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Ending an Engagement

Ending an Engagement


Dear Rachel,

I am engaged to be married yet recently reached the conclusion that I don’t want to spend the rest of my life with this man. It is not a case of cold feet, it is a situation where our goals and desires in life are just so different. Even when I got engaged I knew it was a mistake. I know I need to end this, but for some reason I find that every time I try I just can’t bring myself to do it. Also, the invitations are already out and so much money has been put into the wedding. But even more importantly, I really do care for him and love him and don’t want to hurt him. What should I do?


Dear Overwhelmed,

There is no question that breaking off an engagement, especially when it is so close to the wedding, is a very difficult thing to do. At the same time, you sound pretty convinced that you have legitimate reasons for wanting to, and it sounds as if you got engaged for the same reason that you could potentially marry this man, which is fear of ending the relationship.

Assuming that it really is in your best interest to end this, then not only should you for your sake, but for his as well. Would you want him to marry you if he felt about you the way you do about him? While you may feel that you are doing him a favor, it is no favor at all, and quite a disservice. In truth, if you care about him and love him as you say, do not let him marry a woman who knows she doesn’t want to spend the rest of her life with him.

You cannot marry a man out of guilt, responsibility or fear of letting him or anyone else down. When you marry a person, it must be with the belief that this is your soul mate and the person you want to spend your life with. Marriage is not easy, it is an incredible amount of work, but an essential ingredient is that you are both heading in the same direction in life and have the same end goals. Therefore, if he is not right for you, then ultimately you cannot be right for him either.

Another important thing to remember is that he does not need to be a horrible person to be the wrong person for you. If anything, he could be a great guy, just a great guy for someone else. You have to be honest with yourself and with him and discuss how you are feeling. If your relationship really does have a future, then this will give you an opportunity to discuss what can be done and how you both feel about one another and this potential marriage. However, if that is not the case, then you will give him the opportunity to make his own decision once he is aware of the entire situation.

In terms of invitations being out and money having been spent, while perhaps uncomfortable, that has nothing to do with a decision regarding the rest of your life. The only way you can marry this person is with the strong conviction that this is your soul mate. Anything less, and you are being terribly unfair to the both of you. I assume you would not want him marrying you to avoid letting down a florist and hall! Now is the time, before you are married, to truly think about what lies ahead and then to discuss it with your fiancé. It could very well be that because you care about one another, you will recognize that this marriage may very well be a big mistake.

Much luck and may you be blessed with clarity and to very soon marry your true soulmate, whomever he may be.


"Dear Rachel" is a bi-weekly column that is answered by a rotating group of experts. This question was answered by Sara Esther Crispe.

Sara Esther Crispe, a writer, inspirational speaker and mother of four, is the Co-Director of Interinclusion, a non-profit multi-layered educational initiative celebrating the convergence between contemporary arts and sciences and timeless Jewish wisdom. Prior to that she was the editor of and wrote the popular weekly blog, Musing for Meaning. To book Sara Esther for a speaking engagement, please click here.
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Discussion (33)
February 1, 2014
I called off a civil wedding ceremony a day prior. At that time, it felt like the right decision to take. Its been 3 months since and its been like a rollercoaster of emotions love, anger, guilt..etc. We've been dating for over 2years and I have moved away to another country for him. I put on the line a lot for this relationship. His family never fully accepted me. his brother and sister in law sabotaged our relationship and were always rude to me. But the problem is that my ex never knew how to stop their behaviour and stand up for me. Instead he blamed me for not being able to adjust in his family. This has affected our relationship and brought a lot of tensions. At some point I just couldn't say 'I do'. I still care and love him, and deep down really hope for things to become better. His family is mad at me for cancelling. And brainwashes him at every opportunity. I know he cares about me a lot but can't go against his family. Am I just not seeing what I need to see?!?
June 14, 2013
I ended mine too
He was almost prince charming but when he got upset he would become verbally abusive..i knew deep down i had to end it ...when i finally did he called me a day later to break up with me even after i did it the day before. It was like he wanted to take credit for it. I know now that he showed his true colors and they are ugly.
May 13, 2013
I got engaged after 3 years of knowing this girl that I would of done anything for. We took a break fir about 6 months in the middle. I know she loved me deeply, but ultimately chose her crazy parents over me. She was struggling without them in het life. I hated them they hated me, I mostly hated them because the physically and emotionally abused their daughter. I am no pushover I am regular new yorker that stands up for himself and not be pushed around, they didn't like it. My point you could never get between mother and daughter it such a strong bond. You might try and fight it but it will only last so long before it is broken off again. I learned the harshest twice. I can go and tell you the phone calls her parents made to my family, but it is not worth it.

Hey good luck you will find another girl not as attached to her parents, as will I.

Good luck bud.
August 23, 2012
Feeling not to brave
I just yesterday evening broke off my wedding to my fiance, whom I live with and moved to Columbus, OH for. We are both so lost as to what the next step is. For whatever reason, my gut was telling me that something was off. I had to listen to it, because in the end, this huge step is about me too. My heart is absolutely breaking looking around and seeing all of "our" things that we bought together, including the house that he bought for us. We've made our house a home, and now that we're not getting married, what's the next step? Just live in relationship purgatory? I'm so sad over having to do this to him, and to us, because lord help me, I do love him. Please help.
July 20, 2012
Im engaged and living with my fiance i have two girls. The oldest isnt his but the baby is Im just too confuse and feel like i need time on my own! I still love my ex boyfriend and dont see myself with my fiance for a life time. Me and my ex boyfriend started talking a while back seen each other already. I really want to break up the engagementbut dont know how i dont want to hurt my fiance bc his a really nice,dedicated person he accepted my oldest daughter and doesnt know i been married before and quite honest my ex boyfriend does he knows almost all.... I would like to break it up by telling him i need time, and i want to work so i can start being independent again. Please HELP! What should i do????
Rosharon, Tx
June 15, 2012
breaking up
I miss my sig. other. I moved out due to his verbal abuse (alcohol) but hoped to find a way to stay together, with him going for help. He now won't communicate with me. I miss him, didn't expect this. He feels 'at peace' since I am gone and after a wonderful weekend together, he will not call or see me anymore. It's like he is making the decision to end it when he was the abuser. He is hurt that I moved out and said he has had time to think and feels he needs space. I am shocked at the abruptness of his ending our 7 year relationship. I am devastated and just didn't see him breaking it off . How to heal this broken heart? I miss him, not the drunk man, the beautiful soul before he drinks is who I miss... I love him and I'm in a lot of pain.
hubbardston, ma
April 20, 2012
just i want thank u for ur usefl informatio.really i don't know what i should with my fiance .he is very kind ,good guy but till now couldnot love him despit i am very sensitive girl but i donot know so i decided to end it but every time i couldnot say any word becouse i donot want to hurt him but it 's not the right way i know.
April 9, 2012
health issues in the sense what happened??? economic issues what happened?? is the girl too backward in economic status?? 2 ppl with almost same interests can definitely go together.
March 13, 2012
What about two people with almost same interests?
So, my questions is, what happens if two people have almost all interests same?

I know this couple. They got engaged really fast (within 3 months), but I don't really know if they are planning a marriage as fast as they got engaged. Thing is they have almost the same interests. Maybe what they don't have in common is that they don't do the same job...
I somehow also know that they got engaged because there were economic and health issues in the plot. Let's just say that the one needed a woman and the other one needed someone to take care of her because she also had health issues (apart from the economic problems).
Can this work in the future when they overcome their problems? Or is it really their problems keeping them together for now?
What is your prediction/opinion?
New York
December 25, 2011
I Did it a two days before
I just broke off my engagement to my girlfriend of two years our entire relationship was rushed but happy not a lot of fighting at all we were instant bestfriends but the moment i gave her a ring it felt more like marrying her family than her. the major reson i broke it off is we are to young in my opinion and im also in the military about to hop across the pond. so i didn't want to leave my young "wife" behind two mounths after we get married. so long story short it was rushed, we are young, and the entire situation was wrong so be a little selfish if you know in your heart and mind it ain't right then just end it you'll save yourself a lot of headach in the long run.
San Antonio, TX