After meeting my fiancée, I no longer want to marry her

Dear Counsellor,

I, 30, met my wife-to-be, 25, in person a few weeks ago, after dating long distance for two years. We met on a dating site, and communicated using video messaging and phone calls. My brother and sister who live in the same city as her also met her, and said she was a good woman. Last Christmas I proposed, and we finally saved enough money for her to come visit me (I don't have a visa for the United States). She has been here since January, and I think I made a mistake. We have not been intimate as we are waiting till marriage, but so many other things turn me off that I wouldn't have seen in photos or video calls. For some people they would be minor, but I'm very particular. For instance, she doesn't shave her legs or underarms, she's missing a few teeth and others have that black mercury filling, and it's obvious when she laughs. Her hair always has this weird smell because of the godawful weave, and she can't cook, sleeps late, and is slovenly. I want to withdraw my proposal but I don't want to hurt her. Apart from the icks, she's a good woman. I'm not interested in a green card or anything, so I couldn't even hold out for that, and you may say that I should talk to her, but some of the things that displease me are physical, and she can't change them. I'm not saying I'm perfect, but I feel like I need to get away, before I marry her and hurt her. What say you?

Well, that is a pickle of a situation indeed. However, I do think you know what to do in this situation. If you are not in love with her, expecting a wonderful, equally satisfying intimate marriage, it really can't go forward. It is better to let her down now than to draw this out and deceive her about your intentions. It's apparent that you are not willing to describe all her attributes that you are not enamoured with. It seems the list goes on further. The proper thing to do is to put an end to this. If you are not convinced that she's the one, you have to draw the brakes! Stop! There's no other option. The only issue now is how best to draw those brakes.

Yes, you made a mistake — there are missteps you've made. You shouldn't have proposed without meeting her in person. I remind all and sundry that you must be practical when working out the issues of a lifelong partner. It cannot be that you propose on the basis of similarities in faith, culture, etc. Practical steps to proper preparation is prudent! Thanks be to God you weren't intimate and you didn't jump into a marriage. It would be harder to unravel.

My advice:

Speak to her: You have to speak to her about your change of heart and mind. And you cannot be ambiguous about it. She must know clearly that you've decided not to marry her. Be absolutely respectful while endeavouring to be absolutely clear. She has invested over two years into the relationship. She has travelled to Jamaica to be with you. She deserves your respect. Think carefully about how you'll tell her, and what you'll tell her. Try to facilitate her having some emotional support when you tell her. The significant challenge you'll have is not you telling her it's over, but you telling her why. You do have a responsibility to tell her the truth. Cushion harsh truth with comforting words. She doesn't deserve to feel belittled or to later struggle with her sense of self-worth. Your preferences are simply your preferences. She may have all the goods necessary for another person.

Relationships should never be all based on physical attributes. However, it does matter significantly. I pray for wisdom and strength for you both.

Get on The Counsellor's Couch with Rev Christopher Brodber, who is a counsellor and minister of religion. E-mail questions to

Rev Chris Brodber

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