Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Witnessed Infidelity Makes for Awkward Dining

DEAR HARRIETTE: I went to a fancy restaurant with a group of friends the other night. We had never been there before, but we had heard the food is great. As we enjoyed our meal, I noticed from my peripheral vision that the husband of one of my colleagues was at the restaurant. He was definitely with another woman. At one point, we saw each other, and I spoke to him. It was extremely awkward. The way he was behaving with this dining partner seemed romantic to me, but I know he is living with his wife and kids.

I know this is none of my business, but I feel like I would want to be told if the shoe were on the other foot. Do I tell my colleague I saw her husband? If so, how much of what I observed should I say? -- Caught, Seattle

DEAR CAUGHT: This is tricky. Often when couples are experiencing the stress of one spouse cheating, the other is in denial about it, and there’s very little anyone can do or say to open their eyes. You should not try to convince her of anything. If you want to tell her you saw her husband, keep it simple. Tell her you went to the particular restaurant in question with your friends and noticed her husband was there. You two spoke, and that was it. If she asks who he was with, you can describe his dinner partner, but do not go into detail about the behavior you observed. Let it be enough that you tell her you saw him dining with a woman. She will have to take it from here.

Read more in: Love & Dating | Marriage & Divorce | Friends & Neighbors | Work & School | Etiquette & Ethics

Wife Wants to 'Plus-One' Husband

DEAR HARRIETTE: I was invited to the 50th birthday party of an industry friend. I like him a lot and want to go to the dance party. The invitation says it is only for me, but I’m married, and this friend knows my husband. Do you think it’s OK for me to contact him to see if I can bring my husband? While I do go to work events in the evening by myself sometimes, this doesn’t feel like that kind of party. It’s on a Sunday, and I want my husband to enjoy it with me. I also don’t want to put too much pressure on the birthday boy. How should I handle this? -- Plus-One, Denver

DEAR PLUS-ONE: It is perfectly appropriate for you to ask your friend if you can bring your husband. Creating a non-transferrable invitation is common these days, in part because it is so easy to share information electronically. The host wants to limit and control his guest list, which makes sense. Many of his friends may be single too, making it less of an issue to come solo. As a married woman, you have every right to ask if you can bring your husband. In all likelihood, he will say yes.

Read more in: Work & School | Holidays & Celebrations | Etiquette & Ethics | Friends & Neighbors