(Closed) How common are broken engagements?

posted 8 months ago in Engagement
Post # 16
5192 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2017

The sad part is, I was shocked when I learned that he had an engagement ring, I had no idea he was going to propose, he did it completely on his own, no pressure.

Looking back, it was pretty selfish of him to do that when he never wanted to be married

Post # 17
785 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2016

I was engaged any my ex broke it off. He wasn’t great at knowing his own mind. He thought he wanted it, but then felt suffocated and like marriage wasn’t for him at that stage in his life. I have known others who had broken engagements. Usually either right away, like the engagement was a spur of the moment thing and not well thought out, or after a year or more things just seemed to fall apart. 

Post # 18
875 posts
Busy bee

A broken engagement is WAAAY better and easier (in the long-term) than a divorce. I know at least 3 people who broke off engagements (or were  on the receiving end of it):


– one found the strength to leave an abusive partner while they were engaged. She clearly had self esteem issues and I’m so proud of her for escaping that situation before marriage.


– one was engaged to person who literally had a mental breakdown 2 days before their wedding. Turns out the fiancé had some undiagnosed issue (don’t know if it was bipolar or something else) and their engagement had been kind of quick (less than 1 year). That friend dodged a bullet big time.


– one was mid 20’s when his fiancé dumped him 6 weeks before their wedding. I don’t know the backstory but it’s been about 15 years and they’re both married to other people now. 

Post # 19
737 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

I’ve never known someone IRL to cancel an engagement, but my best friend just said no and left her boyfriend when he asked. I am so proud of her for knowing that it wasn’t right. 

Post # 20
1557 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2019 - City, State

I know 2 couples who ended their engagement.

One of the couples that ended their engagement, one of them realized that the relationship just wasn’t what they wanted for life. They’d been together so long they thought that it was just the next step to get married. But reality didn’t set in until they got engaged and shit got real. It’s easy to just float on in a stagnant relationship that doesn’t feel “wrong”, but when someone starts to paddle forward sometimes you realize that it’s just not right. It was unfortunate, but at least they’re not stuck in a marriage that only one of them wanted.

The other couple who ended their engagement both were serial cheaters and somehow they both found out about the other’s infidelity. That was an…interesting few posts on facebook.

Post # 21
6 posts

1. My ex-fiance of 2+ years was abusive verbally and emotionally…We have a child together and are much better now ashe realized how abusive he was and I have learned that I needed to make changes myself. We are actually friends now, we just are better off not being together. His girlfriend is actually really nice.

2. My ex-husband of 7+ years. We truly didn’t love each other the way that we should have. We were young and grew apart.

3. Ex-fiance of 2 years was physically abusive.

4. Ex-fiance of 4 years was verbally abusive and attempted to cheat on me more than once with a friend/family member.

It is not a matter of what you understand or not. It is not your relationship. Judge all you want…

Post # 22
2455 posts
Buzzing bee

“Do people just not take engagements and commitment seriously anymore?”

I don’t think engagment is much more of a commitment than being in a serious relationship. Emotionally it is for many people, but formally it is not. You have made a promise to another person, but it’s not a legal commitment; if you decide to break up it’s logistically easy to do so (assuming you don’t buy property or combine finances before marriage). If you discover a reason to breakup before marriage (incompatibility, growing apart, infidelity, dishonesty of any kind), it’s far better to cut your losses and move on than try to stick it out just because you’re engaged. 

While I don’t know anyone who has broken an engagement, I certainly wouldn’t judge someone for it. I’d assume it was for the best that they’d figured out they weren’t right for each other before getting married. I do know a few couples who have been engaged for years on end without planning weddings, and to me that is more of a head scratcher. 

Post # 23
484 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

It is very common. More common than people realise. I have read that 1 in 3 engagements infact do not end in marriage.

I have a broken engagement myself. I thought that I didn’t know anyone who’d been through it. But actually, once the news got out, a lot of people reached out to me and told me that they had also been through a broken engagement. I know at least 5 other couples. 

All broke up for different reasons and all were devastated. All of them take marriage seriously. Sometimes things happen during engagement that makes it obvious that marriage won’t work. Lots of people do marriage prep – I view it as a very important thing to seriously consider everything and soberly think about whether you can work out in the long-term.

Personally, my Fi and I were very happy until 4 months before what would have been my wedding when events hit us like a ton of bricks. It was an awful, awful time, the worst of my life, and not taken lightly.

Post # 24
270 posts
Helper bee

My mom ended an engagement prior to meeting my dad (they’ve been married for 37 years). Her ex fiancé hit her during an argument after they got engaged (had never happened before) and she broke it off immediately. She made a great decision and ended up with my dad, who is literally the best man and husband/father in the world. 

I don’t know anyone else who has ended an engagement, but I don’t think most people take it lightly. I would rather end an engagement if something major happened than go into a wedding knowing things were not right and later getting divorced. 

Post # 25
6061 posts
Bee Keeper

What a weird thing to be judgy about. I’d rather someone realize they don’t want to be married to a person BEFORE they sign the papers rather than after. A lot of people ignore  fields of red flags and get married when they shouldn’t.

Post # 26
3362 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2017 - City, State

I know a couple who called off their engagement and they had a lot of problems. They continued to date afterwards but eventually broke up. I know another couple where the girl thought about calling it off but didn’t because “people had already bought tickets and hotel rooms” and by month 8 they were in counseling and by month 14 they were divorcing. This was after 5 years of dating. 

Post # 27
6437 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2015

sarandah :  I only know one person who broke it off and glad for her. I knew going in that it wasn’t a smart relationship. I know far more divorced people. Better to find out beforehand!

Post # 28
293 posts
Helper bee

I broke off my first engagement in 2014.  I loved my ex-fiance very much but we had several incompatibilities that I believe would have caused problems in a marriage (you can read my previous posts regarding the situation).  We got engaged after about 15 months of dating and were together a little over two years when we broke up.  Four years later, we are now both happily married to other people and my husband and I have a 14-month old daughter. I know several other people that have called off engagements as well; all of them are now married to other people.  I definitely don’t think that calling off an engagement means that the couple didn’t take it seriously; in my opinion an engagement (besides being the time to plan the wedding) is the time to really put the relationship under a microscope to make sure you are both as confident as possible that your relationship has what it needs to survive a lifetime.  This obviously will look different to every couple. 

Post # 29
4387 posts
Honey bee

By your logic, divorce shouldn’t exist either. 

Engagement is a stage of dating.  A serious stage, but a stage nonetheless.  Lots of people get comfortable, or change, or evolve, or feel pressured, or believe their life should go in a certain order, or think they need a “good” reason to not be with someone so they stay, or life events interfere, or they are afraid of being alone/disappointing others, etc.

So bascally, life happens.  Not everyone stays together.  Most people don’t marry the first person they’ve ever kissed/dated.   So for however many people dating people just don’t stay together and however many married people also just don’t stay together…you’re likely to see the same thing with engaged people.  I mean two couples is a pretty miniscule sample size compared to all the people you know who did get married or who broke up before buying a ring.

Post # 30
617 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2018 - City, State

An old coworker of mine had a broken engagement in her early-mid-20s. She was a super sweetheart who really believed in family values and all that … meet a nice guy, have a big white wedding in a chapel, 2.7 children, minivan soccer trips, the works. She dated a sweet dude with whom she just had a lot of incompatibilities, but because their relationship was never bad (no one cheated, he wasn’t a raging asshole, there was no abuse of any kind) she just kind of coasted along. In the end, they had different financial goals, different ideas about when to have kids and childrearing, different religious identities, and some other stuff that didn’t feel insurmountable at the beginning but turned out to be a big deal. I remember her telling me “We got engaged because you get engaged. When the relationship is settled enough, that’s just what you do.” Once she was actually staring it all down, though, realizing that nothing would ever change, and acknowledging that this was a FOREVER commitment (ideally), she backed out. Maybe the relationship should have never reached that point — but she and I actually bonded a lot about the messaging we got from our families when we were young (to summarize: “If it isn’t actively bad, it’s plenty good enough and you’ll never do better.”) She had a rough couple of years of self-realization after that, got a mountain of shit dropped on her by her family/church community, but she seems pretty happy now based on what little I hear about her.

I think the fact that she broke it off instead of a) having a messy divorce or b) ending up trapped in a marriage that didn’t make her or her partner as happy as they could ahve been was a brave decision. She knew the value of a “serious commitment” and realized she didn’t need to make one just because folks wanted her to. 

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