Embarrassed after a lusty liaison with the landlord

Dear Counsellor,

This is so embarrassing. I'm a single mother of twins, whose father left years ago for America and never looked back. I've been struggling, and during COVID I lost my job and wasn't able to get it back. I've been doing some call centre work from home, but this isn't enough.

I owed my landlord rent and I considered him a friend as he was always looking out for me and my kids. He would sometimes flirt too, but I would laugh it off. Some weeks ago he came for the rent and I told him I needed more time. He asked me to follow him upstairs (he lives upstairs) and asked me what I was prepared to do to 'squits' it out. I'm embarrassed to say that I did what I had to do.

That's not the problem. Another neighbour downstairs saw me leaving my landlord's place ­— my landlord was standing behind me in just a towel, and has spread my business not only to the whole yard, but to other people on our street. Now even the man who sweeps the yard is looking at me funny and making rude gestures.

I can't afford to move. How can I get past this embarrassment?

I remind people that the world is unfair, but God is good! This means that though tragic things happen to us, through faith in God, and a little faith in ourselves, what's unfair gets sorted out and things get better. Never succumb to shame, depression or embarrassment. Those negative clouds are never helpful. Faith brings "positive clouds" that propel us far beyond what we could normally accomplish. Believe in God — His goodness, His love, His ultimate justice, and believe in yourself — your potential, your good destiny and your coming opportunities.

Yes, you made a mistake facilitating this man's malevolence. But give yourself a break, there's a lesson to be gained from the situation. As is said, "let no experience go to waste". You now know what kind of person this man is, and that he'll use you and possibly disparage you. It is apparent that he doesn't want a relationship with you, nor is he seeking to help you. And he's certainly not your friend. Maya Angelou said, "When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time".

My advice:

Know that you don't have to yield. Don't say having sex with this man is doing "what I had to do". I understand when there's no money life can feel impossible, but myriads of other problems could surface from these sexual exchanges. The challenge is not about the people's opinions. And you have no evidence that the rent is "squits" out. So if matters go to court, it is his word against yours.

Ignore the deriders. Do not let the opinions of those who know what happened impact your dignity. You had a moment of misjudgement — I guarantee you they've all had moments of misjudgement too. Now display your dignity by displaying strength and keeping your focus on the future.

Be careful. This man will quite possibly want follow-ups. Avoid this at all costs. I would suggest that you never venture into his space again. Set a boundary that he may never cross again. Think about it, this is not a situation you'd want the twins to emulate. It happened once. Once!

Get a lawyer. Get some pro-bono legal advice on the situation, and certainly get advice on how to get help from the father of the twins. He can be tracked down. Maybe try contacting the family court for advice.

Reach out to a church. You could contact a known pastor for help, counselling and guidance.

Others have faced what you are dealing with. The struggle is real indeed; however, keep your head up, and keep your dignity intact. I'll pray for your strength.

Get on The Counsellor's Couch with Rev Christopher Brodber, who is a counsellor and minister of religion. E-mail questions to allwoman@jamaicaobserver.com.

Christopher Brodber

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