How To Break Up With Someone You're Engaged To, According To An Expert

Not all relationships are meant to last. In fact, most aren't. But it can be extremely difficult to accept that yours needs to end, especially when it's gotten as far as an engagement. It's one thing to call it quits with someone you're dating or even living with, but it's even harder to know how to break up with someone you’re engaged to, because it’s usually a deeper commitment and one that likely involves family, friends, and often, finances. There is a ton of pressure to go through with an engagement, but I'm here to tell you that if you want out, you have every right to call it off. In fact, calling off an engagement is actually the kinder thing to do, rather than entering a marriage you don't really want to be in.

But how do you actually do it? Is there a way that will make it easier on everyone involved? To answer that question, I contacted relationship and dating coach Monica Parikh, who explained that while a painless breakup is virtually impossible, there are some things you can do to prepare and ways to handle the situation that can make the process easier and less traumatic. Here's what she suggests.

How to prepare for the breakup

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Ending the engagement will likely be a very difficult and heartbreaking situation, so it’s important to mentally prepare. Parikh says you may want to enlist the help of a therapist. “Understand that this will be traumatic,” says Parikh, adding, “remember that you love this other person — even if you don't want to marry them.” She stresses that, no matter what, you do your best to be kind.

How to end the relationship

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Once you’re mentally prepared to break off the engagement, it’s time to have the conversation with your fiancé[e]. Parikh says there is really no way to prepare your partner for the breakup, so she says instead to focus on being “honorable and kind” and to do it face-to-face (unless for some reason you feel unsafe, in which case, do it by whatever means best protects your safety). “Make sure they understand your reasons and include them in the discussion,” says Parikh, suggesting that you, “Try to frame it from the perspective that is best for everyone.”

While facing this problem head on is going to be hard, it’s actually the most loving way to handle the situation. The one thing Parikh says you absolutely should not do is ghost your fiancé[e]. “I've seen far too many people suffer the consequences of having their significant other disappear.”

How to deal with the emotional aftermath

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Parikh says the best thing you can do after the breakup is to “give them time and space. This is a trauma. They need time to grieve the end of a relationship and heal.” If they are still struggling with the “why” of it all, she said you can “provide answers if you have them,” but, no matter what, you have to “resist the temptation to enter in and out of their life or rekindle a sexual relationship.” In doing so, you’ll just muddy the waters and possibly give them false hope for the future, which according to Parikh, “only adds to hurt and confusion.”

While they will no doubt be hurt by the dissolution of the relationship, the most loving thing you can do is to not move forward into a marriage your heart isn't in. That’s not heartbreak avoided, it's just heartbreak delayed.

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