5 Signs You Should Break Off Your Engagement

These things can help you think through what's best for you.
By First Things First
August 18, 2020

It’s normal to get nervous about important decisions. Asking yourself, “Am I marrying the right person?” is one of those nervy decisions because marriage is a lifelong commitment, not something that will come out easily in the wash if you’ve not made the right choice. So you weigh the odds, make a list of pros and cons, mull over some what-ifs. But at some point, when the doubt overshadows the confidence in the relationship, you may find yourself asking a new question: “Should I break off my engagement?

Here are 5 signs the answer to that question may be “yes.”

1. Isolation from family or friends.

If your fiancé is keeping you from seeing or talking to your friends and family for reasons that don’t have your best interest in mind, then consider breaking it off. When you marry, you become a unit, but within that, it’s essential to have a community of people you can lean on when life gets challenging. It’s impossible to be everything you need for each other. Putting that kind of expectation on each other can be crippling. Though you may go to each other first, it doesn’t mean they will always be the last person you talk to in order to work something out.

When you marry someone, you very much so marry the family as well. Unless it is a personal boundary you have set for yourself concerning the lack of communication with your family, having your fiancé control who you see and when can take a manipulative turn.

2. Can’t compromise on “big-ticket” items.

If the two of you find yourselves at a crossroads, and you can’t find a solution for issues that affect both of your futures, reconsidering your engagement may be in your path. 

For example:

  • If one of you wants to have/adopt kids and the other wants nothing to do with kids EVER.
  • If you can’t agree on how you will handle money or you have significant financial differences of opinion.
  • You can’t find a middle ground for religious differences or the role your spirituality plays in your life. (Flash forward to if you have kids, what religious influences can you agree on to raise them?)
  • One of your careers is treated as more important than your relationship. Waiting to marry until you are in a financially stable career is one thing. But a perspective where marriage is going to get in the way of career goals, set them back, or get in the way of what they want to do is another thing.

3. Marrying because you’ve been together forever and it’s just the logical next step.

If you’re only getting married because you don’t feel like starting over with someone else or don’t want to be lonely—a lifelong commitment with someone isn’t a way to fix that. Being married to someone you feel like you “settled for” isn’t going to lead to a happy or fulfilled life. You could quickly begin to resent them or live with regret. 

If it’s been forever because you two were working toward being in the right place for your relationship and you can’t imagine life without each other, that is entirely different.

4. It’s just not a healthy relationship.

  • Lack of trust in each other.
  • A pattern of cheating and making up.
  • Lies and deceptive behavior.
  • Addiction issues.
  • Extreme jealousy—they care obsessively who you hang out with, what you wear, what you talk about, and how you spend your downtime.
  • You continually make excuses for their behavior.
  • Your fiancé gaslights you and makes any problem that arises your fault.

5. Your fiancé is abusive.

Healthy relationships revolve around mutual respect, trust, and consideration for the other person. Intense jealousy and controlling behavior, which could include physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, are all indicative of an unhealthy relationship

Some signs of abuse to look out for:

Fiancé says:

  • Violence is your fault.
  • If you had not done… Then I would not have had to do…
  • You cannot survive without them.
  • You are too stupid, too ugly, or too unfit to be a good employee, wife, husband, friend, or mother, father. (They always put you down and make you feel bad about yourself.)

If you find yourself in this type of relationship, ask someone you trust to help you safely get out of harm’s way. The National Domestic Violence hotline is 1-800-799-7233, and there are often resources available to help victims of domestic violence in your community. *You are not alone, and treating others well is key to a healthy relationship. We sincerely hope for the best for you.

Though breaking off an engagement can leave you with some initial heartache…

…choosing not to marry someone because they aren’t compatible or the relationship is unhealthy will leave you better equipped for a more fulfilling future. Marriage is a lifelong commitment. Taking the time to consider if it’s the next step for you thoroughly and for your relationship is an essential part of deciding what’s best for you.

Additional Resources:

Image from Unsplash.com

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  1. Daniel Onyebuchi
    Daniel Onyebuchi says:

    What about a country that does not have hotline for abusive relationship? Try to write next article that capture a topic like guidelines to break an engagement.
    I’m an author so I just stumbled on your website while making research.