“I’ve been having a very sexual online relationship with a man halfway across the country for a year and a half. We have met in person once as well- it did include some sexual contact. Previously I was very intensely into this man and was devastated when I found he lied about crucial things: like the fact he has a child. I’m no longer as emotionally invested in him, as I have a local boyfriend now, but we continue to interact online and by text message with very sexual banter very regularly. We have sexual chats and he sends me unsolicited pictures of himself naked. My boyfriend knows about this guy and doesn’t mind. However, I just found out, by Google no less, that this guy is getting married in less than a month. I feel the extreme need to contact his fiancé and let her know. I feel like if I just cut off contact she’ll never know what kind of man she is marrying. If I were her, I’d want to have all the information. If I just confront him and tell him to be honest with her, there’s no way to know if he actually tells her or not, and considering his past, he’d probably lie to her. What do I do?”
Missy, you have an ethical pickle of gargantuan proportions. It’s a briny catch 22, with each possible solution nastier tasting than the last. You have a valid point that even if you proceed with the utmost integrity, pure rationality and empathic concern, it might well get you nowhere since you appear to be dealing with a sleazebot douche rocket.
There are a few elements that make this ethical quandary extra hairy:
YOU DON’T KNOW ME, BITCH
Although you may put yourself in this woman’s shoes and think, “I would absolutely want to know if my future husband was a pathologically lying piece of crap,” you still don’t know this woman. You don’t know if she would want to know, if she would believe you or if she doesn’t know already. Perhaps she, like your boyfriend, finds his internet side-jobs to be a harmless hobby. Maybe she’s batshit crazy and, upon hearing you’ve been talking to her man, will hunt you down and stab you in the face. You don’t know.
THE POWERFUL RIVER THAT IS DENIAL
Let’s think saddest case scenario: you tell her, she thinks about it and decides to ignore it because the wedding is only a matter of weeks away and she can’t handle the idea of having to break off the engagement and deal with the public scrutiny. She then spends the rest of her marriage with the aching, tormenting knowledge. You could send her all the instant message conversations, naughty pics and explicit texts you’ve saved, hoping it makes your case and it may not matter. She may take one look and just…. like… silently implode, unable to rectify her notion of her man with that she sees. This revelation from you could be the most traumatizing thing that has ever happened to her.
SERIOUSLY BAD TIMING
One month? One month until this fucktard marries some poor, unassuming lady? You are left with very little time to sit and think about this, seeing as you need to give this woman as much advance notice as possible.
You have a few possible routes to consider at this juncture:
GIVE HIM A CHANCE
Sure, he’s done nothing redeeming so far: lying, possibly cheating, and manipulating a minimum of two other people for over a year. But even dickwad thundercunts like him deserve to be given an opportunity to do the right thing. Explain to him the following: you are not going to interact with him anymore (and mean it!), that he must come clean with his fiancé about your relationship and that if he doesn’t, he shouldn’t be surprised if she finds out from you.
POSSIBLE RESULTS: Maybe he shapes up, grows a pair and tells her. Maybe he says he tells her but doesn’t really and you have no way of knowing. Maybe he assures you, with some suave concocted tale, that she already knows. In any event, while this is the most principled choice, it definitely leaves little room for resolution.
GIVE HIM A CHANCE, THEN DISH
So you tell him you’re breaking it off with him and demanding he tell his lady. Then, after an amount of time that seems rational (a minimum of a couple days) you write a very sober, serious email to this lady saying that it brings you no joy to have to let her know this; that you, in her position, would want desperately to have all the information before making such a big leap; that you were unaware she existed before; that you understand if she is angry at you but you are doing your best to do the right thing.
POSSIBLE RESULTS: She might go ape shit on you. She might not believe you because he has already said to her, “some crazy bitch is gonna try to tell you some insane stuff about me.” She might read your letter and realize, “damn, I better cancel the fucking caterer.” It’s hard to know.
THE DRAMA EXPRESSWAY
You might not want to even wait and just shoot her an email with the polite note and some evidence of your dalliances attached.
POSSIBLE RESULTS: Well, shit, he could actually find you and kill you. Weirder things have happened when dealing with sociopaths. And all the possible repercussions already mentioned are still in play, since you don’t know how this woman reacts to bad news. Maybe nothing happens, maybe everything. Maybe it’s a tornado of crazy wherever they are and you never hear about it. There’s no way to predict, unfortunately.
Fuck. I mean, really. This just sucks. I certainly can’t tell you what to do, but I hope that my analysis gives you some new thoughts to consider in your ruminations. All I can say for certain is that the best results will come when you are sure of your motivations. As much as you may think you’re no longer emotionally invested in this man (as you were previously anyway), you are probably feeling some underlying rage and hurt that influence your decisions. Make sure you are doing this out of solidarity with the sisterhood and not out of vengeance towards the man who scorned you. Look deep into your feelings and find a place where you want to look out for this stranger who is about to leap into marriage with an asshole and not jut punish him, even if he does deserve it. When your feelings are right, your conscience can be clear no matter what the results.