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She called off the engagement. You tried to persuade her, but it’s time to face the facts. Besides, if she’s this adamant about not spending the rest of her life with you, begging for her to stay will be like throwing a sledgehammer into a wood chipper—nonsensical and disastrous.
So, assess the damage, lick your wounds, and follow these steps for moving on, from sex and relationship expert Megan Fleming, Ph.D.
Take Back the Ring
“Taking back the ring is empowering,” Fleming says. “If she hasn’t already offered it back, then ask, because it was given as a gift with the intentions of a lifetime commitment, and since she’s the one calling it off, it would be the right thing to do to give it back.”
Sell the Ring
So long as it’s not a family heirloom, get rid of it. Seriously. WPdiamonds.com is an excellent option if you can’t return the ring. As a division of the largest recycled diamond buyer in the US and Europe, WP Diamonds can offer you more money for your diamonds, jewelry and watches than a jewelry shop or pawnbroker.
“I can’t imagine anyone wanting to keep something that is symbolic of a marriage and relationship that isn’t going to happen,” Fleming says. “Take the money from that and buy something really nice for yourself, as a memento of moving on and a symbol of letting go.”
Notify the Right People
“Depending on the nature of your relationship with family, friends, and how far along you were in the wedding planning process, you need to break the news to a lot of people,” Fleming says.
And the sooner, the better. Call your parents, family members, the groomsmen (bridal party), vendors and any other planners. Hopefully you didn’t mail out 300 invites, or change your Facebook status already; both warrant a far more excruciating process.
Decide What You Want
“Take this time for some self-exploration,” Fleming says. “You thought this woman was going to be your wife and you had a vision of what was going to happen next in your life. But if she felt that there was something keeping her from moving forward, I’m guessing you felt some of that, too, you just didn’t want to be the one to pull the trigger.”
“Oftentimes, people are so mindful of not wanting to hurt their partner’s feelings or they’re so concerned about what other people are going to think, they fail to recognize their own needs,” says Fleming.
Really Say ‘Goodbye’
“There’s a ‘Goodbye Process,’ which you can do with your partner or you can have someone sort of stand in and represent your partner, and you ask, ‘What was it like being with me or living with me?’,” Fleming says. “You’re basically saying goodbye to the frustrating aspects, as well as what drew you to your partner in the first place.”
Let Yourself Mourn
“Whether you’ve been blindsided or saw the warning signs, but swept them neatly under the rug, you’re going to go through a range of emotions like rejection, embarrassment, shame, maybe even relief,” Fleming says. “Give yourself time to process everything. Don’t rush to cover up those feelings by drinking or by becoming really active—allow yourself to feel your feelings. Then get ready to really say goodbye.”
Make a Clean-Cut Break
“Separate any shared furniture, records—really create a clean break,” Fleming says. “Take her out of your phone, un-friend or unsubscribe from her on Facebook and other social media channels. “It’s not healthy to give those images exposure. Say she’s moving on faster and posts pictures with another guy. Those images won’t help you heal or remove yourself from that part of your life so someone new can come in.”
Move On With Your Life
“When someone says they don’t want to get married or spend the rest of their life with you, it can feel like a rejection, but I think it’s so important to realize not everyone is meant to be together,” Fleming says. “You don’t feel the attraction to date everyone you meet and, not everyone is your friend.”