About 10 years ago, early in my separation from my ex-husband, I arrived for a job interview at an address that I discovered was the male employer’s home.
He told me that he was also separated and began to chat about the loneliness of it. I had come seeking a job but as he talked I knew I didn’t want to work for him.
I don’t remember how or why we had sex. There was no coercion, it just happened. It was quick, cold and over. I left hoping to never see him again.
Now, that incident has come back to haunt me. My current husband of seven years mentioned that a new person had joined his group of golf friends... that man.
I’m terrified of ever having to socialize with him. I’m afraid that I’ll start shaking with fear of exposure if he even looks my way.
My husband loves me, he knows I was married before and dated other men before we met. But this memory leaves me too ashamed to want to have to admit it.
Do I have to confess to having had meaningless sex with a man I didn’t even like?
Fear of Exposure
You weren’t cheating on any other partner. Neither, it seems, was that man. You accepted full responsibility for your part.
He can’t be accused of pressuring you, because you knew almost immediately that you wouldn’t ever want to work with or for him.
Stop beating yourself up. It was a lost moment a decade ago. If you ever find yourself in his company, stay composed and excuse yourself politely as soon as possible.
Should he make any reference to having met you in the past, look bewildered, say you don’t recall that, walk away.
Basically, it was only yourself who you let down. But never again.
If your husband ever finds reason to question you about this, tell him it was the briefest of encounters, but helped you resolve to meet someone wonderful... which you did, and married him.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the husband who had eight female colleagues (August 21):
“When I met my husband he had three women friends who were very interested in him. He chose me.
“Nowadays he has so many women friends that I don’t know the total number. They’re from all areas of his life: colleagues, former coworkers, his friends’ ex-girlfriends, relatives, neighbours, friends of friends, high-school mates.
“He texts, Facebooks, and regularly communicates with them by phone or computer and at various and different times.
“He’s very friendly, outgoing and social so he meets and talks to a lot of people. He’s kept most of the friends he’s made over his life.
“Usually, he mentions me within the first few seconds of any conversation.
“Long ago I said if he ever found anyone he loved more than me, I’d want them to be together. I love him and want him to be happy.
“I also said that I didn’t think he’d ever meet someone who loved him more than I do. He can have all the women friends he wants. They’ll never be any competition to me.
“We’ve been married for 35 years and had much adventure, some adversity and are very happily together still.
“I agree with Ellie’s advice that he should introduce his wife to his friends. When my husband did that, they became my very good friends too. Anyone who sees us together quickly forgets about getting between us.”
FEEDBACK Regarding the man who’d only have sex fully clothed (September 11):
Reader – “I understand that your answer focused on defining a “fetish” because the girlfriend specifically questioned that.
“To me, the boyfriend's behaviour was more about a complex, or an aversion, because he always sleeps with his clothes on including after the sex act, when he avoids touching skin-to-skin.
“He could have body image issues, or aversions to skin, or any other body part. Also, he doesn't seem to differentiate between going to bed for sleep or for sex.
“Since sleeping clothed is what his mother taught him, there could be some impaired emotional development due to his relationship with his mother.
“I think the girlfriend needs to have a detailed discussion with him, as you suggested, and watch for further red flags about how the discussion goes before she gets any more emotionally involved in this relationship.”
Tip of the day:
A past indiscretion that didn’t “cheat” on anyone else, should be left in the past.