You have that dreadful feeling in the pit of your stomach that it all was a major mistake. And that feeling just won’t go away… Maybe you fell in love with someone else. Or you fell out of love with your fiance. Or you just realized that marriage isn’t for you after all -and it isn’t just pre-wedding nerves.
And now you face the most painful experience of all: Telling your fiance that you want to break up the engagement, call off the wedding. You once loved him or her – maybe still do in some ways and don’t want to hurt them more than necessary. But how to break the news gently?
The truth is, there is no easy way to do this and your previous significant other will be hurt and disappointed. You might be tempted – based on friends well-meant suggestions and Hollywood romcoms, to change your behavior, to behave like an idiot, to make your fiance want to call off the engagement, saving you from having to do it. It’s an option – but it’s a cop-out, it’s not fair on the person you once claimed to love, it might not work and will still be painful.
If you have thought it through and either made your decision or started to seriously doubt your future together, you should deal with the situation fairly and dignified.
- Involve your partner in your thought process as early as possible. Maybe there are other ways to relieve your fears and you will change your mind. Maybe you just need more time. Or maybe your fiance actually shares your opinion and wants to get out of the engagement as well. It might well be, that you have drifted apart since you got engaged.
- Don’t let it come out of the blue. It is not fair to your partner to play happy family and say how much you are looking forward to the wedding and then – out of nowhere – drop the bombshell that it is all over. Don’t fake enthusiasm where it doesn’t exist and give little signals and signs once you start doubting the wedding plans.
- Don’t play games. Getting engaged and married is an important step in most peoples lives. It is only fair that you are honest and gentle if you need to break your promise of a lifelong partnership. Tell your fiance as soon as you made up your mind. The longer you wait, the more painful it will be. Be honest about your reasons, but avoid being hurtful and throwing all the blame on your partner. You will hurt him or her enough already. “You just started to drive me nuts” is as useless an explanation as “It’s not you, it’s me” or other cliches. Explain instead what changed, why you need to break the engagement. Make sure you show that you know how painful this is, that you don’t take the decision lightly, but that you also know it would be more hurtful after the wedding.
There is no real gentle way to break off an engagement, possibly destroying another persons dream. But by understanding that this decision affects both of you, by treating your partner fair, you can make the experience a little less painful for both of you – and maybe even build the foundation for a future friendship.