DEAR EMILY,

I caught my husband having an affair with a friend of mine. Caught not in a flagrant way?but more like solving a puzzle.

She was my friend from college and we considered ourselves close. She?d go to my house and I?d go to hers. My children even called her ?Auntie.? She never had kids of her own. She separated from her husband 22 years into their marriage and that brought us closer.

That was the time when my husband started a small community effort to help the poor and she, being a social worker, was tapped to help him. The two of them traveled frequently, sometimes alone but oftentimes with others. I myself was too busy with my work to think about their projects.

Call it a wife?s intuition, but I knew something was going on between them. My friend suddenly became very unavailable to me. She was always too busy to meet or talk to me when before, we?d be at each other?s skin, wanting to know everything that was happening to the other.

Then, my husband, who was the epitome of cool and disinterest?who would only talk of work and everything else except home life?was suddenly very attentive, very affectionate and very involved in what I and the kids were doing. Our sex life even awakened. What has for years become a big yawn became unexpectedly frequent. I welcomed it, of course! I was thrilled but, at the same time, perplexed. I even joked to my sister that if my husband were having an affair?I?d like to thank the other woman for making me feel sexy again.

I truly didn?t feel bad about my friend. Annoyed, and a bit of wounded pride, but not angry. She didn?t try to steal my husband, or break up our family, or cause embarrassment for him or me by flaunting their affair, as some lovers have done. There were no calls in the night, no excuses from my husband to spend the weekend away, or disappear for a sudden ?emergency? on a red-letter date like Valentine?s Day. Not even her birthday was made ?sacred.?

I?ve known her to be very vulnerable and my husband, being a man, went along and filled up her need. She was a fun person actually and I can?t blame him for being attracted to her. Had I confronted them?as so many horror stories go?I probably would have driven my husband to the wall and lost him completely.

Their affair lasted over two years. My friend left for abroad and didn?t come home until a few years later, already married to an old beau. And my husband (surprise!) went back to his old ways. Gone were our sudden romantic spur-of-the-moment out-of-town trips, the renewed teenage stolen kisses here and there, the unexpected bouquet of flowers.

Now, I am part of the furniture again.

Truth to tell, there was nothing exciting about my marriage by that time. Thus, I cannot revile my friend even if I wanted to. I myself have fantasized about the men I?ve met, and imagined the sins I wanted to commit with them. Didn?t the bible say ?If you can think it, you can do it?? Same difference, as a comic would say.

We?re all getting old now and somehow, I want my friend back. I want her to know that although she did me wrong, I never harbored ill will toward her. She did my marriage good and, despite how the common mind would work, I?m happy because through her, I experienced a truly wonderful sexual revival, on my road to retirement, however warped it may have been.

?Crazy Housewife

Are you for real? You must be a disciple of Warren Buffett?s wife, who gave her blessing to the old billionaire to go live with his new love without having to divorce her! She even told her children and friends that if that was going to be a problem with them, they should go into psychoanalysis! I thought that was such a civilized arrangement. And whattawife!

Now back to you. Though you will never be canonized for this act of bravery, you definitely gave civility and sophistication a good name.

Your friend clearly respected both you and your long friendship together. The fact that no scandal transpired was proof of that. Clearly, these things happen to the best of us because, really, oftentimes people are just too human to fend off temptations of the flesh.

This affair between your husband and your friend died a natural death (they obviously had sated their desire for each other), and obliquely, giving you the ?collateral benefit? with your ?sexual revival.?

Immoral and foul as it may seem, everyone was happy for that one moment in time. Everyone was able to live out their fantasies without succumbing to those other weaknesses like jealousy and pride.

You, the person who should have been hurt the most, had the luck to have a good head on her shoulder and the spunk to weather a terribly trying period in her life?in what could have otherwise destroyed lesser mortals!

Great, girl! May your tribe increase!

E-mail emarcelo@inquirer.com.ph or emarcelo629@gmail.com, subject: Lifestyle