A support group for investment banking wives

The economic crisis is leaving the wives and girlfriends of investment bankers struggling with their partners. Enter the latest version of a 12 Step Program, "Dating a Banker Anonymous." The support group was founded in November to help women cope with the inevitable relationship fallout from, say, the collapse of Lehman Brothers or the Dow's shedding 777 points in a single day, as it did on Sept. 29.

This is not your typical group. With a tongue in cheek approach, members offer support, encouragement and a chance to vent for the women who have found their partners preoccupied with bills, credit card limits, and no money for the spa. Not surprisingly, many report relationship problems as the economy has soured.

Money is the number one issue that couples fight about even in the best of times. Money tends to represent different things to different people. For some it is simply a means to and end; a comfortable life and some fun. For others, it represents security. And for many men, it becomes a visible statement for their self-worth and stature.

This is particularly true for men who work with money. I have several friends at a large investment group here in Milwaukee, and they tell me that how many kids you have is a visible indicator of how successful you are. Seven or eight kids means you are really doing well. A stay at home wife confirms your status and your success.

Now the investment banking wives and girlfriends have to adjust to the "new normal" because of the economy. No wonder they are struggling. First a depressed partner, then a limit on their pedicures. Maybe the sky will really fall and they will have to get a job.

Barbara Bartlein is the People Pro. For her FREE e-mail newsletter, please visit: ThePeoplePro.

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