Dear Annie: “Don” and I have been married for 43 years. I thought we had a good marriage, but my trust has been shaken recently.
Don retired four years ago. He told me a former co-worker, “Lulu,” had emailed to ask to meet for lunch and catch up on the latest office gossip. It sounded pretty innocent to me, so I had no objection. Then my world turned upside down.
Last week, I ran into another of Don’s ex-co-workers, who informed me that Don and Lulu had been having lunch together a few times a week for the past four years. He said their obvious attraction was well known at the office.
Annie, Don never once mentioned these lunches to me. When I asked him point blank, he became quite upset and said there was nothing going on. I said I wanted the lunches and emails to end. He replied that he won’t initiate contact, but if Lulu emails him, he will respond. I find this unacceptable.
Yesterday, Don said Lulu invited him to the office picnic. He plans to go, but said I shouldn’t attend because I’d be bored to tears. I told him if he attended this picnic without me, I would have to consider my next step. He thinks I’m bluffing. My best friend thinks I should move out and then tell our children, who have always admired their father.
What is your take on all this, Annie? – Nervous Wife
Dear Nervous: Don doesn’t want you at the picnic because he wants to be with Lulu (assuming there actually is a picnic). You should insist on going with him. Whether this is an affair or just a flirtation, Don is showing appalling disregard for you. Out of respect for your marriage, he needs to stop all contact with Lulu immediately. Try not to bring the children into this mess. Your next step should be counseling. Tell Don the marriage is in serious trouble, and ask him to come with you. If he refuses, go without him and figure out what is best for you.