My husband was made redundant just after Christmas and is yet to find a job. We were very good friends with his boss and her husband but since this happened, my husband has been too hurt to see them. The ban has been extended to me but I'm really missing their company. I'd like to re-establish contact but don't want to be disloyal. What should I do?
A: You certainly can't ignore your husband's wishes. If you went behind his back and made personal contact with his ex-boss and family, he would be bound to know. And that would simply compound his sense of hurt and betrayal, which is already dangerously intense. But I believe you should nonetheless work towards re-establishing contact - and not just because you've been missing their company.
It's getting on for three months since your husband was made redundant. His immediate feelings may easily be imagined and are utterly understandable. But if he continues to harbour those feelings and lets them burn away inside him, he'll seriously jeopardise his chances of enjoying a complete recovery of confidence and landing another satisfying job.
So I believe you have a responsibility, hugely difficult though it may be for you, to persuade him gently to confine the past to the past, and the best way to start such a process could well be to get him to reconsider his refusal to have any contact with his ex-boss. I wouldn't do anything contrived; don't try and engineer some 'accidental' meeting. Just seed the thought of meeting up with them again - and then let it take root for a while. Be patient.
The prospect of that first encounter will be very scary for him, but once experienced it could begin an all-important transformation of his state of mind and willingness to face the world again. My guess is that the ex-boss and husband would welcome such a re-engagement. You obviously all got on extremely well - and it couldn't have been easy for them to have been party to your husband's redundancy. They will be more than willing to help in any way they can.