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a whole lot of very specific, concrete advice to be handing out to a stranger when you don't know anything about the people involved and you haven't had real training in this area.

Ed Zachary!

I didn't stick an oar in the water on An Open Letter because I felt kind of bad for both the OP and the advice giver. The OP because it seemed like she was irrationally exuberant about what could develop into a bad situation, and the advice giver because with all good intentions to warn the OP she gave (in Wasmick's words) "the worst advice ever."

Some of the advice giver's thoughts were right on the money, and I hoped that after the tsunami of posts pointing out that telling DH about an office attraction was perhaps not the best way to handle the situation, she (advice giver) would think twice and step back. But she didn't. She doubled down. I felt worse.

Then I felt better when the OP came back and said some sensible things about how she planned to proceed. She was also very gracious to the advice giver.

Whew! Another day on the Fool lurker's emotional roller coaster.

But...if I had put my oar in I would have said that office romances happen all the time. Or maybe not romances so much as relationships. Someone at work becomes a good friend and you trust him or her with confidences, you sometimes have lunch together, you can glance at each other and know what the other is thinking.

Such relationships are more difficult to keep in place when there is some sexual attraction overlay. Both parties must be certain to keep the sexual part locked away. In my experience, it is better not to talk about that part of it with ANYONE, and that includes spouse, office people, good friends, relatives, and...most especially...the other person. The "let's take this out in the open and have a good, honest look at it" impulse belongs in one a discussion with a counselor like a psychiatrist, psychotherapist, or maybe for some though I would never do it, a priest or minister. Or, just maybe, an anonymous Internet chat board where you can get another (couple of hundred) opinions.

The problem with the Internet chat board is that you are writing it down. It will still be there the next time your spouse stumbles across it. And he/she probably will.

Anecdote time: a fairly famous guy was carrying on an affair with a fairly famous woman. They were both involved in themselves and their romance and they sent inappropriate and sometimes explicit e-mails to each other. Either she was not too bright or she had some other plan, but one day she told her husband that her laptop seemed very sluggish and asked him to take a look at it. He found hundreds of these back and forth e-mails. So he got mad and then he got even. He sent them all to a London tabloid and the more salacious ones were promptly printed up for the world (and the other guy's wife) to see. Bada boom.

On the other hand, a couple I have known for years began their marriage with a vow of honesty. Complete honesty about everything. So any little attraction to a neighbor or colleague or personal trainer was brought back home to be honestly dealt with between adults. Honesty led to insecurity and jealousy. Some anger. And finally to one ups man ship and the beginnings of dishonesty. As in..."Oh, so you are attracted to my best friend? Well, YOUR best friend said something very suggestive to me at our pool party last week." They had a completely honest discussion about complete honesty and came to the conclusion that it was a crock. They agreed that they would talk to each other about work and daily life and they would not hide any friendships from each other. And they agreed to keep all of the other day to day thoughts to themselves. An example: "Becky does such imaginative things with her long hair" would be okay. "I find myself imagining things I would like to do with Becky's long hair" would be one of those thoughts to keep to yourself.

oars up,
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