DEAR HARRIETTE: My neighbor, who is a good friend, confided in me that she is having an affair with a guy at her job. It came up because she asked me if I would watch her kids last-minute one evening. When I asked her what was going on -- because she is usually well-organized and responsible -- she admitted that she was going to meet up with this guy. This was so awkward for me. I took the children, but I don’t want to be in the middle of this. I am friendly with my neighbor’s husband, and I don’t want to be complicit in the machinations of an affair. It’s not easy. My friend has already asked me to watch her children again. That wouldn’t be abnormal, but now that I know why she is asking, I want no part of it. What should I do? -- In the Middle
DEAR IN THE MIDDLE: You need to have a heart-to-heart talk with your friend. Remind her of how much you love her and want her to be happy. Tell her that you will do whatever you can to be a good friend to her -- within reason. Then, let her know how uncomfortable you are being between her and her husband with this. Tell her you are happy to watch her children on occasion, but you do not want to be the babysitter while she is out with her other man.
Let her know what you are unwilling to do. That should include lying to her husband and making it easy for her to go off with her co-worker. Suggest that she take a moment to evaluate what is going on in her life, what she needs and what is missing. Until she faces her issues, she will continue to run away from them. Make it clear that you do not want to be the enabler of her running away from her life.