Broken Engagement: How To Settle Disputes
Many happy long-term relationships usually lead to engagements and then eventually to marriage.
Despite young people’s changing perspectives regarding marriage, there were nearly two million marriages in the US in 2021.
However, not all engagements lead to marriage. Despite the perceived positivity and certainty that comes with a couple getting engaged, several problems may arise during this period.
Aside from the grief that comes with the end of a meaningful relationship, some broken engagements may also involve serious disputes. Resolving conflicts at this time can be difficult, especially when emotions are running high.
Let’s discuss the implications of a broken engagement and how all parties can effectively settle disputes.
Common Causes of Broken Engagements
Marriage is a significant milestone in many people’s lives, and experiencing doubt is normal. However, if you think you’re not ready to get married, it’s completely understandable to call off the engagement.
Engagements are broken, and relationships end for a variety of reasons. Red flags often don’t show themselves until faced with specific circumstances or issues. Here are some common causes of broken engagements.
In its simplest definition, infidelity is the act or state of being unfaithful to one’s partner. Its most common connotation is physical cheating, like kissing or being physically intimate with another person while in a relationship. However, many people also consider emotional cheating as infidelity.
People have different boundaries concerning infidelity, and discussing them early in the relationship is essential. If your partner becomes unfaithful, it’s often grounds for breaking the engagement and entirely ending the relationship.
Finances are among the most common instigators of disagreements between partners. A recent survey has found that 47 % of couples argue about money. These disagreements can sometimes signal the end of a relationship and engagement.
One partner might make more money than the other or have different spending habits. Some engaged couples may have differing views on how much they’re willing to pay for the wedding. While some unmarried couples may find a workaround for these issues, others cannot.
Money is significant in maintaining a marriage and building a life together. Understandably, people with widely different attitudes or values surrounding finances might decide to call off their wedding.
Marrying someone often entails dealing with your partner’s family. Some families are often accepting and welcoming of their child’s chosen partner. However, others might not be as open and may even become hostile toward their child’s partner.
Disagreements with family members could significantly impact the relationship between couples. These effects are particularly noticeable if the partner is close to their family. They might often feel torn between their relationship with their family and their partner.
Calling off the engagement might be the best course of action if these family conflicts become unbearable and adversely affect your mental health.
Differences in values and goals
Marriage is a long-term commitment, and it often works best if both partners share similar values and goals. Core values, such as religion, cultural practices, political beliefs, and many others, are often non-negotiable for some people.
The same is true for one’s life goals. While one partner might want children, the other may not. One might want to travel and move around a lot, and the other may want to settle in one place.
Each partner’s approach to life could clash, making a possible marriage improbable or difficult to manage. Some couples can find workarounds or may compromise on these topics. However, breaking the engagement might be best if marrying someone involves giving up an essential part of your identity or beliefs.
A lasting marriage requires communication and understanding. Both partners need to be able to communicate their wants, needs, and problems with each other without resorting to arguments and hostility. They need to build an excellent emotional connection that allows them to be open with one another and effectively tackle potential problems together.
Finding communication issues before or during the engagement could be a good reason to end the relationship. One must also be wary of signs of emotional or verbal abuse, which are significant threats to a healthy relationship.
Communication Strategies for Dealing With Broken Engagements
Breaking an engagement and ending your relationship usually comes with strong emotions. However, if you and your ex-fiancé need to settle a few disputes, exercising good and respectful communication is essential.
Let’s discuss some effective communication strategies you and your ex-partner can use when you talk to each other after the relationship ends.
This skill involves hearing a person’s words, along with the meaning and intent behind them. It means being fully present in the conversation and trying to understand the other person’s point of view.
Using active listening when dealing with disputes related to a broken engagement can help minimize conflict. Remember that active listening means that you’re trying to listen to understand and not only to respond.
Collaborative problem-solving is usually used in the workplace or educational settings. However, this strategy can also be helpful when settling practical matters after an engagement ends.
As the name suggests, collaborative problem-solving requires both parties to work together to resolve the issue. Instead of attacking one another, you and your partner must be objective and find ways to respectfully settle unresolved matters.
Avoiding blame and criticism
Understandably, speaking to your ex-fiancé often brings up negative feelings, especially if they did something cruel or hurtful.
However, it’s best to avoid excessive blame and criticism when resolving practical disputes. Blaming and criticizing one another is often unproductive, especially when trying to solve legal and practical matters.
If you or your ex find it challenging to speak to one another, you can approach a third party to mediate the discussion. Sometimes, a mediator can help improve communication and facilitate the conflict resolution process.
Considerations for Settling Broken Engagement Disputes
One of the biggest challenges of breaking an engagement is the end of the relationship. However, other matters also need to be addressed.
Let’s explore the legal, practical, and emotional considerations of a broken engagement below.
Long-term relationships, especially those that lead to an engagement, usually have legal aspects to consider. Many long-term partners may have money, real estate, investments, and children together.
Ending the engagement and the relationship will require both parties to discuss legal issues, such as the following:
- Prenuptial agreements. If you and your partner signed a prenup after the engagement, you might need to cancel it after calling off the engagement.
- Division of assets. The division of assets will depend on whether your state recognizes common-law marriage. If it does, your joint assets will be treated as marital assets.
- Child custody. When children are involved, courts will treat the issue like they would in a regular divorce. Courts will determine custody arrangements based on the best interests of the child.
- Lawsuits. If you or your ex decide to file a case for a serious offense, you’ll need to consult a lawyer. It’s best not to speak to your ex alone without seeking advice from your attorney first. Should you decide to file a lawsuit, you can use Google Sheets for electronic discovery of potential evidence.
When dealing with legal disputes after breaking your engagement, consult a lawyer. You may also look into legal transcription services to ensure you record all relevant information.
Breaking your engagement will also involve dealing with practical matters. While these issues may not be as serious as your legal considerations, they are just as important.
You may have to deal with some practical considerations after ending your engagement.
- Returning gifts/personal items. Ending a serious relationship will involve returning personal items in each other’s possession. Legally, there is nothing wrong with keeping your ex’s gifts, including the engagement ring. However, discussing it with your ex can help you maintain a civil relationship.
- Discontinuing wedding planning. The ramifications you may experience will depend on how far along you are in the wedding planning process. You might not get your money back from your vendors. You must also tell your family, friends, and people you have invited that the wedding is off.
A broken engagement usually signifies the end of a relationship and will entail emotional effects. It’s important to care for your emotional and mental health during this period, which can involve the following:
- Grieving the end of the relationship. Give yourself time to grieve your relationship. Allow yourself to feel your emotions and remind yourself that there is a future outside your previous relationship.
- Dealing with anger/resentment. Accept your feelings and know that you’re angry for a reason. You can try to channel your emotions through physical or creative activities. Finding things or activities that help you stay mindful and present is also essential. If your anger stems from any kind of abuse or criminal act, consider seeking legal advice and taking legal action.
- Building a support system. You don’t have to go through this period alone. Spending time with your loved ones and sharing your burdens can help you manage your emotions more effectively. Your loved ones can also help you in dealing with practical matters.
- Seeking professional help. Speaking with a counselor or therapist can help you make sense of your emotions. They can also equip you with tools and exercises you can apply in your daily life.
Find Resolutions After a Broken Engagement
Resolving and settling disputes is challenging, especially when it involves the personal aspect of a broken engagement. However, approaching the matter with directness and respect can help both parties reach decisions that can be mutually beneficial. It will also help significantly to find an experienced legal group that can assist you in finding solutions or direct you to professionals who are in a position to bring about results.