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Feeling betrayed, angry, bullied and hopeless - please help me with some perspective

(11 Posts)
AliBean Tue 04-Aug-09 11:42:01

This will be fairly long - sorry but needs must.

My DP and I hold equal shares in a company with another couple - each individual has 25% each.
We set the business up 2.5 years ago and since then I have been the main driving force behind the company, getting it up and running and taking care of all aspects of it.
Last November DP and I moved 300 miles from our established patch to start another office in a new area to expand the business. We left the other couple to take care of existing area. This was because they owned their home and we were renting also because I am originally from Cornwall and wanted to come home for personal reasons.
DP and I wanted to start a family and found out I was pregnant on new years eve - baby is due in 5 weeks.
I have worked hard throughout pregnancy to establish new area and DP has been much more involved here as he isn't distracted by other projects anymore.
We discovered 8 weeks ago that business partners have set up a seperate company doing the same thing as our company in a neighbouring area. They did this about 2 days after we told them about my pregnancy.
Since we moved away they have not developed any further contracts, made any sales or appeared to have developed the business at all. They have also been extremely uncommunicative and very liberal with company funds to finance travel, expenses, wages etc.
Both DP and I have been getting increasingly frustrated with them and have discussed how we can split from them many, many times. My DP has been particularly keen to move on and we have had many exhausting arguements and discussions about how best to seperate ourselves.
This recent discovery gave us the perfect reason to split and we have taken advice that has confirmed this. Every other individual we have discussed this with has advised us to split and continue our business in our area without the involvement of our existing partners. This included my step-father who DP has discussed this with at length.
We have been in heated discussion with them for the past fortnight, with them denying any wrongdoing (waste of time as we have proof of their new company) and DP has asked me to deal with them and other parties involved as he has a tendancy to lose the plot and start shouting/swearing. So I have dealt with this on my own, trying to keep calm with these people and also trying to appease our clients/suppliers and others who are caught up in the mess whilst DP rages around the house to me about how much he hates them (partners), how he can't be bothered any more, how he has failed, been betrayed etc etc.
Yesterday he spoke to partner (the man) and between them they decided to put it all to one side and keep the business together and carry on as if nothing has happened.
I am so angry and upset. I feel like DP has made a total fool of me as I have been calmly sticking to our guns and telling them that we must split for 2 weeks and dealing with all the anger and lies and deception. Now DP picks up the phone for the first time, listens to all this rubbish,does a complete volte face and makes a mockery of everything I have said. Also he did this without discussing it with me. Just came in after speaking to them and told me that they had decided to put it all behind them and carry on as normal! So despite everything we have discussed for months and the fact we are supposed to be a team (DP and I - in life and business)he suddenly decides to go completely in the opposite direction and expects me to just go along with it.
I am so upset and angry with him and I really don't know what to do.
This is not helped by the fact I am getting on in this pregnancy and really want to be focussed on the baby and not getting all upset by my partners mad behaviour and lack of respect for me.
I just want to cry but it won't make any difference.

tiredoftherain Tue 04-Aug-09 12:00:34

Crikey, not surprised you feel rotten. I think there are two main issues here - the other couple are clearly putting their own interests above that of the company, and I think you probably need to take legal advice asap. They probably feel your pregnancy will threaten their livelihood as you're clearly not going to be able to continue putting in as much as you have been doing. Do you have any contracts which limit you from opening competitive businesses? I really would not feel at all comfortable being involved with them, it's shady to say the least.

I think you also need to have it out with your DP as soon as you can. Whatever you agree to do, it has to be a joint decision, particularly if you've invested so much energy in the business. Was he possibly trying to throw the other guy off the scent while he does more digging to expose him?

The main thing is that you look after yourself. Have you got much support in Cornwall?

AliBean Tue 04-Aug-09 12:17:07

Thank you for your response tiredoftherain, we have taken legal advice and the advice was that they have acted contrary to their fiduciary duty and also appear to have acted fraudulently with company funds to fund setting up the new company. We were advised that we could sue them for the money and for the damage they have done to the company but this would obviously cost a fair bit and we simply don't have the money. We had agreed that the best thing to do was to split, wind up the existing company and draw up a contract that any commissions from the original area would be split between us for 12 months (in case they are "sitting" on a load of contracts with the view to funnelling them into their new company)
This was the end I was working towards until yesterday when DP went completely in the opposite direction and agreed to put it all behind us and continue as usual. His arguement to me was that we have put too much in to let it go now. I agree that it is a shame but I would rather not be in business with a pair of shady, underhand double dealers than stick with it in the hope that they will be honest from now on. Also the idea of the 12 month contract period would protect us from losing everything and would send 50% of the money our way anyway, without having to deal with them anymore.
There is no way DP was trying to throw him off the scent - if he was up to anything in the least bit machiavellian he would have great pleasure in letting me know how clever he was being.
He has genuinely changed his mind (for both of us) without discussing it with me and with no regard to what I think about it all.
With regards to support - my family are all here, but all over an hour away. Also I am loathe to discuss it with them as they will all think DP has lost the plot as they have all listened to how much he dislikes and mistrusts these people for the past 8 months...
He has just made a completely crap decision and is sticking by it and sod how I feel about it.

Forester Tue 04-Aug-09 12:34:42

Difficult situation.

I really think you need to stick to your guns - you cannot be in business with people that you can't trust.

Sounds like your DP just wants the quickest solution - though obviously not the best.

Potential arguments you could use with him:

- what if they go back on the deal in two months time, how would either of you deal with this and a newborn baby?

- this option is increasing the stress to you - not good in pregnancy

- you have your own share in the business - so he can't act for you

I'm sure other mumsnetters can come up with others....

Good luck - it sounds like you've done all the right things re getting legal advice and chosen the best option.

Supercherry Tue 04-Aug-09 12:45:33

OK, your partner has acted foolishly. You seem to be the one with her head screwed on and all the business sense, and from what you have said, you have single handedly put most of the work into the business.

Is there anyway you can split from the business, regardless of what your partner does? Then start up business in your name only, in Cornwall. DP could work for you if he liked but leaving you with the decision making power?

AliBean Tue 04-Aug-09 12:50:12

Thanks Forester, you are right in that I do own my portion of the business but all I could do is refuse to work with the others and basically leave them to sort it all out themselves - but that would involve abandoning DP to sort it and that would not do our relationship any good. He would feel like I was just being spiteful and it would damage us.
I just wish he had the backbone to go with our original decision and not make a fool of me. As it will be me looking the fool - I am the one who has had to tell them and everyone else involved the score and now I have to go back on it and say, oops silly me I got it wrong! When I was acting on behalf of us both as he didn't want the confrontation. So now I look like a mad hormonal woman who was acting on her own and now Mr Rational has stepped in and smoothed it over!

AliBean Tue 04-Aug-09 12:56:31

Supercherry - thanks, but that would only work if DP and I split up completely. He would see it as a total betrayal if I did that. Also our business is based on an exclusive supply agreement with another company. We are their agents and unless our existing company no longer held the contract I wouldn't be able to do the same thing seperately in this area.

Frankly I am really not that bothered about the business any more. I have resigned myself over the past 8 weeks that it is coming to an end as that is what is best for us. I have found freelance work to tide us over for the foreseeable future and have drastically reduced our outgoings to make sure we can survive financially when I slow down with the new baby.

I don't want to be in business with these people anymore and until yesterday, DP was adamant that he couldn't wait to split with them either. In fact he has been so much more passionate about the split and convinced me in the first place. He was the one who was desperate to get rid!

Supercherry Tue 04-Aug-09 13:01:11

It's really odd that he's done such a U-turn, is he aware of how it's made you look?

You seem very keen to treat him properly, why did he so easily betray you?

Have you spoken to him about it much?

It's robably a good thing that you don't care much about the business anymore, you don't need that kind of stress with those type of people.

prettyfly1 Tue 04-Aug-09 16:05:23

I may sound a bit "cloak and dagger" but is there something that would force your dp to change his mind? I would never put my business in the hands of people who could cheat me like that - what else are they doing that you dont know about yet.

AliBean Tue 04-Aug-09 18:46:26

Supercherry - I have spoken to him. He dpesn't understand why I am so upset. He won't accept that he has made me look ridiculous and basically made it impossible to act in the business on my own terms. I will not be able to undertake anything now unless all three of them agree to it as there will always be this sense that I was the one causing all the trouble and talking about winding up when the rest of them didn't want to. Although this is not the case at all and DP was even more keen to end things until yesterday, it looks to everyone else like it was only me with an issue.

I am considering resigning as a director and letting them get on with it really. I have no heart for it.

I am seriously worried about my relationship with DP though as a result of this. He won't/can't accept that he has done anything wrong and keeps telling me that I am just upset because I am hormonal and pregnant. He says he doesn't know what to say to me, that nothing he does is right.

And he is blaming me for the "atmosphere" because his son is here.

AliBean Tue 04-Aug-09 18:51:21

prettyfly1 - I don't think there is anything that he could blackmail DP with if thats what you mean.

I hope not.

But I will see what the reaction is if I mention it and gauge that...

He says that he knows they can't be trusted but at least he knows what he is dealing with now...

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