Healing After Calling Off an Engagement

So there I was looking to buy some cheese curds at the Minnesota Twins baseball game when I saw a lady I knew from a past life. As we were catching up, she asks me, “How’s married life?” Lots of answers went through my head in that second or two I had to respond, but I decided to keep it simple, “I’m not married!”

photo credit: http://blog.handprintsonmyheart.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Broken-Heart.jpg
photo credit: http://blog.handprintsonmyheart.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Broken-Heart.jpg

That’s when it always gets awkward. I do my best to try to lighten the mood, in addition to do what I can to fill in the rest of the blanks she’s surely wondering about: “Well, I was engaged once upon a time, but it didn’t work out.” Then it’s only a matter of time before somebody says, “Well, better you figure that out before! Ha ha…” Then we seem to try to move to the next conversation as soon as possible (in this case, why my cheese curds seem to be overdone. She then assured me that the darker they are, the better they taste. She was wrong. But anyway…).

It’s interesting to me the responses I get when people find out I was engaged to be married and then didn’t actually ever marry. The most interesting response is one I’ve gotten more than a few times, which is sort of a semi-profound silence along with a look and a comment which makes it seem like they think differently about me all of a sudden–in a good way.

What I think brings responses like that is the fact that heartbreak seems to be a pretty commonly shared experience. It seems like everybody has had a love that they’ve lost, even if that’s not necessarily even a romantic love. But I’d probably argue that most have lost a romantic love. And it sucks! But I think knowing that you’re not the only one makes it easier to take, even just a little bit.

In fact, I have more than a couple buddies of mine who have also been engaged only to part ways before marrying. We joke that we’re members of a “club” nobody wants to join. Heck, my mom still talks every once in awhile about the guy that she almost married before she got together with my dad.

Isaac with friends
Isaac (third from left) with friends

And that helps. It also helps to talk with one of my fellow “club” members about his ex-fiancée, knowing that he has since married and has two little rugrats of his own running around. It helps knowing that just because it didn’t work out with someone you love, that doesn’t mean it won’t work out with anyone you love.

And while my first engagement (see what I did there?) didn’t work out, and I haven’t yet met my Mrs. Right, I haven’t given up hope that she might be just around the next corner. In fact, I’m convinced that not only was it a good decision to call off our engagement, I am better off for being with her and better prepared for when the time comes with someone new. It might even be a little like eating overdone cheese curds, so that next time you know even better exactly how you like them…

So what about you? What have you gained from past relationships, even ones that ended in real heartbreak? What gives you hope for the future?

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  • What I’ve learned from my almost engagement, was the fact that I have an amazing support system. When I was at my lowest the people who are in my inner circle are the ones that helped me get out of bed when I couldn’t and didn’t want to get out. They’re the ones that reassured me time and time again that God has a bigger and better plan. They’re the ones that held me tightly when I expressed my grief and sorrow. They’re the ones that told me it was better that I find out of the betrayal from my potential fiance before he was my actual fiance.

    Even though I still have that engagement ring sitting at the top of my closet because I have no idea what to do with it. I realized that even though I haven’t found the one, I’m embracing, loving, and enjoying life at the moment to the fullest. I will not dwell on things I can’t control, if and when love comes, I will embrace it with arms wide open but until then I will love life and the lessons it’s brought me.

  • I was in several serious relationships before meeting my husband, I truly feel love happens with the right person when it is supposed to! Never force it because that’s the course your relationship is heading, if something doesn’t feel right its probably not meant to be! Good for you for staying so positive!

  • Great article Isaac. I truly believe each person the Lord places in our lives serves a purpose. I too, am better off for being with the one I was engaged to and better prepared for when the time comes with someone new. 🙂

    God Bless.

  • I have learned that love is always a risk, but that is part of what makes it beautiful. C.S. Lewis once said, “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

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