Dear Annie: I recently became engaged to my wonderful girlfriend of four years. The wedding is scheduled to take place in September, and I just made the worst mistake of my life.
My fiancée’s grandfather recently was diagnosed with cancer. My fiancée and her brother left town for two weeks to spend time with him. I stayed home, and so did “Angie,” my future brother-in-law’s wife. Angie has three difficult children, including a daughter with special needs. It is very stressful for her.
The day before my fiancée returned, Angie completely collapsed. I helped her get her kids in bed, and we talked for hours. We had a couple of glasses of wine. Honestly, Annie, I never imagined things would go the way they did, but we slept together and are now tormented with guilt. We promised it would never happen again and that we’d take it to our graves.
The problem now is that I can’t look at my fiancée without thinking what a terrible person I am. How could I do this to her? I don’t think I can marry her after what I’ve done, but I don’t know how to break it off, either. What are my options? – Worst FiancÉ Ever in Toronto
Dear FiancÉ: One option is to tell the truth, possibly wrecking your engagement and Angie’s marriage. Another option is to say nothing, although both you and Angie would have to be able to live with the guilt, and it would take time before your relationship with her could normalize. (And there’s no guarantee the truth wouldn’t come out later.) You also could simply walk away from the engagement, devastating your fiancée. Or you could tell a version of the truth: that while she was out of town, you got drunk and slept with another woman. You don’t have to name the woman or give the impression that you knew her. Beg your girlfriend for forgiveness, and ask her to go with you for premarital counseling. If she dumps you, so be it, but at least you both will know why.