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What is the best way to resolve feelings of mistrust with a colleague who had an affair with my husband?


heart to heart
Question
I work in the same academic department as my husband and a former friend of mine. She had an affair with him during the winter of 2005. They stopped then started up again during the spring of 2006. I can forgive my husband, but I am full of loathing for her and fear that I cannot return to work. All three of us work in the same program.

This loathing becomes self-loathing, as I do not want to feel hatred or fear toward another being. I've tried Emotional Freedom Technique and other management tools, but if I see her, I start to get emotional. Last year, I was able to rise above these feelings--I could even feel compassion--I could even attend meetings with her. But not so now--I think it's because of the second wham this spring.

What are my chances of overcoming these feelings when my work environment signifies a trauma-zone and the person I least trust is a co-worker? I feel that I have a new-found love for myself, and have worked to discover many wonderful resources. I feel that I should move on to a new job, but I like my job and do not feel that I should have to do this.

Wallace's reply
Wallace My feeling is that you need to talk with your work colleague. You need to share the hurt and difficulties she has caused so that she is clear of the destructive effects of her behavior. I suggest you approach her in a kind and gentle manner and suggest that the two of you take some time together to talk in private.

When you are with her you need to get across, in a non confrontational way, the damage she is doing to your relationship with your husband, and the implications for you and your children (if you have any). She needs to hear loud and clear the negative impact of her behavior. In addition I suggest you have a similar discussion with your husband.

Difficult as this may seem once you have shared how you are feeling with her and she has shared her thoughts, feelings and emotions, you may well have totally different feelings towards each other.

If you take my advice and find the courage to assert yourself in this way, I doubt if you will have any more problems from your colleague and you may even feel like staying on at your job!

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