I had a relationship with someone my wife and I were seeing socially. Help!

I had an extramarital affair for several years. It recently ended – abruptly and unpleasantly – and I’ve blocked all digital and phone contact with my ex to ensure I’m not put down and engaged again. The relationship was sexually and emotionally fulfilling, but it was also taboo: both of us are happily married and live together as married couples. Now, I’m apprehensive about future encounters. Lately, we’ve all been juggling our calendars for an upcoming little dinner party at the third couple’s house. How should this be dealt with? I do not want to communicate and ask for a truce. My feelings are still very raw – with pain and anger not far from the surface. I don’t know how to justify canceling dinner for my wife, but I’m afraid I’ll lose him if I go.


It’s not my place to judge you, but it’s not my job to drive you away either. (I would see this differently if you had an open marriage.) I am embarrassed about the upcoming dinner. However, after years of lying to your spouse about the issue — by omission or cancellation — you’ll seem well-prepared to extricate yourself from dinner on your own.

I agree with you about cutting off contact with your ex–less than avoiding discomfort or temptation to avoid continued disrespect for your spouse, who seems unaware of your years-long infidelity. In practical terms, you and your ex have formed an alliance of mutual destruction: neither of you can unmask the other without exposing yourself. There is some kind of security in that.

But I urge you to consider the deeper issues here: You have broken your faith in your husband. For years, you have misled your partner about your sexual and emotional loyalty. (In fact, you still seem deeply involved with your ex.) If monogamy doesn’t suit you, tell your spouse. This dinner is just a footnote compared to your dishonesty in your marriage. I suggest working with a therapist to decide if — and how — you can repair the damage.

I am considering leaving my job as an executive assistant after 12 years. Originally, I had my own office, but I was moved into a cubicle—temporary, I’m told—about 10 years ago. Right now, I’ve been sitting in a suite that’s had a couple of empty desks for years. When I asked the Human Resources Director if I could move to one of them, she asked why I needed it. I told her I had confidential files and it would be safer in a locked office. She offered me a filing cabinet that was locked instead, and said she wanted to save desks for future employees who might need them. This shows a clear disrespect for me and my position. your thoughts?


I know it can be hard to talk about ourselves. But when the HR director asked why you needed an office, why did you give her that Maliki about confidential files instead of being upfront with her? I’ve been promised an office for years, and vacant desks seem to abound.

I don’t know if your company is consolidating spaces, is in a hiring period, or concerned about the precedent of giving out private offices to executive assistants. When we want something from our employers, we have to stand up for it. you did not. (And my employer resolved the issue you raised with the files.) I suggest trying again – but more honestly this time.

My sister-in-law came to stay with us for her annual week-long visit. We look forward to that! She stays in our room, and we provide most of the meals. When we incur small expenses on her behalf, we are happy to cover them. After she left we found $80 on the night stand in her bedroom. We suppose that was to compensate us for the extra costs of visiting her. We appreciate her intention, but how can we tell her the money was unwanted without embarrassing her or appearing ungrateful?

brother in law

I can imagine how finding cash on the nightstand can make you feel like your house maid. You or your spouse can certainly tell her sister that no payment is necessary: ​​“We love your visits!” Simple and plentiful thanks.

However, it may be nicer to meet people wherever they are. If your sister-in-law wants to make it up to you by covering the costs of her meals and local transportation, why not let her? No need to control what makes others feel good.

I’m hosting my anniversary party in a couple of weeks, and I’m terribly upset about having to RSVP from my friends. I send flirty texts and follow up emails, but I find them annoying. How can I rephrase this so that I can enjoy the party when it comes?


It would be very comforting for others to prioritize the things we care about. But they don’t. They don’t mean to be rude; They are just distracted by the onslaught of their own priorities. Stop typing and call them! Within 20 minutes, you can probably get rid of most stragglers.

To help with your embarrassing situation, send a question to [email protected] or Philip Galanes on Facebook or @tweet on Twitter.