When people get engaged, it usually means they're realllll serious about wanting to get married. But sometimes....the couple still doesn't make it to the wedding.
Well, a while back, Reddit user u/scipio2000 touched on this experience when they asked runaway brides why they left — and another Redditor did the same when they asked about why people had their weddings called off. Here are just some of the reasons people's engagements got broken off.
1. "Got engaged to my pregnant girlfriend. Four months before the wedding, she calls it off saying she doesn't feel the love any more. A week after that, I came home early from my second job to surprise her and see if we can work things out and found her in bed with the guy who would have been my best man. Turns out they've been shacking up for six months and she planned to leave me for him as soon as he broke things off with his wife (who was to be her maid of honor). I decided to speed up the process by telling his wife what I found and instead of leaving her, the guy ditches my fiancé to try to salvage his marriage."
2. "On my 18th birthday, my boyfriend proposed to me at my party, in front of all of my family and friends. I said yes mostly because I was too embarrassed to say no. We had been dating for two years, but I was just about to start university. I wasn't ready at all. I asked later (when we were alone) if we could have a long engagement (at least a year or two) and he agreed. We told our families and friends we would be waiting to get married. Less than three months later, his mom and my mom took me out for lunch and decided to take me to look at wedding dresses, because 'it's never too early to start planning.' When I saw a really lovely dress that was on sale, my fiancé's mother insisted on buying it for me."
Their family was quite wealthy and had set money aside for all of my fiancé's milestones, education, first car, wedding, etc. She told me they were happy to cover the major costs as they were the ones who wanted a big wedding, and joked I could pay her back in grandchildren. A few weeks later his mom introduced me to a 'friend' who was a florist. Next thing I know I'm looking at bouquets and discussing table arrangements. Then my fiancé starts talking about venues for our wedding, saying we need to start planning so we can find the perfect place.
By this point, I'm truly panicking...I'm just a few months into university, I haven't even fully decided what I want to do with my education, now I'm choosing venues for a wedding that's supposed to be years away — a wedding that's suddenly looking like the nuptials of a minor royal. I tried talking to my fiancé, but he just wouldn't listen. We saw a venue we liked, but they had no availability for almost two years. So we booked it and I could finally breathe again...I had two years to get ready for my big fat crazy wedding.
Then the venue had a cancellation, for less than six months away and my fiancé accepted it WITHOUT telling me. Just cancelled our future date and took the one that was now available. Then he arranged the entire wedding with the help of his mum (and mine, damn her helicopter ways!) before telling me. When he told me everything was booked, I went mental. His reaction was that he'd gone with all of my choices re: catering, venue, flowers, etc and so I should be grateful that he'd dealt with all the stressful stuff. All I had to do was turn up.
When I explained that I didn't want to get married in six months' time and that this was the third or fourth time I'd told him I wasn't ready for marriage yet, he told me I was being childish and that the invitations were at the printer, so it was too late to 'change my mind.'
I finally realized that he was manipulating me, so I gave him the engagement ring back and told him I didn't want to see him anymore.
I told my family and friends, cried a lot, changed my number because he wouldn't stop calling, etc. Two months later my mum got a call from his mother, because she hadn't been able to get in touch with me to arrange dress fittings and finalise bridesmaids.
He hadn't told them we split up. My mother explained everything to his mother and figured that was that. The following week she had the audacity to present my family with a bill for half of what they had paid out for the wedding. It came to thousands of pounds. They'd booked everything, right down to the cake and the favors, without telling me and wanted me to pay!"
3. "He went off camping with his brothers and did some mushrooms. Decided then our city was just too much city for him and a life of going to work and coming home was just too mundane. We were to close on our house (which I got since I had put down my entire savings on the deposit) in three days and get married in two weeks. That was when he had his 'epiphany' that the life we were going to have just wasn't good enough (yes, being married and having a stable job and house are just terrible). He had already cheated on me and we had moved on from that (I thought), so to lose it all again really wounded me."
"Jokes on him. He still has a job here in this city he hates so much. I have a beautiful house and he's living with his brother in a college campus apartment. Dick."
4. "Honestly, he kept bugging the shit out of me for anal sex and I couldn't take it anymore. After we got engaged he became obsessed with it and it's something that just repulses me, also, he had a HUGE dick so I was afraid that it would hurt. I really, really didn't want to do it, but he persisted. I finally told him I would do it on the condition that he let me fuck him in the butt with a strap-on afterward so he would have to feel what I was going through. That was a big hell no... He left me alone about it for about a month, but then it started again. He stopped having regular sex with me because I wouldn't do it, so finally, I was, like, fuck this. I'm not going to spend the rest of my life being bothered about anal, which I DON'T want to do. If you loved me you would respect that. So I broke up with him."
"The most awkward part for both of us was trying to think of reasons to tell friends and family when they asked what the hell happened because otherwise, we were great together."
5. "I was 17 at the time, and still in high school. [I] met an alleged Army guy (pre-full-swing Internet, so no way to really check), and we hit it off. And I was young and fell in 'love' with guys really fast, so when he proposed, I was ecstatic. The red flags were there. He asked my parent for permission. He proposed loudly at a pizza shop (which, socially, would have been too awkward to say no anyway). He didn't have his own place. I never met his family. I never saw any evidence of being in the military. Cue a few weeks later. We had a fight because he called out his SISTER'S name during sex."
"He then told me that everything would be fine because he was going to take me to Kentucky to live on an Army base. He also told me he wanted me to be 'barefoot and pregnant' most of the time, ha ha ha. We were going to get married and leave the day after I graduated high school.
I did some real soul-searching. I became withdrawn and quiet. I was visiting my nana one day and she asked me, 'are you in love with him or in love with the idea of a wedding?' And just like that, the bubble burst. I cried and broke it off with him...two weeks before I graduated.
Apparently, he had already booked the Justice of the Peace. But he got married anyway three weeks later...with the same ring he gave me. Poor girl. I wish I knew her so I could warn her."
6. "She said yes, and then started getting further and further away from me. Started to go out drinking with her friends, quit her job, and stopped talking to me honestly about her feelings. Would get really upset with me when I tried to talk with her about what was going on. She left me in the middle of my hardest semester and left me heartbroken."
"I climbed out of that hole, pushed through, and did really well that semester. Then I met another girl at college and started to fall for her. And who should try to come back into my life but the one who left me?
She told me she couldn't believe I got over her so fast after almost five years, and that I was just using another woman to hide my pain, etc. And that I actually still loved her. Yeahhhhhhhhhhh, she was wrong. Through the gauntlet I went through I determined that I did not at all deserve to be unhappy. I treated her amazing for the entirety of our relationship and if she didn't know what she had when she had it, she didn't deserve it. So I moved on. I left her behind with no regrets.
I'm now in a relationship with the new girl I met and extremely happy — been almost two years."
7. "I've waited a very long time to share this. Years ago I was a single mom, working hard but not getting ahead at all. Met a 'good guy' type. Architect. Good sense of humor, etc. We dated for about a year, then got engaged. Then the unthinkable happened and this is where I am the asshole in many people's minds. He was in a horrible car accident. Broke both of his femurs and his back, about 10 months before our wedding. "
"He was a (poorly controlled) diabetic as well so his healing was significantly delayed. He ended up ... [in] an electric wheelchair and since his legs were in casts from hip to ankle, his legs had to be extended straight out in front of him at all times. I really, really tried to stick by him but he made it fucking impossible. He... refused physical therapy, would not take his medication correctly, did not cooperate with wound care, and wouldn't take his insulin correctly, all the things that make for a horrible patient and an even worse person to be around. He managed to get addicted to the narcotics, sleeping pills, and Xanax, as well. Through all this, our wedding planning was still happening — mostly by his family. He was moved from the hospital to a live-in group home which he only declined. Wearing pants was difficult so he wore nothing on his bottom half for months, just happy with a bed sheet over his lap. No matter what. His moods were totally uncontrollable, he became violent and so verbally abusive. One evening he missed a final Jeopardy question and threw his open urinal at me. Even after the doctors had *insisted* that he HAD to start bending his legs, he absolutely refused. Nope, not gonna do it.
Fast forward to my wedding day. The staff at the group home went balls-to-the-wall to decorate the backyard and make this day so special for everyone, it really was lovely. Our families were gathered and seated and the pianist was playing and my dad was by my side. They opened the door for us to start down the aisle and there he sat..with his legs straight out and hospital socks sticking out from under a blanket. I froze. Told my dad I needed to go back in the house. Once we were out of earshot of everyone, I told my dad I couldn't do this, I'm so sorry. My dad simply smiled and said, 'Thank God.' He signaled for my kids to come to the side, loaded them and me up in his car and we drove off. We ended up moving a state away, closer to my family and thriving. The groom did end up in and out of several facilities and has never left the wheelchair.
I realize fully that he was suffering from the type of physical, emotional, and mental pain that I will never comprehend, but I knew that I could not raise my kids in that type of environment and my first commitment was to them. I went on to finish my own degree and my kids are now adults. No one has thrown urine at me since."
8. "I went through something similar although not quite as drastic. I met the guy when I was 17, he was 21. I fell head over heels in love with him and everything was rainbows and lollipops. His family loved me, my family loved him, all was right in the world. We started talking marriage and making plans and then he got sick with a non-fatal illness that was still serious enough to affect his day-to-day life. And everything changed, including his personality."
"He became crazy jealous and possessive and would threaten to kill himself if I ever tried to leave him because he loved me so much. I realized that I was absolutely trapped in this relationship because so many people would constantly tell me how much my fiancé NEEDED me and how much he loved me. And there was the massive guilt I had, because how do you break up with a sick man? I had to always play the part of the happy and loving fiancé when all I wanted to do was escape. The thought of having to go through with marrying him gave me an ulcer. I had nobody to talk to about this, either. My family and friends all just adored him and I would have been this evil heartless person if I broke up with him.
He did pass away a few months later from complications from his illness and it took me years before I could tell anyone that the main emotion I felt at his death was relief that I was free."
9. "My ex-fiancé and I kept disagreeing about stuff for the wedding. She comes from a wealthy family and I didn't have the money to have the type of wedding she wanted. My family offered to help out on some things and she agreed to give a little ground. I found out a week later that she and her mom had completely changed everything without telling me. Most of these changes I couldn't afford. When I confronted her about it, she asked me where I had heard that. I told her my sister had told me. She told me that I needed to choose between her and my family. It didn't take me but a few seconds to tell her that she could get [out] all her shit [she] put [in] the house as soon as possible."
10. "We were together for 9.5 years. Set to be married on our 10-year anniversary. He started hanging out at work a lot more than normal (happy hour, company outings, etc). He started to develop a friendship with a female coworker. I've had platonic male friends my entire life so no big deal. But one time my best friend and I were playfully teasing that this female friend was his girlfriend...and he got real mad almost instantly. After that, I knew they were together but didn't want to admit it. I went on a weekend beach vacation with my best friend, and he went camping with her and a gay couple. I'm sure they slept together that weekend if they already hadn't."
"About a month later he went to a work event and purposefully made it difficult for me to attend, to the point of saying 'I dont really want you to go'. She posted a status on Facebook and tagged him in it and I went ballistic. Called him and demanded he come home. We talked, and he admitted that he's in love with her and doesn't want to be with me anymore. Eight months before the wedding. Three years engaged. I moved out three weeks later. Took the dog and cat. He tries to text me every so often. I don't respond."
11. "He cheated on me the entire time we were engaged, but being young and dumb, I looked the other way. Finally, one weekend, he wanted to stay with his friends for a 'man getaway' and on one of those nights, he texted me and broke it off. Yes, I said texted."
"Came back to our apartment four days later and I don't remember all the details, but he moved some of his things out that day. Found out, one of the girls he was cheating on me with had just gotten an apartment at the complex I lived at. He moved in with her and their apartment kitchen window faced my kitchen window; it was great. Eventually, his best friend laid it all out and told me how long this had been going on and with how many girls — really heartbreaking, honestly. His best friend and I became good friends after this and one night he admitted that he had feelings for me the moment we met and knew my ex would leave me at some point because I was the third girl he had done this to. So... long story short, ... we've been together for seven years and we're getting married next spring."
12. "We had been together for six months when he proposed. We were both young at the time and weren't even living together. My gut told me right away that it was too soon, but I said yes anyway and went along with it because I thought he loved me and I loved him. I really thought that we could build a nice life together. I made it clear that I wanted to wait a while before we actually got married but he was keen to speed things along as fast as possible. I didn't even want to tell our families about it yet because I knew they would give us grief over getting engaged so young and after only a few months of being together."
"As things moved along, I made it clear that I wasn't ready to get married at my age and wanted to spend more time with him before we went through with it. He sort of threw a fit and accused me of cheating on him because there was no other reason in his mind I could possibly want to wait to marry. Things started to get really toxic and I eventually left him for good. I gave him the ring back and parted civilly, but he wasn't about to let it go so easily. He was calling and texting me constantly for weeks. Accused me of being obsessed with him and following him around and I started to realize that he was not in a normal state of mind. I was scared, but it calmed down after a while and things started to get back to normal. Unfortunately, he started spreading all kinds of nasty rumors about me of how I accused him of rape and was abusive towards him. His entire family turned sour towards me because of it and it was difficult because we shared most of our friends.
He ruined my reputation and my self-esteem but it made me realize that I really dodged one hell of a bullet by refusing to marry him. Every so often he messages me on social media asking to get back together. I either don't reply or give him a polite but very firm no.
This doesn't really matter but it's another funny little detail. He gave my engagement ring to his mother as a mother's day gift and now she wears it all the time. She has to know that it used to belong to me but still finds it to be a sweet gift from her bonkers son."
13. "Came home for lunch one day to surprise her. Surprise was on me as she was in the middle of fucking her co-worker on my couch. I loved that couch."
14. "She fell in love with my best friend. We went on a trip to visit him, and at the end of it, I caught them making out in her car. They ended up getting married a few months later and had a child shortly thereafter. They just recently finalized their divorce. I ran into my old 'friend' and met their kid. I asked what happened and he said, 'Same thing as what happened to you, man.' If they'll cheat with you, they'll cheat on you."
15. "She started hanging out with an old group of high school friends and just changed. She became extremely nasty over wedding plans, telling me we had to have the exact same number of guests on both sides. If I had one more guest than she did, she made me remove someone from my side. I knew if I moved forward it would have ended in divorce, so I just ended it before it got to that."
16. "He called me during his bachelor party. To apologize for fucking a stripper... while still fucking the stripper. That was the end of that."
17. "Noticed a few signs she had anger issues before I popped the question, but ignored them. Waited six years for it to change and hopefully get better all the while trying everything I could to help (helped pay her college, let her move in, took her entire family to Hawaii, paid for counseling, etc). Then my dad died. Nothing hits you harder than knowing I didn't just waste my time, but I wasted his, too. He'll never see his grandkids or be at my wedding or be there for all the things he should have been had I manned up and moved on when I knew things weren't going to work like he told me years ago. It's my biggest regret in life, but something I won't make again. I broke it off and am much happier now and looking for that special someone."
"TLDR; Don't expect someone to change no matter how much you love them. If you need something to change, give them a few months. If it doesn't change, move on. Your future self will thank you."
18. "Was with my S.O. for three years before we got engaged. While we were engaged we had our son (unplanned) and it pushed back plans for the wedding because of money troubles. Her father then was diagnosed with terminal cancer and she started to withdraw from me after finding out the news. I tried to be supportive and help her through it, but we started arguing about small things constantly. Mole hills started to become mountains and we started to fall apart."
"Not long after our 4-year anniversary, she got the news her father had passed away. On Valentine's Day, no less.
In our fifth year of being together and after a fairly large argument, I left work and grabbed a bottle of wine with flowers to try to signify a new beginning for us, but when I got home she had taken my son and all his things, and moved all of her belongings out of the house. She had left the engagement ring on the bed for me to find.
I never did get an explanation, only that she didn't feel love between us anymore. I never felt that way, but perhaps I missed something that she was trying to tell me... Who knows.
Now I see my son 3–4 days a week, have a friendly relationship with my ex, and have moved on as best I can.
I still love her — a part of me always will — but I'm fairly certain we will never reconnect, as much as I would love to try again. Sometimes you just have to accept what happened and push on."
19. "First, he changed, big time. He became controlling, jealous, and seemed to really expect that we'd reenact his parents' wildly dysfunctional marriage. Repeated long talks about it didn't change anything. There came a point where we were planning the wedding while I was realistically picturing myself as divorced in five years. That was stupid, and I ended it. We're both married to other people for over 25 years now, but he was bitter and mean the last time we ran into each other. I dodged such a bullet."
20. "I was 16 years old and working at Chess King in the mall when a man (who originally lied about his age saying he was 20, but I shortly found out was 26) came in and was extremely enamored with me. I ... loved the attention and soon thought I was in love. He asked me to marry him two weeks later. He had even asked my parents permission and they said yes (I still am upset with them for that)."
"Summer was coming shortly after and he wanted me to move in with him for the summer. I was living in NY at the time and he was living in Maryland (he had been in NY visiting his parents and staying with them till his new job started as a used car salesman). So I got in his white pickup truck and drove with him to Maryland for the summer. When I got there it was a tiny little apartment. ... He took his truck to work every day and I had no transportation. ... He wanted to have sex every day the second he got home from work and would want me to be waiting in the bedroom for him. I hated it and would close my eyes till it was over.
After five days, I was in the apartment while he was at work and I opened the silverware drawer and a big cockroach crawled across the utensils. I don’t know exactly why that was the turning point for me but I just said out loud, 'FUCK THIS.' I packed my suitcase and sat on the couch with the suitcase on my lap until he got home from work. The second I saw, him I said, 'Take me home.' He said a lot of shit [and] was angry, [but] I said nothing besides that I wanted to go home. Somehow he agreed to drive me back to NY and we left that night. The whole way home he talked about how this doesn’t change anything and that we’ll still be together. I stayed silent. When we pulled in the driveway I took off the ring and set it on the console. I didn’t say anything and booked it into the house and locked the door. He didn’t come after me but proceeded to call constantly for weeks. I refused to answer. I never saw him again.
I’m 41 now and have four children. My oldest is 18. Only as an adult have I been able to see how disgusting and terrifying what I went through was. For years I was embarrassed to tell that story but now I realize I was a child and it’s him and my parents that should be embarrassed."
21. "She was controlling, manipulative, and abusive. She was like this before we got engaged, but since it was my first relationship, I didn't know any better. She got worse after the engagement. I wasn't allowed to have any friends or access the internet. I couldn't watch TV, go to movies, or read any books without her permission first. She had to know where I was every moment of the day. As far as she was concerned, my sole reason for existence was to do whatever she wanted."
"One day, I got fed up with something she wanted me to do and told her no. She said that she couldn't marry me if I wasn't willing to do what she asked. She broke off the engagement a few days later. A few months later, she called me to try to get back together with me. She didn't think that the breakup would be permanent. She just thought that I would be so unhappy without her that I would go crawling back to her. We had broken up a couple of times before our engagement, and this was apparently her strategy those times as well. By this time, I recognized this as the manipulative tactic it was, so I refused to get back together with her. Looking back on it, I would have been miserable with her, so it was the best decision I could have made."
22. "He was a pilot in the Air Force and doing a bunch of training. He proposed before he left for officer training. Since we weren't married I couldn't go with him, and he wanted to wait to live together til marriage. We set the first wedding date for Christmas weekend of that year and he asked to postpone it. We set the next date for the Thanksgiving weekend of the following year while he would be in pilot school for a year and a half. He asked to postpone that one too, not because of training, but because he 'wasn't ready to get married yet.' We set the third wedding date for after his training ended. Three months before the wedding (my dress bought, my bridesmaids' dresses bought, stuff booked, save the dates sent, etc.) he asks to push it back again."
"He wanted to just keep us being engaged, but he was going to be moving to the next base in a few months and would be deploying regularly. In order to stay together without being married and see him, I would have had to literally drop everything, call out of work, and drive six hours whenever he would happen to be stateside for a few days between missions. It would have been impossible. We had been together for five years at this point, and I figured if he still 'wasn't ready' to marry me by then, he never would be, so I gave him the ring back. I had hoped it would scare him and that he would not want to lose me, but he didn't care much. When we broke up I was visiting him halfway across the country, and had two days left until my flight home. It suuuccckkkeeedddd. He didn't tell anyone what happened, any of our friends who asked, he would just ghost. He didn't cancel the DJ or anything like that, he made me do everything. I have never had anyone want to buy my old dress so we're stuck with that, too.
Two years later he (a 30-year-old man) was engaged to a 17-year-old he met through his church at his next base. Bullet dodged.
All these years later I realized he never loved me. He loved the attention, love, and support I gave him. He needed a constant ego strike and I gave it to him. The man I wound up marrying is 10,000% more of a real man."
23. And finally, let's end on one from the daughter of someone who broke off their engagement because it's honestly too wild not to share:
"My mom called off a wedding just weeks before the ceremony date because she found out her fiancé had lied to her about his whereabouts and was partying at a hotel with friends and other women. She caught him in a hot tub at 1 a.m. with twin sisters.
Fast forward about three years later. She starts dating and later marries the man who is my biological father.
She said meeting the family was especially awkward when she discovered my father had three sisters...two of which were the twins she caught her ex-fiancé with in the hot tub."