DEAR AMY: My husband and I have been married for 40 years. He owns rental property, and last year a married woman moved into one of his houses. Her husband lives out of town and is expected to move here once he retires. A few months ago, she and my husband began an affair. I don’t believe it was sexual, but it was definitely emotional. Once he started having dates with her, I told him to leave — it would be her or me. Their relationship had become too intense with constant texting, telephone calls and late-night visits. He left, but came back to me shortly after, saying they had a long conversation and that they should “cool” their relationship. Now, even though they have cooled, they continue to text, and he goes to the house to “fix” things. He says she has no friends and he worries about her. I’m having a difficult time trusting them considering the hell they put me through. He says he has no friends. I have no problem with him having a friend, but they overstepped their relationship big time. How do I handle this, since he is the landlord?
Left and Bereft
DEAR LEFT: This tenant needs to find another place to live.
I’m going to assume that she won’t be moving, and so — because you and your husband are trying to repair your marriage, he should offer you complete transparency regarding ALL of their contact. He should not be receiving or sending “friendship” texts. He should show you all communication between them. And you should go on “service calls” with him.
Understand that at the end of the day, you are not responsible for your husband’s lack of friends. He really does need to make a choice to fully commit to you, and so far, he doesn’t seem to have actually made it.
DEAR AMY: A close family member, “Clara,” concocted a completely false, salacious accusation about me, and — unbeknownst to me — spread it through the family. This was about four years ago. Eventually, her own daughter bravely took me aside and told me about her mother’s accusations. Other family members corroborated that Clara had, indeed, spread rumors. I’m really private and socially awkward. It took me a couple of years to get the nerve to bring it up, but when I did, Clara quickly deflected, telling me that the devil was filling my mind with lies and that I just needed to pray about it. Clara never acknowledged that she was the source of the gossip. Clara is a sanctimonious church-goer and advertises herself to be a saintly senior citizen. She has never acknowledged the lies and gossip she spread, nor offered any apology. I was blindsided. I was so humiliated that I wouldn’t even go to the grocery store in my own town. I’ve worked through most of the hurt, but I have not forgotten. I want to bring it up again, but I don’t want to seem foolish or petty. Is there any way to address this issue with her? Or should I let it go? The damage has been done and the gossip has been spread and I can’t un-ring that bell, but I would still like to know what made her do that. I guess I’d like some kind of closure.
Small Town Girl
DEAR SMALL TOWN: You should prepare yourself for the likelihood that “Clara” will never reveal her motives for inventing and spreading gossip about you.
Gossip is about power and social currency. The person spreading it feels powerful being “in the know.” She also believes that putting someone else down through malicious and muckraking gossip increases her own social standing.
You should state your own truth and ask her to explain her motives. Tell her you would appreciate her correcting her misinformation, as well as an apology.
I hope you can do this, regardless of her reaction, because standing up for yourself is both graceful and empowering. That’s how you get “closure.”
DEAR AMY: Regarding the letter from “Torn,” I had an emotional affair with my boss many years ago. I met with a therapist after I left that job. She counseled that I never see him again. By the time he and I met again a decade later, our ardor had cooled to the point where I wondered what I ever saw in him. Torn should consider a “normalization meeting” with her husband, instead of her affair partner.
Glad I Know Better Now
DEAR GLAD: Bingo!