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The Secretary

Question:

For two and a half years since my husband got a new secretary, I’ve had the feeling that something was going on between them. He denies any type of physical attraction, swearing they are only friends. He spends countless hours with her. Stays late at the office, the whole nine yards. He swears that they are just really close friends and wants me to be friends with her and her husband also. I have had people from his work say they saw them kissing, he vehemently denies. He makes calls to her and her to him. One morning I caught him making a phone call to her. He said that she had been late several times to work and wanted him to give her a wake up call. Her husband seems oblivious to all of this. He lies to me or doesn’t tell me everything about situations or events that have taken place, when he gets caught, he says he knew I would just get mad so he didn’t tell me. What should I do about this, meanwhile we have to have them as “friends”. The three of them want to plan a camping trip for spring. HELP

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  • ‘Anne’ is the pseudonym for the individual who writes this relationship advice column.
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Answer:

To my mind the issue is not whether or not your husband is having a sexual affair with his secretary (it does sound like he is from what you say here) but rather whether he has already left the marriage emotionally. From what you say here it seems clear enough that he has left the marriage emotionally. You would seem to be faced with a set of choices. You can go on as you have been doing playing a game with your husband (he seems to be playing “how much can I get away with?” and you seem to be playing “I have no basis for acting until I have better evidence”). You can also call him on the carpet for the intimacy and trust I presume is lacking in your marriage. If you take this latter path you will need to be willing to risk shaking things up in your marriage and potentially sacrificing it. You will ultimately need to be willing to leave him if he continues to treat you as someone to avoid. I recommend asking him to go with you to counseling. The way I see it, you don’t need the evidence of an affair in order to believe that your marriage is in serious trouble and needs attention. I also believe that you are within your rights as a wife to expect your husband to pay more attention to you than to his secretary. Even if he is not having an affair with her, the emotional intensity of his relationship with her is causing problems in your marriage that are very legitimate and will need to be addressed. At some point, either the marriage will give or this relationship your husband and his secretary have formed will have to give. On a final note, please don’t try to do this alone. You will need support from others who are not involved with your marital problems in order to see this clearly. Find a therapist and/or women (or men) friends to discuss this troubling situation with. Good Luck!

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