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He thinks I'm having an affair

Relationships
 I have become close to some guy at work but nothing has happened between us. What do I do? (Photo: iStock)

Hi Chris,

I think my husband is about to accuse me of having an affair! I am not of course, or I would be panicking, but even so, I do not know how to react if he confronts me.

What has happened is that I have become quite close to a man at work, and we have been talking a lot about some of the difficulties my husband and I have been having recently.

I do not feel I have done anything wrong, but I guess my husband has heard something about us spending time together and he is dropping hints that he thinks there is more.

So what should I do?

Accused

Chris says,

Hi Accused!

If your husband confronts you, it is best to start by concentrating on just getting through those first few hours without making matters worse.

Try to avoid talking when the children are around. Try to find out what he knows before you start denying everything. Just say you will answer his accusations if he simply tells you what he has heard, listen, and do not argue your case just yet.

But if it is clear that what he has heard is true, own up straight away. Say that it was a big mistake, with someone who was not special, and you will never do it again. And do not even think of blaming him for what happened!

Even if it was all just talk. Because getting close to someone of the opposite sex is an emotional affair.

Like yours, most emotional infidelity starts at work. Because all that time together creates a connection that is hard for a partner to compete with. Add long coffee breaks and drinks after work, and suddenly you are talking about things you should not discuss outside your home.

Emotional affairs generally start when something has started slipping at home. Unresolved issues, sex problems, so much time at work that you are only ever together when you are tired and irritable.

And then someone at work starts paying you a little extra attention. And your conversations start to drift from strictly professional to deeply personal.

It will help to encourage your husband to keep talking this first time, so long as he does not start pressing you for more and more details. He probably will, and you should give them. But later. So tell him that you will tell him everything, but not today. Do not leave the house even if he asks you to, but say that he can decide the sleeping arrangements for as long as he needs to.

Be prepared for lots of recriminations and upset, but more likely than not your marriage will survive, so long as everything ends immediately. Your husband will never completely forget what has happened, but trust will grow again.

A more realistic trust based on knowing that things can and do go wrong, and positively working together towards preventing that from happening again.

All the best,

Chris

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