DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I did something bad six months ago and am starting to pay for it big-time. I had sex just once outside my marriage with a flaky married lady at work, but I thought it was safe. We buried the memory, or so I thought, and never talked about it again. Now she has gotten herself free of her husband, which is bad news. Last Friday she showed up at the bar where all of us guys go after work and got really drunk. Then she caught me on the way to the bathroom and said, "I want you and I know you want me too, and now I'm free." Then she nailed me against the wall with a big kiss just as one of my friends came down the hall.
The thing is I don't want her, now or ever. I said, "I hope you didn't leave your husband because of me!" and she said, all teary-eyed, "Well yes, partly." All week she's been giving me the big, lovelorn cow eyes at work, and I'm sweating it out. I don't love my wife anymore, but at least she's not deluded and dumb. How do I put an end to this? -- Targeted, North End
Dear Targeted: You haven't displayed great intelligence yourself, fella. People can feel when there's something going down between two people across a room. You won't be the only person who's seen her big, sad eyes looking at you and she'll have told one or two work friends, who may have told 10 others.
The best you can do now is damage control: after quitting time, go for a coffee in your own cars a short drive away from your workplace, then get in her car to talk. Apologize profusely for giving her the wrong idea, and be very nice. You need her forgiveness so she doesn't continue to suffer out loud at work. Tell her that your marriage isn't good, but it's not bad enough to leave the family. Tell her she's a lovely person, but that it can never go any further, so she should look for someone else. If she says, "I don't want anyone but you," you reply, very kindly: "But I don't feel the same way." Then say goodbye and get out of the car.
Dear Lonelyhearts: My husband just told me his mother sexually abused him as a very young man. It came out when I asked him after her funeral why he wasn't mourning her death. Then he broke down and cried as he told me what she had done to him in his early years after her husband died. I was shocked and didn't react except to hold him as he wrenched the confession out.
I don't know where we go from here, but something needs to be done. He says, "I don't want to talk about it, and what's done is done. She's gone and it's over," but I can see in his eyes it's not over. I asked him if he would consider a support group and he said, "No one must know." I asked him about a psychiatrist or psychologist and he said, "OK, maybe," very quietly. Should I get right on it and look for someone for him, or should I let him do it on his own time? -- Upset Wife, Winnipeg
Dear Upset: Help him get connected. It's unlikely he would be able to find the words to set up an appointment for himself. A physician can make a referral to a psychiatrist (on medicare) but waiting lists are long. A psychologist might be the answer, as patients can make their own appointments. Ask your husband if he'd prefer to talk to a woman or a man about it. I will send you a short list of places for you to call for the kind of experienced therapist your husband needs. You can get the name, and then he can phone and set up the appointment time. They may require him to make that first call so they know he actually wants to do it.
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