“How can I walk away from someone I promised to marry? We have been engaged for more than a year (and he worked really hard to get me an amazing ring). Suffice it to say that I have dragged my feet on setting a date. He is the nicest guy ever, but I now believe I’m not in love with him. I said yes initially because I was younger and a ring sounded wonderful. We really don’t have that much in common and, quite frankly, he’s a bit immature and pretty boring. I don’t want to hurt his feelings or disappoint my mom. She’s made lots of preparations for a wedding already and is eager for me to set a date. What have I done?”

When “no” is really what the answer should have been initially, it will eventually surface.

Allow me to be the first to applaud you for your courage. As difficult a task as this will be for you, it is crystal clear what you must do. And soon. One can learn many things in two years. Apparently, you have grown and matured. Many times people discover the shades of love after walking the aisle and having children. So, you are in a much healthier and more realistic place to break a heart than most.

How will that look for you? A little messy…but only for a while. This nice young man deserves the opportunity to make someone very happy. He wanted it to be you. As he sorts through the breakup, he will discover that he would have fallen short of that important goal in marriage to you. When a relationship is devoid of love, it is lacking in happiness and contentment. This revelation would surely have surfaced sooner or later had you committed to one another in marriage.

Your mother can store these items in your hope chest. You will find love someday. From my perspective, as a mother, even if it was the moment you were to make your entrance as a bride, if you changed your mind, I would be supportive. Most mothers would, as we have our children’s best interests at heart.

I would encourage you to manage the breakup with these things in mind:

  1. Be present. Do this face to face. A text/email/phone call breakup is cowardly.
  1. Be tender. Tone is going to be critical, and a caring one will be more effective. As awkward as it might be the next time you meet, the likelihood of that happening is probable. There is no reason for bitter feelings to be commingled with hurt ones.
  2. Be honest. Let him know that he’s an incredible person, and he deserves happiness. Tell him you made the decision perhaps when you were too young. Avoid pointing fingers or finding fault with either of you. It will serve no purpose. (And, give him back his ring.)
  3. Be still. Give yourself some time after you have broken off with him to assess the “qualifications” of your next relationship. Listen to your heart and don’t allow the feeling of being with someone to take the lead. Learning to be satisfied with who you are and knowing you can be content alone has great merit. It keeps desperation at bay and mistakes at a minimum.

There are worse things than breaking off an engagement. Going through with a marriage to a man you are clearly not in love with would be a betrayal not only to him but also to you. Love is the very essence of life. Wait for it. It’s beautiful when it comes.

Struggling with a relationship issue? Write to Joyce Oglesby, Family Life FIX-IT Pro and find a solution for life.