(The Root) —
I had sex with a woman and did not tell her about my fiancee. She recently found out I am engaged and she is so pissed, but it shouldn’t matter because my feelings for her are real. She is the one I really love, and she is a great girl. Any man would be lucky to have her. My fiancee is great, too. I just screwed up, and now the woman I slept with, who is my ex, feels like she is a “ho,” when she is not. (For the record, I’m 27, my fiancee is 27 and the girl I do love is 25.) I feel so guilty. I don’t know what to do. Please help me. –J.W.
Your letter and your actions tell me that you are in a great deal of pain and conflict. You are making a mess of your life, and your double living has sullied the lives of two women you say you care about. Understand that your feelings of guilt are your mind’s way of telling you that you have gone too far and need to get a grip on how to handle your life. You’ve recognized that what you have done is bad, but this does not make you an inherently bad person.
I appreciate that you have deep feelings for both women, but the behavior you have exhibited is not at all acceptable, and it’s certainly not love, even for your ex. Love is an emotion, and it is demonstrated in action.
The feelings mean very little if they are not shown in deed, which is why I challenge your claim that you love anyone in this scenario. You’re not loving your ex by lying to her about your relationship status, and you’re not loving your fiancee, whom, to your credit, you don’t claim to love but probably should love, since you have made plans to marry her.
You must call off your engagement. Proceeding with this marriage under the current circumstances is a bad idea. Marriage is a serious step — one whose value you clearly don’t recognize, or the level of commitment required. Frankly, you are not prepared to be anybody’s husband yet.