Shrink Wrap

What we can learn from the trials and triumphs of celebrity relationships.

Uma Thurman: When Do You Cancel or Postpone Your Engagement?

Take two

Actress Uma Thurman and Arpad "Arki" Busson have called off their engagement for the second time, according to Us Weekly. The couple was supposed to attend the Room to Grow Spring Gala together in New York on April 8, but only Uma attendedwithout her engagement ring. They had been dating on and off since 2007, and Uma broke off their first engagement in 2009. She later took him back in 2011 and gave birth to their daughter. The ex-couple insist they will remain friends. Their second split raises the question of how to make up your mind about planning to get marriedif you're not sure, should you keep the ring on, or is it better to take it off? And more important, does calling off the engagement mean the relationship is completely over, or that you are just not ready to carry on with plans to get married at that time?

For some people a broken engagement is a clear fork in the road that the relationship has ended, and either it is possible to remain friends or they will choose to move on in separate directions. For others, however, it is more about a delay. Your feelings and desire to spend your life with this person remain intact, but you are not ready to begin it yet. It can be a way to take the pressure off while still hoping to spend your lives together. Becoming engaged puts you on a path toward all the real responsibilities of a life as a couple, or down the road as a family, and forces you to think about all the logistics that go into that. Looking to see what is coming around the bend heading toward you in the marriage lane can be overwhelming sometimes. Where will you live? When will you have a baby? How many children do you want? Do you have enough financial stability to support your life as a couple? Is either one of you dealing with children from a previous relationship? These are all very real concerns and for some a pause to get these issues in line might be just what you need. Passion and romance can often get ahead of the practical demands of getting married, and sometimes people jump into an engagement before they are actually ready for the next step. If this is the case, taking a hiatus can be very helpful. It can allow the time to seek help with a counselor, as well as regroup and work through some of those complicated details, so couples can reassess if they want to move forward together or not.

Additionally, if there has been a betrayal that led to canceling the engagement, there are probably a lot of difficult and negative feelings which need to be dealt with. But that doesn’t always mean you have stopped loving the other person. Taking a respite can give you the time you need to see if you can resolve the anger, hurt, and pain that the betrayal brought about that would enable you to try again with your partner and get to the other side.

The thing that matters most is if you continue to be in love with your partner despite all the differences, difficulties, and obstacles that might have been the catalyst for a postponed engagement. Consider your doubts and distinguish whether they are simply about working out the details of your life together, or if your true concern is that your love isn’t strong enough to allow you to be willing to do the heavy lifting to get through them.

A lot of couples who cancel their engagement are able to move beyond their doubts and go on to build a life together. With Uma it seems that whatever went on with her and Arpad, she was willing to try again when they reconnected in 2011. While that first engagement was called off, it appears they hadn’t lost that loving feeling and so they gave it another try a few years later. For them, take two didn’t work either, but at least they gave it both the time and the second effort before determining that they would, in fact, be just friends. Give yourself the chance to determine whether you have cold feet or just cool feet.

 

Please tune in to Let’s Talk Sex which streams live on HealthyLife.net every last Tuesday of the month at 2 PM EST, 11 AM Pacific. We look forward to listener call-in questions, dealing with relationships, intimacy, family, and friendships, at 1.800.555.5453.

Connect with Dr. Jane Greer on Facebook, at www.facebook.com/DrJaneGreer, and be sure to follow @DrJaneGreer on Twitter for her latest insights on love, relationships, sex, and intimacy.

For more on Dr. Greer, visit http://www.drjanegreer.com.

Jane Greer, Ph.D., is a Marriage and Family Therapist, author of What about Me? Stop Selfishness from Ruining Your Relationship, and radio host of Doctor on Call.

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