I'm a habitual liar, and it's threatening to ruin my marriage.

Advice on manners and morals.
Nov. 11 2010 6:54 AM

Pants on Fire, Marriage in Flames

I'm a habitual liar, and it's threatening to ruin my relationship with my husband.

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Dear Prudence,
Last year, my boss had an affair with another company manager, which led to his leaving the company to try to save his marriage. After we struggled to survive a disastrous few months with a new manager, he returned to our office, and we are all much happier. I am engaged, and my co-workers threw me a bridal shower last week. When my boss stood up to say something, I blurted out a comment about not wanting to hear his marriage advice, which led to a lot of catcalling and joking among the staff. He seemed to laugh it off, but I feel horrible. The whole office has gotten really close over the last few intensely stressful months, and I had a momentary lapse in judgment and forgot where I was. I would like to apologize to him, but I don't want to make things more uncomfortable than they already are. Help!

—Distraught

Dear Distraught,
You were having a social event at work, so it's understandable that in the spirit of the moment, you let your work persona slip. What you said was embarrassing for the boss, but it likely was also a huge tension reliever for your group, since it had been the lurking issue-we-do-not-talk-about. So you made an apt joke, everyone responded, and he got to acknowledge his lapse in a humorous way. That doesn't mean it's not a good idea for you to apologize. Don't make this a piece of melodrama. Go into his office and say you feel terrible for blurting out the remark you made at your party; it was inappropriate, and you're sorry. As far as mistakes are concerned, yours was minor and his was a doozy. Stop being distraught and accept that all you can do is own up and move on.

—Prudie

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Emily Yoffe is the author of What the Dog Did: Tales From a Formerly Reluctant Dog Owner. You can send your Dear Prudence questions for publication to prudence@slate.com. (Questions may be edited.)

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