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What Calling Off A Wedding Taught Me About Love

Updated: May 8

By Phoebe Rogers, Clinical Psychologist, Couples Therapist, and Dating and Relationship Coach. I share my own vulnerable story and biggest lessons in love.

A Bride In Her Wedding Dress On Her Wedding Day.
Bride On Her Wedding Day.

Here’s the vulnerable truth. I’m a Clinical Psychologist and Couples Therapist who had a disastrous love life coupled with a deep longing to find love. And that deep longing for love propelled me to say ‘yes’ to marrying a man I barely knew. What else would one do when their new partner so readily and consistently showed them love?


In 2020, my new relationship was gaining momentum, and we began planning our wedding. However, quite quickly the cracks began to show and my initial joy and excitement shifted into anxiety, panic and doom. I spoke to Isabella Ross from Mamamia, who writes about my experience of calling off a wedding here: What Happens When You Call Off A Wedding


As the article describes, I went from blissfully happy that I had found someone that would always be there for me, to very worried about marriage and spending a life together. Ultimately, I decided to end the relationship and call off the wedding two months before I was meant to walk down the aisle.


Here’s what I learnt from this life-changing experience. Yes, calling off a wedding taught me so much about love. I hope these lessons offer you hope, courage, and wisdom about love and what it takes to find and keep a healthy relationship:


1.        We’re at the whim of our wounds: Whilst I wanted to think that I had healed and had done enough work on myself, my wounds were still calling the shots. I had a deep longing for love, and was willing to overlook my partner’s flaws and hurtful behaviour in order to have love and security. Essentially, my inner child was in the driver’s seat, doing whatever she could to get love.


It’s therefore so important that we understand our wounds, and what remains to be healed. If you want to understand your wounds and how to heal more, check out this article on Healing Using Schema Therapy or this article: Heal Your Inner Child & Anxious Attachment To Find Love. I credit Schema Therapy with helping me find love.


2.        Go slow in dating: It takes a long time to get to know someone, however, I rushed. My ‘urge to merge’ anxiously ruled my dating choices and meant I bypassed the red flags. I longed for relationship commitment and security, which prevented me from taking the time to really get to know my partner and see who he was.


Based on my own dating success from discovering what works in healing love wounds, I created The Intuitive Dating Journal: The Ultimate Dating Companion For Empathic Women. I designed it for women who are dating to find love and want support with navigating dating apps with confidence, avoiding red flags, and learning to trust their intuition to find a healthy, aligned partner.


3.        Love itself is not enough: I learnt that I idealised love and prioritised someone choosing me, rather than their actions. It is not enough for someone to make a commitment to you, to choose you, to propose to you, or say that they love you. Love is about how someone truly treats you, day to day, particularly in the face of stress. In love you must feel like a team, you must be respected, and you must feel safe to be yourself.


4.        Listen to your body: As the relationship progressed, my nervous system was really switched on, and I felt anxiety, panic, and dread. I kept thinking of my wedding day, and worried deeply about saying ‘yes’. Please listen to your nervous system in dating; it should generally feel calm, safe, and at ease. If you are feeling anxious for some reason, then remember that in a healthy relationship, you are able to talk about that and have your feelings heard. In doing so, your anxiety should settle.


This critical step of being sure you’ve found a healthy relationship and partner is covered in The Intuitive Dating Journal: The Ultimate Dating Companion For Empathic Women.


5.        You can start over at any point: I know this is easier said than done, but please know that you can start over at any point. I’m so grateful that I decided to call off my wedding (I was 36 years old and had lots of internal pressure) and that I listened to my feelings, because it brought me to where I am today; in a happy, healthy relationship, and helping other women find the same.


6.        Vulnerability heals shame: To be honest, having my truth out there induced a big vulnerability hangover. I do carry some embarrassment for being a therapist who struggled with relationships. But I remember why I decided to be this open. Telling our stories reduces shame, normalises the struggles of healing and being human, and connects us to others. If my story inspires just one person, then it’s worth it. I’m just a human doing my best, growing and learning, as you are too.



If you want to hear more about my story and learnings, as well as the journey of other couples to their wedding day, then you can watch the episode ‘Weddings’ on Insight on SBS here. It screens Tuesday 7th May 2024 at 830pm.

With love from the author, Phoebe
With Love


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