Virginia Ironside's Dilemmas

 

For three years I had an affair with a man living in our village. We're both married. Then I left my husband to go off with this man, but after a couple of months we both realised it was a mistake. I'm now back with my husband – happier than ever, oddly – but my ex-lover's wife is causing no end of trouble. I work in the village shop and last week she came in and threw a bucket of water over me. Sometimes she comes in and screams at me. My ex-lover says there's nothing he can do. And I'm too ashamed to go to the police. What can I do? Yours sincerely, Megan

Virginia says...

Clearly if this furious woman ups the ante and starts coming into your shop with an axe, then I think you'd have to go to the police. Or if she comes in when there are other customers around – you say in your longer letter that so far she's only come in when you're alone – then I imagine the person who owns the shop would want to have a word with her. She'd be keeping customers away from the shop, and though she clearly has a gripe with you – a gripe which is perfectly understandable – she doesn't have a gripe with the shop per se.

Now, I say that her feelings are understandable. That doesn't mean to say I approve of them at all. She's clearly got pretty much out of control. But you're in a cleft stick here – only because most people would say that both of you have behaved or are behaving extremely badly. And if anyone compared whose behaviour was worse, you'd come out as the clear winner. OK, she shouldn't scream and throw water over you, but it's absolutely piddling behaviour compared with pinching her husband, having an affair with him for three years and then running off with him. You don't say whether her marriage is still intact, but if she's lost her husband because of you – or thinks she has – it's small wonder she's become unhinged.

I would imagine that if you stick it out long enough – three months, say – the behaviour will gradually stop. But first I would take a long leave of absence from the shop. This action wouldn't only be to get away from the aggro, but also to give this woman the message that her behaviour is having some effect. That will make her feel a lot better.

If she continues to attack you, then I'd suggest meeting her, perhaps in a public place, so that you can offer her the most grovelling apology you have ever made. Don't try to shift the blame on to anyone else. Don't say, "But your husband made me think you weren't happy together," or "But your husband said you didn't want sex," or anything that takes away from your utter and abject contrition. Admit that it was an entirely selfish act, that you have behaved like a worm, that, indeed, most self-respecting worms would cut you dead in the street, with reason, and that you wish you could turn the clock back... etc etc etc.

She wants to make you suffer, so suffer. And show her you're suffering. And if she still won't give up, either go to the police or move.

 

Readers say...

Get a middle man

Megan should get the shop owner to intervene and perhaps act as an intermediary, as it is obviously harming his business. Failing the conciliatory talks either the other lady has to be banned from the store for disruptiveness or Megan has to find a new job. The other lady is in a rage because it appears Megan has had her cake and is very publicly eating it, which she is to a degree. With the intermediary perhaps the three of them can come to some arrangement.

Gurinder Singh by email

 

Feel the shame

Your ex-lover's wife is causing you to feel too "ashamed" to go to the police and I imagine that is exactly her motivation, to make you feel some sense of shame. You have had it all basically by wrecking her marriage, ruining her husband and now there you are every day in broad daylight in the village shop as if all is well again.

She will move on from this, I imagine, once she has made you suffer a little more. She also needs to be able to hold her head up in the village.

Chris by email

 

Next week's dilemma

Dear Virginia, I've been made redundant and my wife has just found a job. We need her to work so we can keep the house. So the idea is that she goes to work and I look after the children. But I am no good with kids. I love them, but I couldn't look after them like she does. They're eight, six and five. She says just give it a go, but I am frightened that I'll do something by mistake and there'll be an accident. I know some men like being house husbands, but I've been brought up to be the breadwinner. Do you think I can do it? Yours sincerely, Eric

What would you advise Eric to do? Email your dilemmas and comments to dilemmas@independent. co.uk, or go to independent. co.uk/dilemmas. Anyone whose advice is quoted will receive a £25 voucher from the wine website Fine Wine Sellers (finewinesellers.co.uk)

News
people
News
A survey carried out by Sainsbury's Finance found 20% of new university students have never washed their own clothes, while 14% cannot even boil an egg
science...and the results are not as pointless as that sounds
Sport
Sean Abbott
cricketSean Abbott is named Australia's young cricketer of the year
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Sauce Recruitment: Partnership Sales Executive - TV

    competitive + benefits: Sauce Recruitment: An award-winning global multi-media...

    Sauce Recruitment: Account Director

    £26017.21 - £32521.19 per annum + OTE $90,000: Sauce Recruitment: My client is...

    Recruitment Genius: Linux Systems Administrator

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of UK Magento hosting so...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Development Manager - North Kent - OTE £19K

    £16000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A unique opportunity has arisen...

    Day In a Page

    Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

    Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

    Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
    DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

    The inside track on France's trial of the year

    Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
    As provocative now as they ever were

    Sarah Kane season

    Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

    Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea