Can I confront the woman who had an affair with my husband?

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I have been married for 20 years. Some time ago, I discovered that my husband was having an extramarital affair early in our marriage. The affair went on for several years. After the deception came to light, we decided to live together and work on our marriage in counseling. My husband was very sorry, and I have forgiven him. We’re trying to get ahead, and we’re not doing bad. Problem: I know the woman he was linked with. I am full of anger at him and obsessed with confronting him. I’m pretty sure it’s not healthy for me, but I can’t hold back my hurt or my strong desire to make her suffer. Advice?


I am sorry for your pain. And I agree that obsessing over your husband’s ex-lover is probably unhealthy. If I were you, I would explore individual counseling. From afar, your claim that you have forgiven your husband is not persuasive. I get that being angry at him can be uncomfortable or even terrifying, but haven’t you taken your anger out on the woman he cheated on?

I suspect many of us will identify with your fantasy of encountering this woman—as if a single, white-hot tart would stir your emotions. But feelings are often much messier than that, and, frankly, I think you’re focusing on the wrong party: This woman never promised to be faithful to you, nor did she cheat on you. . Your husband did those things.

You will be free to safely explore all of your feelings – apart from your husband – in one-on-one counselling. You may find that your strong desire to make this woman suffer is actually anger at your husband. (Or not.) Your therapist may also suggest a return to couples counseling. I’m sorry I can’t give a quick solution here. Rebuilding trust often takes a lot of time and effort.

The physical condition of my elderly mother is bad. She uses a walker most of the time and cannot bend or lift anything. She had to unexpectedly give up her cat after a fall and spent six weeks in a hospital and rehabilitation facility. I placed her cat with a coworker who is willing to keep her. But now that my mother is returning to her home — she’s no stronger than she was before her fall — she wants the cat back. I’ve tried to explain that she would be better off without the cat, which she could easily fall for, and that the cat would be better off where she could be properly cared for. But my mom says, “I just have the cat!” am i being cruel?


no way! Here’s something I wish I had understood better, though, when I was in your (difficult) position: Longest life doesn’t necessarily mean best. Assuming your mom is of sound mind, it’s not unreasonable for her to choose a beloved pet over the potential for a better health outcome. That cat may be his greatest comfort.

Tell him clearly about the risks, then let him choose. (Perhaps regular cat visits are an option?) I know you want the best for your mom, but don’t substitute your judgment for hers. You say she is going home, but as you describe her condition – “unable to bend over or lift anything” – I suspect she may need some assistance performing basic tasks. If her helper (or you) is willing to feed the cat and clean her litter box, do your best to respect your mom’s decision.

A woman I consider a close friend recently got engaged. I found this by scrolling through social media. I have known him for eight years. I don’t want to taint his good news. Quite the opposite! I want to celebrate her. But I am sorry that he did not inform me personally. can i tell her?


So now, on top of showers and registries and other bridal pageantry, are you in need of personalized notification by the bridal couple to all your friends? No, I’m putting my foot down. Your friend’s social media post was clear enough: You saw it!

Think of his good news as your birthday. You don’t tell everyone that it is coming for court birthday wishes. (Facebook does this, or the date is in people’s calendars.) Just be happy for your friend and congratulate them.

I love to throw dinner parties. When guests ask what they can bring, I say, “No need,” or suggest something to eat during cocktails. So, I was taken aback when a friend who had brought hummus and carrot sticks started packing them up to take home with her after dinner, without asking me if I wanted them. (I did!) Should I have told him? (Note: This was not bad luck or financial problems.)


people are Strange. (Each of us.) Maybe your friend wanted to take home her serving dish or thought she was helping with the cleanup? Anyway, those are the best explanations I’ve found for his strange behavior. And for the record: Yes, if you want to keep your friend’s hummus after you’ve fed your guests, nicely ask her to leave it.

For help with your awkward situation, send a question to Philip Galanes on Facebook at [email protected] or @SocialQPhilip on Twitter.

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