Persistent ex-suitor bugs married woman


DEAR Emily,

I am 54 years old, married to a successful corporate man, and have three children, all in their 20s. I am into the export business.

At a recent trade mission abroad, I met by coincidence an old friend who was also on a business trip and staying at the same hotel. When he asked that we meet up, I declined, saying I had a planned schedule morning and night.

He then left notes asking when we could get together. It was only on the last night, when I was having dinner, that he showed up unexpectedly and finally succeeded in catching me alone. When he asked to join me, I could not say no without being rude.

He reminisced about the time he was courting me, and how surprised I must have been (I was) when, despite what had seemed to be a serious attraction between us, he disappeared with nary a word.

As he walked me back to my room after dinner with the usual "thank yous" and "good nights" and I offered my cheek for a beso-beso, he put his foot in the door and begged that we continue our conversation inside. I had no choice but to let him in, though I left the door slightly open.

He said he stopped courting me because he was about to be fired by the company he worked for and he was too ashamed about his very uncertain future. He found the right career path eventually, but I had been married three years then.

I was touched by his story. Seeing me getting misty-eyed, he walked toward me and kissed me on the lips, which we never did even when we dated! Before things turned torrid, I got hold of my senses and asked him to leave.

That was months ago. He has been calling to ask when we could meet somewhere and do a reprise of the New York episode. I admit that those circumstances away from home and loved ones are conducive to extramarital adventures. I was overcome momentarily by my emotions. After all, I did like him when he courted me.

As I am sure they will not happen again, I have dismissed all thoughts of a reprise of the misadventure. I have told him this emphatically. But he keeps calling and nagging that we meet. What do I do to put an end to his calling me?


If you say what happened in New York will not happen again, then delete his name from your mobile phone, e-mails or Facebook-or wherever it is he is able to take hold of you. Give him a radio silence that is deafening. Douse whatever is left of even the tiniest embers, completely.

Why this agony then? Is it because you two are still having an ongoing conversation this late? What is in your "No!" that this guy can't understand? Your nos, in whatever shape and form you deliver them, will only fall on deaf ears, and inflame his emotions further, if he is able to reach you and allowed to verbalize his ardour.

Are you serious in stopping him? If you cannot help thinking about that momentary diversion with him in New York-agonizing over the what-ifs and other turnstiles going round in your mind-would it have been better if you got over it and had that forbidden fling with him? It may not be the most moral thing giving in to your human weakness, but then you'd been able to flush out all your pent-up (sexual and mental) anxieties about him once and for all, and release you from any more emotional upheavals. Yes, you're being human here.

But the fact that you didn't has become this pebble in your shoe. The hang-nail that is keeping you restless. The incessant back-and-forth in your mind is truly stressful and mind-boggling.

You can continue to be this very straight, moral housewife, though miserable-or you can make a clean break by being absolutely honest with yourself. You cannot have it all. Something's got to give.

E-mail the author at,