I am engaged but met someone else

-- Question for John --

I am 19, and I have been together with my fiance for almost 5 years. About 6 months ago I met someone else with whom I feel a much deeper connection. I love my fiance dearly, and I do not want to hurt her again, and I am more than willing to stay by her side, and I do believe that we will both be happy that way. However, the other person is much more suited to me.

We talk more and about a much larger variety of topics than my fiance and I have ever discussed, and we are constantly smiling and giddy when we get to see each other. Recently, we have both been making stupid excuses just to stop in long enough to say hello. I feel that this is the right person for me, but do not have the first clue about how to handle the situation. My fiance has been through a lot of bad experiences in her life recently, and I do not want to throw anything extra on her load now. I really do not know where to go from here.

-- Answer from John --

This is a sad situation and a time of much potential pain for your fiance. And maybe even for you. But from your age and description of what’s going on, I’d have to conclude that you are still in an active learning phase about relationships… about what it is you want… about what really works for you.

I’d also have to conclude you are clearly NOT ready to settle down with your fiance. Otherwise you would not have become attracted to someone else at this juncture. Or you would have already learned to put side attractions in perspective. (But that’s another topic)

There’s nothing wrong with not being ready for marriage now. The world is a big place and there are many kinds of interesting women out there, and, after all, learning more about what really works for you is age-appropriate for you right now. Many couples suffer later when they did not spend enough time learning about relationship Really.

The only real mistake you can make now is to marry and then fall in love with another women, as you are obviously doing here. I know you fear hurting your long-time friend, lover and fiance. That seems to be your main concern. But consider this in making your hard choice. You will hurt your fiance much more by “doing the right thing” and marrying her, than if you were to break it off now.

Why? Because your heart is not in a settled down kind of place and you are very likely to either go all the way with this new woman, on the side, or fall in love with yet someone else in the future. And consider if kids enter the picture in that marriage. Even more severe pain for more people. I think it’s a tough call, and certainly a tough thing to do to break it off with your fiance. You are obviously a caring person.

If you do break it off with your fiance, I trust that you can do it in a way that owns it as your own problem and not because she isn’t good enough or doesn’t turn you on like the new one. You will say something like, “I’ve been looking at it, as we get closer to marrying. I gotta be honest. I’m just not mature enough to be ready for marriage at this point in my life. It would be a mistake and end up being more painful in the long run for both of us.”

I wouldn’t put the other woman in her face at all. I’d make sure your ex-fiance had all the space and time to heal her own pain before trying to “be friends” and sharing with her any details about your new life.