Dear Prudence

Help! My Husband’s New Co-Worker Is His Old Mistress.

Dear Prudence answers more of your questions—only for Slate Plus members.

Every week, Danny M. Lavery answers additional questions from readers, just for Slate Plus members.

Q. Too coincidental?: My husband has a history of cheating. Last year I found conclusive proof that he had yearslong sexual relationships with two women and inappropriate relationships with several more. We separated for several months but never stopped sleeping together. He eventually moved back home. We have attended counseling. We are trying to make things work.

Then a position opened up unexpectedly with my husband’s employer, and lo and behold, one of the women he carried on with was hired to work closely with him by sheer coincidence. It should be said that his inappropriate relationships and one of the two sexual affairs were with co-workers from previous jobs. I want to believe that it really is coincidence, but I’m struggling very much with that.

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This woman (along with my husband) undermined my family and shook my marriage to the core. Now they are partners. Do you think it is possible that they can really work together in a strictly business fashion? Should I just cut my losses? I should also mention we do have children together.

A: Probably not, at least in your husband’s case. You say he has a history of cheating with multiple partners, and that you found out on your own, not because he decided to come clean with you.

If he’s demonstrated a willingness to be more honest with you (there’s not much evidence for it in your letter, but maybe you just didn’t have room to include it), and your marriage has otherwise been steadily improving, you might share your concerns and fears with him, and let him reassure you and demonstrate his newfound commitment to your relationship. Trust but verify; if he starts working late or broadcasting radio silence for unusual amounts of time, don’t be surprised if it’s because he’s cheating again.

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