Dear E. Jean: I’ve been sneaking away for long “lunches” with a married man from my office. He tells me he loves me, I tell him I love him, and this has been going on for a year. Knowing I was doing wrong, and that he’d never leave his big-time breadwinning wife, I broke it off and had a date with a wonderful new man. My married friend turned up the charm, I couldn’t resist, and we started all over again!
But recently I saw him talking to a new girl from PR, and yesterday they went out for “lunch” and never returned. I was so distraught that a guy in my circle of work friends tried to comfort me. He said he knew of my affair because the bastard would brag after each of our encounters to all the guys in the office! The asshole even showed them pictures of me halfdressed that I’d sent him! I can’t believe I was so stupid! I’m still crying over it all. I loathe him! I can’t stand working here! I can’t look at his face anymore! But my salary is so generous, I don’t think I could find another job that pays as well. Is there any other way to deal? — Slut in a Rut
Miss Rut, My Darling: Now, now. Dry those tears. You are a woman who will have an affair with somebody, and as no CEO in history has ever been able to stop people chasing one another, and as there are hundreds of offices for you to begin your next affair in, here are the rules: Never talk about it. Never send naked photos to a coworker. And, when flirting with a colleague who has a wife, you’re allowed a nibble of baloney, but never “lunch” on the whole salami.
As for your career at this company? It’s dead. Thanks to your friendly office dudes, everyone from the president down to the woman who comes in twice a month to service the copier knows you’re pegging Mr. PR Girl.
Your job now is to (a) stop thinking of your current salary as “generous” and start thinking of it as laughably paltry, (b) get a new job that pays more, and (c) never, ever trust a married man who cheats.
This letter is from the E. Jean archive.