THE BLOG
10/16/2014 04:17 pm ET Updated Dec 16, 2014

'I Don't Want to Marry My Fiancé'

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Dear Wendy,

My fiancé and I have been together for almost five years and have two kids together. Last month we got engaged and now I'm not so sure if I want to marry him anymore. I felt like I pressured him so much into us getting married because I thought I truly wanted to, but now I don't think that I do. I think it really hit me once we started wedding planning. I feel like I should stay with him for the kids, and I love him, but I'm just not passionate about our relationship anymore. I feel like our families, friends and kids will resent me for breaking the engagement. How do I tell him I don't want to marry him anymore? Please help! -- Regretful Bride-to-Be

I think you are not unlike a lot of people -- women, mostly, it seems -- who decide they want something because it's what's conventional or socially expected or what they always thought they wanted. And when that something -- a relationship, marriage, a baby, the perfect house -- doesn't come as quickly or as easily as they think it should, they get fixated on it. It becomes an obsession. And soon, it becomes more about "winning" than about the thing they think they want.

I'm not saying that's the case for everyone, by any means. But I do think that, in a lot of cases, the actual desire for something gets lost in the obsession to "win." It's why we hear of so many woman who refuse to leave relationships that aren't working -- because they waited so long or fought so hard to "win" those relationships that the fact that the relationships aren't good is just a minor point. Or, when women wait years for a proposal or for their partners to agree to marry them only to realize they don't actually want to marry that person after all. They just wanted to "win." And then when they do, they realize that the "reward" isn't what they wanted.

So, here you are with your "reward" after years of waiting, and rather than feel excited, you're ... not. Rather than plan a wedding, you'd rather break your engagement. And you should. If you aren't feeling it, you aren't feeling it. But I say go a step further, and just end the relationship. What future do you have if there's no passion in it? If the only passion you felt was the thrill of the competition to win an engagement and now that that thrill is gone so is the passion, it's time to MOA.

Sure, your families and friends, and certainly your kids, will likely be disappointed. But that isn't a good enough reason to stay in an engagement or relationship -- not when you aren't happy. The kids aren't a good enough reason to stay together. You can co-parent very well without being romantically involved. You may even be better parents when you aren't stuck in a relationship that no longer works for you.

As for how to tell your fiancé you don't want to marry him anymore, be honest. Tell him you made a mistake. Tell him all this time you thought you wanted to marry him because you thought that was the missing piece in your relationship and your life and now that you are engaged you realize it wasn't the missing piece at all. You've been waiting to feel like you are heading in the right direction and now you know you were simply on the wrong path. Tell him you love him and you love your family together and you want to work very hard to continue being the best co-parents you can be. But, for you, that means parenting as individuals and not as a couple.

You made a mistake. It happens. But there's no reason you should have to spend the rest of your life -- or the rest of your kids' childhoods -- paying for it.

Wendy Atterberry writes the relationship advice blog, Dear Wendy. You can follow her on Facebook.