Broken Engagements: When the Thing Broken Isn’t Just Your Dil
Sigh, broken engagements can be an LIIT of emotions
Sigh, broken engagements can be an LIIT of emotions(Photo: The Quint/Aroop Mishra)

Broken Engagements: When the Thing Broken Isn’t Just Your Dil

The other day, a friend of mine shocked me. By telling me that she and her fiance were no longer together. Which got me thinking, that a broken engagement has gotta be the most deadly version of a breakup.

Imagine having to heal a broken heart, while answering the irritating questions of relatives! But how can one deal with a broken engagement? This podcast has some suggestions.

Girl meets boy. They go on dates, where they spend a lot of money.

Then, they begin to fall in love.

And because they want to have kids together, and the only way that will happen is if they have an overhyped function: they decide to get married.

Soon, they are gonna be onboard the Non-Virgin Airlines.


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But what happens when just before takeoff, you realise that the whole marriage thing with this person, isn’t working.

It can be a cocktail, nay, an LIIT of emotions.

Drama, confusion, anger, pain, hurt, shame, guilt, huh, the next Oscar winner could come out of this!

And this tricky situation, of having a broken engagement or courtship is exactly what I want to talk about in this episode of How I Dealt With it, a podcast series on heartbreaks and breakups.

I want to begin by telling you guys the story of Malvika. She is a PR professional living in Delhi, India. She was in a relationship with a guy for 10 years – it’s like a century in the dating world!

So, here’s how the story goes: the guy that Malvika was dating was totally in love with her. His family loved her. Malvika’s family too loved the guy. The families got along together, which is like a big deal in an Indian setup.

So, it’s all going perfect, right?

Except, Malvika felt that it wasn’t perfect.

She called off the engagement. Of course, there was a lot of drama that followed after.

But why did Malvika do that, what was its result, how did her family react: we are gonna know about all of that and more.

Hi Malvika, how are you doing?

Malvika: I am doing very well, and thank you for having me and letting

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me express my story.

Divyani: So, Malvika, do you want to start by telling us how you met your ex fiancé?

Malvika: So, I met him in graduate school, and I was in a 10-year-relationship. No complaints, no problems, but I think time takes it off sometimes. It’s just that whether you want to accept it or not accept it, there is some kinda vacuum that you start to feel.

Because there is nothing that you can point to, so inside you, it’s a very perplexing thing. On both sides, the family was really loving. I was expected to be there forever. So it was much more than two people breaking up. It was kinda like a divorce.

My brother said that we’ve been with you through and through, but you could have said it before we went ahead with it because now everyone was involved. But I wish there was a way for me to go back in time and to be more sure before we went ahead with the whole thing.

But after two years, I realise that I no longer need to feel guilty about it.

Divyani: In India, the drama around a broken engagement is just too much. Families hide it as if it is some dirty secret. Society, too, is quick to judge the couple and wonder who was more wrong. Families, to save embarrassment, are quick to blame the other side.

But one thing’s for sure: that it’s far better to have a broken engagement if things aren’t working out than getting an expensive and messy divorce.

And today’s Indian women don’t shy away from calling off a wedding, even if it is at the goddamn mandap.

A bride in a small village in Bihar, India called off her wedding at the wedding dais. Why? Because the groom was so drunk he couldn’t even walk straight.

The woman, Rinki Kumari, is in her twenties, and despite her and the groom’s families trying to persuade her to go ahead with the marriage, decided to not do it.

There’s another dude, who thought he was so cool he needed to be paid a dowry of Rs 10 lakh, or 14,000 dollars and a car, to agree to marry our girl, 30-year-old Ishita.

Of course, Ishita cancelled her wedding after the groom and his family demanded the dowry on the day of the wedding.

Of course, we can and must celebrate the brave decisions by these women. Or anyone who boldly decides to call off a wedding after seeing all the red flags without giving in to societal pressure. After all, it is their life. And they are the only person who gets to make a decision about it.

But what happens when you are the one dumped at the altar? And you have to face the double embarrassment of being dumped and your snarky relatives too getting to know about it?

Family pressure, ridicule, taunts, shame, guilt, economic loss if you have paid in advance for the wedding, all of these things can really complicate the already complicated situation of a broken engagement.

And this dilemma of going ahead with a relationship full of red flags, and breaking off an engagement and causing a lot of drama is something that affects a lot of people.

In fact, Reddit has many threads full of such instances.

But besides maintaining the optimism, how else does one tackle a broken engagement?

1. Do the deed, and then announce it to your parents. And if you are the one dumped, tell your closest family first, and let them break the news to others. You don’t want to deal with the trauma and the jibes and irritating questions of relatives all at the same time.

2. If you are the one who did the dumping, you are gonna have to be strong enough to not give in to your family’s afflictions of guilt. And it’s easier said than done. But if you are sure that the relationship doesn’t feel right, don’t budge. You have nothing to feel guilty about. Except the lehenga that your sister had already ordered!

3. The partners’ parents might be super angry at you for a few days, so carry a pepper spray in case the bride’s father is waiting behind the bushes, ready to punch you!

4. Guys, I am a big believer in fixing things and so I will say this: Nobody is perfect, neither are you. So, if there’s something that bothers you about your fiancé, do you think it is something you can fix? But if you are sure it’s something against your values, or something unfixable, know that IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO CHANGE YOUR MIND.

5. And lastly, remember that this too shall pass. Nothing is permanent, someday even if you have had a broken engagement, you will move on, and the only memory that you will have of your broken engagement is when you see a podcast by that name, on Google/Apple podcasts!

(This is Episode 5 of How I Dealt With It, a podcast series about breakups and heartbreak. But till the next episode, a jaadu ki jhappi to anyone going through this! )

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