Dear Prudence

Dear Prudence Uncensored: The Ex-Lover/New Colleague

Every week, Danny Ortberg and Nicole Cliffe discuss a Prudie letter. This week: the ex-lover turned new co-worker.

Danny: my response here is “No, you do not have any obligation to tell your fiancé, and this does not sound like it is necessary or useful information for him to have,” but my real question is to what degree the fiancé’s “trust issues” are allowed to dictate the terms of this relationship

sometimes I will hear from people who talk about their current partner’s “trust issues” (along with a litany of often very painful past experiences!) as if that means that the relationship they’re presently in must always be dominated or based on that past suffering


Nicole: I mean, this is just my uber-conventional married Christian lady reaction, but I would absolutely feel an obligation to tell my fiancé that I was working with Amir.


Not because of trust issues, though.

Just because I would want to be transparent about it.

What I want to know, like you, is how the “trust issues” manifest in their daily life.

Does he follow up on her? Go through her phone?

Danny: Apparently he gets freaked if her ex invites her to his engagement party, which strikes me as unreasonable

Nicole: Absolutely.

Danny: Otherwise, in an ordinarily healthy marriage, I could totally understand saying it simply in the interest of transparency

Nicole: Not to be all “therapy!”

But therapy time


Danny: But it’s not the same here as if, say, the LW had cheated on THIS partner with Amir ten years ago

take it to their couples counselor, you mean?

because they are in therapy together

Nicole: really drill down on this particular issue

You could even raise the Amir thing IN therapy as a “I have been worried about your reaction bc of the ex party thing.”

Danny: oh I like this sort of sneaky honesty

Nicole: That’s me.

Sneaky honesty.

Danny: Well, you still have my permission to keep it to yourself, letter-writer!


(I mean, it actually IS fine.)

My concern is just that he’s going to see Amir’s name on an email fwd or a colleague casually mentions him and then he goes bananas.

Which, I guess, is a data point, at least.

Danny: but he doesn’t know who Amir is

so even if he does hear his name

he doesn’t know that’s the guy she cheated with


yeah you can totally get away with silence

though I would tell him