I’ve been wanting to write to you for weeks now. I love all of the Dear Donnas and knew I needed to come to you with this. Please keep my letter anonymous to protect my fiancé if you wouldn’t mind.
I am engaged to marry my boyfriend of four years. He proposed eighteen months ago and as soon as I said yes we dived in with the wedding planning.
He comes from a traditional West African family who wanted us to get married sooner, so as soon as they found out we were engaged, they basically threw the kitchen sink at our wedding plans.
I no longer love my fiancé and that is, unfortunately, a fact. It isn’t his fault, but I just know that my mindset has changed and marrying him is no longer an option for me. I know how to tell him and how he’ll react. I have that much in hand. What I don’t have in hand is the way to tell his family and my family.
Both of our sets of parents have spent a lot of money on our wedding, planned for 2022. They wanted us to have a big wedding, and being traditional, took the reins into their own hands to book the venue, catering, photographer, dresses and so on. Very little of this money will be recoverable so the financial loss will be great on both sides. I can’t pretend that I have any way of paying them back, or at least not in the short term. For this reason (amongst many others), I know that both my fiance’s family and my own parents will be furious with me when I break off our engagement.
I expect to be the devil in the eyes of my in-laws, this much I know. But if there is a way you think I can minimise the heartache and animosity, then I would really love your advice. Also, any advice on how to tell my own parents would be so helpful. As a mum yourself, I’m hoping you’d have some thoughts on how you’d want Melanie to tell you if she were ever in my situation.
Loving you always
By the sound of your letter, you know exactly what you want and thus, you should act on this as soon as possible.
My initial thoughts are that the best scenario is for your fiancé to tell his parents himself. I appreciate that you may be close to his family, however this is going to be very difficult for him and I think that the kindest thing you could do is to allow him to tell his family on his own terms as and when he is ready. As you have predicted, you will be seen as the bad guy in this situation by his family. There is very little you can do about this. However, time is a healer and I am sure that in the long run everyone will see that this was the best course of action. They will want their son to be happy and when he finds somebody who share his feelings, they will be able to look back at this and see it as the right decision. Until then, I wouldn’t expect to be on their Christmas card list.
As for your parents, just be completely honest. If it was Melanie coming to me, I would have a lot of questions, but ultimately I would only want her to be happy. Although this is your decision, I am sure that this time will not be easy for you either, so keep your family close. I am sure their support will be of comfort for you.
I hope this helps. Good luck.