I called off my wedding. No, I’m not ok. But I will be.

This post is the most difficult I’ve written. I’ve been hesitant to write because while I share my life with all of you, I don’t share other people’s. After many sleepless nights, I decided to tell my story because if I could have read something like this, I wouldn’t have felt so alone. My hope is that this post helps one of you learn to trust yourself.

brains over blonde called off wedding

It’s with love in our hearts and love for each other that Tracy and I decided not to get married on August 3rd.

Yesterday I moved out of our Santa Monica apartment into a family friend’s guest house. I’ve never cried so hard or so viscerally in my entire life.

I cried because I love T, I love our life, and I don’t want to lose it. I’m grieving my best friend, my person, my love, and the life we planned together. It feels like a death. It feels like one of my limbs is missing. Maybe all of them.

I moved because deep down inside, I had doubts about whether or not we were compatible for a lifetime. And marriage isn’t something either of us wanted to gamble on.

The doubts started small and I did everything I could to address them. I read books on bridal anxiety. I went to therapy. We went to couples therapy together. But instead of disappearing, those niggling doubts got bigger.

I spent a lot of time convincing myself that my doubts weren’t legitimate. I ignored the niggle and bottled my emotions inside. I suffered in silence because I thought something was wrong with me. I was ashamed, and the guilt… that was almost unbearable. It took a toll on me. In April, I didn’t sleep more than a couple hours a night and barely ate for three weeks. Finally, when I was merely a shell of myself, I realized my body was telling me something, and I needed to listen. I had a gut feeling, and I decided to trust myself.

The actual process of calling off a wedding isn’t something I would wish on anyone.

When you call off a wedding, you blow up your whole life. You break your person’s heart. You break friends’ and families’ hearts. You break your own heart. You break down your soul with the immense grief and guilt. You break promises. You break the bank. And not everyone understands it. I can’t tell you how many conversations I had along the lines of…

“Did he cheat on you?”

No.

“Then why?”

I wasn’t 100% sure.

“You know there’s no perfect person, right?”

Yes.

“But don’t you love him? And he loves you?”

Yes. But love and compatibility aren’t always the same thing. The hardest lesson I learned this year is that sometimes love isn’t enough.

“But you two are so good together! Did you not think you’d be happy? Did you think you’d get a divorce?”

I think we’d have a good life. I don’t think we’d get divorced. But both of us deserve to be in the best possible partnership for our long-term happiness.

“Do you really want to start all over at your age?”

That’s not a reason to get married….

I hated feeling like I had to justify my decision. It’s the hardest decision I’ve ever made, but I’ve come to realize it’s not a decision that a lot of people make. Especially women.

I know a lot of people wouldn’t have made the same decision I did.

We’re the generation raised on Disney princess movies. As girls, we were taught to believe a prince would rescue us and sweep us off our feet. Throughout our lives, people ask us about our dream wedding and what our dress will look like. We read books like Why Men Love Bitches to try to “trick” a man into monogamy. And when we’re finally engaged, we’re supposed to bask in the glory while everyone oohs and ahhs at our ring and asks us “How’s the wedding planning going?” every 5 to 10 minutes. And don’t you DARE express any nerves or doubt, because people will lose their SHIT. You’re supposed to be the epitome of bridal bliss – just like the brides on Say Yes To the Dress.

Men, not so much. Boys are raised to think of marriage as “the ball and chain” – and something that should be avoided as long as possible. Once a guy pops the question, he’s expected to mourn his single life and get cold feet. No one bats an eye; they slap him on the butt and hand him a beer.

In the past few months, a number of women have opened up to me about their engagements and marriages. Turns out they too had cold feet or full-blown doubts, but didn’t feel they could be open about it during their engagement. But we NEED to be. If anything, engagement is THE TIME to raise questions, to raise doubts. Better now than after you’ve taken the plunge.

A UCLA study of 464 heterosexual newlyweds found that, indeed, men are more likely than women to have premarital doubts. But the study ALSO found that when the woman is the one with doubts, it’s a better predictor of divorce. Women who admitted to walking down the aisle with doubts were 2.5X more likely to get a divorce. We’re the intuitive ones, go figure.

Why do so many women ignore their doubts?

Could be a lot of things…

  • Not trusting themselves
  • Not wanting to disappoint/hurt/rock the boat
  • Fear of being alone
  • Biological clock
  • Internal and external pressure

… I could go on.

Now, don’t get me wrong here, these are valid fears. Fears I’ve faced and still do face. But my BIGGEST fear was being in the wrong marriage with three kids, wishing I had listened to that niggling doubt I had before I got married. So I looked all my other fears in the face and called it off.

It’s never too late to change your mind

I want everyone reading this to know that it’s never too late to change your mind. You’re never in too deep. You can always make a change or do something different. I did it, even when I thought it was impossible. Even when I thought I’d never get through it. But I’m taking baby steps every day, and I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

This experience has taught me how strong I really am. And believe it or not, I have ZERO regrets. I don’t regret getting engaged. Yes, it caused T and I an immense amount of pain and heartbreak. But it also taught me about marriage, partnership, and what “forever” really means in ways I couldn’t have comprehended a year ago. I learned about myself, what I want, what I need. I’m more prepared than ever for marriage, and I’m immensely grateful for that.

I’m also grateful that I got to spend three life-changing years living with T. He made me a better human being, and I like to think I did the same for him. Not an ounce of me feels like I was with the “wrong person.” I was with the right person for this period of my life, and I’ll cherish that forever. As for the future, we’re both taking time to focus on ourselves and what will be best for our long-term happiness. We have nothing but love and respect for each other, and we want this to be the kindest and most loving break possible.

There’s no such thing as a hard decision, only a painful one.

I read once that “there’s no such thing as a hard decision, only a painful one.” Well, I’ve never been through anything more painful than this. You know that feeling of waking up and thinking you had a nightmare, only to realize it was actually real? I re-realize my new reality every day, multiple times a day, and it’s devastating. People ask me “When’s the wedding?” hourly, and no matter HOW MANY TIMES I UNSUBSCRIBE from Brides they won’t stop emailing me. I cry. A LOT. But, every once in a while, I stop and I think to myself,

“Damn, I’m really proud of myself. I can’t believe I had the ovaries to call off my fucking wedding.”

This took courage and self-awareness I never knew I had and I can feel it making me a stronger person as we speak. So no, I’m not ok. But I will be. We both will be.

When you get engaged, you expect it to be the most blissful time of your life. But if it turns out it’s not, what would you do? What would you do if you had doubts? If you didn’t feel 100% sure? Would you go forward and hope for the best? Or would you make a painful decision?

Update 7/25/18 on what it was like baring my soul to 1000s of strangers: read the latest here.

Update 8/15/18 on grief, loss, and making painful decisions: read the latest here.

25 comments
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  • AlexJune 25, 2018 - 12:38 pm

    Proud of you <3ReplyCancel

  • JenniferJune 25, 2018 - 12:59 pm

    I’m over here giving you a standing ovation. What you did is so damn courageous! You are owning your truth & following your gut. That is amazing! I was engaged for 5 years to someone who was not person and we both knew it. I had left 2-3 times during the course of our relationship (as if that wasn’t enough of an indicator). I was way too caught up thinking this was as good as it gets. Two young, attractive successful people with all their shit together. Seemed like a match made in heaven. Yeahhh, no. We were married for a yearish and then  I left. And I didn’t leave gracefully or respectfully like you did, I threw a granade on my way out the door in hopes that it would damage the relationship so bad I could never go back, nor would he ever want me back. Not my finest moment, but it set me free. I got married yesterday to someone who is far less refined, neat, and by social standards “successful.” He makes me feel like magic and home all at once. Our connection is nothing like I’ve ever experienced. He sets my soul on fire!!! I wasted a lot of time and youth on chasing someone who wasn’t meant for me . Once I started following my gut, the universe blessed and continues to bless me beyond measure. Go on, sister love! This is hard and will get worse before it gets better. Rest assured this is the beginning of something special… whatever that is. ReplyCancel

    • MaryJuly 12, 2018 - 10:29 pm

      Thank you for this. On the same boat as she is.ReplyCancel

  • Gwen DittmarJune 25, 2018 - 1:48 pm

    Anna, as I shared in my comment to your post on Instagram, I commend you. It takes a lot of courage, heart and spirit to pay attention to your intuition and not only listen, but act on it. I called off a wedding 16 years ago and it was one of the five top hardest choices I’ve ever made but simultaneously I’ve found when we do, spirit opens so much in that spaciousness after we’ve grieved. I am sending you so much love and light. With love, Gwen ReplyCancel

  • EmmaJune 25, 2018 - 2:22 pm

    I’m so very incredibly proud of you for following your personal truth. I know it’s so scary and hard. Know that I’m out here proud of you and rootin for you! XoReplyCancel

  • Ricki FrankelJune 25, 2018 - 3:58 pm

    Proud of you! I’m here if you need me. ReplyCancel

  • Frances AdvinculaJune 25, 2018 - 5:39 pm

    We can’t even begin to imagine what you are going through. Thank you for sharing your story, and please know your community is here for you.ReplyCancel

  • DaisyJune 25, 2018 - 5:40 pm

    I can’t imagine what you’ve been walking through. Thanks for opening up about it. May hope and joy return little by little, and peace be in your heart now even in sorrow. ReplyCancel

  • SavannahJune 25, 2018 - 7:48 pm

    Crying my eyes out for your heartbreak while also marveling at your strength. Keep your chin up. One day, one hour, one minute at a time. ReplyCancel

  • AbigailJune 26, 2018 - 5:27 am

    I’ve been engaged twice and both times I called it off for the same reasons! And I’m SO glad I did because I wouldn’t be with the amazing partner that I am now. And maybe we’ll get married some day, and maybe not, but I’m happy in this moment and glad I trusted my instincts. Take care of yourself and lean on your support system until you’re back to your old self! XxReplyCancel

  • kelsyJune 26, 2018 - 2:10 pm

    i commend you for sharing this with the world and continue to be amazed by your commitment to authenticity and being true to yourself. big hugs from seattle anna!ReplyCancel

  • JohannaJune 26, 2018 - 4:23 pm

    I’ve sent this to every one of my family members and friends because it’s as if I wrote this myself. I called off my wedding in May because of everything you just said. Thank you for making me feel less alone. ReplyCancel

  • SaraJune 27, 2018 - 8:58 am

    I. am. SO PROUD of you! I finally grew the ovaries to ask for a divorce and I wish I had the courage to do what you’ve done now before making it difficult to separate. I definitely had serious doubts pre marriage but like you said I really couldn’t express that to anyone. The decision is right for both of us, even though I was forced to be the one to say it out loud. So know that you aren’t alone ever. I’m glad I made the decision before we had kids. And I 100% feel you on the “you’re really going to start again at your age? What’re you going to do about kids?”  I’m 32 and honestly none of your business! Anyways mad love and all the support in the world. It’ll  suck for awhile but you got thisReplyCancel

  • JaclynJune 28, 2018 - 1:15 pm

    I’m not sure how I stumbled across this post, but oh how I wish there had been something written like this when I was going through this exact thing 5 years ago. I too, called off my wedding, with 4 months to go. No one understood. The breaking of relationships, family and friends, is so real. I am sending you all of the good vibes. You are so courageous. You will feel whole again. Piece by piece. It takes so much time and work on yourself, but it truly was the best decision I ever made for myself and him. Hang in there. Sending love from Georgia. 

    XoJaclyn ReplyCancel

  • KaraJune 28, 2018 - 8:31 pm

    Wow. I am so proud of you. I read this with envy. I read this with pride. I read this knowing that anxiety and fear you talk about. I wish I had chosen to not be married today. It is infinitely harder to decide to leave now because of the incompatibility we obviously have at just under 2 years of marriage. I wish I had been slower in the process and listened to those voices. Maybe I didn’t because I’m now 40 and kids are grown and on second marriage. But I didn’t, I assumed the fairy-tsle feeling would continue. But it didn’t. Now that the events are over and we are left married in our house,  I have not chosen the right person. I love him, he’s a good guy and he loves me dearly. But it wasn’t the right choice for my lifetime. So good job girl! Way to listen to your soul.ReplyCancel

    • KellyJune 29, 2018 - 3:54 pm

      Reading this is breaking my heart. I was in love with an engaged man. We “dated” for over a year and he was engaged the whole time. He ended our relationship and chose to marry the other woman although he told me he didn’t love her and truly was marrying her for all the wrong reasons. I know he’s not happy and I’m devastated. I love him so much and know I would have made him so happy. Good for you. I hope wherever your heart leads you, you are happy! XoxoReplyCancel

  • AmandaJune 29, 2018 - 12:16 pm

    The only words that come to mind are “thank you”. I am in that exact position at the moment and called off my wedding two months ago for the same reasons you did. No, no one understands. Everyone looks for “the reason” as to why it’s over. The fact that there was doubt and it just didn’t feel “right” is not and will never be enough of an explanation for some. But remember that the only explanation you need is the one you give yourself. I’m right there with you. Literally. Everyday is a struggle, but make time to remind yourself of what you’re proud of yourself for everyday. Even the small steps and progress. You are not alone and I’m comforted in knowing that there are people just like me and you that are going through this at the same time. Yoga and meditation have really helped me find peace with my decision. I was never really interested in it, but have found so much solace in it. Maybe give it a try. Keep moving forward. 

    AmandaReplyCancel

  • AngelaJuly 1, 2018 - 12:43 am

    Aloha beautiful… I am so sorry that you are going through this but so proud of you for really listening to your gut & paying attention to your inner self … 

    I have recently gone through a very traumatic break up where I thought I was going up my marry this person & 6 months in things got really tough so I decided to make a change & move out I have had the worst anxiety, have cried for hours on the floor , felt so alone . Oh & then to find out he just bought a condo & got his dream job & promotion ( so very happy for him because he deserves it ) but deep down inside I love him & am crushed.. I am learning a whole new way about living life & have doubted my every move & decision.. I have no idea if I made the right one but I have to accept it. I have friends that say focus on something else & they make it sound so easy ( it has been the opposite) i have been doing hundreds of meditation, affirmations. It’s hard when you love someone & when you love from your heart .. I have contacted dr to help stabilize my emotions & reaching out to support groups … I know that there is someone out there for me … Sending you so much energy … With love & light ReplyCancel

  • ChastityJuly 1, 2018 - 1:19 pm

    This is an incredible read. Thank you for being so transparent because I could relate to several points and key feelings.  I know the pain you are talking about and yes,it does indeed feel like death but the strong woman to emerge from this will be UNSTOPPABLE. You saved your soul and by sharing your truth … you saved other women and maybe even a few men out there. Continue to walk boldly into your destiny beautiful one.  

    ChastityReplyCancel

  • DianeJuly 2, 2018 - 1:39 pm

     I wish I had the courage to walk away from my engagement before I got married. I knew it was a bad idea…  Kepp giving yourself grace.ReplyCancel

  • ShannonJuly 2, 2018 - 6:25 pm

    I wish that I had the ovaries to do what you did! After countless doubts and sleepless nights during my engagement, and even the day i walked down the aisle, I told myself it would go away and things would get better. But after 1.5 years of marriage, I woke up one night and said, “I can’t do this anymore.” It took me even longer to share this with my husband and family, because of all the questions you raised. But you’re right, it’s NEVER too late to start over and find your happy. Brava to you for listening to your gut. XoReplyCancel

  • ColetteJuly 13, 2018 - 12:57 pm

    omg…I just discovered your Instagram a few weeks ago–right before you called it off. I’m in a long term relationship that I’m unsure about. We’ve been living together, and just had our 3 year anniversary. I’ve been having doubts about if I’m ready to get engaged or not for about 6 months now. I keep waiting to feel decidedly one way or the other– I keep waiting to feel SURE that I want to get engaged or SURE that I want to break up. There is nothing wrong with our relationship, per se. I love him. He has never cheated on me. He would never cheat on me or hurt me. Yet…something doesn’t feel right. I don’t feel the 0% anxiety, 100% easiness that I hear you feel when you meet the one. Reading this has made me feel so much less alone. All of the questions you are getting, all of your self-doubt…wow. I feel like a soul sister. Thank you for sharing this. I’m not sure if I’m ready to walk away, but reading this made me cry. Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Patricia TrebnickAugust 10, 2018 - 11:06 am

    I am so very very very proud of you that you honored and faced your feelings. This is the hardest things to do when you are fast approaching your wedding day. Congrats dear one for being bold and beautiful.  Your story will help so many more. You did it! ReplyCancel

  • Melissa SurianoAugust 30, 2018 - 5:30 pm

    I called mine off 3 weeks ago. Do I love him? Absolutely. But he was changing……alcoholism. As much as I love him, I don’t love “drunk” him, and I really don’t love drunk abusive temper him. He would always promise he would slow down his drinking, and he would for a while and things would be amazing. Then, he’d fall off the wagon and the cycle would start all over again, each time a little worse than the last. Finally, he assaulted me physically. Making the decision to call the police this time meant there would never be any turning back. He is now in jail, the wedding is off, and while I hurt so very deeply, I know this was the best decision. 
    No matter how we come to this decision, the process is painful. I’m proud of you for standing up for what you truly desire, and I’m proud of me for making the decision to not settle for abuse. Best wishes to you!ReplyCancel

  • SDAugust 31, 2018 - 11:04 am

    I wish you all the strength. I totally believe in love and compatibility being two different yet equally important things. I had broken up with an amazing guy cause of these niggling doubts. Yes, I still respect him but I don’t regret it ever.People don’t understand that cheating is not the only reason why someone breaks up.
    Love and positivity to you.
    XOXOReplyCancel

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