Dear Annie: Might tea be just tea?
Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for nearly 30 years. We’re both in our 50s and attractive. I work with him as his administrator. He’s a real estate agent.
Our receptionist is about 30 years old and very beautiful. She’s been with the office for five years. They talk and are office friends.
Recently, my husband bumped into her on the road. He honked to get her attention and asked her out for tea. I just so happened to call him while he was having the tea in her car, as it was a drive-thru coffee shop. When I called him, he did not disclose he was with the receptionist. He just said he was on his way home. I was suspicious, so I drove down the road he usually takes home from work. I noticed that both cars were parked near the coffee shop and that my husband was in the receptionist’s car having tea with her.
When I talked to him later, he said he hadn’t told me he was with her because he thought I would have been angry. He said he wants to have a relationship with me in which he can be completely honest but knew I wouldn’t understand that it was just a friendship thing and nothing more. I talked to both of them and said it was very inappropriate behavior and it should never happen again. I have also told my husband that his phone and whereabouts should be an open book right now until he gains my trust.
I do believe it was only a friendship thing, as my husband does talk and socialize with both men and women all the time. Any advice would be appreciated. Do you think it’s OK for a married man to have tea with his secretary? —Miffed
Dear Miffed: Having tea with a co-worker is perfectly OK. So why would your husband lie about it?
Maybe there’s something going on between them, but it’s more likely he was trying to avoid the sort of embarrassing scene that ended up transpiring.
Take a step back and look at your actions. You immediately jumped in the car and patrolled his commute route. Then you scolded him and your longtime mutual colleague. Then you set rules he must follow to earn back your trust. All over the “very inappropriate” act of having tea with a co-worker in public.
Yes, it was wrong of him to lie, but if this is any indication of your past behavior, you can’t fully blame him.
If you believe that your husband has been unfaithful, I encourage you to explore the issue together in marriage counseling. But it sounds as though, even by your own account, he’s given you no cause for real concern. If that’s the case, consider seeing a counselor on your own, someone who could help you dig up the roots of your insecurity.
Whatever you do, don’t let jealousy run rampant through your relationship. Love withers among those weeds.
Dear Annie: I’ve noticed that you often recommend Families Anonymous and Al-Anon to people struggling with a loved one’s drug addiction or alcoholism. Both organizations are extremely helpful. Please consider also suggesting SMART Recovery Family & Friends meetings, available in many towns and online. As stated on its website, SMART Recovery “helps those who are affected by the substance abuse, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, or other addictions of a loved one. ... (It) is a science-based, secular alternative to Al-Anon. ... SMART Recovery would like to provide you with the addiction recovery support you can use to help yourself as well (as) your loved one.” — Hope This Helps
Dear Hope This Helps: Thank you for offering up yet another resource for the friends and family of people with addictions Support makes all the difference.
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