Let’s be honest; the rest of your life is a pretty long time. That’s why it makes sense to carefully choose who you will spend it with.
That said, nothing is set in stone when it comes to relationships. Even legally recognized unions, like marriage, end, so it is not surprising for intending couples to break their engagements or call off a wedding.
However, is it possible to get back with your ex-fiancé or fiancée? Can a relationship survive a broken engagement? Should you move on and find someone else, even if you still love your ex?
As with all matters of the heart, there is hardly a one-size-fits-all answer to these questions. It all comes down to the dynamics of the relationship. Why was the engagement broken? How did the relationship end? What do the partners want moving forward?
If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you are having second thoughts about your broken engagement.
You are human, and it is okay to feel how you feel.
There is nothing wrong with having a soft spot for someone you previously planned to spend the rest of your life with. After all, feelings don’t automatically disappear just because an engagement ring was returned.
But before you set plans in motion to reconnect with a former fiancé or fiancée, you must look at the situation holistically without sentiments.
Keep reading to learn some important considerations when thinking of getting back with your ex.
Does Breaking an Engagement Mark the End of a Relationship?
There is usually a concrete reason for calling off an engagement. Whatever the reason, should you continue to date your ex-fiancée/fiancé?
In relationships, an engagement is a formal agreement between two consenting adults to get married. Normally, the partners must have been in the relationship long enough to want marriage.
However, either partner can break off the engagement if they have genuine reasons. If you decide that calling off your engagement is the best thing to do, you should ask yourself why you would want to continue having a relationship with the same person.
This is where the reason for breaking off the engagement comes into play. In some cases, you can still be friendly (or still in love) with your ex because the reason for the breakup is not their making, at least not directly.
For example, health-related problems or family issues can make you break off an engagement, even if your ex is a good partner. Another reason could be that you both live in different states or countries, and moving is out of the question (for now), perhaps due to carrier pursuits.
Also, it is not uncommon for people to get engaged when they are too young, only to realize that they both need a little bit of maturing to do. Both partners can agree to call off the engagement if the timing is off.
In these cases, it is entirely up to you and your ex if you should continue dating after calling off the engagement.
However, it is best to stop seeing each other if the reason for calling off the engagement is due to things like:
- Your ex is an abusive partner
- Lack of trust and communication
- Your partner is a chronic cheat
- Addiction issues
- Attempting to isolate you from your support network due to controlling behavior
Giving Your Relationship Another Shot
To answer the original question: can a relationship survive a broken engagement?
It is possible to reunite after calling off your engagement. In fact, some married couples go through the process of separation but find ways to reconcile afterward. Interestingly, statistics show that many couples who remarry enjoy stronger bonds with more resilient marriages compared to couples in first marriages.
Another study reveals that both married couples and people living together (in a cohabiting situation) go through breakups and get back together.
Of course, an engagement is not as binding as marriage, but the former often leads to the latter. If marriages can survive separation and divorce, a relationship can definitely survive a broken engagement.
That said, whether or not you give your relationship another shot will depend on a few factors, like the reason for the breakup, your willingness to keep your opens open, and if you’ve had a change of heart.
Why Would You Want to Get Back With a Former Fiancé?
The internet is flooded with news of celebs (married and engaged) who broke up and got back together again.
Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck are classic examples. They broke off their engagement, had other relationships, and reunited after several years apart.
Also, countless other unpopular everyday people have a change of heart, too, so you are not alone if you are considering getting back with your ex.
Here are a couple of reasons you would want to reconcile and get engaged a second time to the same person.
You Met at the Wrong Time
Perhaps you broke off your engagement because you realized there were too many unfinished businesses you needed to take care of. It could be career or personal growth milestones you wanted to accomplish while still single.
Or you may have realized you were not emotionally mature to get married.
Whatever the case, you might consider getting back together if you or your ex feels the timing is now right.
Keep in mind that change usually takes time, so if you and your ex want to get engaged again, you need to be sure that a significant amount of time has passed and that you both have your priorities right.
You Now See Things Differently
Breakups often enable people to step back from the relationship and see things from a different perspective.
It may not happen immediately, but you may have a change of heart when you eventually start missing all the great things you once had with your ex. Sometimes, it takes getting into a few other relationships before you finally take an objective look at what you had with your former fiancé or fiancée.
If this is the case, it makes sense to reconcile and get back together with your ex. This isn’t a sign of weakness or low self-esteem; instead, it only shows that you know what you want and have the courage to go for it.
You Had Incompatible Timelines
Dating, engagement, marriage, kids ― how long should these things take? Your relationship might not work out if your timeframe doesn’t match your partner’s.
You may have called off your engagement because your partner is not ready to move at your pace. Looking back, you realize you were a bit unreasonable with your timeline. It is okay to reconcile and start afresh. After all, you ultimately want the same things.
How to Make Your Relationship Better the Second Time Around
If you think your previous relationship is too good to throw away, you can still work things out with your ex-fiancé/fiancée, get engaged again, and make your relationship go the distance.
First, your answer to the question, “Can a relationship survive a broken engagement?” must be a resounding yes!
In other words, you must convince yourself that it is okay to get back with your former partner. There is no shame in rebuilding what you think will be a happy union.
However, you must realize that it will take extra effort to make the relationship stronger and better than before. To help you with that, here are 5 important steps to ensure a lasting relationship this time around.
1. Reflect on the Issues That Led to the Breakup
The thought of getting back with your ex can bring back that “butterfly in the stomach” feeling all over again! However, it is important to look beyond mere feelings and reflect on why you broke off the engagement in the first place.
Have you worked on the issues that led to the breakup? Has your ex changed his behavior? What has changed since the breakup that makes you think getting back together will work out this time around?
You don’t want to re-enter the relationship only to discover things haven’t improved, and you end up in the same bad place all over again. For this reason, take all the time you need to look at the relationship holistically. Be sure you can put your finger on concrete positive changes before moving forward.
2. Be Sure You’re Not Merely Missing Your Ex
Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right? Unfortunately, absence can also make the past look better than it actually was, especially when it comes to matters of the heart.
If you’ve both used your time apart for personal growth and development, it is okay to get back together if you think you are in a better place emotionally, physically, or financially.
Whatever you do, don’t jump back into your old relationship because you miss your ex or are afraid you won’t find someone else and will end up alone. Make sure you want to re-enter the relationship for the right reasons.
3. Be Honest About What Happened During Your Time Apart
Okay, this is where things usually get a bit uncomfortable. But if you want your relationship to be better this time around, it is important to disclose everything that needs to be disclosed.
This means telling your partner anything they need to know about what went down during your time apart. For example, be bold enough to mention other relationships, people you’ve been intimate with, if you had any kids for someone, and other details your partner should be aware of.
It is better to bare everything so nothing nasty pops up along the line to create cracks in your re-established relationship. Remember, honesty and communication are key foundational elements in any healthy relationship, so be honest even if it is hard and uncomfortable.
4. Keep Old Drama Out of Your New Relationship
Approach your relationship like a fresh one; it is not a new chapter in an old book but an entirely new book!
Protect your relationship from old pains and dramas. Never rehash past mistakes or punish your ex for past errors.
Forgiveness is a huge part of getting back together. Although it may not happen overnight, make sure you are completely over all past hurts and traumas before moving forward into the new relationship.
5. Seek Professional Help if Necessary
Sometimes, getting over unresolved resentments can be difficult, especially if the breakup was largely not your fault.
Bottled-up resentment will eventually destroy everything you are trying to rebuild. If you still love your ex but can’t seem to get over past hurts, consider seeking help from a couples counselor.
A professional can help you work through issues and build a solid foundation for your relationship to blossom. Also, both of you can learn ways to improve communication to help create a resilient relationship.
6. Accept That Things May Not Be Perfect
This might not be what you want to hear, but no relationship is ever perfect, whether the first time around or renewed.
Yes, it is okay to want a happily-ever-after relationship, but expecting your partner, yourself, or the renewed relationship to be perfect is unrealistic. Old issues and habits will likely pop up again, no matter how hard you worked to make positive changes in your individual lives.
The key to having a better relationship the second time is to immediately recognize old patterns and nip them in the bud. Remember that humans aren’t perfect, whether as singles or couples.
Thinking that things will go smoothly the second time around is setting yourself up for another heartbreak.
Can a relationship survive a broken engagement?
The answer depends entirely on the circumstances surrounding the breakup. Sometimes, it takes falling apart for partners to realize what they had and work harder to rebuild and make it better.
Yes, reconciliation is possible after calling off an engagement, but don’t talk yourself into going back to an abusive ex. It is best to move on with your life if you’ve determined that your previous relationship was toxic due to emotional manipulation or physical violence.