Wedding Engagement

The Art of Saying No, Post Engagement

A wedding is an affair of massive cultural importance in majority of the communities. While the execution and ceremonies vary, the emotion attached to a marriage is considered sacred and the bond, unbreakable. Yet, data suggests that a fair percentage of marriages are called off post engagement, globally. 


Breaking up a relationship is not easy. When it comes to a wedding, it’s quite a quandary. So what does one do when faced with one of the biggest dilemmas of their adult life? How does one say no to the man or woman they are engaged to? 


Why do engagements break? 

Though we understand that as an adult you appreciate the concept of being an equal partner and would know what’s amiss. There are some invisible red signals, which in many cases are chosen to be ignored. The most common yet unheeded behavioural indications that calls for action include these: 

  • If you are in a physically, mentally or emotionally abusive relationship.  
  • If there is infidelity and trust issues.
  • If there is addiction that seems tough to combat even after repeated assistance. 
  • If there is erratic financial behaviour and irresponsibility. 
  • If there is conflict in thoughts, actions and values on a regular basis. 
  • If you feel disrespected and unimportant in the relationship.  


These are signs of existing in a toxic relationship. It needs effective communication and sometimes therapy to move out. 


How do I break up my engagement?

If everything you do to make it work seems hopeless, it’s time to say no. Irrespective of it being an arranged or love marriage, do not let the big word of ‘engagement’ push you back. If you want out, you owe it to both your selves. Yet, a methodical and sensitive approach needs a mention.


  • There will be an aftermath, especially emotional. Hence, you need to make yourself and your partner (later, the family), ready for the conversation. It’s a big step nevertheless and there may be a need for counselling and therapy. Be prepared. 
  • If the wedding dates, venue and guests have been decided, there will be chaos with logistics. It can be handled in a calm manner, do not let it get to you. A formal announcement to all the guests and cancellations of vendors are included. 
  • Rumours and gossips may fly. You may need to ignore them. It won’t be easy for you to walk up to each member and discuss the scenario. Most of all, you will need to stop it from affecting your well-being. 
  • If there are financial collaborations involved, e.g. – a house, vehicle, business organisation or personal belongings, those would need a separate discussion. If need be, you may also seek the guidance of your lawyer.  


How can I do it best?

There are counsellors and marriage mentors who can help you be equipped, for a similar situation. There are online pre-marital programs in-person workshops organised by relationship experts, which help partners be aware of situations that could arise in the near future. They also enable the young partners on how to combat it, sensitively.


While the part of saying NO tough, it’s equally tough to avoid a nasty situation. If the technique of communication is effective, there are good chances that both the partners understand the difficulty stemming out of the relationship. This could lead to a peaceful and empathetic resolution.