My NYC Engagement Called Off
By Lianna Nielson
Most single women in New York are always in pursuit of the ring. It’s in our DNA. We meet a guy we love and we want to spend the rest of our lives with him.
It’s pretty simple – until you get engaged.
I discovered the complexity of engagements after I achieved the single woman’s ultimate goal. It wasn’t just any ring; it was the perfect ring from the perfect guy – until I called off the wedding.
Our engagement was like a scene from a Pierce Brosnan movie.
My boyfriend and I spent the day browsing the new surrealist painting exhibit at the Whitney. On your way out, he casually asked if I wanted to see my favorite piece one more time before we left.
Standing in front of the painting, he got on one knee and told me how much he loved me. Then, he pulled out a vintage art deco estate ring that I had tried on “for fun” months earlier and nearly refused to take off. Shocked and delighted, I said yes and left in a haze of excitement, only to see my parents and his parents waiting outside the museum.
Then things got weird.
I wanted a short engagement—I thought it was romantic, but the further along we got with the planning, the further apart we grew.
It was subtle at first. We were both just so busy, me finishing a full-time acting conservatory program, rehearsing for a play and bartending a couple nights a week, him being a lawyer, playing soccer (he used to play professionally) and writing a blog about it on the side. The less time we spent together the more uncomfortable talking about the wedding was. It was like we were living with this big, white, veil-wearing elephant in our modest LES apartment and trying like hell to avoid drawing any attention to it.
I had picked a venue in Boothbay Harbor, Maine—a beautiful inn on the ocean—near where I grew up. I knew something was wrong when he elected to spend the weekend post-Thanksgiving alone in our apartment, instead of joining me in Maine to look at the inn before we put a down payment on it.
I was crushed.
He kept insisting everything was fine and if I liked it, we could get married there. But it didn’t feel right planning OUR wedding at a place he’d never seen.
Then, Christmas rolled around.
We were with our families on Christmas Eve and he was going to drive up to my house on Christmas day to be with my family.
My first night at home I was having dinner with my parents and my grandmother when the conversation turned to the impending wedding.
The questions were endless until finally I burst into tears and admitted how terrified I was to go through with the wedding. I explained how the engagement had put some sort of strain on the relationship and we just hadn’t been the same. I was afraid to marry someone who had become seemingly indifferent to the wedding and possibly even our relationship.
My parents were shocked but receptive to what I had to say. They told me they wanted me to be happy and would be fine with any decision I made as long as I told Mike how I felt.
That moment arrived on Christmas Day in my living room. I had never been so scared in my life. I told Mike we should go for a drive to get out of the house. We weren’t in the car five minutes when I blurted out: “I’m really scared to get married—I don’t think we should do it.”
There was a pause.
He let out a huge sigh and said, “I’ve been feeling the same way, but I was afraid tell you.
We then drove to a bar, purchased a bottle of champagne and toasted to calling off our wedding.
We weren’t ready—we still aren’t. We didn’t break up. It was, and still is, weird telling people we called off the wedding and I don’t know if and when there will be plans for another. Our titles get confusing at times. I feel like I am constantly introducing him as my “boy—fiancé,” but the bottom line is that we are happy again. And of course, I still have a very beautiful diamond ring I get to wear—whenever I feel like it.
So what’s the lesson for single women? I would say the lesson for me would be–no matter how wonderful some one or some situation seems, no matter how many “boxes” the guy checks off, how pretty the ring is or how perfect the timing seems–if something inside you feels that it’s wrong–you have to listen it to that. You have to honor yourself even if it isn’t maybe what your mother, best friend or society thinks is “right.” It was a hard decision but it was empowering to listen to myself and to choose me and my art over getting married right now.
Lianna is a local New York actress and writer. To learn more about her check out her website: www.LiannaNielsen.com