I Have a Girlfriend and a Fiancée. Am I Cheating?

Dear Dategirl,

I recently met an amazing girl, and we started dating. The only problem is that I also have a wonderful fiancée in another state. However, my fiancée and I had decided to take a break because the distance was ruining our relationship. We never talked about dating other people, but I assumed it was a given. I feel kind of guilty about having a new relationship. Would you consider this to be cheating? I don't know what to do; I really like both of them.Confused in Kent

I share your confusion—mostly because you were so stingy with the details. What is this "taking a break" nonsense? Is your relationship on pause or actually over? It's been my experience that "taking a break" is just a painful precursor to breaking up, but who knows what the kids are up to these days.

Would you care if your fiancée started dating an "amazing" guy? Does this "amazing girl" you recently began shtupping know about the fiancée? So many questions, so little information!

I'm guessing that like so many people who write to advice columnists, you already know the answer to your question: If you have to ask whether it's right, it's probably wrong.

My rule is that with rare exception, if you'd feel uncomfortable doing something in front of your partner, then you probably shouldn't be doing it. Whether that's smoking crack or smoking pole, if you can't do it while the one you love is within earshot, you should probably give it a pass. (The exception being anything gross involving bodily excretions; I'm not talking scat play—just your normal solo bowel movements, nose picking, etc.)

Let's look at it from the POV of the women in your life: Unless it was expressly stated, I don't think dating other people, when you're engaged, is a "given" on any planet. You're definitely going to have to man up and have a potentially unpleasant conversation with the bride-to-be. Who knows, maybe she's cool with you seeing other women and is happily dating other men. You won't know until you ask.

As for the new chick—what's her position on banging the betrothed? Maybe I'm just uptight, but I'd be pretty cranky if I found out my fab new boyfriend was planning a fall wedding with some other dame.

You sound like a sweet guy, but if you want to avoid a lot of drama, you'd best figure out what, and who, it is you want.

This has come up a couple of times, and I'm all bollixed up. Latest case, we went out a couple of times on casual sort-of dates, so it seemed too early to bring it up: "Hey, I know we're just friends, but just in case that changes, you should know I have herpes" doesn't really work for me. On the other hand, she is a lot younger than me and expects me to make the move. But it seems unsportsmanlike to wait 'til we're in the clinches, when she's all lit up and maybe even a little buzzed, to drop it on her. Good advice would be greatly appreciated.Harry

The last time I was informed by a potential partner that he had the herp, he waited until it was clear we were more than friends, but before any clothing had been removed. Neither of us had been drinking, either, which was also key.

I wasn't thrown or horrified by his confession. In fact, I appreciated his candor and went on to sleep with him several dozen times. It's ironic that his herpes was just about the only thing in our entire brief relationship he managed to handle like a grown-up.

There's no telling how your young lady will react, though. If I were you, I'd tell her what the risks are, how you plan on preventing her from catching it, and that you wanted her to make an informed decision before things got any more complicated. You also have to prepare yourself for the possibility that she may opt out of having sex with you.

But hopefully she's a sensible girl and will realize you are more than some silly virus, and the two of you will go on to all sorts of well-protected depravity. Good luck.

Dating dilemmas? Write Dategirl at dategirl@seattleweekly.com or c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western Ave., Ste. 300, Seattle, WA 98104.

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