Q: I am a happily married man. My boss is a happily married woman. I have always liked and admired her, but now my respect has evolved into a massive crush. It’s very distracting. I think she may have similar feelings, but I don’t want to know, because of course nothing could come of it. I keep telling my wife (and myself) that my boss and I are just friends. And we are. Really. A little sexual tension doesn’t change that … does it?
—ON THIN OFFICE ICE, PROVIDENCE, R.I.
A: You’ve certainly established your credentials for the “Help Desk” all-defensive team. For everyone’s sake, don’t spend any late nights toiling away on a project in your boss’s office, empty takeout containers strewn about, phones ringing ceaselessly beyond the closed door, fluorescent lights playing ever so delicately on her lustrous hair … Just go home. You can finish the assignment tomorrow. In truth, no matter how happy you are at home, it’s natural to be attracted to other women from time to time. But when the kind of tension you describe sets in, you’re on a slippery slope and need to take action to retain your footing on solid, nonadulterous ground. So tell your wife about the crush. Explain that you have no intention of acting on it, and don’t object to her instituting any kind of checking-up-on-you regimen she cares to. Your crush will instantly feel less illicit, and you’ll be able to go on doing your job in your customary highly professional way.
Q: I’ve been married for more than 23 years. My husband and I have sex at least four times a week, so I figured we were all set in that regard. But I recently found the number of an escort in his phone book and saw escort services and sensual-massage parlors on his Internet history page. I am heartbroken—and so confused. We have a great family. I’m worried that if I confront him, it may ruin our intimate life.
—NOT ENOUGH, DIAMOND BAR, CALIF.
A: If he’s lying to and cheating on you, and potentially exposing you to sexually transmitted diseases, your intimate life is already compromised. Of course, this kind of revelation can be devastating, but keep in mind that people seek illicit sex for all kinds of reasons. It sounds like you have an enviably robust sex life; he could be going through some kind of particularly self-destructive midlife crisis that has nothing to do with you. Ask him as nonaccusatorily as you can about what you’ve found, and make an appointment to see a marriage counselor at once.
Q: The good news: I met someone I really like at a gay Seder. The bad news: He’s geographically undesirable. I just don’t do Brooklyn. Should I tear up his number now?
—STAYING PUT, MIDTOWN
A: What, do you need Moses to part the East River for you? It may come as a shock, but some parts of Brooklyn have been pretty happening for years now, and Manhattanites—even sophisticated ones—are known to board the subway for nights out at BAM or in the bars and restaurants of Park Slope and Williamsburg. Give this guy a chance before you say “It’s not you; it’s your borough.” He may even turn out to be a strong enough draw that he’ll help you outgrow your tired parochialism.
Q: I’m an author putting the finishing touches on a new book, and I have a sinking feeling that I may break up with my partner in the months before it’s published. Do I have to mention her in the acknowledgments?
—THANKS BUT NO THANKS, FORT GREENE, BROOKLYN
A: You don’t have to gush, call her your “life partner,” or say you hope she’s around for the sequel. Nor do you have to go all Eternal Sunshine and pre-delete her memory. Just tell the truth, and be specific, not sappy. In other words, if she supported you and brought you Pirate’s Booty while you were holed up in your garret, by all means thank her. Because even when relationships go bad, it’s still nice to be on record with the good stuff.
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