Dear Coleen

I’m a woman in my late 60s and have a big group of friends – all couples whom I’ve known since we were in our 20s and starting out in life.

We’ve all known each other’s kids since they were babies and they’ve grown up together too. We’re still a pretty tight-knit group and do lots of things together – go out for meals, go away on holiday and so on.

However, at the end of last year, one of the women had an affair with a man outside of our group of friends and she ended up leaving her husband for him. It’s really divided the group and none of us know how to react to it.

She’s brought her new man to events while her ex keeps away.

We all feel so bad for him, but don’t know how to talk to her about it – she’s pretty brazen and doesn’t see anything wrong in inviting this guy to ­everything, even though we all care deeply for her ex, whom we’ve known most of our lives.

Have you any advice on the best way to handle this situation?

Coleen says

It sounds as if Cupid’s arrow has struck and she’s so lost in the mists of love that she’s not thinking about how her ex or the rest of you might be feeling about the whole thing. 

People split up and move on, even in their 60s, and I think you’ve all been lucky to get to this point and not had to deal with it before. But it doesn’t mean you have to exile her ex.

Why not talk to her and say, “Look, we feel a bit awkward – imagine how you’d feel if your ex was bringing his girlfriend everywhere and you couldn’t come to get-togethers?”

Point out how awkward the ­situation is and see what she has to say. She might be happy to back out of certain events and let her ex go.

And speak to him too – he might not ­actually want to hang around with you all at the moment as it’s a reminder that he’s not part of a couple any more.

He might be OK with that or just prefer to see the guys for a pint.

Knowing you still care about him might be enough.

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