Joel Schiffman and Hoda Kotb, who were engaged in 2019, have separated. They share two daughters.

Hoda Koch and her long-term beau Joel Schiffman are done.

After becoming engaged in November 2019,, the former couple, who have Haley, 4 and Hope 2, respectively, are now going their separate ways.

Kotb, 57 shared the news Monday with Hoda and Jenna . She noted that viewers had inquired why she wasn’t wearing her engagement ring.

“Joel, I and many other people have had some very meaningful and prayerful conversations over the holidays. We decided that we were better friends and parents than as engaged couple. So we made a decision to start this year as loving parents to our delightful, adorable children and as friends.” said Kotb.

It’s not as if something happened. Sometimes relationships are meant to last a certain amount of time. She said that she felt like our relationship was meant to last a season in her conversation with cohost Jenna Bush-Hager.

Kotb admitted that she felt awkward talking about it. How do I say it?’ 

The conversation centered on the “joyous moment” of her relationship to Schiffman, 63.

She said, “Many women understand what it feels like to be changing your life direction. I feel really brave at this moment, which can be a strange feeling to experience.” Sometimes, in life, it is necessary to tell the truth.

You can take it with you and pretend. … Now you might ask, “Am I being optimistic?” Kotb agreed. Sometimes optimism can be like trying to fit a circle inside a square and sometimes it doesn’t work. That’s okay. To be able …. It makes me feel better to have said it.”

Bush Hager, 40 years old, said to her co-host, that she couldn’t think of anyone stronger or more courageous than Kotb. She also stated that Kotb is “to tell truths” about the situation.

Kotb responded, “There is nothing that soothes your soul more than telling the truth.”

Bush Hager stated, “It’s always how we start something and how it ends.”

Kotb stated that Schiffman was a “great guy.” He is a kind, loving man and I consider blessed to have spent eight years with him. Both of us are good people and are able to continue on our paths. They will be happy parents.”

Kotb and Schiffman, both financiers, started dating quietly for a few years before went public in 2015.

The couple announced their engagement in November 2019 , when Schiffman proposed as they were having an intimate dinner at the beach.

They had originally planned to marry in November 2020. However, Kotb stated last summer that Schiffman and she were trying to ensure that everyone could travel to their wedding.

Kotb stated, “We love to do it in a location that we cherish deeply in our souls that means a lot. We want our closest friends to come.” Joel kept repeating, “Why aren’t we moving?” “But Joel kept saying, “Why are we waiting?” Let’s just get going. 

Kotb spoke out about parenthood on October’s first episode of PEOPLE’s podcast My Becoming Mom. She talked about her journey to adopt Haley and Hope, and how her then-fiance supported her.

Kotb said that she was afraid when she brought up the topic adoption to Schiffman. “How will I say it? I don’t know what his reaction will be. The thing that scared me most was the fact that I knew it was what I was going to do.

“I looked at him in the eyes and said, ‘I would love to explore adoption with your. There was a second, and I thought, “This is the end or the beginning of a relationship.” She added, “This is happening in a flash, in an instant.”

Realizing his support for the idea, Kotb said that “I knew in that instant I chose right because that was the thing that would make my most happy on Earth.” Kotb stated that he made all decisions so simple and clear. I said, “I chose right. “I chose a man who chose happiness over convenience, maybe in that moment.