Builder says he'll tell my husband about our affair unless I pay him hush money

DEAR DEIDRE: I BROKE off my affair with our builder and he says he will tell my husband unless I pay hush money.

I am 39, my husband is 41 and we have been married for ten years. We have two children, aged nine and seven.

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My husband has a demanding job in the City and since he was promoted two years ago he seems to spend all his time at work. He leaves home before I wake up and comes back late.

I don’t remember the last time we kissed, let alone had sex.

I think that’s why I ended up having an affair — it was great getting some physical attention.

We were having an extension built and the foreman would always come in for a coffee and chat, even if he was busy.

I was flattered that someone was taking an interest in me.

After months of flirting in my kitchen, I invited him to come with me when I was walking my dog.

Then we started meeting on his days off. We really fancied each other and ended up sleeping together.

In many ways it was the ­perfect arrangement — my ­husband was at work, and the kids were at school.

As much as I enjoyed it, I couldn’t shake off the guilt. So I ended the affair just three weeks after it started.

But then my builder turned nasty. He gestured at our new Mercedes and Range Rover and said “You can afford it so my price is £2,000 to go away.”

I felt so betrayed as I thought this man actually cared for me. In desperation, I paid him the two grand from the joint bank account.

But the blackmail hasn’t stopped there. He is now making me pay him £200 a week.

It’s causing me so much stress that my hair has started falling out. I can’t risk my husband finding out about our affair — it would probably break up our marriage and ruin the kids’ lives.

But sooner or later he will notice his hard-earned money leaving our account. Help!

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DEIDRE SAYS: As terrifying as it may seem, the way to stop this blackmail and get your relationship back on track is to come clean with your husband.

What this man is doing is illegal and I would strongly advise you to report him to the police.

One way or another your husband is likely to discover what has been happening, so it would be far better if he were to hear it from you first.

Ask him to forgive you and explain you called off the affair.

Explain you really want to make things work between you.

Many people who have an affair manage to strengthen their rela­tionship as a result. I’m sending you my support pack Cheating – Can You Get Over It? to help.

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