Annie's Mailbox: Workplace affair brings tension

Dear Annie: My married boss is having an affair with one of my co-workers. We work in a very small office with few employees. We have all been here for many years and have become close, but now the tension is unbearable. The affair is the big pink elephant in the room that no one will admit is there.

I find what they are doing very unprofessional, and it has created some distrust toward the boss and this co-worker. I think it is affecting everyone’s work performance.

My dilemma is: Do I tell his wife? Should I say something to the co-worker? I don’t want to jeopardize my job, but I’d like them to know how disgusted I am.

— Needing Advice

Dear Needing: Take your co-worker aside privately, and tell her everyone in the office is aware of what’s going on and it’s only a matter of time before the wife finds out -- at which point, the co-worker is likely to be fired. Say it in a way that indicates you are concerned for her. You and some of your other co-workers also can notify the boss that office morale is down and you are worried that his relationship with your co-worker is partially responsible. It is best to register your disapproval in professional terms.

Dear Annie: I married a widower with two adopted children who don’t seem to care about their father except for the money.

My husband has been in and out of the hospital 13 times in the past 10 years, and neither child ever called to find out how he was. The son doesn’t bother to help his father unless we call and ask. The daughter lives out of state and often invites herself to stay here for a visit. But when we went there for the grandchildren’s graduation party, we had to stay in a hotel. We were not invited to the party after, and they didn’t even save us a seat at the commencement.

When I hinted that we’d like to spend a few days with them, I was told the two empty bedrooms were for the kids when they visited. When her son got married, her father was not put in one single wedding photo. We offered to stay and help clean up and were told, “That’s not necessary. Have a safe trip home.” We saw them for all of three hours, and it really hurt.

How do I let her know my extra bedrooms are no longer available? I don’t like to lie, but I am sick of this one-sided business.

— Stepmother Who Feels Like the Wicked Witch

Dear Stepmother: Please don’t do anything unless your husband agrees. These are, after all, his children, and you do not want to get in the middle of his relationship with them. We know it is frustrating to deal with such inconsiderate people, but we don’t believe escalating the hostilities will help.

Dear Annie: I’m responding to “Wanda and Worried,” the 75-year-old woman who needs to forget George and “move on.”

It grinds me to no end when people say “move on.” That woman’s whole world is devastated, and those words seem so callous. Yes, we all have to go on after a breakup, divorce or death, but being told to “move on” makes it sound as if our trauma is trivial.

Thankfully, when my boyfriend and I broke up last year, I found awesome support through the website dailystrength.org. Please pass this on to Wanda and everyone else needing support in their lives.

­­— Been There

Dear Been There: Most people don’t intend “move on” to trivialize anyone’s experience, but rather to encourage them. But each person is different and must get past their difficulties in their own time. Thanks for the website. Our readers will appreciate the online assistance.

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