Of course, you’re doing nothing wrong and don’t really owe Rhonda an explanation, but because you have a personal history and you’re interested in potentially reigniting the flame, I would err on the side of transparency. The next time you talk with her, be honest — after telling her you had a great time on your date and would like to go out again, tell her that you’ll be going out of town in a couple of weeks and attending a formal event with your friend Kelly, who agreed to be your date since you weren’t romantically involved with anyone when you were invited to said event. If a relationship with Rhonda progresses over the next couple weeks — if there are dates and communication between now and the event — I would make sure to keep in touch with her while you’re away to let her know she’s on your mind. A few texts — maybe a picture or two of you dressed in your formal wear — and some commentary on the event can go a long way. If she gives you any grief though, I’d take that as a red flag and extinguish those kindling flames pronto.
And from the forums:
Your online friend is manipulating you and you need to take your life back. Do NOT let him make you feel guilty about ending a relationship that does not satisfy you. Even if his threats are not empty ones — and I think they are — you are not in charge of his happiness. You are not responsible for his well-being. You deserve to have your freedom to pursue something real, with someone you can actually see face-to-face and touch and get to know in person. Tell the online guy: “This relationship is no longer working for me and I am moving on. I wish you well, but please respect my decision and no longer contact me.” You don’t need to tell him about the new person you’ve recently met, but you do need to be firm about your decision and the boundaries you require and deserve. If he does not respect your boundaries, block every way he has to contact you and DO NOT respond to him, do not engage. I hope it doesn’t come to this, but if he threatens you in any way, you should continue not to respond to him and should contact the police. Someone who threatens suicide if you break up with him is not stable, and you need to protect yourself and your privacy accordingly.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.