Whether your relationship is not heading in the direction that you hoped, or the passion that you once felt for your fiance is no longer there, breaking up is never an easy task. Leaving your fiance is often more complicated than a traditional breakup, especially if you already started wedding planning and if your children consider him as part of the family. Between breaking the news to your family, and contacting wedding vendors, leaving your fiance requires mental and emotional preparedness.
1 Seek help from friends, family members or a professional, such as counselor or therapist. Jennifer Heetderks at the University of California Riverside suggests connecting with social support, including friends and professional counselors, to aide you through the grieving process of your breakup.
2 Offer social support or professional help for your children if children are involved in the relationship. While your breakup may be fundamentally different than a divorce, your kids might view your fiance as a part of their family and may need additional support to address feelings of anger, pain, frustration or even love for your ex. The North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service suggests offering professional help and support to children of all ages in breakup and divorce situations to cope with their feelings.
3 Prepare what you are going to say. Outline your reasons for leaving the relationship. The National Dating Abuse Hotline suggests writing down your reasons for leaving because they may serve as a reminder as to why you are making this decision if you begin to doubt yourself at a later point.
4 Take ownership of your breakup by focusing on why you are leaving, not what your fiance does that makes you want to leave. A March 2010 "Psychology Today" article suggests using "I" statements, such as "For the past several month's I've been very unhappy," or "I don't think that our parenting styles are alike enough to make this marriage work," during a breakup. Using "I" statements turns the direction of the conversation toward yourself, without placing blame on your fiance. Statements such as "You make me sick," or "You were never there for me," come across as blaming and confrontational. While there is likely nothing that you can say to make your fiance happy during the breakup, avoiding confrontational language can make the process of breakup go more smoothly.
5 Make the time to meet privately and in person with your fiance. Unless you have reason to believe that your fiance might become aggressive during the breakup, a serious or long relationship deserves the respect of an in-person breakup. In the November 2012, edition of the "Independent Voice," the newsletter of the International Ombudsman Association, Cynthia Joyce of the University of Iowa discusses the importance of using direct communication rather than indirect communication to convey your message so as not to send a mixed message. When you use direct communication, you focus on honesty rather than trying to be polite and soften the truth. An example of direct communication in a breakup might include statements such as "Brandon, I know this is hard to hear, but I'm calling off the wedding and moving out. I don't think that our relationship is strong enough for me to continue putting my effort and energy into it." A statement such as "I'm not sure what I want to do. I'm thinking of doing something drastic, but I don't know" is indirect and does not send a clear message indicating your desire to leave.
6 Contact any wedding vendors with whom you contracted during your engagement. Depending on the terms of your contract, you may be entitled to a partial or full refund for any wedding services booked. Bear in mind that many vendors keep strict guidelines that dictate if or when a refund is available to clients who cancel their services.
7 Allow your ex-fiance time to process the breakup before trying to contact him regarding logistical concerns that might still be looming such as returning wedding or shower gifts. Your ex-fiance will require time to let the reality of the breakup sink in before he can effectively hold up to his end of any outstanding obligations that you share.
- Avoid using insulting or harsh language during the breakup. Even if your ex lashes out, maintain your composure to be the bigger person.
- Journal of Social and Personal Relationships: Breaking Up is (Relatively) Easy to Do: A Script for the Dissolution of Close Relationships
- Journal of Social and Personal Relationships: Hurt Feelings in Couple Relationships: Towards Integrative Models of the Negative Effects of Hurtful Events
- Journal of Social and Personal Relationships: Gender Differences in the Hetero-Sexual Relationship Rules Embedded in Break-Up Accounts
- University of California Riverside: Recovering from a Break-Up
- North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service: The Effects of Divorce on Children
- National Dating Abuse Hotline: Should We Break Up?
- Psychology Today: The Classy Break-Up: Conversational Templates for Saying Good-Bye
- The University of Iowa: The Impact of Direct and Indirect Communication
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