidnapped in Las Vegas. I suspect that he says that because he can frame it as “I’m only concerned for YOUR safety,” rather than “When you go to Las Vegas, I feel like I am not in control of you, and that makes me unhappy.” I bet he doesn’t even really think you will cheat–it’s about knowing that you COULD and he wouldn’t see and couldn’t do anything about it.

    This isn’t about Las Vegas or about you or even about your job–it’s that he wants to control you, and any threat to his perception that he doesn’t have complete control over you is going to end in a tantrum.

    1. Lady Phoenix*

      Pretty much. The kidnaps, cheating, etc etc that COULD happen in Vegas (with about as much chance as being struck by lightning) are all just scare tactics to convince YOU to stay home and desire his “protection” from the big, bad world.

    2. Observer*

      You really, really have no basis for this. Not from the letter and not from the follow ups. Sure, that could be the problem. But it could be so many other things as well. Projecting your particular set of issues on to everyone else really is not helpful.

      I do sympathize with what you are dealing with. But that’s a separate issue.

  53. LawBee*

    Honestly, corporate meetings in Vegas are not the sexfests people think they are. You’re in a room all day, you still have to get up and WORK the next morning – I go to one every year, and my butt is in bed at 10pm. It really seems like your husband doesn’t trust you, and as AAM said, that is a relationship problem.

    Ideally, you and your husband would support each other in your careers, not have babyish meltdowns. Any time I read “My spouse won’t let me ….” I want to yank that person out of that relationship. Spouses don’t LET. You don’t get PERMISSION, you agree that something is good, or you don’t, but this bs about him “letting” you go on a work trip is just gross.

    1. LawBee*

      I just caught that you were the main provider in your home. Is that an issue as well? How does he handle that?

      Ugh ugh ugh gross.

  54. Muriel Heslop*

    OP, we can all surmise the reasons for his behavior as much as we want to, but this sounds like something you and your husband should work out together in counseling (or separately in counseling, if that appeals more to him.) You can’t change his feelings and reactions, you can only control your own. If you’re the breadwinner, you obviously have to go on the trip. I hope you can get some work done despite your husband’s interference while you are gone. Good luck and please update us!

    PS: My third period class, mostly high-functioning autism cases, is split. Most of them suffer from anxiety and sensory issues so they think Vegas sounds terrible in practice. But they LOVE the idea of going there and want you to have lots of fun! They all suggest you turn off your phone because that’s what their friends do when they are speed-texting their anxiety.

  55. nnn*

    The irony is, for business trips, Vegas is essentially Disney. They’re both controlled, predictable corporate environments that can provide controlled, predictable hospitality services, often at a price affordable enough to attract business conferences. And they happen to be adjacent to entertainment options that aren’t strictly relevant to the business conference.

    And in really any city, conference facilities are going to be near entertainment options that aren’t strictly relevant to the business conference, because that’s the nature of the city. It’s just Vegas (and Disney) are more designed to keep you inside their controlled, predictable corporate environment so as to better separate you from your money.

    And that’s all the “sin city” branding is too – an advertising campaign to better separate certain demographics of travellers from their money, just like Disney’s “happiest place on earth” branding is an advertising campaign to better separate a different demographic of travellers from their money.

    1. Red Reader*

      Yup. My professional association alternates years between Vegas and Disney for its annual conference because those two places are both great for massive groups of people at a reasonable price.

  56. LSP*

    I read letters like this, and I realize how fortunate both my husband and I are, because it’s got to be miserable to live with this level of mistrust and anxiety. OP, I feel for you and your husband. This is a bigger picture problem, and I hope you are able to work it out. You shouldn’t be in a position to chose your career (which has very normal career expectations) and your marriage (which seems to have some very not normal expectations).

  57. Former Hoosier*

    If you refuse to go, it is very likely to cause repercussions at work. A three day annual business trip to any location is not an unreasonable expectation. If an employee told me that she wasn’t able to go, that would result in me having a conversation about expectations and this is not unreasonable. I used to travel 3 weeks out of the month from Wed-Sun for work and often traveled by myself to large cities as well as smaller locations and never felt unsafe. While that is a choice that some people wouldn’t want to make, an annual business trip is very common.

  58. Naruto*

    So this is a relationship question, as Allison and others have said.

    But also, this is pretty clearly a business and financial question. And there, the answer is clear: you have to go.

    You have to go because if you refuse, that will absolutely jeopardize your standing in the company. Even if you don’t get fired or demoted, you’re showing that you aren’t reliable to do normal business things, and you’re missing out on opportunities to grow your career and to network etc. So best case scenario, you’re stifling your opportunity for growth.

    You also really have to go because you’re the primary breadwinner in the family. You (both individually and as a family) need your income. When your income is needed, you can take fewer risks by opting out of stuff at work. You need your job and you need a good career trajectory, even assuming you and your husband stay together and nothing different happens in the future.

  59. Goyangi*

    Time to treat him like a tantruming toddler. “I’m going to Vegas and that’s the end of discussion. I really don’t care if you pitch a fit.” Then disengage. Don’t try to rationally argue with him; much like a toddler, he isn’t thinking rationally and it will get you nowhere.

    Long term I also agree with everyone else’s recommendations for anxiety screening and counseling.

  60. Granny K*

    Apparently the husband hasn’t been to Las Vegas recently, because now it’s like Disneyland with slot machines. Not everything is ‘family friendly’ (I.E.: Don’t bring your kids to ‘The Thunder Down Under’… that show doesn’t have anything to do with the weather) but it’s pretty safe, relatively speaking. Also, if the OP is there for work, chances are she’ll be in meetings all day and then answering emails in her room at night. As to the question of WHY businesses have meetings in Las Vegas, it’s because the hospitality industry there get’s it. Las Vegas facilities can serve dinner to 5000+ people in less than 30 minutes without breaking a sweat. Their convention centers are clean, there are plenty of facilities for customer parties, etc. Sure there used to be a lot of strip joints, etc., but now the most naked people are in the Cirque shows, and they just ‘look’ naked. That much concern/lack of trust that his wife is going to go off and cheat on him because of what city she’s in smells like projecting to me.

  61. Lilo*

    I agree with Alison here. My spouse travels for work all the time. Sometimes I am super jealous because he gets to go to some cool places (Tokyo, London), but I would never try to get him not to go.

  62. bleh*

    OP, I really hesitate to use the word “abuse” when it comes to anyone else’s relationship, but this post is giving me bad flash backs to a boyfriend who did this kind of thing to me all the time and I now know that it was psychological, emotional abuse and manipulation. This is controlling behavior and it’s not about your trip or your safety, it’s about his anxiety. Not going on this trip will not save your marriage; I suspect this happens in other situations too or will in the future. He needs to get help and you need to do what’s best for you and your career (and your sanity!).

  63. Fabulous*

    Haven’t read the comments to see if this is talked about yet, but I feel like religion has a play here… I can see uber conservative religions having more problems with this situation than anything else.

  64. Lady Phoenix*

    OP, how long do you think you can tolerate his behavior? A week? A month? A year? A decade? Are you ok with dealing with his overexagerations, accusations, and paranoia whenever you go for a trip by yourself — or is it starting to get on your nerves.

    If you bring consoling up, will he go? Would he partake in an support of psychological therapy and consoling?

    This is stuff you gotta ask yourself. I definitely recommend Captain Awkward too for assistancence (she, Allison, and Doctor Nerdlove need to be together one day).

  65. Anon#24601*

    Also conferences in Vegas are soul-crushingly awful and boring. You’re working 10 to 12 hours a day on the show floor or out at dinners with vendors and clients. There’s like 1 hour of down time. It’s literally the opposite of a fun wild weekend.

  66. Lady Phoenix*

    My dad goes around the world: Spain, Taiwan, Japan… and he spends it all on a commercial ship fixing the radar, sonar, ormcomputer.

    I did a big expo in Ocean City during the Spring… everything was still closed, I spent a good chunk of it setting stuff up, taking stuff down, and generally stuck in a hotel… and the only fun I had was going to a few restaurants and walking on the beach for half an hour.

    Work trips tend to not be fun because you spend the whole time WORKING and have no time to go out and have fun. At night, the most “fun” people have is maybe a different ink at a nearby bar… otherwise they’re too tired and ttying to get their shit together for the next day ir for tomorrow’s flight.

    1. Steve*

      Well, it depends. If the OP is part of running the conference/event, yep, they’ll be lucky to find the time for 8 hours sleep each night. But if they’re just attending as a participant, they won’t be working 20 hours a day. Any evening events they go to are as likely as not to just be parties.

  67. Guitar Lady*

    Be very very wary of ever harming your career or earning potential because of the desires of another person. Sometimes there is no choice due to your family circumstances or mutual agreement, but this is not one of them. If you miss out on a promotion or are the first let go in the layoffs because you refused to go to this conference, you will look back on this with regret. And you will regret it even more if your marriage ends and you put yourself in a worse position just to appease irrational fears. Go.

  68. OlympiasEpiriot*


    Sorry, that isn’t useful. But, sometimes there are letters that just make me want to scream.

    Yes, marriage counselling. Even with the additional information. That didn’t make me feel better for the Letter Writer. Especially as she is the primary breadwinner, she’s got to be allowed to do her job…even if it means travelling to Vegas.

    And, damn, every time I hear about kidnapping, it seems to be in Ohio or Mississippi, not places considered hotbeds of crime in US pop culture.

  69. workerbee*

    are there other situations that cause your husband this level of anxiety? Honestly I have been to a few conferences in Vegas and I worked so much all I saw was the inside of a conference room or a hotel bed, into which I fell (alone) exhausted every night.
    Marriage Counseling–Definitely.

  70. Editrix*

    OP, I agree with the prior commenter who asked about your husband’s travel experience. If a person hasn’t had much of a chance (or desire) to go to different places, your impression of them is far different than the reality. As a long-time resident of NYC, people who don’t live here assume I spend my days constantly in fear of muggings and/or terror attacks, pepper spray at the ready. Whereas in reality, I just hope that this will be the time when I’m on the subway at 1am and it won’t be too crowded to get a seat.

    If your husband has never traveled for business, and hasn’t traveled much in his personal life, and his friends have similar life experiences, then it’s no wonder that he’s created this scenario where all that happens in Vegas is affairs and crimes. Entertainment loves to show affairs starting in the office, people lying about business trips when they have a whole ‘nother family, etc. From the outside, his train of thought is totally irrational. But if all your life experiences back it up, it’s not until you’re faced with a new point of view (i.e., your wife goes on a business trip) that any of these beliefs even come to the surface.

  71. Student*

    I’d go with the anxiety answer first. But, OP, please take a hard look at your husband and his normal conduct. Sometimes, when a spouse accuses you of cheating out of thin air, it’s because they themselves are cheating, and now they “see” it everywhere else as a coping mechanism for justifying their own behavior. I hope that isn’t what this turns out to be, but whatever it is, it’s not good.

  72. Ramona Flowers*

    Just a quick note to say can people please stop calling it abuse and then recommending marriage counselling in the same breath.

    Marriage counselling is categorically not recommended if there is abuse. If you think a situation sounds abusive, please don’t recommend couples therapy.

    1. Detective Amy Santiago*

      I understand your point, but I think that it is in the LW’s best interest to suggest counseling first since she says her husband is otherwise reasonable and kind.

      If he balks or outright refuses, then that might be a signal that they’re in abusive territory and LW should consider solo counseling to decide how best to handle it.

    2. Observer*

      I’m not so sure it’s abuse, to be honest. For another, unless the husband is a lot more clever than it seems from the letter and follow ups, a good counselor would be useful to the OP, even if it is abuse. Not because marriage counseling is likely to stop the abuse – you are right, it won’t. But because a good counselor will see that there is no point and “dismiss” the couple. At that point, the OP has some really solid information – far more useful and on point than anything that the internet commentariate can provide her.

      1. Ramona Flowers*

        That’s fine! Just those who DO think it’s abuse should be aware that when they think that, the best thing to suggest is individual not joint therapy.

  73. Zip Silver*

    There’s some merit to this and the “What happens in Vegas” thing. After the last Vegas conference 4 years ago, where more people got fired for misconduct than should have, my company has put a stop to holding regional or national conferences there.

    1. JoAnna*

      That sounds more like a problem with the type of people your employer has hired, as opposed to being a problem with Vegas. Chances are the same thing would have happened in New York or San Francisco or wherever.

      1. Zip Silver*

        It could be, but it’s tougher to stay up all night gambling and partying in the middle of the week in NY or SF

        1. OlympiasEpiriot*

          You have obviously not spent much time in New York City. We are the City That Never Sleeps, remember?

          1. Lil Fidget*

            But no gambling! I think. I’m from the midwest haha. Also there’s a debate up thread about if prostitution is legal in Vegas (seems to be no, but it is legal nearby).

            1. OlympiasEpiriot*

              We have tracks and the OTB, there are also lots of easy-to-locate poker games that are semi-legal. And people loooooove the lotto tix here. Also have casinos on boats.

        2. Lil Fidget*

          I think the reputation itself also makes people think it’s okay to act more crazy than they might. It’s like a bachelor/bachelorette … people think they have a “free pass” because of the occasion and act way more out of line than they would at, say, a bridal shower. Note however, I don’t think this excuses the employees OR means that it’s wrong to have a corporate event in Vegas. I might include a warning when I announce the event though that’s like, “even though this event is in Las Vegas, XCorp still expects its employees to hold themselves to our high standard of professionalism” or whatever.

          1. Ann O'Nemity*

            “even though this event is in Las Vegas, XCorp still expects its employees to hold themselves to our high standard of professionalism”

            My team goes to DC every year for a conference and I always tell them something like, “The conference schedule is packed and unfortunately we’re not going to have any time for sightseeing or tourism. If you want to take PTO and extend your trip, please let me know and we can schedule your flights accordingly.”

            1. Lil Fidget*

              Hehe “even though we’re in DC, Xcorp still expects our employees to behave better than the politicians”

        3. Observer*

          I don’t know about gambling but partying? In NYC? Surely you jest!

          Did you see the memo that was going around from Travis Kalanik of Uber (shortly before he was forced out)? The memo was a few years old, and it had been issues shortly before an Uber “retreat” – If I’m not mistaken it was in Miami – definitely in Florida. Let’s just say that the memo made it clear that there WAS going to be a LOT of partying of all sorts.

  74. Beancounter Eric*

    Husband may be dealing with separation anxiety, and instead of communicating that, is using Las Vegas
    as an excuse for his angst.

    Speaking as someone who’s wife spent 8 months of 10 days on site near Chicago, 4 days home over the last year after 8 years of her doing essentially no business travel, I know spouse separation anxiety far better than I care to – both on my part, and my wife. (I lost 30 pounds not eating while she was away, and we both shed lots of tears at TSA seeing her off) Now, new project, wife just did 12 days in Portland – just saw her off for 3 days planning there for another two week project there. One learns to cope – AT&T helps, also.

    Husband needs to chill, big time. Counseling – perhaps. But he needs to sit down, fix a drink (I prefer Earl Grey, YMMV), and look at his actions and the state of his marriage. Frankly, what worked for me was meeting the team my wife was working with. (Great people that I wish I could work with….no real role for me in what they do, though.)

    And to the people who says it’s HIS problem, not HER’S – I’m of a view that when you say “I Do”, His and Hers becomes OUR, it becomes US. Yes, he needs to settle down, and no, I’m not suggesting she sacrifice her career because he is stressed, but it really is BOTH their problem. He is the one with the heavy lifting, though.

    Finally, I can think of far better places to hold business meetings – like Atlanta – you have to change planes here anyway, so why not?? :-)

    1. Lil Fidget*

      I think it’s fine for different people to have different types of relationships. Some couples like a lot of separate space between them, others don’t. In this case, it sounds like OP is bearing the brunt of the disagreement and she’s doing the lion’s share of being patient and accommodating the husband – he’s not doing much work to accommodate her needs.

  75. Vegas Bound*

    I belong to a profession that has an annual convention in Las Vegas. I am actually going there next week.

    I’m not a fan of Las Vegas (i.e., cigarette smoke, gambling, drinking), but many (perhaps all?) of my colleagues are and having the convention somewhere like Las Vegas brings in more talent from around the world.

    And there does seem to be a fair amount of misbehavior discussed, but I have never seen any of it. It is easy to go to Las Vegas and behave responsibly. Totally.

    1. Becky*

      Actually the cigarette smoke present in many buildings is the biggest turn off for me about Vegas. The gambling and drinking are pretty easy to not participate in if you don’t want to. But secondhand smoke doesn’t have an opt-out.

  76. JenV*

    As Captain Awkward would put it: you have a husband problem, not a job problem. Alison’s advice suggesting marriage counseling is good.

  77. Not An Admin Assistant*

    I have to comment on this one. I go to Vegas twice a year for fun, and while you can get into the seedier side of it IF YOU WANT TO, it’s also very, VERY easy to not get into it all. One of my best friends took his family (2 very young children) to Vegas, and they had a great time.

    If you stay around the main touristy areas – especially on the Strip – there is security EVERYWHERE. There are times when I feel safer in Vegas than I do my own city.

    My company had an annual meeting in Vegas a few years ago, that I wasn’t important enough to attend, and I was crazy jealous. Until I heard the week after that everyone was kept so busy that they really didn’t have time or energy to do any of the fun stuff.

    Do NOT potentially sabotage your career over this, especially if you are the main breadwinner. Tell your husband to get a grip, and then yes, get some counseling to get over this anxiety.

  78. Nolan*

    When I was growing up, my mom would take a week off in the winter and go on vacation with one or two friends. There was no worry about that, my dad trusted her and knew she just needed a little break from being Mom and needed some time being Jane (not her real name) to recharge. And when he would occasionally go to conferences for work, she trusted him as well. Nobody ever said “I won’t let you go on that trip,” but it certainly wouldn’t have ended well if they had.

    My own partner has no issue with me going out of state for geek conventions a couple times a year, with people I’ve known longer than him, sometimes sharing mixed-gender rooms. I have no problem with him going to week-long management training or long weekends away for bachelor parties. And actually, trips apart are GOOD for our relationship, we miss each other like crazy after the first two days and it strengthens our bonds (and snuggles) when we’re reunited.

    Sometimes, we’ll even travel to the same city together, but then spit up and hang out with two completely separate groups of friends. Why? Because we’re not one being known collectively as The Couple, we’re two individuals who just really like each other, but also respect each other’s autonomy.

    OP, go on the trip. Leave your phone on silent. Send a good morning text, a “been busy all day, just breaking for lunch” text, and a goodnight call each day. Ignore your phone for the rest of the trip, do not let him pester you or hog time soothing him when you should be doing work stuff. He needs to manage his insecurities and not force them all on you and your career. Hopefully he’s open to counseling/therapy, but if he’s not, and he instead doubles down on not “letting” you travel (regardless of destination), I do think you need to consider an exit strategy.

  79. Bunjeesaysjump*

    Most business conferences result in 3 days on location — you probably won’t leave the hotel.
    Las Vegas hotels have cameras everywhere. Security at casinos is greater than that at Fort Knox.

    Statistically, the most dangerous part of this trip is the car drive to the airport.

    This concern is not about risk of harm, it is about trust in your judgment.

  80. Decimus*

    I wonder if one solution wouldn’t just be to bring her husband WITH her (on her own expense and probably paying for their own room)? While it has its own series of potential problems, leaving him in a hotel room in Vegas all day while she’s in conferences might bore him into realizing the reality of the place. (Not the same thing, but my wife had continuing education there and brought me. I spent a lot of the day just wandering around the strip).

    1. Lil Fidget*

      I think if OP’s husband was acting reasonably, this would be a good solution. If he was just bummed to be at home alone while she’s gone, or something. But I’d want OP to figure out a little more what this behavior of his is really about, and make sure it’s not his way of trying to control her / torpedo her career, before I’d recommend she let him “supervise” her work trip.

      1. Decimus*

        I agree he’s not acting reasonably; but answers like therapy are a long-term solutions to an immediate problem. Inviting him to go might be a stop-gap measure to cover this trip. Or his response could give her more information about what is really on her husband’s mind. If he refuses because everyone who goes to Vegas becomes adulterous instantly and HE doesn’t want that to happen to HIM then you have a completely different issue from he refuses to let her go at all because He Said So. As it were.

        1. Lil Fidget*

          I suppose OP knows her own husband best, there’s a chance inviting him along would be an offer of Good Faith to show that there’s really nothing all that bad about Sin City.

  81. JoAnna*

    If I went home today and told my husband, “My work is sending me on a business trip to Las Vegas in 3 months,” this would be his response:

    “Wow, honey, that’s great! Congratulations! I bet you’ll have a blast. I’ll let my boss know that I’ll need to leave work a bit early those days so I can get the kids from daycare.”

    1. Beancounter Eric*

      If it were my wife, my response would be “Have fun – Watch the lights in the sky to the north at night.”,and “Don’t try to bet on 37 at roulette.”

      1. Girl Alex PR*

        My husband was recently sent to Vegas for a week on two days notice and my response was pretty much the same. Right now he’s in Alaska shooting a documentary. I’m almost always jealous of the cool stuff he sees in his job, but I can’t imagine being angry or upset about the trips.

    2. JoAnna*

      Conversely, if he came home with the same news, my response would be, “That’s great! I bet you’ll have fun. I hope you’ll get the chance to play some poker while you’re there.” [He loves playing poker but seldom gets to play, as I’m not a fan of the game.]

  82. Anna H*

    I also worry about my spouse traveling without me. He has terrible night vision and shouldn’t drive after sundown, and he is absent-minded and tends to forget to eat when he’s working. It’s natural to want to care for your partner.

    I deal with those worries by making sure he has the tools he needs to accommodate those shortcomings, not by hobbling his life.

    1. Red 5*

      Exactly. When my spouse was almost sent overseas on a long term work trip, I actually offered to go with him (and pay my own way) not because I was worried he’d get up to something without being supervised, but because I travel frequently for work and he almost never does, so it seemed like the easiest way for me to just take care of stuff so that he wasn’t stranded in a foreign airport without knowing what to do or how to make a phone call. Plus, I like to travel so it was a good excuse.

      There’s concern, and then there’s overreacting. LW’s spouse is overreacting for sure.

  83. sunny-dee*

    Funny, random story (OP, do not tell your husband this), one of my husband’s coworkers met his wife while they were both on trips in Vegas. He was there for a conference, and she was there for a bachelorette party. They were both married to other people, started an affair that weekend, and eventually left their spouses.

    If my husband were on a trip to Vegas, I’d be fine with it, but if he were going with his coworker, I’d probably want to tag along. Just in case.

  84. Lunchy*

    I don’t have anything else to add to what everyone else has said except that when you’re there, I HIGHLY recommend going to Gordon Ramsay’s BURGR at the Planet Hollywood Hotel. My SO and I ate there in 2013, and he STILL sighs and says, “That was a good burger,” whenever Las Vegas is mentioned. Pricey, but worth it!

  85. Girl in the Windy City*

    This is not helpful to the conversation, but seeing posts like this always remind me of a relationship I got out of many years ago (just 3 months before our wedding date!) I’m so glad I made that choice. Being with a partner whose anxieties and irrational fears are put on your shoulders is not healthy, and thank god I recognized it when I did!

    1. SheLooksFamiliar*

      I’m also a Chicagoan with an irrational former fiance. He was jealous and controlling before we got engaged. But I loved him, and thought accepting his proposal would reassure him of my love and commitment. Instead, things got worse. For example, Fiance didn’t want me to take night classes for my certification because the parking lot had a lot of trees and shrubs where predators could hide…and there were a lot of guys taking these classes. Fiance also didn’t want me to go to an industry event because admission was closed to non-members; he couldn’t just drop by to say ‘hello’, and how would he know if I was okay? Read: how could he know I was where I said I was?

      The tipping point came when he suggested I find my boss a girlfriend – you know, so Boss wouldn’t be tempted to hit on me. Boss was happily married, and both he and his wife treated me like a daughter. Fiance knew this, but he was taking no chances. I gave the ring back soon after.

      I feel for the OP.

      1. Lil Fidget*

        I think this is my problem with some of the suggestions that OP should bring her husband on the trip. Usually these things build up over time and abusive relationships (even if not intentionally abusive – even if the partner really does have anxiety or whatever and is not TRYING to be controlling!) rarely cede ground. By letting him come chaperone her once I worry that now he’ll believe this is reasonable and that he should chaperone all future work travel – then all interactions with work colleagues, with single men, etc.

  86. Bookworm*

    I could understand some concern about being on a business trip to an unfamiliar (at least somewhat) city but this sounds over the top. Kidnappings, someone spiking your drink, etc. aren’t at all limited to Vegas.

    This sounds less like anxiety and more like controlling/abusive behavior.

  87. jv*

    OMG… your husband. You poor thing.

    I had to go to Vegas once a year for a few days at my last job and I hated it. It’s not really a fun place to go for work. You’ll be so exhausted from your meetings all you’ll want to do is get dinner and go to sleep! Plus those casinos take forever to walk across and they are saturated in smoke, blech!

    If your job is like mine, you’ll be standing all day training people on new products and campaigns and be totally exhausted at the end of the day. My legs were killing me and I my throat was sore :(! I actually took my husband with me once and he went off on his own while I worked all day. We had dinner at night and then literally went to sleep the moment we returned from dinner.

    Your man doesn’t have much of an opinion of you, does he? Why doesn’t he trust you? Has he ever left the house? Vegas strip is basically just that… a massive neon strip mall with lots of people. I’ve been to far more dangerous places.

  88. SteadyFreddy*

    Is this a relationship problem that could be remedied with counseling? Yes. But it won’t be easy.

    But instead of “abuse” and “control” and “severely anxious” the LW might be part of a cultural/ethnic subgroup where her role as breadwinner (and one that is doing well) – that is a woman who is making more than husband – is not the norm in her community and there is all sorts of talking/gossiping/pressure in the background at play. That can do a number to your head if you already had basic anxiety about the travel.

    The counseling would then help them sort out their individual issues as well as provide them tools to handle the community’s judgment as well.

  89. Janelle*

    So much wow. Your husband has insane insecurity issues. Since frankly the marriage is not healthy do not risk your career, which you need, for him. Very few of these trips ends up involving much fun at all. Like AAM said it is mostly conference rooms and exhaustion afterword. Furthermore you can get into “trouble” anywhere, not just Vegas.

    Marriage counseling and perhaps some counseling for him personally. He doesn’t get to say you can’t do anything. He can express an opinion at most.

    1. Janelle*

      I should also note. My bf and I traveled for work constantly. We of course send the “I’m here” texts and goodnight and such. Even if I didn’t hear from him or vice verse, we are adults. We can take care of ourselves. It comes across as so controlling.

      I have a friend now who I’ll maybe mention that he is going to a business thing and he will badger me “where is he? When does his flight land? Where is he staying”. I sometimes know and I often don’t. Doesn’t really matter. It is a huge trust issue. I don’t worry about it because why would i? I don’t even know what city he is in sometimes just because he will tell me about five trips at once and I cannot remember which is what week. If I ask him he will clarify but I trust him and dont need to worry. Both of us have traveled the world for pleasure and business in the 15 years. He will tell me if something is wrong as I will.

  90. Erin*

    Oh dear. I’m sure your husband isn’t a huge jerk or anything, but this is not healthy and he should not be pressuring you to do something that would risk your job. At least, not something like this, which is a very normal part of having a job.

    FWIW, my husband went on a business trip to Vegas last year when I was pregnant and feeling like crap. He called to tell me he won a bunch of money at Black Jack and was getting free drinks.

    Jealous? Yes. Pressuring/guilting him into not going? No.

  91. No Name Yet*

    As a side note to all of this, I watched the original CSI religiously for about 8 years, and had never been to Vegas (no easy opportunity and not really my thing). So when my sister and her then-boyfriend said they were taking a trip there, my first thought was that they shouldn’t go because tourists are always killed horribly in Vegas (or are sometimes raped or kidnapped). Mind you, I never told them that they shouldn’t go (did tell my wife at the WTF? my brain had done, we laughed), but absolutely had that reaction. The good part is that I was able to figure out why I had that reaction, which (mostly) made it go away. Also made me think about the impact TV can have on our beliefs about the world.

    (And yes, counseling 100%, do ASAP since whatever the underlying cause is, not likely to just disappear.)

    1. Red 5*

      I also watched CSI for a lot of years, and on one of my trips to Vegas I stayed off-strip in a cheap hotel because I was trying to save money. The second I walked in the front door I thought “this is exactly the type of place where the murder of the week happens in almost every episode…”

      I was fine, nothing weird happened to me, but I won’t stay off strip again. Not because I felt unsafe (though I kind of did, but I could remind myself that was because of CSI and not because of logic) but mostly because it was also not clean enough for my standards and the savings weren’t worth it the amount of time I spent trying to get places.

      1. Lil Fidget*

        This happens to me at the worst times, like when I’m walking home in the evening or when I’m doing chores alone around the house … I get this feeling like i’m starting in the opening sequence of whatever creepy procedural I was watching. That was one reason I had to STOP watching so much Law N Order / Criminal Minds / CSI / whatever. It’s hard enough to be a single lady without constantly watching single ladies being attacked!!

    2. Janelle*

      One thing I will mention about Vegas is that yes, like anywhere else, things can happen in regards to safety, but that city is so patrolled. There is almost always an office, a security guard, etc. within arms range. If you ever felt something was wrong you can tell a bartender, a waiter, a cop, that you need some help. They go out of their way to watch everyone. This may be the one city where you are on camera every second. You could likely even say to a bystander, hey something is weird here, and they would help you. People understand the environment and are very vigilant about what is going on. You could walk up to the bar to “order a drink” and tell that person you need some assistance and they are on it in seconds.

  92. Tuxedo Cat*

    I think you know that all of his fears could happen to you (or be things you’d do) wherever you live or any place you travel to. People cheat in the tiniest of towns. Spiking drinks, assault, kidnapping happen in tiny places as well as large places.

    I second Alison’s advice that marital counseling is needed. I don’t think you’re going to be able to use logic or rational arguments to rid him of any fears. I also suggest that he seeks out personal therapy. He could use some time and a space where he could work through these anxieties with a therapist who could help him think of ways to handle them better.

  93. Red 5*

    I’ve been to Vegas many, many times. I also am a pretty straight laced married woman who’s been in the same committed relationship for two decades and most of those trips were without my partner.

    There is an incredible amount of stuff to do and fun to be had in Vegas without doing a single “sinful” thing, even if you WERE there for just a vacation and not a work trip. Since it’s also a town that does very well at marketing itself as a destination for conferences (their facilities and amenities are really good, and I imagine their pricing is great because of demand is high enough to keep them low) then it makes sense that your work is choosing it as a place to send the managers since it sounds like an out of town conference is generally a thing they need to do.

    Vegas is changing a lot of it’s marketing these days to bill itself more as a family destination and/or more “sophisticated” and all that. “What happens in Vegas” was a successful ad campaign that ran it’s course a long time ago, not a requirement for how to treat the trip.

    I agree with Allison though, this is a situation that requires some heavy duty marriage counseling no matter what. All of us can comment all we want about how innocuous this trip is, and how much of an overreaction this is, but it doesn’t change the facts from where you’re sitting. He’s not thinking logically already, so adding logic isn’t going to change his mind. You need a pro to help you guys sort out this tangle and see where to go from here in a way that doesn’t actively sabotage your career because of his irrational behavior.

  94. Girl Alex PR*

    My husband and I travel a lot for work- including to Vegas! Sometimes together (we work for the same agency), but mostly separate. We also were both active-duty for the first couple years we were together.

    I cannot stress how much this letter pisses me off. I know anxiety is a thing, but business travel can really suck- it’s exhausting, you’re away from the comforts of home, etc., so to have your spouse making that worse is just so awful it would be a deal breaker on the relationship for me.

  95. Matilda Jefferies*

    OP, I want to add a data point to counter his “everyone agrees with me!” comment. I would have zero concerns about my husband going to Vegas without me, and I know that he would have zero concerns about me going without him. In fact, we’re taking separate vacations this year – not to Vegas, but we each wanted something completely different, so we’re going at different times to different parts of the world. Again, not a concern for either of us.

    Obviously we’re just two strangers on the internet, so you can take that data point for whatever it’s worth. But I just wanted to let you know that there are at least two people in the world who definitively do not agree with your husband.

    1. Red 5*

      You can add it up to four. I’ve gone to Vegas for work and my husband just told me to have a good time and made jokes about what kind of stuff I might get up to while I was there because we knew I’d mostly be bored and cranky with the work situation.

  96. Elle Kay*

    Maybe this has been mentioned already (I started skimming when all the comments were the same OUTRAGE) but, would it be possible for your husband to come with you on this trip?

    I think part of this relates back to a topic that’s come up here before: people who don’t travel for work think it’s fun but the people who do travel for work spend the whole time in meetings, seminars, conferences, and never get to “explore” whatever city they’re in.

    On the one hand, you’d have to be very clear that he’d be on his own while you’re in all those meetings/conferences/etc and that you can’t spend that time with him but, on the other hand, it may be worthwhile to relieve his stress and anxiety.

    (As a sidenote: my mom has been able to do with with my dad a few times when her travel schedule gets crazy. Yes, they pay for his airfare and, if necessary, the difference in the hotel room rate and they don’t spend that much time together, but they spend *some* time together and are at least getting to see each other for some part of the day.)

    1. Lil Fidget*

      The only thing I don’t like about this suggestion is the implication that OP’s husband can “supervise” her to make sure she’s not cheating. She should set a boundary around this type of thing because it gets out of hand. Also, in some (not all) work situations, it would be quite weird and out of step for someone to bring their spouse along.

      1. Karyn*

        Yes, this. Here is the problem with appeasing people like OP’s husband, whether they are being abusive or just needlessly anxious: they come to expect appeasement. Case in point: my father is terrified of everyone he loves dying and leaving him alone, to the point where I, as a 32 year old, was expected to text him and let him know when I left work, when I got home from work, if I was going out, if I was changing locations, etc. He would also get mad at my mom for not responding to his texts even when he knew she was driving somewhere. The thing is, by continuing to comply with his increasingly erratic demands for check-ins, he came to expect them anytime he wanted them – so if I went to a movie with friends and didn’t tell him, I’d come out to literally 30 texts wanting to know where I was. I’m still trying to figure a way out of it, but I wish I hadn’t given in to his demands in the first place. It’s like I encouraged a learned behavior.

    2. Temperance*

      I really don’t recommend this course of action. He’s already proven himself to be irrational, I think his presence will not help LW even a little.

  97. Mary Mary, Consigliere*

    I work for a global health organization. My colleagues travel all over the world, sometimes to places in great upheaval where they have to have military escorts. I’ve never been on these more dangerous trips, though I almost had to travel to Congo last year (it ended up falling through). I would completely understand if my partner were worried if I needed to go on one of these trips, but if he tried to FORBID me from going–yeah, that wouldn’t go well for him. And that’s Congo. But VEGAS?! The letter writer husband is waving some pretty sizable red flags. I couldn’t be with someone this domineering and controlling. Significant others who mess with your career or education are bad news.

  98. Changed*

    Hey OP, rhetorical question!

    What do you think of the trip? Do you want to go?

    You’ve talked about what your husband thinks of the trip, and what you reckon the impact of going and not going would be on your career. What about yourself?

    What if you could guarantee there wouldn’t be any impact on your career either way, and your husband didn’t have an opinion either way?

    Would you want to go?

    It might not end up factoring into your decision when your career and marriage are in the firing line, but it’s probably useful information for you to have.

  99. Anxious Anxiousdottir*

    I’m anxious and so is my Mother, so I’ve been on both sides of this, and I have a lot of sympathy for you, OP, and for your spouse too. I’m just going to drop in some ideas and some strategies that have worked for me. They may not all work for you, but I hope that at least some will be helpful.

    First, therapy is good, but medication is faster. Long-term meds may not be right, and often take time to work out, but there’s several near-instant calming agents available and they could be the best place to start if the Vegas trip is coming up soon. If you have time to arrange a therapist, try to meet with several and then pick the one that is the best fit. Therapy is really personal, and a bad fit or burnt-out therapist can be worse than no therapist at all

    Next, things you can do. I’m going to start with a description, because people often ignore this – anxiety is a horrible physical and mental state to be in. You get into a state of physical arousal (sweating, shaking, racing heart, fast breathing, etc) and it often gives you a screaming headache, roiling tummy, and makes you irritable and prone to tears. It’s also an irrational state of fear – and I think people forget what that means. Your brain chemistry & brain function is literally abnormal, for a start.

    You cannot have a rational discussion with someone who is in an irrational state. You just can’t. So give yourself permission to stop trying, OP. When an argument starts – stop trying to persuade him or defend yourself. Hang up the phone, turn it off, walk out of the room, leave the house and walk the dog or go for a drive, stop and get yourself a meal out somewhere. Leave the argument – and do that as consistently as you can. Your absence is the absence of any possible reward for his behaviour.

    Arguments are by turns – rewarding, arousing (in the physical arousal sense), angering, and anxiety-provoking. You get attention, you often get attempts at comfort, sometimes you get a hug; these are all rewarding. It sounds harsh, but – stop comforting him *in the moment*, stop giving him your attention.

    Anger can feel like a reward – I always feel more assertive and more in control when I’m angry than when I’m anxious (and there’s a lot of overlap between anger and anxiety anyway, thanks to physical arousal and adrenaline). The only effective thing to do with anger is for one of you to walk away – leave the house if you have to. You need to do this to protect your relationship, because frequent anger is corrosive and damaging.

    Also, if you’re like me and my Mother, your emotional reactions could spiral his emotions up, until you’re making each other worse. Sometimes walking away is the only thing you can do. Expect it to hurt, though, and to feel guilty over it.

    Try to stop expecting reasonable behaviour from your spouse when he’s in this anxious state. You can’t expect someone with a broken leg to ski down a mountain; you can’t expect someone in an irrational state of fear to behave in a reasonable manner *in the moment*. If you must have discussion, have them *later*, when everyone is calm.

    You also cannot learn anything while you’re in a state of fear. Literally cannot learn – your brain switches off the learning & memory centres of your brain while it’s priming your legs to flee the sabre-toothed dire wolves of your imagination. That’s another reason to put off discussions – the information just won’t register with him while he’s anxious.

    Say to yourself something like, “I am not a therapist, and even if I were, it would be unethical and impossible for me to treat someone I’m in a relationship with.” There’s a lot of pressure on family to be carers and therapists and *everything* someone needs – it’s not possible, it’s often harmful – give yourself permission to skip that mess.

    Don’t engage with his arguments. He is not being reasonable or rational, so don’t even try to engage with him as if he is. Don’t give him information that he will then twist (anxiety twists everything) and dont waste your time or your energy – you need that for other things. Be bored, and be boring: “This is not a debate, this is a fact – deal with it” – but stated calmly, not aggressively.

    Be direct, and even brutally honest: “I’m not having this conversation” (& hang up); “I’m not doing this again” (& walk away); “I’m not changing my mind”; “I’m not negotiating – I’m giving you the facts” Basically, lots of “I’m not/I can’t/I won’t” statements that are all about you and your limits. But leave out the reasons, the excuses, the justifications – and the emotions, as far as you can. (Anxiety twists everything; try not to fuel the fire.) Don’t defend yourself – and don’t attack him.

    If you do this, he will *hate* it; I did, and so did my Mother, when I started doing this. Honestly, it feels awful. But refusing to participate in the arguments and the anxiety spirals by hanging up and walking out saved my relationship with both my parents in the long-term. Mother’s anxious overprotectiveness would have destroyed me (and my relationship with her) if I’d let it limit my life the way she wanted to (in the moment, when she was anxious). I was /thisclose/ to emigrating to another continent at one point, tbh.

    I did manage to save the relaionship – (even though Mother’s anxiety never went away; be prepared for that too) – I truly hope that you can save your relationship with your spose, OP. *thumbs up, fistbump, etc*

    This comment got away from me a bit, I’m sorry for that. I hope some of it is helpful to you in some way. You are not alone with this. *offers you an internet hug*

  100. Student*

    OP, I also want to put in:

    Divorce is a valid option, if you choose to go down that road. It’s a big deal, but it’s not the end of the world for either of you. He’ll figure something out; you’ll figure something out. If you’re happier and more successful without him, and what he brings to the table isn’t enough anymore, it’s okay to opt out. It doesn’t mean you don’t love him, and it doesn’t mean either of you are bad people. It means the relationship ran its course and isn’t bringing the two of you what you need any more, and that’s sad, but it’s also not unusual.

  101. a different Vicki*

    This feels partly like a reputation versus reality thing, like New York City a decade or so back, when I kept telling people to stop worrying about crime when they were planning a visit to the safest large city in the country. (A high crime rate gets lots of news coverage, with dramatic photos; a major reduction in the crime rate doesn’t, because TV news doesn’t want pictures of people walking down the street in safety with friends, doing their shopping, picnicking in the park….)

    It’s not clear how much of this is general anxiety versus a specific concern about Las Vegas, but for the latter, some combination of “yeah, Vegas might have been like that fifty years ago, but this is 2017 and it’s tame now” and “you can’t believe everything you see on TV, they’re just going for the ratings” might help.

  102. Rusty Shackelford*

    OP, do you think he’s more worried for you (someone will spike your drink, you’ll get kidnapped) or worried about you (you’ll cheat on him)?

  103. JustaLurker*

    I know this is a long-shot, but anyone else think there’s a real chance that this is the employee from this thread:

    The timelines even fit perfectly. The letter writer’s last trip was in February and the manager from the other thread wrote to Alison in the beginning of March, which would be right after she got back from this Vegas trip and told her boss she would no longer travel. Thoughts?

    1. Detective Amy Santiago*

      I would be surprised if it were anything more than a coincidence, but I think that reading that letter/advice/comments could be beneficial for this OP to see how it would likely be perceived if she did refuse to take the trip at her husband’s behest.

  104. SarahH*

    I travel for work a lot, and quite often to Vegas – people have conventions and meetings in Vegas because (1) the attendees generally like it and (2) there are a lot of hotels and meeting space. There are a lot of factors that go into deciding where to hold tradeshows and conferences, and none of them have to do with facilitating people being unfaithful to their spouses.

    The thing is, if you go there repeatedly the sheen really does wear off. The “Sin City” stuff is absolutely the product of creating a specific image through decades of marketing, not necessarily a real reflection of what it’s like. You can get really great meals there. The place smells like cigarette smoke. There are a lot of people on vacation. The reality of the place is really NBD.

  105. Karyn*

    When I first started at my last full-time job, a coworker and I were both sent to Washington DC for a three-day conference to learn our jobs (we’d both started around the same time, in a very niche legal field). While we were there, her then-husband called and texted her literally every ten minutes. She would step into the hallway during the conference and ask what he wanted, and he would say he wanted to make sure she was where she was supposed to be. After the day ended and we would go out to dinner, he would tell her that “he was sure our company wouldn’t approve of us going out to dinner on their dime.” (We’d been given stipends and told to enjoy a cocktail after the eight-hour training). It was very concerning.

    It turned out that this was part of a larger problem – he would call her every ten minutes at her desk at work too, and if she didn’t answer, he would have her paged over the intercom. When she would call back, he would accuse her of having left the office to sleep with someone else. He also accused her of sleeping with her boss constantly.

    In the end, she chose her career and her child (who was 4 years old then) over her husband, because she eventually realized that this behavior was not normal, and was not a reflection on her. It was, instead, his own insecurity and abusive tendencies.

    OP, only you can make the choice about whether this marriage is worth staying in. But please ask yourself if this is an isolated incident, or if there have been other times when your husband has expressed this kind of feeling – when you go out with friends for dinner, is it less likely that you’ll be kidnapped somehow? Does he worry about you when you go shopping alone, or when you work late at the office? I’m not judging one way or another – I’m simply suggesting that you look at your relationship through a bigger lens than just this trip.

    Please be safe, and let us know what happens.

    1. Lil Fidget*

      I think this is my problem with some of the suggestions that OP should bring her husband on the trip. Usually these things build up over time and abusive relationships (even if not intentionally abusive – even if the partner really does have anxiety or whatever and is not TRYING to be controlling!) rarely cede ground. By letting him chaperone her once I worry that now he’ll believe this is reasonable and that he should chaperone all future work travel – then all interactions with male colleagues, in public, etc. Also accusing someone of cheating so you have to surveil them is … right out of the abuser handbook.

  106. Colorado*

    I am sitting in my car at the airport catching up on AAM before I get back to life and guess where I came from? Vegas! For work. It was a blast! And in 2 days I’m heading east solo for a wedding. My husband knows I am a lone soul sometimes and love my exciting career. I take for granted everyone doesn’t live this way. OP – take care of you first. If your husband won’t go to counseling, go alone. Life is too short to be stifled by someone else’s insecurities.

  107. Amy*

    It’s bizarre to talk about ‘letting’ another adult do anything–talk about patronizing. OP, go on your trip, focus on what you’re there to do, and for those couple days at least, don’t worry about how your husband is feeling about it.

    On a larger scale, I see a couple of concerning things here.
    – Your husband seems to think he has a say in whether he ‘lets’ you go. You’re an adult, OP! You can make decisions for yourself! You’re not asking for permission–you’re telling him this is what you’ve decided. I think it’s time to tell him something like: “I need you to respect my ability to make my own decisions. When you try to say you won’t let me do something, that tells me that you think I’m too incompetent to make an appropriate choice on my own, which is really disrespectful. I need you to stop doing that.” (I’m also concerned that he’s collecting ‘votes’ from his friends about whether to ‘allow’ you to go–like, wow, not only does he not trust you to make a decision, he’s giving you a whole list of people who he apparently trusts more than you?)
    – Last time you went on a business trip, you spent the entire time dealing with his feelings about it instead of focusing of what you were actually there to do. I think some boundaries are needed here. What level of dealing with him can you actually do during these three days AND be able to focus on your work stuff? Maybe you call once a day in the evening to say hi, but otherwise tell him you’re not going to be responding to messages, because you’re busy with work. Maybe you set a boundary about content, and tell him you only want to talk about good stuff while you’re gone–“I love you, can’t wait to see you” is OK, “I’m so worried you’ll get drugged, raped, and murdered” is too much to put on you while you’re focusing on work. It’s OK to not be 100% available to handle his feelings 100% of the time! You can have a couple days where you’re focused on other things!
    – Your husband also seems really unduly anxious about Las Vegas. Is this the only thing he gets so on-edge about? If so, maybe it’s just a weird fixation…but if he often has nervous, fearful, or otherwise disproportionate reactions to things, it might be worth seeing if he can get some help with that. (Also worth mentioning: The ways we’ve developed the concept of masculinity in the US mean that many guys express anxious feelings as anger, so look out for that too.) It doesn’t seem like he has much ability to manage his own emotions–he’s unloading them on you to manage instead–and that’s a skill all adults should learn, I think.
    – If you’re seeing these things and thinking anything like “I can’t say that, he would freak out”–marriage counseling, please. Asking for baseline respect should not be a fraught conversation. Telling your partner that you really need to focus on work for three days should not be a big deal (barring really big exacerbating circumstances–“I need to focus on work, so I’m skipping your mother’s funeral, have fun!” would be much more fraught, of course). These are normal things that a lot of people encounter at some point; if your relationship as it currently stands doesn’t have room to address them, it’s past time to get some help to straighten it out.

  108. J.E.*

    I wonder if the husband is insecure that the wife is the primary breadwinner and might be subconsciously trying to sab0toge her career. Did they make the decision she would be the primary breadwinner or is it something that came out of him losing his job or having a job that doesn’t pay as much as hers? If he’s of the mind that the husband should be the breadwinner then it sounds like insecurity about his own career. Maybe he’s wrapping that insecurity in fears of what might happen so he doesn’t have to address the real issue. What if the wife had a job that required lots of travel, but paid well and allowed them to live a good lifestyle. Would he demand she quit?

  109. Biff Welly*

    This is really weird and honestly, bordering on abusive (at the very least controlling). As Allison said, people travel for work all the time. I question who he was talking to that would say they wouldn’t “let” their spouses go. You travel with the rest of the managers in your company, and I would assume many of them have spouses (and presumably most are able to handle behaving like a responsible adult).

    I would say that its not necessarily couples counseling that is needed, but that your spouse needs to talk with someone.

  110. Annie*

    A person who wants to cheat will cheat even if the business trip is in Dayton, OH, or they will cheat even in their hometown. Nothing magical about Vegas. I think that marriage counseling is the right way to go. Ultimately, a relationship cannot survive without trust.

  111. LeRainDrop*

    There’s a section in the book “Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You,” by Susan Forward and Donna Frazier, that deals with a spouse like the OP’s — someone trying to manipulate their spouse away from going on an important business trip. I can’t recall exactly how they recommended to handle it, but it started with asking the spouse about what exactly they feared and coming to a compromise that would address the fear. In that couple’s case, I believe the wife was worried about being left alone at home, so the husband invited the wife to come with him on his trip, and at first she was planning to join him, but then her anxiety subsided and she decided to stay home and get together with friends in the hometown instead.

  112. Mrs. Fenris*

    My husband is a bit more of a homebody than I am, and he very rarely travels for work. I go out of state to continuing education conferences, I don’t know, once or twice a year. He doesn’t completely get it and I know he’d rather I not go, but he definitely doesn’t tell me I can’t. He does worry about my safety. He got anxious when I went to San Diego only because it was near the Mexican border, but gee whiz. I only left the conference hotel a couple of times, always with a group, and we were in the touristy area right next to the Gaslamp district anyway.

    I’ve only been to Vegas twice. I do NOT like it because OMG ALL THE NOISE ALL THE TIME, but I didn’t ever feel unsafe. It’s a very highly policed city. I’ve felt less safe in a couple of places in my own city.

    Lastly, there are some religious communities where it would be fairly normal for the husband not to “let” the wife travel, and for worries about infidelity to be one of the main reasons why.

  113. Elsadora*

    This isn’t a man with an anxiety problem. This is a man who is trying to actively sabotage her career. That is the hallmark of a controlling person. He couldn’t leave her in a peace for five minutes on her last business trip, and is questioning the company’s motives, all while she is the primary breadwinner? No amount of marriage counseling will fix controlling. She should get out while she can, even if she has children. I mean, it isn’t like he is supporting them

  114. Had more than my share*

    I understand everyone’s points of view completely, just a couple questions and I apologize if they’ve already been asked and answered 1) but is it possible that he go too 2) my spouse travels monthly, I hate it. I didn’t sign up for this. I’ve now chosen to travel for my job to offset he loneliness. I’m handling it by biting the dog that bit me and he’s not happy. He chose, and I repeat chose this lifestyle. I can’t speak for anyone but IMHO a little travel, twice a year or so is fine and take your spouse if you can but this several overnights monthly is not what I signed up for. Absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder, it ruins relationships and I am 3 decades in.

  115. willow*

    Sometimes, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas because it was incredibly boring, like three days of being in windowless conference rooms.

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