That one time, back then, when I called off my wedding 6 weeks before the big day.

Cancelled signNow before you assume I’ve used some sort of trickery with my headline to get you to read this post, let me assure you that I did once call my wedding off 6 weeks before the date. For real. As an engaged grown up. To a real man. Yes, it is all THAT.

By far and away the most common comment I get from people when they hear this story is

“Oh you were very brave to do that”.

My reply is always the same.

Actually, I don’t think so. Brave is turning up on your wedding day and actually getting married to the person that you know is the wrong guy.

Now before you go and assume that maybe I just had pre-wedding jitters let me assure you that I have never, EVER, regretted this decision. He was a nice guy but never the love of my life, not even a great love. He was just the guy who happened to propose to me (when he was drunk mind you) when I was young and vulnerable and caught up in the idea of marriage. I don’t want to go into all the gory details out of respect to him and the person who I am told he has now become. He had a drinking problem when he was with me but I believe he is now sober and a happy husband and father so I don’t want to disrespect him and the changes he has made in his life.

But I want to go back to this concept of bravery.

What does it mean to be brave? Was I brave to do what I did or is the Rachael in the parallel universe that kept her word and married the man the brave one?

I have spent some time online looking at quotes and definitions of bravery and I have come to the conclusion that we are both brave and we are both cowards.

I was brave for pulling the pin but I could also be seen to be a coward for not going through with it. This quote here seems appropriate.

Fear Quote

She was brave for going through with it and also a coward for not staying true to her heart. Perhaps she should have done this?


The path I chose

Could I have had a happy life if I’d chosen the other road? If things had stayed the same probably not but if Mr Fiancé had had his revelation during our relationship then perhaps things would have turned out OK. Who can really know?

And 17 years on, it doesn’t matter.

What matters is understanding that bravery and cowardice can be two sides of the same coin. They are intertwined. One carries the other along with it packed into the same little backpack and as they fight it out in there it is up to you to know which move is truly the brave one and this will depend on your own personal set of circumstances.

Yes, we must conquer our fears, feel the fear and do it anyway if you will, but not at our own personal risk. The risk can be too great and it is not cowardly of us to identify it and act accordingly. Sometimes it is actually brave for us to make the choice to stand down and walk away.

Besides, sometimes there is a silver lining. Mine was the honeymoon. I went alone to Mexico and had THE. TIME. OF. MY. LIFE. Holiday romance…ahem..YES I DID.

I was afraid to go and almost didn’t (hello cowardice) as I’d only ever been overseas once before and never on my own. I called my Aunt (the travel agent) at the last minute to cancel and she talked me into it (yay bravery, you won!). To this day I still owe her a thousand and one kisses for that.  The trip was the one that set my belly on fire for travel and I traveled solo extensively after it. That one experience alone truly changed and shaped my life. I’m not sure I would have been the traveler I was without it.

So see, there is a purpose, to everything.


31 thoughts on “That one time, back then, when I called off my wedding 6 weeks before the big day.

  1. Well if I get a say.. I think it was brave you called off the wedding. How many people these days look back and think eventually come to the conclusion you did BEFORE the marriage? It seems not enough. It was probably the best thing for him as well, as his life sounds like it turned around… Give your brave self a little more credit 😉

    • Of course you get a say! That’s what the comment box is for! Everyone gets to throw their 2 cents in. And thank you for the kind words. I guess I just didn’t feel brave as it was more of a realisation that there was no other option perhaps? Hmmm who knows. 🙂

  2. I was the person that followed through on a marriage that I knew wasn’t right. I got married to a man 7 weeks after I met him, thinking it was the right thing to do. Despite my fears and better judgment. Five years later I was divorced (at 25 years old).
    2 years later I married my true love and we have been married for 7 years now.
    My decision in my first marriage was made in cowardice and my choice to leave was with bravery. I learned, I lived, I moved on. Still I applaud your bravery to know yourself well enough to get the heck out of dodge when you did. Well done!

  3. Wow. Going through with it wouldn’t have been brave. At all. You did the right thing and it was no small thing either – very well done for standing up and acting for your heart’s true path. A lot of women would have walked down the aisle under the same circumstances, but you didn’t. Brilliant.

  4. I agree that bravery and cowardice are two sides of the same coin – and that what is brave for you isn’t always brave for me! I think you were very brave to follow what was the right decision for you – and then you go girl! Love the honeymoon on your own!! 😉

  5. I dunno – I might agree with those that offer the sentiment that it is brave. To marry someone you KNOW for sure is not the right person just seems like you are setting both of you up for heartache. You’ll definitely have heartache if you end it beforehand too, but at least in this case you know there is someone that fits the both of you better, you know? (Just kinda thinking out loud)
    And kudos to you for taking on Mexico solo! That IS brave!

  6. That solo trip to Mexico sounds pretty awesome! Good for you for not going through with a wedding to somebody who wasn’t the right fit at the time. That does take some courage for sure!

  7. Whether it was brave or cowardly is pretty much moot to me. For me the most important is that you don’t look back with regret. The fact that you don’t means that this was a most excellent decision, Rach!

  8. Brave indeed – and clear thinking. As someone who tends towards anxiety, one really important question in my world is touched on here: if our intuition is worth its two cents, and it tells us to run away, how do we know if it’s right or wrong? Certainly if intuition says go for it, from the perspective of an anxious person that’s great news as it gives you some confidence – move ahead, great opportunity! But if it tells you ‘this doesn’t look so good’ or ‘really, this seems like the wrong decision,’ then it takes some real courage to examine the situation and work out who’s speaking – that part of yourself that knows you and your situation and gives you good guidance, or the part of you that would blindly say ‘stay here, it’s comfortable, and that path could have tigers and bed bugs.’ So, great job brave Rach, you’d be different (and still lovable, and still yourself) had you chosen another path, but I really feel like you heard yourself at a really important time.

    • You raise a really good point and it’s something I really struggle with myself. I think the Mexico story is a good example of that. I almost chose fear when it wasn’t instinct but anxiety. It happens and mostly because we are so wound up we can’t tell what we really feel. I think in this situation I almost didn’t have a choice. There was no way I was going to be able to rock up on the day in that white dress and carry out my happy smiley bride duties. It simply wasn’t happening. So that helps.

  9. That is amazing, I’m proud of you for walking away. I was engaged right out of college and thank goodness we broke up shortly after. My sister married someone she had doubts about and is now divorced..single mom with 2 kids. Always follow your instincts, it is always the brave and right choice. Even braver is you traveling on your own to Mexico on your very own honeymoon…that sounds absolutely incredible!!! All that happens is meant to be. xo

    • AH interesting that you did that whole engaged young thing too. I think as young girls we get a bit caught up in the fairytale. It’s only once the ring is on the finger that you start thinking about the concept of forever with that person and then you realise that actually, that’s a really long time.

      • Exactly…and was too young to know what I wanted or even how to say no. While yours drunk when he proposed, mine did it at the end of a fight. how romantic. Instead of saying, “we aren’t ready for that” I just kinda stumbled out a “yeah” I think. haha

  10. Pingback: Imperfectly Patient in the Sea of my Frustrations | Perfection Pending

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