Annie Lane: Regaining trust will take time

Published 5:13 pm Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Dear Annie: I love reading your column. I found out three years ago that my husband of 33 years was having an affair with his bookkeeper. We have a business together, but I stepped out of the business part years ago to become a nurse.

Supposedly, the affair has ended, but he refuses to let her stop being his bookkeeper. It’s been three long years of wondering. I have no idea about the financial part of the business.

My heart breaks because we have been together since high school, but I can’t continue to have all these doubts. Any suggestions without tearing my world apart?

Email newsletter signup

— Heartbroken

Dear Heartbroken: Doubting and not knowing for sure is one of the most difficult positions to be in. It’s better to know for sure than to constantly doubt. What your husband did made you lose your trust, and once trust is gone from a relationship, it takes a lot of steps to regain that. Keeping the woman who he had an affair with employed is unacceptable. You have every right to feel heartbroken, but know that you will heal from this. Consult the help of a professional therapist to help you deal with the betrayal of your husband. From there, you can decide if YOU want to stay with him and what YOUR terms are for keeping this relationship going.

Once a decision is made, you will start to feel better and heal from the trauma that you suffered.

     • • •   

Dear Annie: I am a real estate broker responding to “Middlewoman,” who expected a referral fee for recommending a friend for web design.

Any expectation of a referral fee needs to be communicated up front. If a referral fee is going to be paid, the person providing goods or services needs to know the amount ahead of time so they can take that into consideration when bidding on the job.

“Middlewoman’s” friend may have quoted a lower price for a friend of a friend. If she later learns she is expected to pay a referral fee, that could mean she makes no profit at all.

Communicating expectations is the key. I agree with you that a friend should not charge a fee for recommending a friend. If the two friends are in the same line of business and one refers a client to another because, for some reason, they cannot do the job themselves, then a referral fee might be appropriate. That does not seem to be the case here. It did not cost “Middlewoman” anything to mention a name.

— Need to Be Clear

Dear Need to Be Clear: Thank you for your letter. Communication from the beginning is always a good way to ensure smooth sailing down the road, and expecting others to read your mind is always a prescription for misunderstanding.

“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to