For possibly the first time in his career, Salon's resident sensitive new age ponytail man cum advice columnist Cary Tennis gives excellent counsel. A woman wrote in today about an "emotional affair" she had with a former boss that never became physical. The energy her boss was spending on their relationship nearly ruined his marriage. The woman has subsequently left her job, and her now ex-boss wants her to write an e-mail apologizing to his wife, as all three of them must interact professionally in the future. The letter writer says:
"I feel like they labeled me the harlot who almost ruined their marriage, and I suspect he didn't fess up to his wife how emotionally involved he was with me. Although I don't want to apologize, I also feel an obligation to, just to smooth things over and make them feel better. But I'm uncomfortable apologizing because I feel like it gives them more fodder to use me as an excuse for their marital problems. Does my ex-boss's wife deserve an apology from me?"
"If his wife deserves anything, she deserves an end to the conspiratorial intimacy between you and her husband," Cary writes. "He is now trying to use you to manipulate his wife, as though you were currency. You are not currency for him to spend in his fragile marriage. You are not a messenger for his guilt. You are not a singing telegram he can send to his wife to say I'm sorry I was such an asshole."
You are not a singing telegram. Words to live by!