Arrow-right Camera
News >  Features

Carolyn Hax: Ask wife how she purged bad feelings

Hi, Carolyn: A number of months ago my wife went on a ladies’ trip to Vegas with four friends – all married. Friends A, B and C “hooked up” with men they met. It also came out that friend A has been maintaining a long-distance affair for a number of years and was encouraging friend B to follow suit with the guy she had met.

My wife and I were out to dinner recently with friend D and her husband and this all came out. We all get together as couples fairly often, and my wife and friend D had been reticent to say anything because they didn’t want to ruin the group dynamic. After much discussion, it was decided it wasn’t our business and we should forget about it.

But it’s been nagging at me since and I can’t seem to let it go. I trust my wife, so that’s not it. I’m friends with the husbands of A, B and C, but not close enough that I feel I should meddle in their marriages. I should just write this up to ladies in their 40s behaving badly; maybe a little midlife-crisis kind of thing. Right? – Husband of friend E

Sometimes information leaves a film, doesn’t it?

While it’s natural to consider telling the truth as the best way to scrub off that film, I’m loath to challenge a decision you apparently made after giving the matter serious thought. There are good arguments to be made – and passionate beliefs to be held – on both sides of the meddle/don’t meddle divide (though I’m not convinced that “it will ruin the group dynamic” is one of them). It’s possible that changing sides will only make you feel worse.

But your nagging bad feelings do need to be addressed, so if you can do it without accusing/demanding/ implying anything, consider revisiting the issue with your wife. Tell her the information still feels heavy, and ask her whether it’s still on her mind, too.

Then, depending on her answer, you can either ask her how she made peace with it so that you can try her method/reasoning yourself – she’s in the best position to say, knowing you and these women best – or suggest that you and she try to make peace with it together.

If your wife doesn’t want any part of the conversation, just the fact of her discomfort might explain your own – and her dubious taste in friends.

If instead you both contribute willingly to a solution, be it logistical (say, you and she choose to distance yourselves from A, B and C) or philosophical (you affirm each other’s dedication to and pleasure with honesty and fidelity), just the act of your coming to it together can go a long way toward getting this off your mind.

What won’t work – as you know – is glibly waving it off. It’s not “ladies behaving badly” or a “little midlife crisis,” it’s betrayal, to which you’re now a conscripted party. It’s to your credit you’re feeling its weight.

E-mail Carolyn at, follow her on Facebook at carolyn.hax or chat with her online at 9 a.m. each Friday at