Arrow-right Camera


Carolyn Hax: Let son, fiancee sort out the delay

Wed., April 7, 2010

Dear Carolyn: Two weeks before their large wedding, my son’s fiancee called it off with no warning. Apparently she is afraid to get married now, but wants to go with him to couples’ therapy to try to work out her fears. Neither has been married before and they are in their early 30s.

Yes, I know it is better to find out now than to divorce later, but I still do not understand why she enthusiastically planned this wedding, seemed happy, warm and loving, and then suddenly did an about-face.

Leaving aside the obvious squandering of time, effort, money, and the public humiliation, etc., I am crushed and my son is even more crushed. How can I help him?

We loved this girl; she and my son appeared to be compatible and supremely happy together. Can she be trusted? Will she do this again?

Is it possible for a situation like this to ever result in a long, happy marriage? – Virginia mom

I hope you’ll have steadied yourselves by the time this appears, enough to see there are no solid answers to your questions. Can she be trusted, will she do this again, can this produce a successful marriage?

Maybe, I don’t know, I guess you’ll find out.

Here’s what can be said: As painful, expensive and humiliating as the abrupt cancellation was, what matters most is what it tells you about the bride-not-to-be – and what your son comes to learn about himself.

For your part, you can: realize you’re not in a position to know what really happened; beat back the urge to judge the fiancee; love your son without hating the person who hurt him; believe in the transformative power of obliterating the expected outcome – even when someone else obliterates it for you.

When someone feels the impulse to run, it’s best that she runs. At least now you know this for sure: A need to keep up appearances is no longer driving the bus.

Click here to comment on this story »