Agony Aunt Annie offers advice to a reader who is mortified that her 15-year-old stepdaughter heard them in the bedroom when they thought she was away at a sleepover…

Dear Annie

I’m in an uncomfortable position and I’m really not sure what to do. If only I could go back in time.

I’ve been married for ten years and I have a stepdaughter of 15. We also have two boys, four and six. Last weekend the boys were sleeping at their grandparents and my stepdaughter was going to a party and then sleeping over at her friend’s house.

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My husband and I are happy in our marriage but have been caught up in work, kids, etc. – as does occasionally happen.

I thought that with the children all out of the house it would be a good time to reconnect, so I planned a romantic evening in bed with sushi and champagne – our favourite

We had been given chocolate body paint by some friends last year for our anniversary and it has been sitting in the cupboard ever since. We’re admittedly not very adventurous but we’re comfortable with where we’re at.

Anyway, I decided I’d surprise my husband and told him that dessert was on me.

He was very pleased at this not-very-usual side of me and I decided to have fun with it. As we were alone in the house (which is very rare for us) I played along, being really loud and verbalising things I would never say, normally always aware of the kids.

As we were alone in the house (which is very rare for us) I played along, being really loud and verbalising things I would never say, normally always aware of the kids

Well, after a fun, loud, uninhibited evening, I was feeling really pleased with myself and decidedly un-selfconscious of my extra rolls. I got up to go through to the kitchen afterwards and saw the light on in the TV room. I was sure that we had switched everything off, and went into the room, dressed in my next-to-nothing nightie.

I was horrified to come face to face with my stepdaughter

She looked like she was even more embarrassed than I was. Turns out that she wasn’t feeling great and asked to be dropped off at home after the party instead of having the sleepover.

She had very obviously heard everything and moved to the TV room, which is further down the passage than her bedroom, which is opposite ours. Neither of us said anything as she mumbled through why she was home.

Im so embarrassed and we have been avoiding each other. How do I posdibly deal with this?
Please advise

Dear Abi

Thank you for your letter. So awkward that you were busted by your stepdaughter. Being busted by your kids is worse than being caught by your father when making out with your high-school sweetheart.

The lousy thing is that you’re in trouble and under self-imposed kitchen arrest, when you actually haven’t done anything wrong.

Except for scarring an innocent child that is… no you didn’t do that, not intentionally anyway.

The thing is that, embarrassed as you may feel, avoiding her and the subject is just going to make it more awkward.

While I am sure that she wanted to live without the evidence of your intimate lives, we can assume that she was aware it was happening. The best approach going forward needs to include an – albeit awkward – honest conversation.

Tell her that you are so embarrassed and that you thought that you had the house to yourselves. Apologise for how it may have made her feel, and be honest with her about how much online research into time travel you have done since then.

One hopes that she has had a very positive glimpse of married life, that she will miraculously wipe from her memory, and only recall when she needs to make those important adult decisions.

I hope that you won’t be swopping your dessert-à-la-intimacy for the Victorian gritting your teeth (quietly) and thinking of England.

I am sure that your stepdaughter will take to calling ahead and loudly coughing every time she comes home.

You are beautiful!
Love and blessings