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Ask Rene: An Affair To Remember?


Hi Rene,

My husband John and I have been married for 14 generally happy years and have a young daughter called Katie, who’s two-years-old.

Recently however I found out through my friend, Tina, that John had a one-night stand just before we were married. It was with an old friend we’ve now lost touch with and we’re talking 15 years ago – but Tina thinks I should Facebook the old friend and find out what happened – and confront my husband!

I’m honestly not sure what to do. Part of me thinks it was so long ago that I should just let it lie. But then part of me really wants to know the truth. Plus I’m worried that if John did this once – could he do it again? Do I really know my husband and what he’s capable of?

What would you do Rene? Would you keep quiet – or want to dig deeper, knowing you could be digging up a can of worms? Is it worth getting worked up over an ancient one-night stand?

Stressed out!

Stevie, Milwaukee


Dear Stevie:

This problem, if you want to call it that, has a simple, one-word answer. NO. No, it is not worth digging up ancient history or getting worked up over a one-night stand from more than a decade ago.  You sound more ambivalent than anything else, like you almost feel like you’re SUPPOSED to be angry, but really are not.  I think that’s because even you know chasing this down is sort of silly. You might be more curious than else and you know what they say about curiosity! Here’s why you’re gonna leave this in the past where it belongs:

IT HAPPENED 15 YEARS AGO! You have moved on, you have built a life and a future with this man. You have a baby and admit yourself that the years have been “generally happy”. One of the things I like to do is approach certain situations like a chess game where you examine each move and it’s effect/outcome. Let’s say you go ahead and friend this woman on Facebook. If she even accepts your request, then what? You’re gonna just blurt out “I hear you slept with my husband before he was my husband.” “ She says, “Uh…” because first she’s trying to sift through 15 years of memories, then she’ll try to formulate an answer, all the while wondering, ‘WHAT THE HELL? That was 15 years ago!” She’ll be left scratching her head and you’ll be left feeling awkward and foolish.

WHAT ARE YOU HOPING TO GAIN? Can you tell me one good thing that will happen after you hang up the phone or sign off the email with this woman? What exactly are you hoping to get from her? You want details? Like she could even remember. What will you do with that information? Stew on it, taking years off your life and happiness until you confront John? Oh please, this sounds more like high school drama than real life. The fact of the matter is he clearly does not want her because he chose YOU. You ask if he could do it again. Well, I suppose that’s a possibility but I would guess unlikely. He’s carved out a life and future with you, the woman he loves, why would you question that?

IF YOU REALLY WANT TO KNOW, SKIP THE FACEBOOK FRIEND AND GO TO JOHN: If it’s eating you up inside I would recommend asking John since that is where this is all going to end up. This really is about your relationship with John, not the friend from years ago and because of that I think the fewer people involved, the better. But really, by your own admission this woman is someone who is no longer in your life; why open the door for her to be back, especially under these circumstances? Makes no sense to me.

WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH TINA? I’m not as concerned about your husband or the 15-year-old, one-night stand as I am your “friend” who is urging you to drudge up stuff from the past that has no real bearing on your future. Aren’t you a little curious about HER motive? I believe if Tina really had your best interest at heart, was truly your friend, she would have kept her fat trap shut. It’s one thing if John was carrying on like this now, placing you and your daughter in jeopardy. That’s not what’s happening here. She is, for reasons unbeknownst to you (and me frankly) just trying to cause drama. I have a name for people like this, shit-starter. If you want to ask questions start with Tina. Ask her why she thought it necessary to bring this up now (instead of 15 years ago, hello?) and how she thought this knowledge was going to help you. I don’t buy the whole “Because I’m your friend” because a true friend would take your feelings and current situation into account. She would (in her head) go over the pro’s and con’s of telling you and, after she came to the conclusion that this would cause more hurt than anything else, would go to her grave with it. If you want to reassess relationships, this is the one I would be looking long and hard at.

You need to look at what you have and potentially what you have to lose if you start unearthing ancient history, which is what this is. How would you feel if John, at the urging of a “friend” started contacting your old boyfriends on Facebook? You need to ask yourself if this really matters to you (without Tina’s voice rattling around in your head) and where you want to live. Do you want to live, in the past where mistakes were made or in the future where you can implement the knowledge you learned from them? I think you know the answer.

Good luck, mommy.

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