How to Get Out of an Unhealthy Engagement

by Leah Campbell

The venue has been picked and the invitations have gone out; as far as everyone is concerned, you will soon be married. As the date approaches, however, you and your fiancé have started fighting, and you can’t shake the feeling that this isn’t a relationship you want to be in long-term. Rather than make the mistake of saying “I do,” take the opportunity to get out now before you find yourself stuck in an unhappy marriage.

Do it in Person

You owe your fiancé a face-to-face conversation, explains therapist Mira Kirshenbaum. Regardless of how bad things have gotten, ending this relationship in person is the healthiest way out. It won’t be an easy conversation for either of you, but at least having it means you will each get closure. If physical violence has been a problem in the past, however, suggest meeting in public in order to officially break things off.

Remain Firm

Prepare yourself for your fiancé to put up a fight but remain firm in your decision to end the engagement. If your gut is telling you to call the wedding off, you need to call it off, says psychotherapist and author Christina Steinorth. Trust that instinct and allow it to protect you from the future unhappiness of being in a bad marriage. Remind your fiancé that there is a reason things aren’t working and that saying “I do” won’t fix it.

Proceed with Kindness

Even if your fiancé has done everything under the sun to push you away, there is still a need to end things kindly says Kirshenbaum. Don’t use this time to resort to accusations and name-calling. Instead, part ways by reminding your fiancé of the good times and expressing sincere well-wishes for the future. Avoid bad-mouthing your ex to friends and family once the details are finalized. Get past the point of placing blame and remember that this is someone you once cared about.

Don’t Look Back

You can still love your fiancé, but if you aren’t in love you wouldn’t have been able to successfully navigate the trials of a long-term relationship, according to marriage and family therapist Jane Greer. Once you find yourself out on your own again, you might experience bouts of loneliness and regret. In addition to remembering the reasons you called your wedding off, make a list of the qualities you hope to find in the partner you do want to spend the rest of your life with.

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About the Author

Living in Alaska, Leah Campbell has traveled the world and written extensively on topics relating to infertility, dating, adoption and parenting. She recently released her first book, and holds a psychology degree (with an emphasis in child development and abnormal child psychology) from San Diego State University.

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