True Story: I Left My Fiance At The Altar

Could you ever leave someone at the altar? Would you? Click through for one woman's story. // yesandyes.orgThis is one of many True Story interviews with people who have experienced interesting/challenging/amazing things. This is the story of ‘Marie’ and how she left her fiance. I realize that many readers may take issue with Marie’s behavior but please keep your comments respectful. Polite, articulate dissent is fine, incendiary attacks will be deleted.

Tell us a bit about yourself!

I’m originally from New Jersey and will be turning 24. Last year, I graduated from a small university with degrees in international relations and peace studies, but when I’m not trying to save the world or learn a new language, I’m an avid thrifter and online shopper. I just made a major move West and am currently working in social services with a refugee resettlement agency.

Growing up, how did you feel about love and relationships?

It’s taken me a long time to realize how unhealthy my thoughts on love are. Growing up, I was always closet boy crazy: I was quiet and at the top of my classes, and you wouldn’t expect those were my priorities so I had to keep quiet about it. I didn’t date until my senior year of high school but then stayed with the same boy for almost three years.

I went through a really bad breakup and had a solid year of liberating independence. But I always fall back into the same routine of sleeping with a man way too early and putting their desires before my own.

Tell us about your relationship with your ex-fiance.

We met through mutual friends but come from very different backgrounds- I was born and raised in New Jersey and he had just moved to the US from Portugal a few years ago. He is still the most amazing person I’ve ever met.

He’s kind-hearted, always smiling, and can make conversation with anyone. But, I slept with him on the first date and knew I loved him the second day, and I don’t know if I would have felt the same if sex wasn’t involved so quickly.

Nonetheless, we dated for about a year before we moved in together. In the beginning, I could tell my feelings were stronger than his but also more unstable.

We have very different goals for the future, and he’s always been more family-oriented than I am. We decided to move in together and I knew he would propose shortly thereafter.

How did you feel when he proposed?

I generally knew it was coming, so I think the lack of surprise added to the disappointment. We had been to see the Christmas tree in New York City a few weeks prior, and a couple was engaged on the ice rink while we were there. He knew I didn’t want anything big like that, but the way it happened just didn’t feel right.

One evening, I was in our room getting ready for bed. I turned around, and he was there with the ring. It was beautiful, and I said yes, but even in the moment felt like I was faking some excitement. I knew I loved him, but it just didn’t feel like the right time.

While you were planning the wedding, how did you feel about marriage and your relationship?

I was initially very low key about the engagement but got swept up in it very quickly. I actually wanted a long engagement, but my then-fiance was the first to say he wanted to get married sooner, and I obliged.

At the time, I had friends who were also planning weddings, so I tried to feed off some of their energy. But in the back of my head, I knew there was this lingering unhappiness about all that was happening.

I do want to clarify though that I take full responsibility for it all.In an attempt to please everyone, I didn’t speak up for what I really wanted. I would often silently tell myself, “this isn’t right, but if he and I are happy in the end, why does it matter?” The problem became that I really wasn’t happy, and used the stress of the wedding planning as a facade.

I like to think I hid it from my fiance pretty well, and though we did have tense moments at times, he’s an impossible person to be mad at. He did his absolute best to comfort my stress, but I kept so much hidden from him.

What actually happened on the day of the wedding?

I didn’t sleep at all the night before. I was scheduled to start getting ready around mid-morning, but at sunrise I was in my car. I just started driving and eventually had to pull over just to cry.

I was sitting in an empty mall parking lot, and the first person I called was my best friend. She tried to calm me down and insisted I was just nervous, and although I couldn’t tell her, I knew it was deeper than that.

I ultimately told her to call everyone in the bridal party and call it off. She called my parents, who were then able to field the guests and vendors.

I waited much too long before calling my fiance. When he answered, all I could do was cry. I think he knew right away what was going on. I just apologized over and over again and told him I loved him, then he hung up. We didn’t speak for the rest of the day, and I waited until the evening before I drove back home. I didn’t want to face the reality of what had just happened.

How did your friends and family react to your decision? How did you fiance react?

I think the hardest part was dealing with all of the reactions. I already felt so guilty about what had happened, and the anger I experienced from everyone only made it worse.

My friends didn’t speak to me for a few days, I think with the intention of giving me time to calm down, but then all the questions, accusations, and jokes came in at once.

My fiance didn’t speak to me for about a week. He wasn’t angry, but he was disappointed- mostly in me, for waiting so long to say something.

Why didn’t you call it off earlier? Why did you wait till the actual day?

This is the part that feels the worst- knowing I could have made the situation so. much. better. Truthfully, I have no real answer. During the planning process, it’s easy to get swept up in the details.

I tried as hard as I could to ignore the negative feelings I was having, and ignoring them for a day very quickly becomes a day and a month.I wanted to believe the feelings were just “cold feet” and nervousness, and that I could force some excitement on the actual day. That didn’t happen, so I ran (drove) away.

What’s your relationship with your fiance like now?

Despite everything that has happened, I am in love with him. I have incredible visions of being with him when we’re 60 and enjoying our retirement together, but I know in my heart this just isn’t the right time to start our forever.

We’ve recently started talking on a regular basis again, and rebuilding the strength in our relationship. I believe we can get past this, in time.

It’s been made more difficult by tensions from his friends and family members, though, who are not so keen to have me back in his life.

Have you had any regrets?

I wish I could say otherwise, but I have so many. I wish I had spoken up for myself. I wish I had trusted those around me, including my fiance, to understand my feelings and hesitation. I wish I had trusted myself to believe that my feelings were more than standard nervousness.

What advice would you give to people who are engaged and getting cold feet?

I think the most important thing is to sit down and think about whether your feelings are just nervousness, or a true alert that this is not the right thing to do.

I encourage people to talk to their friends and families openly about their emotions, but in the end, you really need to be true to yourself. And keep your significant other involved every step of the way.

I think this can be the hardest part – to be able to convey your thoughts without making them feel as if it’s their fault. I know a lot of people won’t understand the decision, but it’s ok to be selfish this time.

Have any of your ended a relationship in a way that you’re not proud of? Any (respectful!) questions for Marie?

P.S. Love your ex enough to leave them alone + How to get over a breakup

Photo by Tom Kulczycki on Unsplash

59 Comments

Chantal Kruger

I don't think it's ever too late to call off a wedding if you have any reservations about it at all. Even if you were at the altar and changed your mind, it's allowed. Rather a cancelled wedding than a bad marriage. Perhaps later in your life you will meet the right man and want to get married, but rest assured, you made the right decision for you. Best of luck!

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mary

Sorry disagree,,out of simple respect for another human being and the money involved,,No ,,it is wrong to keep them on a rope,,,,it is selfish,,,u want your cake and eat it too..Have the balls,and respect for another person to not spend alll that money,,and then u think its ok,,sorry,,,just not into u??/grow up,,,or pay whom-ever all the money back,,Weddings cost in the 10,000 now a days,,,mw

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Twin Mom

I think you are VERY brave to have made this decision. Too many people just let themselves be carried by the flow of events and don't stop to think about the consequences until they are knee deep in mortgage payments and diapers. I love that you listened to your heart.

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henz

Sorry but it’s not brave, the brave thing would have been to sack up and call the guy before the day of. There’s absolutely nothing brave at all.

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@distract_me

You made the right decision. In the run up to my wedding I had overwhelming waves of panic and doubt but I pushed them aside, telling myself it was pre-wedding jitters. 18 months on, we separated and now I'm going through a divorce. Maybe it was just pre-wedding jitters, but I wish I'd given myself time to explore my feelings properly. Yes, it's not ideal to call of a wedding on the day, but it's better than changing your mind afterwards. You were brave to be honest about how you felt, even in the face of such overwhelming pressure to just go through with it. Thank you for sharing this, it can't have been easy.xx

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Anonymous

Better late than never. If you felt that way, then you most definitely did the right thing, it’s better for you to have done that and have had everyone mad at you, than being miserable knowing it really wasn’t what you wanted. When my ex-fiance proposed, right away I knew what I felt as he was proposing, wasn’t what I was supposed to be feeling at all. The first thing that came to my head was “why did you have to do this?” I was secretly mad at him because I had no desire to be married whatsoever. Cancelling our engagement has been the best thing I have ever done for myself! Never say or feel sorry for what makes you happy!

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Ben Walker

Nobody is suggesting someone should be forced into a marriage, but you also have a responsibility to treat your partner respectfully and not 1) say yes to a proposal when you don’t want to get married or 2) wait until the last possible moment to call it off.

Seriously, people completely overlook how much this can damage a person. I saw this happen to my brother and it absolutely crushed him to be humiliated in front of all his family and friends. It affected his mental health and I don’t think he’ll ever get over it.

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Kristy

Now that’s the meat of it! It is far more than cowardly to wait till the the last minute to express you desire not to get married. It is the most cruel and selfish act I have ever heard of! I think people do this just to be controlling and cruel. Obviously, it makes these people feel more desireable than they actually are. It’s so wrong. So mean and so unnecessary. A wedding can be called off at any point. No need for all this pain and humiliation. (Power trip!)

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Anonymous

I agree she wasnt brave she was selfish she wanted attention and i strongly believe that she wanted to see if he was gonna beg her what kind of person think their ex will take them back after this she is delusional

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Jenn Wilson

i might come across as agist….but i think that 23 is so, so , so so young to commit to spend your life with someone. at that time of you should be exploring people and places and figuring out who you are and what you can bring to a relationship….and what you want out of one. i feel for you and your (former) fiance. i also think it was very brave of you to call it off.
best of luck to you.
xx

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Gaby Richards

You're right Jenn, that is quite ageist.
People can and do successfully make decisions that affect the rest of their lives while in their 20s. One can still "explore places and figure out who they are" in their 20s regardless of their relationship status, and I believe that people are exploring places and figuring out who they are for their whole lives. As for "exploring people"… if you've found someone who you want to spend the rest of your life with, why break up with them just so you can "explore people"??
It doesn't really matter what age people get married at. And if they get divorced and don't end up spending their whole lives with the person they married in their 20s… so what? It's still part of their life, and makes them who they are.

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Anonymous

I can see why it sounds ageist, but I'm gonna sit with Jenn on this one. If you look at stats (and I know we shouldn't pay insane attention to them) those who marry before 25 have a 505% divorce rate than those who marry after 25. Attribute it to the frontal lobe still developing or people learning who they are, but it's sure a risky move. I guess I've just seen too many divorces that were a result of early marriage, that's just me though.

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Gaby Richards

Saying something like "people in their 20s shouldn't get married" is ageist. You're completely discounting someone's ability to make a choice, or the validity of that choice, because of their age. Should people not make any major life choices until their 30s? 40s? 50s? At what age is it "okay" to make big decisions?

My parents married at ages 19 and 21, are now in their 50s, and have been happily married the whole time.
My husband's parents married ages 20 and 22, were divorced in their late 30s, are now in their late 40s and are happily partnered with other people. (Divorce isn't the end of the world!)
My husband and I started dating at 16, moved in together at 20, were married at 22, and are still happily married 3 years later. That's 9 years of partnership so far; I'm excited for our next 90!
We are still exploring places and figuring out who we are, both together and separately. Growing/changing as a person does NOT end when one gets married, and it's not like when people turn 30 they magically have their lives sorted out and "know who they are".

As you can tell by now, I'm sick of people completely dismissing my choice to stay with someone I love, through the ups and downs that we've had together, just because I'm in my 20s. And please don't be so insulting as to say something like, "How hard can your lives have been by 25?". If you think dealing with everyday life, your own baggage and your family can be tough at times, try throwing another person, their backstory and baggage, and their entire family (immediate and extended!) into the mix 😉

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Tania

Getting divorce sucks and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. It's not the end of the world and life does go on but it's one of those things it would've been nicer not to have to go through it at all. Meeting someone else doesn't take away that hurt and it was one of the most stressful time periods in my life. I do think the early 20s is quite young and many relationships that start young will end by their 40s. That said, it's not all relationships so I'm not dismissing you or attacking you Gaby. Just because someone says the statistics show a particular observation doesn't mean it is an attack on you. Everyone has a different timeline and grows/changes differently through life. Some do make it. Like many things in life, to each his own. But for me personally (and almost all of my divorced friends), our lives in our 40s might be quite different if hadn't committed from such a young age. Or maybe not? It's really hard to tell without having followed a different path and it's easier in hindsight to say if I hadn't done this, I would've done this. At 25 I was quite happy with my relationship too and never would've thought we'd end up divorced twenty years later (I was with my ex-hubby from my early 20s to early 40s). But that in no way means my path would be your path. We are all different. So if early 20s is too young for Jenn and for others, you don't need to defend your position. There is no one right and one wrong for everyone.

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henz

Again, not brave in the least. Real bravery would’ve been to pick up the phone sooner, not when there was no other choice. Or perhaps to discuss it during the planning phase. Relationships are based on communication after all.

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Jenn

There are so many people who would say that you are a wrong, but as a woman, you made the right decision. You regret that you didn't speak sooner, but the courage to speak at all is encouraging. It hurts, for all involved, but it hurts significantly less than living your one life in a way that doesn't feel right. Kudos to you and best wishes for your future.

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Gigi

I have to echo everyone here in saying that I think you're brave – and not just for calling things off, but also for being willing to share your story with all of us. Thank you for sharing.

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Anonymous

You're very, very brave. I just don't think it's a smart idea to be involved with someone you don't want to be with. I think at the end of the day you want to marry someone or you don't, and if you call off a wedding I think it's a larger symptom of a bigger issue at hand.

I feel a lot of connection with you because the pattern you described is how I used to do relationships as well. I think it takes a lot of strength not to get into the physical too quickly because there's a drive for it. It is also incredibly difficult in our culture to back off from wedding planning and enjoy your engagement as a time to get to know one another. Every person I know who recently got engaged already has the entire wedding nearly planned. There is just so much pressure.

I'm proud of you and wish you the best of luck!

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Sofia Reimchen

I can see where Marie is coming from. There have been many moments when one feels forced to put their own doubts and feelings aside in case they accidentally inconvenienced or disappointed someone. It seems to be something we're socially conditioned to do. We all make fundamentally human mistakes, but as long as we're willing to move forwards, things usually work out for the best. I'm glad that she's slowly mending her relationship, and I wish her the best of happiness xxx

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sam

Wow, I'm so impressed by your ability to create a better situation for yourself at the risk of judgment from friends and family. I agree with Jenn, the courage to speak up at ALL is so brave in and of itself. I recently had a conversation with a colleague who shared with me that on the day she got married, she knew deep down it wasn't right. Guess what? She spent the next 10 years with that person out of fear that she wouldn't have her happy ever after. Now she is divorced in her mid-30's, so happy to be single and to find that special someone she truly belongs with. Props to you for your honesty with yourself. Your story may seem extreme, but the truth of the matter is that everyone deals with this type of self reflection at some point or another (myself included).

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lauren claire | rebuild

This is one of those things that is hell to experience as you're going through it, but later you look back on and are so grateful for. It must have been so difficult and isolating, but it certainly sounds like you're in a much better place. You still speak fondly of your fiance– perhaps after a break, you may come back to one another. Or you may realize that you're looking for something entirely different. When I was 23/24 I was in a relationship that I had bad feelings about, but I desperately clung on because at the time, I was scared to be alone. And there was a lot that I genuinely liked/loved about him. Luckily, he never proposed because I surely would have accepted, and I know that now we would either be separated or divorced. (I'm 28 now.) On the other hand, one of my friends and her long-term boyfriend decided to call it quits in their mid 20s and spend some time apart. After about a year of being on their own, they got back together, and of this summer are happily married (he's 28, she's a bit older). Best of luck as you figure out what is best for you.

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Gaby Richards

You may have not spoken up for a long time, but at least you did eventually. As the wedding day came closer it must have seemed increasingly impossible to leave the situation, and I commend you for making the choice to do what's best for YOU. Best of luck for the future 🙂

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Anonymous

I ended a long-term relationship on Valentine's Day and completely broke both our hearts. I didn't mean to or plan it that way. If I had been thinking more clearly, I would have done it well before, but it was as if, on the night of the 13th, the last bit of denial and distraction broke, and I had to do it. I couldn't have waited; it wasn't in me to lie and get through V-Day that way. The ensuing pain was completely, completely awful, but I couldn't do anything else. It was the right decision for both of us, ultimately.

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Brooke

This was very interesting but also difficult to read. I can't help but feel pain for her fiance–the rejection and humiliation he must have felt. I absolutely agree that a called-off wedding is much better than a divorce, but it was painful to imagine the hurt and anger this must have caused for so many. There's just something about all the "you're so brave" comments that feel weird to me… I can't applaud bravery in this particular form. I am glad for Marie that she is not in an unhappy marriage and that she did, in the end, share her true feelings; it was better in the long run for all. But I feel the need to veer away from the "you're so brave" response and maybe go with a "Wow, you made a big mistake. I'm glad you learned from it and thank you for sharing your story."

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liveletlive

I'm going to have to agree with you on this one Brooke. I agree that Marie eventually did the right thing, and i'm happy she stood up for herself, but saying you're so brave definitely out of place.

You made a huge mistake and ended up hurting so many people in your life by not owning up to and analyzing your feelings. I happy you learned from it.

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Anonymous

The biggest problem with relationships nowadays is sex before marriage. It's behind all that chaos and hurt in premarital relationships. The guy is at fault. I know many guys who never touched their girlfriends before marriage & you can feel the love and respect even decades after marriage. I know there are some out there who are on a mission to disfigure the beauty of waiting. By saying we regret waiting after they got married. But truth is the problem is not waiting, since that is the way it should be, their problem is the type of a husband they choose. I never heard a married man complaining because he didn't have sex with his wife until they married. That should ring a bell. Conclusion, I don't feel sorry for the guy he deserved it. As for her I hope from now on she will wait till marriage. Plus don't cohabit with a guy who isn't your husband.

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Anonymous

Sex before marriage and co-habiting before marriage can both be a good thing though. Can you imagine being someone and marrying that person to find out that A) you're sexually incompatible and B) you can't stand living with each other. I think doing both brings out both sides of a partner and give you a glimpse of they're like in their natural state. I can't tell you how many relationships have been tested by living together. Even friendships can be tested that way. I get the sentiment of waiting but lets be honest, there's a huge financial and emotional component that goes into marriage. There are too many couples out there that end things in divorce because they don't know each other well enough or spend enough time figuring things out. Maybe it requires time… But I have also seen the opposite where two people just know they're fit for each other and marry right away. Its rare but it happens.I think she did the right thing and it was brave of her to face so many people and herself and say, "Am I doing what is right for me and for us?" It's a tough situation, most people would cave and just go with what they're pressured to do. Sometimes you have to make the game time call and forfeit on the field.

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Anonymous

I am also a chronic people-pleaser, and this was extremely helpful for me to read. Thank you, Marie. It is hard to have come to terms with everything you have done and know about yourself, and I appreciate your sharing it. Best of luck to you.

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Anonymous

I can see this post isn't recent, but I have to say I am seeing a lot of double standards here. When women hear that a groom left his bride…everyone feels horrible for the bride. Hearing this story, I feel horrible for your former fiance, because I have just experienced this. My sister was left at the altar. I can tell you that seeing someone you love heart broken, and humiliated is one of the worst feelings you can experience. I don't think what he did was brave…it was a cowardly thing to do. I had to see my family,children, her friends, all in tears, as they saw my sister hysterical and trembling. My family was fighting with his, because they all were telling him what a wonderful and "brave" thing he did to call off the wedding. If my sister had been the one to call it off due to reasons such as yours…I'd be embarrassed and apologize to the groom! I only wish my brothers had gotten a piece of him before he drove off like the coward he is. There is nothing he could say or do that will ever make my family forgive him or accept him back into my sister's life. I'm sorry but your "reasons" aren't justified enough to do this to someone. You say he was the most "amazing person you've ever met". You say you "LOVED" him. Why would you do that to someone you love? At the wedding, in front of all their friends and family? And, if you had these feelings that something wasn't right, then why are you seeing him again? Why is your gut now telling you that you're going to grow old with this man? It all sounds ridiculous to me. And, sadly,he's a fool, because he shouldn't have spoken to you ever again after that day. People who want to blame divorce or indecisiveness on age just don't want to own up to their own mistakes. Divorce happens just as often to people who marry in their 30's and 40's. The problem is some people can't commit, and some people are selfish their whole lives through. I don't think being selfish all through your 20's will help you overcome that in your 30's. In fact, I think people get so used to their selfishness, they never learn to compromise, sacrifice, or grow up…..so bouncing from relationship to relationship becomes a pattern, and I don't see how that shows maturity to run whenever the going gets tough. I have no regrets that I married in my early 20's and 40 is just around the corner for us; we're happier than we've ever been. The guy that left my sister at the altar is in his mid 30's and obviously he can't commit and didn't learn a thing from his first failed marriage in his 20's. He lost someone who would have loved him through thick and thin, and it sounds like you did too. I honestly think it would be better to get an annulment after the wedding then to make them feel that rejection and humiliation. I don't know if one can ever truly heal from that experience. I have a feeling when you finally do settle down ( if u ever do)..you won't be half as blessed with who you end up with,as it sounds like you were with this guy. Because what goes around comes around.

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Anonymous

Anonymous… Speaking from experience here: No, it wouldn't be better to get an annulment after the wedding! If a marriage ceremony takes place, meaning that you PROMISE before your family and friends to support this person through thick and thin, and to have a first dance, and a reception, only to say the next working day you didn't MEAN it? What are you smoking? As for the fact that you are angry at your sister's ex-fiance for leaving her at the altar: I cannot excuse his actions, but I can understand them. My cousin recently separated after eleven years of marriage. There are children involved. There was a lot of time and money invested in that relationship. Now, if those doubts have sprung up over the years, I'd understand them getting married in the first place. As a Christian, in this position, I'd personally work at my relationship and do everything in my power to make it work. Perhaps my cousin and his former wife feel they've already done that. However – marriage isn't a game. It's not a joke, and the pastor taking the ceremony often says some variant of "Not to be entered into lightly". This isn't a mere formality. If a party, on the day of the wedding, has any doubts, it is better they speak up, rather than subject their spouse to the legal process of annulment, divorce and the agony that goes with it by not doing it. It's the lesser of two evils, you might say.

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Anonymous

To the second "Anonymous"– I agree that entering into the vows with the intent to get them annulled the next day is not a good idea, but I must side more with the first "Anonymous" on this one. You, and everyone else, talk so much about the "pain" of divorce. I must say, it is just a break up at the end of the day, especially if it is an annulment which basically means that legally speaking, we forget it ever happened, and clearly it's better to go through the initial decision and impact of the breakup in private, as opposed to in front of 150 people. Break ups are always painful, but do they really need to be done in front of everyone, with one party clearly being the rejected? I can't begin to imagine the humiliation this would cause to the person standing amongst everyone in his or her life. Not to mention out of town guests who made travel arrangements, booked a hotel room, etc. In any case, it certainly isn't a 'brave' decision to lie about your feelings until the very last moment and then back out of the commitment you made to be there on that day. It's actually cowardly and selfish on every front. Virtues, or lack thereof, aside, surely there is a better way this all could have been handled. Certainly by speaking up before the guest list was contacted would have been ideal, as even Maria concedes, but since it wasn't done, I do think she (and any cold-feet-groom) has a responsibility to honor their commitment and show up on the date that hundreds were invited.. Now, as a compromise so that no one is taking insincere wedding vows, perhaps they could pull the priest aside on the morning of the nuptials and say that they actually just want the ceremony to be an expression of their love and a celebration of their relationship and not actually marry on that day, but word it in such a way that the guests would be none the wiser, and nothing will be signed legally… yes it's "lying" to your guest list to some extent, but sometimes we all have to put on airs so as to avoid a deeply unpleasant situation. You can't really think it's appropriate to break up with someone, or "change your mind" about marrying them in front of everyone. That just isn't humane. I'm not a fan of being fake and dishonest, but it's clearly better than the alternative. As you said, the "lesser of two evils." It is one of those double standards where when you have good news, you make it everyone's business to celebrate your union, but when it's bad news it suddenly becomes no one's business. I mean, so they showed up on a certain date to celebrate the two of you as a couple. Is it really their business if you never actually married? You both intended to, but then someone backed out.. but hey, let's say we love each other anyway and have a party! No one gets hurt by that. At the end of the day, the "real" marriage is between husband, wife, their Higher Power and the State. No one else. At least with my solution, the end result is the same (they are not married,) and neither one has to go through something extremely agonizing, except the regular breakup pain. Just running away from your commitment is never an honorable thing to do. Ever. In any situation.

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Anonymous

I totally agree with anonymous 6-25-13 2:32 pm. It's a shame! It's not brave to give people you say you love, extremely deep scars, that may never completely heal. Marriage is sacred and a vow before God, not to be taken lightly. Even your promise to marry is a vow, not to be broken, because you spoke it out of your mouth to that person, publicly and in the sight of God. That's really what marriage is. The ceremony is only the show. The real commitment came out of your mouth when you vowed and promised to marry this person. That's what engagement is. No one should have to experience that type pain, and humiliation. You don't know what that feels like unless it has happened to you. It's devastating to a person. Weddings are one of the most sacred and most dear to the heart occasions any human being on earth can experience. To break someone's heart like that for your own selfishness is shameful. People do have feelings, just like you. What was known on the day of the wedding was known all along. Sure be true to yourself, but do that long before you shatter someone else's dreams and hopes. It isn't right to hurt someone, who loves you so much they want to share Their Life with You. Someone who loves you Without Conditions and who thinks the world of you. That's what love is all about, Unconditional Love and Respect. Have you walked in those shoes of humiliation and pain. Remember the ole' saying, that still rings true, treat others the way you would like to be treated and do unto others as you would have them do unto you. While you feel like you had to be true to you, and you being called brave, while your fiance' is crushed with perhaps lifelong pain, that may even affect how he/ or she relates to or trusts others that he may wish to be in a relationship in the future. Is it ever Brave to scar someone else's emotions for life, while you gallop off happily on your merry way to your New found freedom and perhaps new relationship with someone else. Anyone who experiences such devastation and humiliation and betrayal should be extremely careful in opening his heart again to the person who hurt them, to avoid possibly being hurt all over again. One should guard their heart and steer clear. I hope you and anyone else who feels its bravery to hurt others in this way can learn that this type of pain is one of the worse types and should not be taken lightly. It must be easy to move on, but look back at all the debris of broken promises and shattered dreams of someone else laying on the ground and blowing in the wind. Does someone deserve so much pain, just for loving another human being? Do they deserve the rejection and embarrassment that your callous behavior caused. My post might get deleted, I don't care, but it's the TRUTH. So before you throw around the words I Love You, remember… God is Love and the True example of love. He loves unconditionally. Follow that example and you will learn to love without selfishness. THINK about others and Not just Yourself! Wow!

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Anonymous

Honestly, I feel bad for the fiance. This wasn't brave on your part, you should've ended it earlier because the humiliation and the pain this whole situation caused him is beyond horrible. I agree with a previous poster, if it were a guy that did this he would be shunned, yet a woman does this and it's 'brave.' People make mistakes though and it's good that you realize the wrongs in your fault, it's just a shame that it ever happened.

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Anonymous

This just happened to my best friend and I had been good friends with the bride as well. not left at the alter but like a week before the wedding. I don't have hard feelings towards the bride for having second thoughts but it is hard for me to imagine somebody being so irresponsible. She could have called it off a few months sooner. She could have asked for a longer engagement if she wasn't sure to begin with and all would have been good. I mean that is a real burden to put on somebody to have them have to face that humiliation in front of all their closest friends and family not to mention all the money wasted on a wedding just because you couldn't have figured things out a few months earlier. I get how if you find yourself in that situation it probably is the right thing to do I just can't figure out how somebody finds themself in that situation even now that I just witnessed it happen.

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Minnie

Wow..this is not brave at all.I am a woman but I can see the pain it must have caused the guy.Causing anyone pain for our selfish needs and indecisiveness is not right nor brave.It is not like the wedding was planned in a day.You had time to think it through.People who cancel their weddings at altar with no concern for the groom/bride or everyone involved should be socially shunned.

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Renee Jarmon

my honest opinion is that you are so self absorbed which is why you neglected to call it off sooner.. i do honestly think this man is too good for you maybe you would fit better with someone else. the whole thing could of been handled better and for you to want us to say nothing but positive things to you is rediculous what do you want a pity party no one feels sorry for you and i hope he leaves you at the altar the next time.

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jewel lee

i agree with Renee you sorta sound like your bragging about what you did " I left him" he wants me back" you sound like you think you are so great that you could jilt someone like that and they want you back cause your so amazing..He must have low self esteem to want you and i only feel this way from the way you speak and how i perceive you…you need to stay single and if any REAL man reads this letter that you wrote it will be a real turn off you really dont sound sympathetic at all…

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Anonymous

How pathetic that this poor guy has given you another chance. He should have taken your behavior as a red flag, thanked heaven he'd dodged a bullet and moved on to look for someone more emotionally mature to share his life with.

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Anonymous

I know this article was some while ago, but while I do think the right decision was made, I can't call her brave or anywhere near that for waiting until the day of the wedding to do something, as well as withholding any feelings of hesitance from your fiance. Everything, including doubts of the marriage could have been handled the moment he suggested speeding up the engagement process or when he proposed. Also, if the goals are different from one another, especially when concerning family planning or traveling, I have to wonder if the relationship is meant to be. I'm not saying I'm a saint and that she is a terrible person, and as she stated, she takes all the responsibility for her actions and regrets what she did, but I have to admit my sympathies lie more towards the groom than the bride, and that choosing the day of the wedding couldn't have been a worse time to back out when it could have been done way in advance; so calling it brave seems a bit off to me when it could have been avoided in the first place.

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Anonymous

It seems that when women leave men at the altar, they are treated as "being brave", yet when men do the same, they are rightly told that they are selfish and cowardly. I am all for equal treatment of both sexes. I think leaving someone at the altar is cowardly, selfish and unfair regardless of if it were a male or female. The problem is that society seems to treat women with the same princess treatment they had as a child all the way to adulthood. The princess treatment meaning that because the person is a girl, that they are entitled to special treatment even when they are 18 and up. 18 and up is considered adulthood in the US, so the rule applies for both men and women. Hence, when they are 21, they should be expected to behave responsibly and maturely. I don't believe in special treatment, because when the girl becomes a woman, she will still think that she is entitled to be treated differently than men. She should be treated with the same treatment men do when they go back on their word to marry a special someone. Not only is the groom or bride affected, but the families on both sides. They spent a lot of money helping the bride and groom prepare for the special day. Gender and sex equality means equal treatment.

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Anonymous

That’s not always true. I called off my wedding to my fiancé a month before the date. We faught all the time and I told him I felt like I lost myself. Later I told him I was gonna take responsibility for our conflict and work on myself. I moved away telling him I was leaving to work on myself. His whole family and all his friends hate me and told him they would disown him if he ever came back to me. I was the bad guy for calling it off. He never got over that I left him and moved on to a new relationship 7 months later.

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Anonymous

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Anonymous

I'm not going to pretend I agree with what she did, but I can at least understand the anxiety behind her decision to flee. Whether it creeps up on you slowly or takes you by surprise, that panic button isn't just there for movies and television. Looking back and regretting not being honest, and trying to work for a more honest relationship with her ex-fiance is really all she could do in that circumstance and I applaud her for taking those initiatives herself.

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Anonymous

Backing out of the wedding at any point after the guest list was contacted is extremely selfish and cowardly. Surely there is a better solution that will appease both parties. No, I don't believe in marrying against your will, but in a case like this I actually believe it's okay to be less than honest with your guests. Perform a farce ceremony in front of everyone in which you've instructed the priest to make it a celebration of your relationship and mutual love, leave the wording vague, do not sign anything, and then have the party afterwards that's already been paid for. No one gets hurt in this scenario. When the time is right down the line, explain to people that the two of you went your separate ways ..or if you're still together, that's great too…get married in private when you're both ready. No one has to know. It is a double standard that when you have good news to share, you make it everyone's business but when it's bad news, it's no one's business, but that's just how it goes. At the end of the day, Marriage is between husband, wife, their Higher Power and the state. That's it. Your guest list doesn't need to be individually notified of the legal standing of your union every step of the way. Sure it's better to not be fake and dishonest, but it sure beats the alternative: Going through the initial impact of a breakup or blatant rejection in front of 150 people. Are we so obsessed with being "real" as a society that dignity, humiliation and emotional pain is irrelevant? We must 'be real' instead? Anyone who thinks that calling off the wedding is the best solution is not being fair. Who among us hasn't put on airs to avoid humiliation? This is no different.

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Anonymous

My mom was a church organist for decades. One of the most memorable and sad weddings she was to play for saw the bride waiting and waiting at the church. It was to be a big, fancy wedding and 200 or more guests were seated in the pews. My mom was ready to play the bridal entry song, but kept playing different tunes as the minutes ticked by; the organ was above in the choir loft. Thirty minutes went by, then 45 or more. The priest had seen late starts before, as had my mom, but the priest was increasingly concerned because other weddings were scheduled after the present delayed one. Finally, my mom said she heard a very loud female scream, "no, no, no" coming from below at the back of the church (mom found out later this was the bride). The best man walked up the aisle to the altar and told everyone he had an announcement. He apologized and said there would be no wedding after all, and that he wished to thank everyone for coming to what was supposed to be a happy event. After my mom packed up her books and belongings, she learned what happened. Not only did the groom decide to call off the wedding at the last moment, he took off with the bride's best friend and maid of honor. I was shocked when I heard this. It was bad enough for the guy to bail while she was waiting at the church, but the woman's lifelong "best friend" stabbed her in the back and took off with the groom. Terrible.

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Anonymous

I wonder if the women here commenting would be so supportive if the roles were reversed, and this storywas about a man who left his bride at the altar….

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Noreen

I would be. I don’t think ANYONE should feel pressure from society to stick around for what is, essentially, a socail display that has no bearing on the actual relationship itself. A marraige is a ceremony, that’s it, but it symbolizes something, and no one should have to feel forced by their own FAMILY to have to go ahead with it if they suddenly, then and there, have the realization that things are too much for them. It HAPPENS. Man or woman, this shouldn’t be a bad thing. Also, who is everyone here to assume that the poster didn’t get scorned after wards? You think she felt great during this so-called “humiliation” of the groom, when she has his entire family essentially frothing at the mouth and unwilling to consider what she may have been going under? You people are literally the reason there are so many unhappy marraiges in this country, some of you even saying that it’s better to put on socail airs, rather than being honest, when being left at the alter is no friggin’ deal for a mature person who should be able to understand that they’re not these children being abandoned by their mommies! How can you have the audacity to claim one this is irresponsible and selfish or humiliating and who is the “only” victim here?

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Anonymous

I commend you for paying attention to your inner voice of reason and calling a halt to the ceremony. Another innocent child or three won’t suffer quietly while two “adults” try to find their way. You’re also wise to take a year or two with no romantic relationships with anyone as you work on your inner core strength and self-esteem. Again I commend you.

And a perfect example of being in a wedding party in not about tux’s and dresses people – it’s about being kind but firm in helping a soon to be groom or bride face cold facts that actions have consequences and impact other peoples lives, especially children that will be born into a coupleling that perhaps should never have taken place to begin with. That’s what being a real friend is all about – never worry about $ down the drain or embarrassment or inconvenience in cancelling a life milestone such as an engagement or wedding. Afterall, a wedding is about some serious vows, not flowers, parties, dresses and gifts.

You were brave and strong. And you’re not alone – so many young people who think they’re in love may actually be in love with lust, with the idea of love, with romance or being the center of attention, etc. This is what the engagement is all about. Getting or being engages is no guarantee there will be a wedding/exchange of vows. This is why the engagement was originally designed, so that both the guy and the woman could learn more about themselves individually and their couplehood. Too many woman somewhere got the idea that because they were proposed to and presented the ring that the two of them specifically would successfully make it to the altar. Stay well, keep growing and stay true to yourself. When in doubt, DON’T.

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Anonymous

To all those saying you weren’t brave, I wonder how many have been there and experienced the fear of being on the wedding roller coaster not knowing how to get off.

I understand as I have been. I don’t feel brave for doing so but I stopped mine two days before in a hazy blur. We weren’t right, in fact we hated each other at that point but we felt that we had to go through with it as it was too far down the line.

Then I realised if I did that would be it and I would always have been married. In front of people who knew I wasn’t happy.

So I too commend you, I’m sure now time has gone on you too think you did the right thing x

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Anonymous

My son broke off his engagement a couple of months before the planned wedding. It’s been the best thing he ever did. I’ll admit it was a shock to many of us. His fiancee was nice but not the Right One for many reasons. They had gone out for 9 years and they never dated anyone else. The wedding, I believe, felt like a train coming at him. He realized what a big commitment it was and also he suddenly realized he wasn’t really happy with the relationship they had. This was 9 months ago when was in his mid 20’s and he’s changed in very significant ways since then. He stopped seeing her immediately when he cancelled the wedding. He spent many months reading books and joined church single groups. He stood on his own two feet finally and stopped just going along with a long term relationship that he wasn’t REALLY HAPPY with. It reminded me of the Friends Show where they were part of a group. Since breaking it off, he’s met so many new solid friends and now has a girlfriend who appears to be a much better match for him. I’m hoping the same for his former fiancee. They were dating since high school (only lived together 1 year before the almost wedding). Sometimes people keep doing what they’ve been doing without asking themselves if they are truly right for each other. Others who meet and get together young may have the right chemistry, goals, interests. It all depends. In my son’s case, they weren’t growing together as a couple and she didn’t want to see a counselor whatsoever. One thing many of us are guilty of is just going from one relationship to another and not experiencing life as a single person to determine what really makes them happy. The original poster here admits she started sleeping with the boyfriend immediately. This creates a closeness that bonds people together who aren’t meant to be together in my opinion. Also, I think the original poster here should break up with the guy she was going to marry and explore life alone for awhile. Why is she tying him up still and herself when it’s still not right? It was hard for my son at first to suddenly re-engineer his life but it has paid off tremendously. He’s so very thankful that he cancelled the wedding and never looked back. Some money was lost on deposits etc., but a lot less than if they had gone through with wedding and later divorced. Yes, it would have been better if he figured it earlier but men and women in their mid 20’s finally figure out what they want in life. Especially after they finish college and get into their careers (they are super busy doing that first).

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Kristy

There were so many comments before mine… No time read them all. I have often wondered why someone could leave a bride or groom standing at the alter instead of simply breaking the engagement BEFORE the wedding day, which to me seems the absolute most cruel and selfish thing anyone could commit. I see from your post that your reason must be nothing more than the fact that you are not emotionally stable. I do not approve at all, but having an unstable sister, at least I can see the reason. Thank you for sharing your personal experience (which also reinforces my first impression of the self centeredness). I guess it is what it is… I feel sorry for the groom. And I still do not really understand why people commit this act.

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Anonymous

I think it makes complete sense why this happens.
Of course, it’s ideal to have the guts to hear the inner voice/gut that says “This is not the right relationship” …but often there are so many emotions at play that it’s hard to pay attention to that true inner voice.
I think The Day makes the Reality of it all set it. And I think this is why it happens. I don’t think anybody intentionally waits for the last moment.
I don’t think you’re unstable at all. I think you are human.
I think that a greater number of people are too afraid to do what you did. They get married. They bury their inner voice and fall into a depression/ lethargy…And some people stay in this state and others wait for it to be so unbearable that they end in divorce.
What you did was the bravest choice you could do. And just maybe you’re story will give someone else the courage to do what they need to do…..It’s never too late to turn around and walk down a different road, a better road.
It’s true our actions impact others. But we cannot betray ourselves. In the end self-betrayal is the worse betrayal, and that impacts others far worse.

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Samuel Goodness

Your comment…What a horrible experience. The maid of honour is a frenemy!

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Samuel Goodness

I have gone through this path,my planned marriage was called off by me two months to the date because each passing day brought so much fear and restlessness.I couldn’t concentrate or relax,I fought so hard within me to accept I’m actually doing the right thing but one thing is certain,”the inner voice never lies”. When I finally decided to call it quit,I didn’t have the courage,I was too scared to voice out my deepest fears but after much research on the consequences of a wrong marriage,I had the courage to voice out.I must confess,it feels terrible to break a relationship of 5 years,nevertheless it’s far better than living a miserable life forever.My mom would always say,till the last minute, the priest will give each partner the opportunity to decide if he or she is willing to be married.In my opinion, it’s never too late to opt out even though it saves more heart ache,embarrassment,money and stress when said earlier.

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