Dear Dr. Hedda: Help! I’ve Met Some Small Town Swingers

Posted on Mar 7 2014 - 4:33pm by Dr Hedda Mae

Dear Dr. Hedda:

I recently had a social interaction with some people I don’t (obviously) know very well.

I live in a small town so people tend to run into each other a lot and after awhile you start being friendly with them.

Well, I eat at a local small restaurant every Thursday. Love their Thursday special. Another man eats there regularly so since we were both alone we started talking. Just chit chat about town or the movies or some other petty subject. Small town talk, nothing special.. About a year ago he introduced to his girlfriend and she started joining us on Thursday. Pleasant woman, they seemed quite attached. Then, you knew there was going to be a “then”.

One Thursday I was at lunch and he mentioned his girlfriend was out of town for several weeks. She went back home to visit family and friends. Then, he asked me for out for dinner. I hemmed and hawed and finally said I would think about it.

Well three days later I get a phone call from his out of town girlfriend. She said it was OK with her if her boyfriend and I went out for dinner, and then she added—– and if you want to have sex with him that’s ok with her too.

I told her that her call was breaking up on my phone, thanks for calling and bye.

OMG what am I to do? I do not want to have sex with another woman’s man and certainly not with him under any circumstance. But these are people who know me, who I see around town.

I didn’t go to my favorite restaurant this week. I just didn’t know how to deal with this if I saw him.

Help! Is there a graceful way out of this mess or am I old fashioned and is this what people do now?


Dear Hungry:

It seems life in small towns is no different then life in big cities. The same scandal and intrigue you hear about everywhere.

This is an awkward situation. At least in big cities you start going to places on the other side of town and avoid an uncomfortable running into each other.

In a small town, not so much.

I think what you need to do is talk to this fellow the next time you see him. Thank him and his girlfriend for the kind invitation but no, you’d rather not get involved.

I believe small town folks are a bit more sensitive to the nuances of gossip and slander. Spreads a lot faster when there’s only a few blocks to go. It is far better to spend a lonely night then get involved with this, unless, and it’s a big unless, you really want to.

Whatever your decision, stick with it. Don’t talk to other friends or people in town about it. It’s like playing telephone. If you say “No way” it can become “what a way to go girl”.

Life is full of surprises. The best way to be prepared for them is to give yourself a pause, a time out to think it over. All you have to say to some unexpected request is “Thanks, I’ll think about that” and then never think about it again.

Dr. Hedda

About the Author

Dr Hedda Mae is a psychotherapist based in Oregon. She has been in private practice in both the clinical and private sectors and has spent many years as a national lecturer on subjects such as family dynamics, childhood and adult personality disorders and multicultural psychiatry. She can be reached at -

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