Break up after engagement happens!
The real question that we should all be asking ourselves is “Are we ready to face a break up after engagement?”
According to Huffington Post, our brains reacts to a break up that same way it reacts to a drug withdrawal! We know that’s not a pretty experience for anyone.
In India, where arranged marriages are prevalent, a break up after the engagement is not just about dealing with our personal disappointment and dreams turning into a nightmare, it is also a loss of face for the entire family!
If you are keen on reading engagement break up stories, you will find people sharing their failed engagement stories on Quora.
The only advantage that Indians have when they go through arranged marriage is that engaged couples are usually not in love before the marriage and that makes breaking up a little less emotional for the parties involved.
If you are planning to end your engagement or if you ever face this situation in the future, we have lined up 15 important things you should do in order to handle your break up after engagement. After all, every failed engagement should be seen as a temporary setback and not the end of the world.
15 things to do to manage a breakup like a boss!
Here is our comprehensive list of things you should consider doing once you choose to break off your engagement. We have included all the cold, calculated things you should do along with softer things that will help you cope with the breakup after engagement.
1. Communicate your decision to the other party
Once you decide to break up the engagement, make sure you communicate your decision to your fiance/fiancee and his / her family directly. Don’t leave hints and hope that they will get your message! If you are going through an arranged marriage, the communication can be handled by your parents.
Not taking calls, not showing up at a place when you have already made plans to meet, or radio silence of any sort doesn’t help your cause.
Be up front about why you want to break off the engagement and you are NOT obligated to let them down gently.
2. Seek the support of close family members
Thankfully, family members are a key part of arranged marriages and even love marriages (eventually). Unlike the western world, you may not be left to suffer the pain of going through a break up after engagement all alone.
In arranged marriages, breaking up after the engagement is a family decision and their support on this matter is granted once the decision is made.
It is important to seek the support of family members other than your parents or siblings who might be emotionally upset about the turn of events and may not be able to think clearly.
3. Be ready to report it to authorities
Depending on the reason for your decision to break up after the engagement, you should keep your mind open about reporting the other party to law enforcement.
Especially in India, cases of dowry harassment or mistreatment of women by the fiance is not uncommon. In some instances, you may discover that your fiance is already married or has other illicit relationships.
In all such cases, you are better off reporting the incident to law enforcement. Don’t let pleading or appeals for mercy deter you from reporting it.
If you have had a sexual relationship after your engagement, there is a distinct possibility of the girl’s family filing rape charges.
4. Communicate your decision to friends and family
Once you have communicated your decision to your fiance/fiancee, it is important to make sure all your family members and friends are intimated about your decision to break the relationship.
This will help avoid embarrassing situations for you. You certainly don’t want a relative or friend to congratulate you publicly on your engagement (that you secretly terminated) or ask you about the wedding date!
People are curious by nature and anyone hearing about your break up will want to understand what really happened. Be ready with a consistent answer. Decide to what extent you will reveal the gory details and just stick to the same story once you have made up your mind.
5. Erase all traces of the relationship
Every one of us has a different way to cope with a break-up.
If you are going through an arranged marriage and you are forced to end the engagement, the best strategy to move on is to destroy all traces of the engagement. In arranged marriages, engagement ceremonies are elaborate and family/friends are all invited. These ceremonies are recorded by multiple photographers and videographers in some cases. Make sure all copies are accounted for and destroyed.
If you are breaking off an engagement with someone you loved, you may find it difficult to erase anything and everything that will remind you of your failed relationship. Some people end up holding on to a few items as a memento or keep the items in a box, never to be opened.
Our recommendation is to take a clean break and erase everything that reminds them of the relationship.
Don’t forget to unfollow/unfriend your ex-fiance / fiancee from all social media accounts and block their emails as well. You can change your phone number as well just to be on the safe side.
6. Return gifts exchanged before the breakup
Elaborate engagement ceremonies in India always include a bevvy of expensive gift items exchanged between the newly engaged couple and their families.
The best approach to deal with these gifts is to catalogue the gift items you may have received and the gift items you may have given out in order to arrange an exchange with the other family.
Make sure there is a written evidence about the returned gifts in order to avoid future claims.
7. Make sure you cancel all wedding arrangements
When you end your engagement, it’s not a pleasant affair. It is natural to find yourself consumed by anger, grief, sadness and hopelessness about your situation. While all this drama is unfolding, you will probably lose sight of arrangements you or family might have made for the wedding.
These arrangements include marriage hall, caterer bookings, photographer, wedding invitation printer and in some cases travel books for you and your relatives. Make sure you cancel all these arrangements as soon as the decision to end the relationship is taken.
Document the financial loss you will incur when you cancel the wedding preparation and negotiate with the other party to make sure they assume equal responsibility for the monetary loss.
Even the Supreme Court of India supports the idea of reimbursing/sharing expenses if the engagement is broken off!
8. Handling the break up in a foreign country
If you are engaged to an NRI and you are living with him/her in a foreign country, things can get tricky if you choose to end the engagement while you are with your fiance.
The key to managing such situations is to make sure you are always in possession of your passport and some emergency funds that you can access if required.
You should also share your whereabouts with your family members. Ideally, if you have friends and family members in the country you are visiting, you should know how to reach them in an emergency. Being aware of how to contact emergency responders or local law enforcement in the country you are visiting is a must.
Did you know? The K-1 visa allows you to visit your fiance in the US.
9. Learn how to deal with rumours and gossip mongers
When you go through a break up after the engagement, you are likely to become a victim of baseless rumours and gossip. Considering the fact that your engagement was well publicised, people will start assuming things or spread their own version of the events that lead to your break up.
The key to successfully dealing with rumours about your failed engagement is to stick to one version of the story and remain consistent with it.
Keep yourself busy and remember that there is no need to explain or clarify your situation to anyone other than your immediate family members. Rumours have a short lifespan if you choose not to respond to every rumour or becoming too defensive.
Are you being forced into a marriage you don’t want? Read our comprehensive article on how to say no to an arranged marriage. Click here to read more.
10. Breaking with one you love
Breaking up after engagement becomes a difficult and tricky affair if you were in love with the person you were engaged to.
Here is an extract from a scientific study that proves that break up with someone you were in love with is physically tough on you.
Neuroscientist Dr Lucy Brown conducted an experiment in 2010, in which her team looked at the brains of the recently jilted with the help of an MRI machine. Participants were shown photos of both a platonic pal and a recent ex, and the brains’ responses to each photo were then compared.
Brown found that a photo of an ex activated the same brain regions that are stimulated when someone’s going through cocaine withdrawal.
The best way to handle such situations would be to stop looking for answers and run a personal inquisition to find a reason for what happened! You will be better off believing that it was not meant to be and move on with your life.
Also, remove every possibility of bumping into your ex as you go about your day to day life. Having a supportive family and good set of friends will be helpful as you grieve the loss and attempt to come out of it.
11. Don’t blame yourself
When people break up, they tend to introspect and invariably start doubting if they have an inherent flaw that led to the breakup. Remember that every relationship involves two people and for it to work, the two of you have to demonstrate compatibility. A broken relationship has many reasons and you cannot confuse incompatibility with your personal flaws.
Blaming yourself for a break up after engagement can have negative consequences for you. You may end up suppressing your opinion or ignoring the bad behaviour of your future partner just to avoid going through another breakup!
12. Take care of yourself
In the land of Devdas, we are used to seeing jilted lovers and people with failed relationships go into a tailspin by getting drunk, and acquiring a taste for other bad habits.
While it is OK to grieve the loss of a relationship and feeling bad when dealing with the “shame” of a failed engagement, you will be better off if you make a conscious attempt at taking care of yourself even after you break up after engagement.
Going out with friends, going on a holiday, working out, getting a manicure and pedicure, eating out, shopping, are some of the things that you should consider doing to regain your mojo.
13. Handle common friends with care
When you break up after engagement with someone you share friends with, you need to have a clear strategy to handle such friendships after the breakup.
First of all, if you force them to choose sides, you may end up losing their friendship forever. Remember this before putting a gun on their head! Be ready to deal with a double whammy of a broken engagement and lost friends in such a scenario.
Avoid trash talking to your common friends if you plan on venting with them! Try not to put down your ex-fiance when you are talking with common friends after the breakup.
Make sure your common friends know your boundaries as far as talking about your ex-fiance in the future. Communicate your expectations clearly and don’t be caught off guard later on.
14. Take a break from relationships
When you are injured, you take a break from your routine to rest and recuperate. The same principle applies to broken relationships.
If you believe your break up after engagement has taken an emotional toll on you, it is OK to stay off matrimony sites or dating sites for some time. Let your family and friends know that you are not ready to be “set up” again till you are ready.
Don’t let your zealous family members to pressurise you into saying yes to another match if you believe you are not yet ready to go through with it.
15. Learn from mistakes
Every failed relationship or a breakup after the engagement is a blessing in disguise. They give you an opportunity to identify some mistakes you may have made and correct them.
Some of the mistakes people make when they decide to get engaged include – Placing too much emphasis on the wedding ceremony and parties and ignoring the person; Ignoring red flags such as drinking habits or behavioral issues for the sake of keeping up appearances or family honor; Saying yes to someone just because your friends are married or engaged.
A break up after engagement gives you the luxury of avoiding the missteps you made the first time and keeping your eyes open when you walk into a relationship.
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