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He suffered, she didn't after affair

Dear Carolyn: I had an affair with a co-worker that led to the demise of my marriage. Biggest mistake of my life.

I feel as though I am getting the short end of the stick because her husband has no idea of the affair. Part of me says it's something he should know. Also, we both knew what we were doing was wrong, and so we both should suffer the consequences of what we've done. So far I've taken the high road and been trying to focus on why I did what I did. She's going about her life as if nothing has happened.

-- Veritable quandary

A. "Both should suffer"?

You actually don't know that her husband doesn't know, do you -- nor do you know your ex-paramour has escaped without consequences, right? You aren't privy to either. He could know -- or, her guilt could inflict time-release damage worse than any you suffered.

Even if a genie granted you omniscience and you could prove you suffered greater consequences than she, your consequences would still be your business, and hers would be hers.

Here's what you do know: You tried to heal something in you by having an affair, and now you want to heal something in you by punishing your mistress. Isn't it time to recognize that looking elsewhere for healing won't work?

What ails you is on the inside, and so that's where your healing must start. Besides -- your last field trip off the high road didn't go so well. Another reason not to indulge.


Co-workers frown on attire

Dear Carolyn: I work in a small office, and our public relations person wears clothes that are beyond risque and inappropriate by any business standards. I'm talking about cleavage-revealing tops and skirts that are two sizes too tight and 12 inches too short for her age; she's mid-50s and wearing clothes that would have been better when she was 25 pounds lighter, 25 years younger, and at a club versus meeting with potential clients.

Everyone at our office is rolling their eyes and talking about it. How do we diplomatically let her know she looks like an aging stripper who's trying too hard?

-- What NOT to wear to work

A. So, the gossip, eye-rolling and water-cooler ridicule about her short skirts are more appropriate than her short skirts?

The people she reports to are the ones with the responsibility to shut down the skin show. If you supervise her, then you talk to her. If you don't, you need to voice your concern to your supervisor that her clothing is bad for business.

Otherwise? You have no standing in this situation except as a fellow human being. Your responsibility in that role is this: to treat her as someone who is making her way through life the best she can.