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Do you know any couples who have split after getting engaged?

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I did.

And thank GOD - we were about to get married and try to have kids while we were still a mess.

I will say though - that a three month hiatus was all we needed to get things back together and on the right track. But, we are not engaged. Time to practice these new skills before we jump on that wagon again

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I broke up with an ex fiance years ago, because he was abusive and I was young and foolish and thought things would change.


Thankfully, I figured out that they would not have, and ended things before we actually got married.


Are you thinking of ending things with your fiance?

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Hope - sorry to hear what happened between you and your fiance. This is what is happening with me:






Hi Kim,


I'm not sorry, it was the best thing I did, to leave him. But thanks for the condolences.


I read your thread this morning... what are you going to do?

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Hey there Kim, sorry about all the stuff you are going through. I have had a read of your other post as well and am kind of responding to both now. I am running the risk of boring you with my story but here it is.


While there were no nationality/culture issues for me, I had a very similar situation. We had huge values conflicts and difficult parent issues.


I had a fiance who was the eldest of a family of five children, with a mother who lived vicariously through her children. They were a shallow family with an expensive, disposable lifestyle, who sneered at mostly everything that was not about the latest fashion and hair removal/tanning processes (no bias from me obviously ). His mother had never worked, and was dismissive of women who do, and she also revelled in spending money to get people to do things for her that she could do herself (like washing her own hair, arranging cushions on a couch), as some kind of status thing.


In contrast, I am an only child with freaky painful intellectual parents who sneer at any form of excess, who make everything themselves and value only work. Spending money is a no-no. A rather un-fun way to live and the complete opposite of his family.


So our parents weren't each others' type, and neither set of parents really approved of the choice of their child. His parents looked at pale, chunky working/studying me with some pity, and his mother tried to set him up with the local hot hairdressers. My mother and father were slightly better about him, but not much. I think they felt a kind of patronising sympathy for him as though he were a bit simple.


You can imagine the elation when we announced our engagement! Note we had been going out for 8 years at that point. My parents refused to talk about it, and his parents went mad. His mother became obsessed with our wedding plans and tried to run the show. She was unbearable, and hassled us constantly. She and her snobby daughters picked a dress for me before I had even come home from the 2 week holiday where the ex asked to marry me. She called him on a daily basis with pushy and surreal ideas for the wedding, and she insisted on bringing every friend she'd ever had, and their friends.


I am quite independent and was horrified at this, not the least because his mother had never liked me and was trying to steamroll me to get what she wanted. It brought out the worst in everyone. And my ex did nothing to protect me, he did exactly as mummy wanted. I tried so hard to be nice and to be open to her views but no one cared about what I wanted. We had the biggest fights we'd ever had and I felt completely alone. I wasn't sure what I wanted re my future, couldn't imagine being without him, but was mortified that my future husband was so weak in the face of his family, and put me last.


After a few months of this, he came home one day and said 'you'll be relieved, mum said we should call off the wedding'. That is, postpone indefinitely. She was sick of thinking about it apparently. She had sucked the life out of our pleasant experience, saw I wasn't playing and then decided she couldn't be bothered. I was kind of relieved the harassment would end, but was gobsmacked that he would just do what she said. When I tried to talk about us getting married in the subsequent months he had kind of lost interest.


The upshot of all of this is that the writing was on the wall. It shouldn't have mattered that his parents were freaks, we should have been a team. Isn't that what the marriage thing is about? I was prepared to cut off my parents from my life if they couldn't respect my decision, and they were all I had. I chose him. He did not choose me. I have had someone choose me since then, I have planned a wedding since then, and I tell you the difference was enormous.


I think it's that simple. The actions do not go with the words. Either he chooses you or he doesn't. I'm not saying it will be easy for him, but it's life, and it's his choice. I think the message to you is clear - you cannot depend on this guy to put you first and support you, and that is damning in a future life partner. You seem to know this. Trust your judgement here.

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I am going to really test your patience and add another point...


My relationship with the above ex ended suddenly, after 10 years. Turned out he didn't feel like being in a relationship anymore, and wanted to concentrate on his mountain biking . He collected his stuff and I never heard from him again. Surprise surprise I also never heard from any of his family, although I had been 'close' to them for almost 10 years. I have written about this before and won't continue on what happened.


But needless to say I was HEARTBROKEN. Had been with him since I was 19 and couldn't countenance being with anyone else; saw him as family. I remember moaning to my father about the whole thing at the time, and saying if he wasn't sure (the ex) why did he ask me to marry him? My father said something that stayed with me - the engagement is not the marriage, or a kind of pre-marriage, it is the true testing time to see if you CAN be married. Engagement periods are NOT always just 'well we are together 100% and we're sure, so let's get that wedding planned', they are genuine times of questioning, and provide a real chance to see if this is right for you. I think the wedding planning arguments and value conflicts that arise can end up being the most instructive about how you guys will handle those big issues down the track, and how you listen to one another. You have every opportunity to call this off if it feels like that's what is right for you, this is the time to do it.


Remember that as time passes, you go through with it, you have children etc (if that's what you want) things will only intensify. Unless his mother has a personality transplant, she will have views about how you run your household, how you raise your children, and you need a husband who can stand by his decisions and know when to gently tell mother to butt out.

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Caro, I am glad I read your post because I was in the almost same situation, just the relationship is at very early stage. It ended after 2 years.


Just out of curiosity, do you how is your ex? Will the mama type boy friend/ fiance ever grow up and not to be control by his parents?


May be he would get married, but to woman of his mother choice. It was such a pitty to live life like that.

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Caro, I am glad I read your post because I was in the almost same situation, just the relationship is at very early stage. It ended after 2 years.


Just out of curiosity, do you how is your ex? Will the mama type boy friend/ fiance ever grow up and not to be control by his parents?


May be he would get married, but to woman of his mother choice. It was such a pitty to live life like that.


I googled him a while ago and saw he'd shifted state twice in the last two years, to places very, very far away from the family. So maybe that's how he got away, I don't know. I DO know that when he left me he went back home to live with them, and I think he stayed a while. No idea what happened in between.


I think that to be honest, it wasn't just his mother he followed, he didn't have much spine to defend his position to ANYONE and it was fundamentally because he didn't really HAVE a position on anything. He was a bit lacking in moral fibre. As was the whole family - that experience led me to be even more sure that experience breeds character. These kids had always had everything given to them, and then everything thrown away with no sentimentality or regard to remaining value. Never had to work, never had to pull their weight, and they were all dramatically lacking in integrity or passion. To care about something or know anything about anything was desperately uncool.


It was weird - the children would come home from school/work to find the mother had shifted their bedrooms around because she got bored. Their stuff would get thrown away when they weren't there, and she just laughed when one of the girls had the school closed down during exams by making a bomb threat. No care, no responsibility, no value for privacy, property, other people's feelings - anything.


When you look at it that way, you gotta feel sorry for them, perhaps not caring was a coping mechanism for living like that. And they were a good looking bunch and pretty much traded on that, but they're all getting older now and there will be younger versions they can't compete with...


Having said all that, I do wish my ex the best. He was a nice person, he was just a bit undercooked. I was very hurt when he left like he did, but am also eternally grateful he exited my life so I could be free to get to know myself for a while, then meet and marry my wonderful husband.


What happened with you? Where's your ex now?

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His mum threaten to disown him if he continue the relationship with me. She even checked his handphone and email account, just to make sure that there wouldn't be a contact between us. Apart from that, one of his hotmail account was also closed.


My ex went to China to teach English. At first, his family opposed his wishes to go to China. However, because he had signed a contract with the agency, it would be a breach of contract not to go and need to pay back some compensation. So, he manage to persuade them to let him go.


That is the last news I heard from him.


From what you describe, the root of the problem is that our exes has no strenght in character and unable to defend themselves. It is not only the parents are controlling them, but also others who could impose influences.


Sometimes, I question don't their parents know that they are driving him away from home. Wouldn't they resent their parents for seperating them from their lovers? Are they happy to live a life control by their parents?


If they are prefectly fine to follow all their parents wishes or let their parents taking care for them like arrange for them who should they married, what kind of lifestyle they should follow, which school should their children attend and etc. They does not need to think or bother about anything because all has been taken care by their parents. When one day, their parents passed away, would they cried to their grave, "Mum, I don't know what to do. Please tell me how to do." I mean they would be lost. Or until the last breathe of their parents, their parents still need to worried about them.


Sorry, I am a bit cynical about it.

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Guest + Caro - thanks for your posts.


Caro - your posts were very interesting and heart-warming, to know that someone has gone through some similar situation. I'm sorry about what happened with you and your ex, but I'm very happy for you that it worked out good for you and you now have a very nice husband who you deserve.


I guess in my situation I just don't feel 100 per cent resolved to say it's over. Some of what his folks have said has gotten to me, like maybe we should have waited until after his brother had gotten married before we announced our engagement and maybe he shouldn't have told me what his mom has said about me. But I believe that now we're a couple, I have the right to know what his mom says about me and my family. I didn't react badly to his actual mom, I just soaked it in and tried to get on with things, although I was hurt for sure.


I also feel maybe I shouldn't have given him the impression that I wanted marriage or nothing. Maybe I should have given him another year or two for him and his folks to adjust and accept me fully. But that would be going against what I want in my heart, as I don't want to cohabite for ever, I have always wanted to marry the person I love. And I do love him, but I feel resentful right now.


His folks took 8 years to accept his brother's fiance. His brother ran away from home to live with his girlfriend. His mom didn't speak to him for years. But he did go visit his mom once each week. So maybe my fiance should have done that too. But we live 5 hours away from his folks so it's not easy. I just don't know.


My fiance would go to pieces if we broke up, and I don't think he would find anyone else. There are lots of reasons why I say this. But he doesn't seem to mind about my feelings, saying I should be grateful his folks are speaking about our wedding now.


Maybe I'm just spiting myself, I dunno.


My fiance promised me we would marry when WE wanted, but then changed his mind to suit his folks. He then promised me we would spend Christmas with my family (we spent it with his last year). Should I use the Christmas promise as a test? I think he has agreed with his mom to spend Christmas with them...


Thanx again for your thoughts Caro + Guest.



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Hey Kim, no problem.


Yes these situations are really tricky and the thing is, it's easy for me to be all wise in hindsight, but when I was living that wedding hell a few years ago I saw no way out and would never have left him under any circumstances. I was committed! And I think that if he hadn't left me I probably would not have left him, no matter how miserable I was. So it's easy for people like me to say 'leave him! he's not worth it!' - we may believe it but it's flippant as a response because it completely ignores all the reasons you stay in the first place.


It also is so dependent on what your own situation really is, we are all different, even if there are commonalities between experiences.


I guess the main point from me is to try and be brave, and always keep certain values of yours in mind. Don't compromise on your core values. You are not responsible for his happiness, and you don't have to put up with stuff that makes you feel bad. You don't have to end it, but you can put your foot down. I suggest that if this situation has bothered you, PUT YOUR FOOT DOWN. If you don't you are not teaching him how you need to be treated.


So yes, use this Christmas as a test, but I would enhance this approach by being completely upfront and serious with him about your expectations. Say something like 'darling, as you know, this situation with your family has been giving me a great deal of frustration. I have come to the conclusion that pandering to your parents is not going to be sustainable, and we need to decide as a couple how to move forward. I do need you to know that my respect for you as my husband to be, as my life partner, has been affected by all of this, and I hope we can find a way.' Harsh? Maybe, and you'll have your own words, but the gist of the message is 'buck up love, we're adults, and we're in this together - let's get this sorted and let's call our own shots here'.


Have you had such a conversation? If you have, if you have done everything possible to sort this out and there is no way he'll come to the party, I do ask you seriously, do you think things will change for the better once you're married? Why?

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  • 6 years later...

My fiance left me, cold feet, about 9 mos ago. He said he wasn't sure, wasn't ready, knew he loved be but didn't know if he was in love with me...etc.

He has spent the last 7 mos trying to get me back, and I am finally giving in.

Truthfully, I adored his family, and was especially close to his grandfather. When I told my mother I was speaking to him again she said "That's...not...exactly...bad news". I am 6 yrs older than him, so I understand the fears. I've been around the block enough to know he's the one.

So the big issue for us is fear. He was afraid of getting married and now I am afraid of getting back together. LOL. But somehow, when I am with him, all that stuff is gone and we laugh and laugh and laugh.

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