Should I come clean to my girlfriend?
Lose the whole “I don’t want to hurt her” shtick, says our elder. Tell her what you’re up to and take your lumps.
Hello, I’ve been dating my girlfriend for almost two years now. She’s super important to me and I could see myself marrying her. I don’t know what I’d do without her. We’re in a long-distance relationship now because of the pandemic, and I have recently found that I have feelings for someone else. I want to be honest with her but it will crush her. I don’t know if I should let the feelings pass and stick with my girlfriend, or tell my girlfriend and potentially deal with a horrible break up. I feel very ashamed of having these feelings for this person, and I know that if my girlfriend had feelings for someone else I would be devastated. This situation is causing me a lot of stress in my life, so I feel the need to make a decision soon. I don’t want to hurt her; we have something amazing and I could ruin it by being honest. On the same note, honesty is super important. I think I need to gain the courage to be honest with her. Do you have any advice?
Hi there. I think one of the interesting ways this advice game works is that the person asking for advice often, I think, answers their own question in how they describe the situation. You wrote a very articulate letter, and I believe that if you were able to read it as a disinterested observer as I can, you would have your answer. You packed a lot of stuff into one paragraph and on the surface, they seem to pull you in completely different directions. When I read it, two things jumped out at me. You say you could see marrying your current girlfriend. Just standing by itself that says a lot. Can you imagine getting down on one knee with a ring in your hand and saying, “Y’know _____, I could see marrying you.” Kind of weak, right? And now you add in the fact that you actively have ‘feelings’ for another girl, well, I don’t hear wedding bells in the future.
So, my take is you are not ready or interested in making a long-term commitment to girl #1. I get the sense that you are fairly young, so I don’t think there is any downside to that. Unless there’s something I don’t know, I see no reason to head for the altar if you’re still checking out the girls in the choir. It all comes down to what girl #1 thinks is going on with your relationship, if you know. If she’s got an altar in mind with you, then tell her about your roving eye and most likely that will mark the end of that relationship. If she is dating you not in the settling down mode then telling her might be fine, she might even come back with, “well as matter of fact, there’s this guy at the gym…” and you can figure out where you want to go from there.
I hope that helps a bit. My job here isn’t to be right. My job is to toss out things that make you think and give you a different perspective. One final item. If I impart any wisdom on you today, let it be this. Lose the whole “I don’t want to hurt her” shtick. You’re going to make decisions in life that other people don’t like, lots of them. If you try to make a decision based on other’s reaction, things get very confused quickly, because none of us can know how another person will react. That’s up to them. Your job is to keep things as uncomplicated and clean as possible and the way you do that is not by guessing what the other one does or doesn’t want to hear, but by telling your truth. That’s the bottom line. Tell girl #1 what you’re up to and take your lumps.
There are always things to learn from any situation, whatever the outcome. Please feel free to let me know if this has been of help or just give me an update. I’m rooting for you.
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