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by Abigail Van Buren

Husband With Wife in Nursing Home Needs to Care for Himself

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I work in a small family business. A female employee spends a great deal of time in my husband's office. (I'll call her Sally.) She flatters him constantly and often brings him food. Although Sally is married and has children, my husband has gone to her home several times to assist her with setting up her computer.

Last week, we were all having lunch. Sally sat across from my husband and I noticed that her foot was touching his leg!

When I left work one evening, I forgot something and had to return to my office. My husband was in Sally's office, and I overheard him telling her not to sit next to him at lunch because I was jealous! (She was laughing!) I was enraged that he would discuss my confidences with this woman, and I later confronted him about it. He apologized for this disloyalty.

Abby, I am in a dilemma, as I must work with this woman daily. I am her supervisor. All the strange comments she has made in the past seem to indicate that there is more than just friendship between her and my husband. To make matters worse, she's unhappy in her marriage and several of her friends are going through divorces. I don't want to lose my husband. Any advice would help. -- FRANTIC

DEAR FRANTIC: First, have a long talk with your husband. Show him this letter and tell him you wrote it.

Sally may or may not be a threat to your marriage. You and your husband should have counseling, because whatever is going on could not be happening without his willingness to tolerate it.

Years ago, I would have recommended that you and your husband find this woman a job elsewhere. But in the '90s, a lawsuit for sexual discrimination or sexual harassment could be more expensive than a divorce, and turn your lives upside down.