Ask Amy: A woman finds herself embroiled in the drama of friends’ rocky marriage

Dear Amy: One evening at a party about five months ago, I inadvertently witnessed a passionate kiss between the husband of the family hosting the party and the children’s nanny.

It was dark in the bedroom (I was resting there). When the man then turned on the light, I said nothing. He urged me to “give him a chance to fix it” and not tell his wife, the hostess. Several times during the evening, he came to see me and asked me for time and silence. I told him that I had no secrets from my partner (his wife’s father). He told me he was going to couples therapy.

He then stunned me again saying he and his wife hadn’t had sex in 12 years.

I told my partner what I saw, and he was much less worried, saying his daughter might not even care if she found out.

The nanny cried and told me how sorry she was and how desperately in love with her husband. She said she was going back to school overseas.

The nanny didn’t leave for a few months which was agony for me. I kept my distance from everyone. Keeping this secret was a burden.

I was afraid that my friend would find out later that her father and I knew, and that she would resent us.

The husband still hasn’t told his wife, although he promised. He tells me that he is very angry, that the situation is very delicate, and that he is afraid if he speaks to his wife about it, the marriage will be destroyed.

I don’t want to be the cause of a total breakdown of the marriage, at the same time I need to have an honest relationship with the people who are dear to me.

How do I proceed? To forget what I saw is impossible, of course.

– Accidental Witness

Dear Witness: On a very deep level, none of this is your business, and yet the directors are not silent about it, so with every plea they drag you further.

You are even enlightened by this statement: “I don’t want to be the cause of a total breakdown of this marriage.”

You didn’t cause anything. The husband’s marriage is his responsibility, not yours.

(I also wonder why he hasn’t had sex with his wife in 12 years and yet has children young enough to need a live-in nanny.)

The next time he seeks you out for a confession, you should either gently tell him to STOP TALKING or just start the blackmailing process (just kidding, folks) and be done with it.

There is no “right” thing to do; you could set off a “countdown” and tell the husband that you can’t in good conscience keep this secret, and either he talks to his wife within a time frame you set – or you will.

When that date arrives, assume the deed has been done and they are working things out privately, take no further action and move on.

Dear Amy: I have a friend who recently “broken up” with a girl he was dating. He seems to be handling it well, but one of his old attractions (which is NOT good for him at all) has resurfaced, and I’m afraid she’s taking advantage of his emotional state.

What should I do?

– Worried about a friend

Dear Worried: What you do is join hands, hold your thoughts, and hope for the best.

If you’re asked to weigh yourself, tell your friend you’re worried he’s repeating a bad pattern.

It is extremely difficult to see people around you making questionable choices. But some people have to burn themselves several times before they know to stay away from an old flame.

Dear Amy: “Shattered” seemed incredulous that a six year old knew about sperm and eggs.

My mother started teaching me about body parts, what they do and how, from a very young age.

At 4 or 5 years old, I knew perfectly the sperm, the eggs and how they meet. I never became a promiscuous teenage mother or a drug addict.

People don’t give children enough credit for their ability to experience the world and life.

Please! Teach your toddlers what bodies do

– Early, not promiscuous

Dear Precocious: Information leads to knowledge, which leads to self-awareness.

Your mother did well.

You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068.