DEAR ABBY: My husband is national sales manager for a company that participates in frequent out-of-town trade shows. These events are held in luxurious hotels and involve entertaining clients in posh restaurants.
Lately, he has been inviting his secretary, who is half his age (and mine), to these shows -- even though she is not in sales and has no role there other than being agreeable to customers. That was formerly my role, but I seem to have been replaced.
Although she has women friends in the company, she regularly has lunch with my husband unless he is otherwise engaged. They share a small office where they chat about much besides business, including our personal life. Opinions I have confided in him get back to me through her other acquaintances.
I think that the relationship has passed from professional into intimate, but my husband says I'm crazy. He thinks only a sexual relationship is "intimate," but I think emotional intimacy often evolves into a sexual relationship, and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Do you think I'm wrong? -- FEELING REPLACED IN ATLANTA
DEAR FEELING REPLACED: I think you are 100 percent right, and if your husband's secretary is accompanying him on business trips and assuming the role you once played, it may already have crossed the line. I have often said that the most erotic organ in the human body is the human ear -- and if he's filling hers with intimate details about your marriage, that in itself is a betrayal.