Find affair’s cause before confessing (Ellie)

Question: While dating the most wonderful man for two years, I had a six-month affair with a colleague. It was intense but I stopped because it’d destroy my boyfriend if he knew. I love him and my conscience has been plaguing me.

If I tell him about it, would it be just to ease my conscience?

Troubled and Confused

Answer: Instead of worrying about whether to confess, make sure you’ve figured out why you’d risk a long and potentially destructive affair when you love this “most wonderful man” so much.

I suspect you’re also plagued by that contradiction, and need to understand why you strayed. Perhaps you’re afraid of commitment, or you react to fear when things are going too well, or that some stuff from your past allowed you to deceive a great guy in order to take a wild ride with a lesser one.

Whatever the reason, when you’re more in touch with your motivation for the affair, it’ll be a better time to rationally consider whether to confess it.

Sometimes confession is not necessary once the affair’s over, and if it’s unlikely anyone will get hurt. But in your case, it could happen again unless you know what made you do it.

Question: I love my husband of five years and my baby son, but our problem is that our families don’t get along. It started with the wedding planning and just got worse from there.

I’d hoped our nine-month-old son would bring them closer together, but everyone’s still rehashing the same old things. Every family get-together is awkward, stressful, and uncomfortable.

I always feel stuck in the middle, feeling loyalty to my family and often agreeing with them. Yet I really want everyone to get along . . . they don’t have to be best friends, but it’d be nice if every family event didn’t result in a “they did this” and “they did that” from each side.

I don’t want my son to grow up with such a dysfunctional situation!

Caught Between

Answer: Get out of the middle by refusing to listen. Agreeing with your own parents isn’t helpful at this time, so turn their complaints off, too.

His parents can see that you’re not really neutral, so, depending on the issue, they’re naturally going to push their opinions even harder.

Make a pact with your husband that you’ll both deflect criticism and commentaries from either side, by saying, “Let’s enjoy the baby instead, since he represents both families!”

Engage both sets of grandparents with your son’s photos, Skype sessions, visits, etc. Point out how he smiles like Grandpa A and has hair like Grandma B, etc.

When those same old complaints from the wedding get raised, just say, “We don’t care about that anymore, so let’s please move on from it.”

Question: My friend keeps changing plans with me. She has a boyfriend and one minute she says she’s coming over tomorrow night, the next it’s that they’re going away for the weekend.

How can I tell her this is unfair to me, without sounding like I’m jealous because I have no boyfriend?


Answer: Next time, say you need to know that the plan’s for sure, as you’re staying home specifically to see her. Ask if she’s also sure her boyfriend doesn’t have other plans for her.

If she cancels after that, refuse to make future dates with her, and say you’ll just have to leave it to last-minute calls. This isn’t you being jealous; it’s her being rude and inconsiderate.


When someone in love risks an outside affair, there’s future risk of cheating.

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