I was recently on a date and we were talking about proposals (and how much I HATE HATE HATE how overproduced and ridiculous they’ve become). I asked, “What if something goes wrong?!” and he countered that you’d have probably discussed marriage and stuff before hopping on one knee, to which I capitulated.
“My college boyfriend technically asked me when we were at a party once. He got insanely drunk and proposed while I was trying to get him into a cab. It wasn’t a get-down-on-one-knee proposal — it was more a ‘Let’s do something crazy; let’s get married.’ I told him no, but I would reconsider if he still remembered asking me the next morning. He didn’t remember, and he ended up dumping me like two weeks later.” —nycgirl2014
2. Fatherly permission
“My friend turned down a marriage proposal because the guy asked her dad for permission to marry her, which, as a radical feminist, she didn’t appreciate AT ALL. Her dad told him no, and she was already planning on ending things, so she gave him the boot. She’s pretty sure he tried to propose to get her to stay with him, which checks out because he was very manipulative.” —wickednicki12
3. This one punched my heart
“My ex of six years proposed the day after I ended things (I wanted to get married and have his children, and he wasn’t ready). I said no because I didn’t want him to end up in a life he wasn’t happy with. It’s been almost seven years since we split, and I miss him every day. He was the love of my life, and I still regret saying no.” —beauty-shambles
4. He moved
“I hadn’t seen him in over a year, as we ended our relationship due to him moving across the country. One day he showed up at my front door and proposed, down on one knee and all. Needless to say my boyfriend at the time was not happy.” —Anonymous
5. Proposed to keep her
“I saw so many red flags. I feel like he only proposed to keep me. I found out later that he was sleeping with (or attempting to sleep with) one of our coworkers, and he could not understand why I said no. He tried to propose on multiple occasions, and I wasn’t enthused. He tried at his cousin’s wedding, and to me, that was a sign of the lengths he would go to continue to manipulate me. He’s now engaged and has been for the last three years to the same girl he had three children with, and he still has the same wandering eye.” —Anonymous
6. Mother in Law
“I said no because of his mom. She was too much. He was 26, and she used to get jealous and angry when he spent time with me. If he ever stayed at my house, he had to call her when he woke up and just before bed. I couldn’t handle it.” —Anonymous
“I turned down his proposal because he cheated on me with my sister.” —Anonymous
8. Drunk proposal
“My then-boyfriend and I were sitting at a bar with friends, drunk AF, and my boyfriend pulled out a ring. It was made of some sort of wood that would probably give you splinters if you wore it. I looked at him confused, and he replied drunk, ‘Will ya marry me?’ It was so awkward with everyone at the bar just staring at me, so I said yes. The next day I went to my new fiancé and said we should break up. When he asked why I reminded him of the awful proposal. He apologized, saying he was drunk and that he had originally planned to do it another time. I believed him and decided to stay with him. Fast-forward to a few days later, he got down on one knee and pulled out a small diamond ring. I ask him what he was doing and he replied, ‘Proposing, duh.’ I couldn’t believe that this guy literally forgot we were already engaged. I rejected him on the spot and left. Best decision I ever made.” —siouxsy
9. We weren’t in love
“I was 20, and we clearly weren’t in love. Looking back, he was from a very conservative Midwest family, and having a wife and kids were the next steps after he graduated, so he proposed (I was still in school). I laughed, then realized he was serious. We basically never talked again after that eternally long weekend trip. I later heard he came out as gay and it made sense, given how entirely uninterested he was in my body while simultaneously proclaiming his love.” —siouxsy
10. Too young.
“I was 18 and just graduated from high school. Over the summer I started dating this guy from school. He seemed nice, and he was on the boys tennis team. I was on the girls tennis team. He helped out at the girls practices, so that’s where we met. We didn’t talk outside of practices until we graduated. He turned out to be a total wild card and not at all who he seemed to be the three years I knew him prior. He ran a red light, and I went to the court with him when he went to protest the ticket. The judge ruled that he needed to pay the ticket and offered him extra time to pay it and a payment plan since he had just gotten out of high school. She was very nice and professional toward him. He walked out of the courtroom, then started yelling about how he was going to shoot up the place. I distanced myself after that and was waiting for him to cool off before breaking up with him. He proposed over FaceTime a week after this incident. We were FaceTiming, but he asked me via text only through emojis. I had no idea what he was trying to say or ask. It was the most awkward proposal and breakup ever. Thankfully I found a wonderful, stable man during my junior year of college who I am now married to, and we are about to have our first baby in the next 2–3 weeks.” —Anonymous
11. Too many people.
“He made a big deal of it by proposing in front of family and friends. That wasn’t my thing. I like my private life to remain private. Then and there I said no, but told him afterward, of course, I would marry him.” —Anonymous
12. Life goals weren’t there
“My ex proposed to me when we were 20. I turned him down because I felt that our life goals were not aligned. Though he was kindhearted and smart, I feared that he prioritized partying over pursuing education or a career. Although I liked to party, school and my work always came first. I also felt that he was relying on me for stability while not attempting to stabilize himself. We also fought a lot and had broken up a couple of times before already. His proposal felt impulsive and impractical to me. Still, saying ‘no’ to the man I loved absolutely devastated me. With a ravaged heart, I said no and drove home. I cried for months. But it was the right decision. It’s been over a decade, and both of us are on better paths that suit our individual wants and needs. I’m married and have a great career. He’s in a long-term relationship and building a career that I think is perfect for him. I run into him through mutual friends at events sometimes, and we talk, catch up, and feel genuinely happy to see each other. He once told me that my rejection turned out to be one of the best things that could have happened to him. Part of me will always love him and want the best for him, though we’re no longer in love.” —Anonymous
13. Everyone sucks here.
“My boyfriend and I had been together three years, but he only really got serious about me the last few months. I had moved multiple states away because of the lack of commitment, which triggered him to suddenly realize he needed me, which was a red flag. He moved to be with me, but he was beyond miserable, and in turn, it made me miserable, too. When he was in the bathroom, he got an email on his phone from a jewelry store. His phone was unlocked and opened, so I should’ve been thrilled. But when I saw the ring in his email I felt nauseous. It was hideous, the complete opposite of everything I had ever sent him that I wanted. To add insult to injury, it was incredibly cheap. That ring symbolized how much he didn’t know me, didn’t listen to me, and what he prioritized over me. From that night, I stayed at girlfriends’ places and let him stay in my apartment. My parents had put down money on a house for us that we ended up losing. One morning when I was staying at their house, he randomly woke me up with a kiss and said he was going home. He’d packed all his stuff into his tiny sedan and drove 20 hours home. I have not cried once over our breakup.” —Anonymous
14. He was too old
“He was over a decade older than me, I was 24. He wanted to get married, have kids, and all of that. I felt I was too young for it. He proposed the week of Valentine’s Day. I said I would think about it, and ultimately said no. I felt guilty to break his heart, but I knew I was not doing anything wrong.” —Anonymous
15. Didn’t listen
“The week leading up to the proposal he told me there was a package coming in the mail and not to open it. He had shown me an engagement ring earlier that month, and I legit hated it and told him it wasn’t my style, so I had a small feeling it may be a ring, which kinda freaked me out, but I thought maybe I was overreacting. Then he told me to not plan anything for that Saturday because he was planning something. Saturday came; we got in the car and started heading toward the city I used to live in, where we started dating. We’d been dating for two years, and I moved in with him a year ago about an hour away from where I lived. We got to the city. He took me out to lunch at a small cafe, so I assumed he wasn’t planning anything crazy at that point. We get done with lunch, go to the car, and he asked what I want to do next. I’m a little confused because he originally said he was planning something, but now he said he was planning to come to the city and do lunch and had nothing else planned. I made a comment about how it was kinda weird that he made a big deal about making surprise plans when it was just lunch in the city. He got upset over that comment, and somehow we ended up fighting, and then he pulled out the engagement ring I told him I hated. I was shocked, and he asked me to be his wife, and I didn’t say anything. I just turned on the car and drove to our apartment. We didn’t speak the whole drive home, and to this day I think it must have been a joke because it was April Fools’ Day when it all happened, but the 5K engagement ring said otherwise.” —Anonymous
16. Too practical!
“I was a few months pregnant, and my boyfriend (and baby’s father) proposed while we were getting ready for bed. He talked a lot about taxes and health insurance. It was not the proposal I had dreamt of. I explained that I loved him and hoped to marry him one day, but that I didn’t want us to get married because I was pregnant. I was worried that starting off a marriage like that would lead to doubt and feelings of resentment down the road. He proposed again a few years later at Disneyland with his grandmother’s ring, and I happily said yes. There was no mention of taxes or insurance the second time. We’re about to celebrate our nine-year anniversary.” —kimberlyd41466da3f