Hax: Move beyond the wreckage of affair

The Washington PostJanuary 14, 2014 

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Carolyn: My husband of 10 years has been having an affair with a married woman. I moved out; we're getting divorced. It sucks more than I could have imagined, but I am coping with the help of good friends and a good therapist.

My question is about the other woman's husband, who, according to my husband, doesn't know about the affair or her plans to leave her marriage. I don't know if I should contact her husband or not.

On the one hand, I want to because I'm angry and I'd like to upset her life as much as she's upset mine. The fact that she gets to time her separation for her own convenience - i.e. once my stuff is out of my house so she can move her stuff in - irritates the hell out of me. I also think her husband has a right to know.

On the other, I cringe at the idea of tracking down a stranger and telling him this awful news. Sending him an email, waiting outside his work … ugh, I hate the thought of doing that. It seems sneaky and petty and I don't like it. And if he does know and has just accepted the situation, I hate that scenario even more.

I really don't want to be involved anymore. I just want to get out of this situation and get on with my life, and contacting her husband would keep me very much involved. I'd become a participant rather than a disgusted bystander.

What do you advise?

THE OTHER SPOUSE

I don't need to advise anything, except to suggest you reread your own letter. You wrote your way to the answer yourself: "I really don't want to be involved anymore. I just want to get out of this situation."

If it helps to keep you centered, think of all things marriage and affair as smoking wreckage behind you, which you return to and pick through only when there's an absolute necessity, by your own definition of such. Otherwise, you're all forward, all tomorrow, all you.

Email tellme@washpost.com. Chat online at 10 a.m. Fridays at www.washingtonpost.com.

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