I said "no" the first few times my now-fiancé proposed. He was way more sure about the direction of our relationship than I was for a while there. As time passed, I realized he is my person, and my hard "no" turned into a "maybe," and then a "someday," and then, eventually, a "yes."
People turn down marriage proposals for all sorts of reasons. Some people simply are not ready to consider marriage. Others are questioning whether they want to be with their partner at all. Others are just not into breaking the law to help a person get a green card. One AskReddit thread is chock full of people who declined marriage proposals explaining why they said no. It is so much juicier and shocking than you might think.
1. Whirlwind Romance
LizaBerlin shared her story of a whirlwind, month-long romance that ended disastrously. She met him at an art opening, but they were from different states. After he left, they spoke on the phone every day for a month, and he asked her to visit him in Italy while he was there painting. She started preparing for the trip, but then he dropped the bombshell.
He confessed to her he was going to propose to her in Italy. She said she wasn't ready for that and felt like they were not on the same page about their relationship. That's when he went crazy and called her 50 times throughout the night. Eventually, she stopped answering.
Later, she learned he'd gone to prison for statutory rape. Way to dodge a bullet!
2. Way Too Soon
Sometimes, people don't quite grasp the concept of keeping your feelings inside until it's appropriate to share them. Reddit user sassylittlespoon had only been dating someone for a week before they proposed. One week. Don't do that!
Years down the line, after you've been married, it's cute to be like, "I knew I'd marry her a week into dating." But it's so not cool to actually propose after one week.
3. Big Red Flag
You know when little red flags pop up and you shoo them away? But then an enormous red flag hits you in the face and you simply can't ignore it anymore? Yeah, that's what happened to beautifullybroken10. Her partner proposed to her but, "He told me he wouldn't say that he loved me until we were married."
Um, sorry, that's not OK. You don't hold the l-word hostage when you propose. That's, like, a clear sign of emotional abuse.
4. The Wrong Ring
"I was only 16," kimkatistrash wrote. "He just turned 20." Yes, I would say that's way too young to get married. But that's not the only reason she turned down the proposal. The kicker was that he tried to propose with his ex-girlfriend's ring. Not the best idea, buddy boy. In fact, that might be the worst idea I've ever heard.
5. Not the Right Time
This story actually has a happy ending, if you can believe it. OtterNonsence417 was "on the verge of a breakup" with her partner when he asked her to marry him. "His idiot friend" thought a proposal would solve all the problems they'd been having. But that was not so. She refused the proposal and moved away for a while.
However, after some time apart, they reconciled. She moved back and, two years later, they were married. Now, they've been together for 24 years, and they have two daughters and one grandchild!
6. Boring Last Name
This is just about the best story I have ever heard. Pipixkin shared that their grandma had been proposed to a long time ago, when she was a young woman. When asked why she declined, she said, "I didn't want to have a boring last name." His last name was "Smith." Hey, when you know what you want, you know what you want, am I right?
Luckily, the man who would become Pipixkin's grandpa has a very unique last name.
7. Future Flash
Sometimes, you don't know you don't want to marry someone until the second they ask, and that's OK. It what happened to futalfufu. When her partner asked, the "future flashed in front of me and I hated it." They had a solid relationship, but wanted different things in life.
Even though they had been together for many years, the proposal was a surprise, and it came at a time when their connection was starting to dissipate. Proposing to "save a sinking relationship" is never a good idea.
8. Caught Cheating
Here's a pro tip: If you are caught cheating, do not propose to the person who caught you cheating. It's not a magic eraser. It's sad and it's desperate and it's terrible.
When floordit caught her partner cheating, he proposed. She wrote, "He thought I would say, 'Yes! Omg of course! I forgive you! Please continue to cheat on me after we both sign a legally binding contract!'" Yeah, not gonna happen. Ever.
9. One Dealbreaker
Occasionally, people seem so made for each other that it's a total shock when it doesn't work out. Rosanna4 and her partner seemed to be perfect for each other in every way... well, almost every way. They had the "same lifestyle. Same goals. Same interests. Crazy attraction. Same sarcastic sense of humor."
She wrote that others were jealous of how perfect their relationship was. But there was one big dealbreaker. She didn't want kids. He did. He thought he could change her mind. But he couldn't. She refused his proposal and they went their separate ways. He's now a father and seems to have gotten what was most important to him. Stories like these are so sad, but it's better to separate than to be trapped in a situation you ultimately never wanted.
There's a life lesson in this story: If a man says you "could go to college later" if you still wanted to after having kids, run! Run away and never look back! That's exactly what designgoddess did when she was 16 and this misogynistic control freak and relic of the patriarchy asked for her hand in marriage. It probably took a lot of maturity for a 16-year-old in love to see how awful this was, so good for her.
11. Ticking Marriage Clock
You know that thing in movies where two friends make a pact that they'll get married if they still haven't found romantic partners by a certain age? In My Best Friend's Wedding, the age they picked was 28. TWENTY-EIGHT! I thought this nonsense only happened in '90s romcoms, but apparently not!
In college, YouhaveToGoHome was proposed to by a close female friend he was not dating and not attracted to. "She just wanted a husband more than she wanted me, the actual person. 100 percent yikes." Yikes indeed! The idea that there is a cut-off or an "acceptable" age by which you have to be married is bonkers and harmful.
12. Stage-920,357,204 Clinger
NapkinStack66's mom didn't refuse the proposal per se, but she had to call off the engagement, which is even more difficult to do. In college, she got engaged to a man and started planning the wedding. But he became "super clingy and possessive" as the wedding neared, to the point where she called off the wedding only a few months before it was supposed to happen.
Her instincts were perfect, it turns out. Since then, her ex has been married three times and he's the "jealous type who doesn't let his wives have male friends." Yeah, she definitely made the right choice.
13. The Wrong Moment
I don't generally like to tell people what to do, but let's just say I would think twice about proposing at someone else's wedding. It's just not cool for several reasons. We all get caught up in the love of the day, but it's super cheesy to make someone else's moment about you.
Unfortunately, Egheaumaen fell for the romance of his friend's wedding and proposed to his girlfriend at the reception. She rightly said no "and explained that this wasn't the memory of a proposal that she wanted." That's totally fair. But she didn't break up with him. She just told him to propose at a different time.
But then the bouquet toss happened — and, reader, those flowers landed right in his girlfriend's hands. So she turned to him and said, "That moment is pretty good. OK, I guess we're engaged." This is too cute. As for how the story ended? He wrote, "Our marriage lasted for 21 years, and we got two fantastic kids out of it. No regrets."
14. The Wrong Twin
This story is hilariously cringe-worthy, and I can't believe it's real. YeahManYe witnessed a coworker ask another coworker to marry him in the middle of their shift. She was not into it, shouted in his face, and stormed off. But then a few minutes later, she came back beaming.
This is when our storyteller learned that there was a pair of identical twins who worked with them and that his coworker had proposed to the wrong one...the one he wasn't dating. Insane. You'd think the guy would be able to tell his girlfriend apart from her twin sister, no matter how identical they were, but I guess they were really identical.
15. Child of Divorce
It can be hard for a person who's witnessed their own parents' divorce to think about getting married themselves. Jupitergal23 proposed to her boyfriend after three years of dating, but he wasn't ready because he was still scarred from his parents' bad marriage. He didn't know if he could ever get married. (How this subject never comes up in three years of dating, I don't know, but that's beside the point.)
She was extremely upset but eventually accepted that they may stay together forever without getting married. That's not how this story ends, though. Two years later, he proposed to her. They've been married for 12 years so far!
Marriage isn't right for everybody, and sometimes people need time to catch up to their partners in a relationship. And that's OK. It's all about communication, baby! That and not having a boring last name.