Calling off a wedding is like amputating a leg, killing a lame horse, or laying off a good employee because of budget cut-backs; even when it must be done, there's no good way to do it. It doesn't matter how graceful your exit or how artful your apology: You will be despised. Now, let's get some perspective. 99.9% of the time, your reservations and freak-outs about the wedding are just that: freak-outs. It's normal, human, expected. If you didn't have any buyer's remorse then you wouldn't be a guy....but then there's that 0.1%. Should you call it off? Probably not. Almost certainly not. For the sake of argument, though, let's look at some (not all) of the possible reasons to cancel the wedding. Think of this as a continuum from 0 to 10, with 0 being "Moronically Inconsequential" and 10 being "Never speak to this devil-lady again."
0.3. She has too much hair on her forearms.
No. This isn't a sign of some deeper, darker problem. It's a sign that you need therapy.
0.8. She talks too much at the movies.
Annoying. But unless you're Jerry Seinfeld, it's not grounds for a break-up.
1.7. Sometimes you don't want to hang out with her.
Totally normal. Too much of anything in life can be a bad thing. You like watching football, right? But after five straight back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back games of pigskin you will need to stretch your legs. Space is healthy.
1.9. You want to sleep with Megan Fox.
You and me both. This is called having a pulse.
2.4. She plumped up.
Guess what? So will you. Unless you want to be like Matthew Mcconaughey in Dazed and Confused ("High school girls, man...I get older and they stay the same age"), any girl you marry will eventually get older, pudgier, wrinkleier. This is called life.
3.2. She's bitching-out during the wedding planning.
Remember, she's under the pernicious influence of "Iago" and the wedding porn. This madness will pass.
4.3 She's paranoid about your bachelor party.
Maybe she put the kibosh on strippers, so you're worried that this is a sign--a foreshadowing--of future jealousy, distrust, and overall uncoolness. Let it go. Millions of sane, good-humored, rational girls become insane, ill-humored, and irrational when it comes to the bachelor party. Not ideal, not a deal-breaker.
5.1 You want to sleep with Shannon from across the street.
Once again, this is called being a guy. You will never, ever, ever, ever lose your desire to sleep with other women. Although I wouldn't incorporate that into your wedding vows.
5.4 Your sex life is getting worse.
It happens. Whether it's the stress from parents, vendors, or the overall drudgery of wedding planning, sometimes engagement-sex--especially in the final month--is about as frequent as a new James Cameron film. This will get better. And you can help improve things: make a concerted effort to have "date night," give her a massage, surprise her with romantic junk.
6.4 You cheated on her.
Okay. You have our attention. However, the fact that you cheated does not necessarily mean that your relationship is doomed, and so before you go blabbing a confession.
7.2 She cheated on you.
Before you fetch the shotgun, slow down, breathe, and think about whether you still want this relationship to work. Then grab the shotgun. Obviously there's no easy answer for this. Why is this a 7.2 for her and a 6.4 for you? Chauvinistic double-standard? Possibly. But more substantively, it's about an asymmetry of knowledge. In the above case, when you cheated, you know that it was only a one-time affair, but you have no way of knowing where her head is at. Put yourself in her shoes. And before you fly off the deep end, question whether a lapse in judgment in her part is grounds for ditching the next 70 years.
8.9 You avoid her, you dodge her calls, you no longer enjoy her company...
Yep. Getting serious. If all this is true, it's possible that your relationship is a victim of "inertia." Maybe you were never really that into the girl, but then you (grudgingly) agreed to be monogamous so that you could have sex without a condom, then you split an apartment to save cash, then she insisted on marriage--and you said yes and then immediately regretted it--and then, before you could recant, the parents and florists and bakers and photographers got involved...and now here we are. If you truly, fundamentally, irrevocably don't want to be with this woman...don't ignore your gut.
9.2 You want to sleep with Doug from across the street.
Ah. I see. Well okay then, better to know now than later. If you're curious or confused about your sexuality, this is nothing to hide, suppress, or be ashamed of. Deal with this head-on.
9.6. You're getting married to this chick.
9.9. She's having a gang-bang like Luke Wilson's girlfriend in Old School.
If you forgive and take back Gangbang Girl you are just stupid
If you're canceling the wedding... A year before the ceremony (before invitations have gone out)
All is not lost. You still have time. Think about "postponement" and not "cancellation." If you're actually on the fence, then there's still time for couple counseling (an admittedly emasculating word, but something worth considering if you still love this woman).
If you're positive you want to call it off, suck it up and have "The Talk." Don't worry about how to bring it up. It doesn't matter how tactful, polite, or savvy you are with the conversation. This will be the most devastating news she's ever heard. Brace yourself for a 12-hour tear-fest...which will then drag on with multiple phone calls, meetings, and another few months of hell.
Handy break-up tip: if you try and give some wishy-washy reasons for the break-up, she will use logic and counterpoints to "win" the argument. You might find yourself flustered and out of intellectual ammo. Here's a go-to line that never fails: "I'm just not happy." There's utterly no refutation. You're just not happy. If she presses you for more reasons that you can't quite articulate, just keep repeating this again and again—"I'm just not happy"—until the crying stops.
Also keep in mind:
Six months out (invitations have been sent)
Three months out (non-recoverable deposits have been paid to vendors)
Only weeks/days left...
At the altar...
Sorry man. You've missed your window. If the bride is literally in her dress, veiled up, and the organ's blasting Pachelbel's Canon, then despite whatever misgivings you have, you need to suck it up and marry the girl.
Yep. You read that right. If she's at the altar--even if you are positive that you don't want to marry her--you need to say "I do." You've had over a year to back out, and now your time is up.
Why? When you leave her at the altar she's publicly humiliated and rejected. She's a laughingstock. By getting married and then divorced--going through the motions--you give her a way to save face. To the outsiders who don't know any better, this will look like a mutual decision. It's less scandalous.
One more reason not to ditch her at the altar...there's a good chance that you are, in fact, just freaking out and suffering from a moment of temporary insanity. Hours from now, a few drinks in at the reception, you'll probably return to your senses and be happily married. Or not.
We'll worry about this later. At least you have the information if you need but back to the important information at hand YOUR BACHELOR PARTY. Check out our Lake Tahoe Strippers & female strippers online at: