Dear Annie: My wife and I have been married for many years. She was and is my business partner and a great businesswoman. We would not be where we are today without her business acumen, drive and determination. She connects well with other people of both sexes, and from all walks of life and backgrounds.

I’m writing about something that has happened many times over the years and just happened again recently. Often, we have occasion to meet with professional women who want to do business with us for various reasons. I introduce my wife as my business partner, explaining (not bragging about) her business acumen.

Usually, the professional women only give me eye contact, ignoring her. I make an effort to get some mutual eye contact by giving hints, such as, “She is the financial genius of the two of us.” My wife may interject with an appropriate question or statement. No luck. Once they start ignoring her, they just keep on doing it.

We both want to walk out or explain it to them point-blank. My wife has no personality issues. She connects easily with people. It is not good for their business and insulting to my wife. I don’t even think this is discrimination.

My message to women is: Don’t ignore the woman with a man just because she is a woman. That goes for business and personal relationships.

— Sick of It

Dear Sick of It: I’m happy to print your message; I’m just sorry that you have to say it. How incredibly frustrating this must be for your wife.

You’ve got the right idea — dropping hints, continually bringing the focus back to her contributions. But the next time you drop a hint that’s not picked up, be blunt. Say, “Excuse me, but there seems to be some confusion here. My wife and I are equal partners in this business, and you can direct your questions to her, too.”

There’s nothing unprofessional about that.

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Dear Annie: Please offer folks alternatives to Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon. There are some newer organizations that can be very helpful.

I highly recommend Parents of Addicted Loved Ones. PAL offers some very helpful tools and frameworks for understanding and changing the patterns parents can fall into with adult children who are struggling with addiction.

Some people do find AA and affiliated groups helpful. But there are other approaches that other people might find more helpful in changing the dynamics in their lives and stop the cycle of life-destroying behaviors.

For the addict, there is Refuge Recovery, which is Buddhism-based; I can strongly recommend it. There are also the SMART Recovery and LifeRing Secular Recovery programs.

I have also had recent experience with finding a recovery coach for my son, who has a diagnosed mental illness and an addiction problem. I wish I had known about this profession long ago.

Too many people are dying and too many people are having their lives destroyed and families destroyed to not offer every tool that is available.

— Somewhat Wiser, the Very Hard Way

Dear Somewhat Wiser: You’re right that recently I’ve neglected to mention organizations other than AA and Al-Anon. Though those are great organizations, they might not be for everyone. Thank you for recommending additional resources.

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— A native Californian, Annie Lane writes her Dear Annie advice columns from her home outside New York City, where she lives with her husband, two kids and two dogs. Her debut book, Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie, features favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette. Email your Dear Annie questions to Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

Annie Lane

Annie Lane

A native Californian, Annie Lane writes her Dear Annie advice columns from her home outside New York City, where she lives with her husband, two kids and two dogs. Her latest anthology, How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?, features favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation, and is available as a paperback and e-book. Email your Dear Annie questions to The opinions expressed are her own.