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 fiancee's grandfather recently was diagnosed with cancer. My fiancee 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 fiancee returned, Angie completely collapsed. I helped her get her kids in bed, and we talked for hours about the pressure she's under. We had a couple of glasses of wine to relax. 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 fiancee 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 Fiance Ever in Toronto
Dear Fiance: 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 fiancee. 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.
Dear Annie: My brother recently passed away. We are a well-known family in the community and received many cards, memorials and flowers. It was such a tribute, and we were very grateful. It was quite a task thanking everyone, but it would have been so much easier if you could tell your readers to sign the card with your first and last names. If sending a gift or flowers, please also list your address. We called the florist, but they didn't always have addresses. It is especially hard when there are multiple friends or families listed on one card and some live out of town. Please tell them.
Barbara in Nebraska
Dear Barbara: People often mistakenly assume that you will know who "Ted and Sheila" are, not considering that you might know more than one couple with those names, or that their handwriting is so illegible you aren't sure if it's "Ted and Sheila" or "Tom and Stella" — or their address is unlisted. Please, folks, your kindness is much appreciated, so allow the recipients to thank you properly.
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