Many people dream about the day that someone will ask for their hand in marriage. We’ve seen it portrayed as a perfect moment filled with love and elation so often in movies and pop culture that anything less seems wrong and impossible. But not every proposal is a welcome one. In fact, there are proposals that are turned down because the person asking simply isn’t the right person. Recently, u/zp1995 asked Reddit users who have turned down a marriage proposal why they did and the responses are…painful.
I met him at an art opening, he flew back to his home state a couple days later. We spent a month talking on the phone every day, and he asked me to come with him to Italy while he produced some paintings for a patrons new villa. I started getting everything together to renew my passport and prepare for the trip.
He told me he was going to propose to me in Italy. I told him this was too much for me and I wasn’t feeling like we were on the same level in the relationship. He lost his sh—t, called me 50 times through the night, but after the first time I didn’t answer anymore. A few years later I found out he had gone to prison- statutory rape of one of his art students. –LizaBerlin
Because we had been dating for a week. –sassylittlespoon
He told me he wouldn’t say that he loved me until we were married. Big red commitment flag. –beautifullybroken10
I was only 16 he just turned 20. Also he gave me his ex girlfriends ring. Ya no. –kimkatistrash
I was in my first few years of teaching and one of my nine year old students brought his sister’s play ring to school, got down on one knee when the class was on the field, and he proposed to me.
It was very sweet. I declined saying that he was a little young for me. –MrsKilltime
I thought my ex had anger management issues, and I didn’t get along with his mother. He was too attached to her. He later became a violent alcoholic—years after we broke up. He also stole quite a bit of money from me to give to his mother for bills… I was not aware of this until months after the fact.
I feel like I dodged a huge bullet there. –pelicanfriends
We were on the verge of a breakup when he asked. We’d been having problems for a few years. His idiot friend told him it was a good idea to propose and that it would make everything magically better. I told him no, we broke up and I moved away for a while.
As they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder..it was true in our case. We were able to work things out. I moved back and 2 years later, we got married. We’ve been together for 24 years, have 2 daughters and 1 grandchild! –OtterNonsence417
My mom had been dating a guy for a few weeks after his wife had just died from cancer. His daughter was at college and he was paying for her education/boarding/food. I had just turned 18 and started paying my mom rent money, he proposed but said that I needed to move out because he didn’t like me and thought that I was a free loader.
My mom told him that she loved me more than him and that he could shove his dead wife’s ring up his ass and left him. –coke_nose
He literally only proposed because i caught him cheating. 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!” Dude was dumb. –floordit
When he asked, my future flashed in front of me and I hated it. He was a good guy and I did love him, but we wanted different things. We had been together for many years but the proposal was still a surprise. I think he proposed to try and save a sinking relationship. –futalfufu
Well, he proposed as I was breaking up with him, which was awkward and for some reason he thought it would make me change my mind. Also he had threatened to kill my family the day before (hence the breakup) so there’s that. –MermaiderMissy
Got asked in college by a close female friend. We weren’t dating, I hadn’t ever felt an attraction to her, and I knew she just wanted a husband more than she wanted me, the actual person. 100% yikes. –YouHaveToGoHome
It was our first date. He showed up drunk and called me somebody else’s name. –Missscarlet9314
A friend’s girlfriend got hammered at a bowling alley. Got down on one knee completely seriously and then wet herself while proposing to me. –buserr0r
My mother was engaged to a man while she was in college. The wedding plans were well underway and as the wedding got closer, her fiancé started acting super clingy and possessive. She called it off a few months before getting married. He has lived locally their whole lives so she’s run into him a few times.
Apparently he’s the super jealous type who doesn’t let his wives have male friends and he has been married three times. My mom definitely dodged a bullet. –NapkinStack66
He was that weird stoner patron that came in just to talk to me even though I wasn’t interested. He told me he was the heir to the commonwealth and should be king after Elizabeth dies, because he had the 3 out of the emblems of the United Kingdom, and once he got the 4th it would secure his position. He would also make airplane noises when I had my attention turned to other tasks. That’s a no Jason. –ausgekugelt
I’m on the opposite side of this story, but it’s still a good one. This was years ago. My girlfriend and I were at a friend’s wedding, and I got caught up in the romanticism of it and wound up blurting out a proposal at the reception. She said no, and explained that this wasn’t the memory of a proposal that she wanted.
It felt tacky to tie this important moment to someone else’s special day, and she told me to ask her again later, in a different setting. Literally five minutes later, they announced that the bride was going to throw the bouquet. All the girls lined up, it went into the air, and sailed straight into my girlfriends arms. She laughed, turned to me, and said, “That moment is pretty good. Okay, I guess we’re engaged.” –Egheaumaen
I was 16 and about to move to California with my grandma and away from my abusive household. Dude I was dating asked me to marry him and I told him no because I knew moving would give me better opportunities than the shitty small town I was living in. I felt suffocated in that town and needed to work on myself after being abused by my parents. –writerraccoon
I was in high school, she had schizophrenia, and I wasn’t a lesbian…
Also we weren’t dating. –Rossomak
My husband proposed one month into dating. I declined because, you know, one month.
A year later we moved in together and he proposed and I declined because I wasn’t ready.
Almost three years later and two more declined proposals I said yes on the 4th time. I finally felt ready.
We have been married 11 years. In retrospect, his instincts were probably better than mine 🙂 –dontbadgerthewitness
A coworker of mine, happily married for a good long while, told me that the only man she dated before her husband was obsessed with her, and pursued her even after she broke up with him and had proposed multiple times before and after they broke up. He just had this unhealthy obsession with her for some reason. The last time he proposed to her was the day before her wedding to her husband. She of course turned him down, and he finally moved on and married a different girl.
I told her jokingly that he sounded unhinged and she really dodged a bullet there. She went quiet for a moment and then said, “Well, he killed the woman he DID end up marrying.” –HermesCat
He asked me, on condition that I changed myself into something that he wants, so he can fulfill his dreams. All this while ignoring all my dreams. So… I chose to go forward alone. –FoodFactor
Not me, but my Dad. Back when he was 18 he’d go to this drive in after work with his work friends for dinner. There was a waitress there he flirted with but never dated. After about 4 years (when he was 22) he asked her to marry him. She said no, couldn’t see them having a future together. He said, “Alright, I’ll never ask you again.”
A few years later the place closed down. Then another 10 years or so passed. When he was 36 he ran into her at a McDonalds while she was baby sitting someone else’s kids. He thought they were hers at first. They got to know each other again, then started dating. 2 years later she felt he was the one but he never asked her to marry him. So instead she asked him and he and my mom have been married for 43 years now. –SailorDeath
He was a stranger on the bus to the city. He said he’d give me an entire closet of clothing if I married him. “I dees-eyenne claws” he said. He wanted a green card. I asked why not money. He said he didn’t have any. I told him no thanks. He said ok, looked forward at the seat ahead and sighed. Then immediately swiveled his head back at me have asked if I had any sisters. Nope. Another sigh. –nakao7888544
Not me but my hairdresser and I were talking about her recent breakup the other day. She had been dating her BF for seven years, he never proposed so she broke up with him, didn’t want to waste her time. As she was breaking up with him he proposed, she said no. –piuttostoItaliana
I was going through postpartum depression and I had no support system to speak of. I was a teenager and my mom just kept repeatedly telling me to give my son up for adoption because no one would ever want me and you’re nothing without a man. That being said, there was one meathead jock who had been asking me out for years that I always turned down because we had nothing in common.
We had never even had a conversation before yet he would religiously ask me out for almost every dance and Valentine’s. Well that Valentine’s when he asked me out again, I just gave up and said yes. We dated for a year, the whole time him telling me he had always admired me from afar, loved my creativity and individuality; but also telling me to stop dying my hair and grow it out, to get manicures and wear make-up, to lose weight and wear designer clothing.
After a year, he proposed. We were 19 and he said he was ready to start a family with me. That we would perfect and our kids would be perfect. It was like I snapped out of a fog. I realized that if I married him I would be unhappy for the rest of my life. So we broke up. A year later I met the man that I did eventually marry. –psocoptera
Because she was like 30 years younger than I was, and I already married her mother, who gave birth to her 5 years ago.
I love her 3000 so there’s that. –jonoboiiy
My abusive girlfriend tried to get me to marry her. Then, she beat me with a chair for slightly overcooking the Thanksgiving turkey. Yeah, turns out that beating somebody so bad that you break their arm is a good way to get your proposal turned down. –InkblotDoggo
Many reasons, mainly I realized we didn’t stand a chance on being happy together long term. He was to selfish and narcissistic and I constantly felt I had to look out for myself in the relationship (he would always made sure to get his first no matter what). I guess it became the beginning of the end when he managed to ruin a trip to Paris (we fought all the time while there, the only times we didn’t is when He got his way) that I had foot over 90% of the bill. –asif15
He stole money from me and cheated. –chief_queef_69
Proposed to my college girlfriend when I was 20 and she was 21. We had been dating for a year and she got pregnant. I thought we were in love because everything was great and I genuinely loved her. I had a great job and so I proposed because I wanted to marry her and start a family. She then broke down and started crying, she told me she had been sleeping with her ex boyfriend for the past month. She then said that she didn’t know who the baby belonged to so went and got an abortion without consulting me or him. She got back together with him and I spiraled into alcoholism for the next few years.
Im about to turn 30 now, went back to college 2 years ago and no longer use drugs or alcohol (besides weed sometimes). I’m starting life over again at 30 after all that, and having to take care of my grandfather who had a stroke. Life is f—kin weird. –rapey_tree_salesman
My ex girlfriend declined when I proposed a couple years ago. It was surprising because we had discussed marriage before and she said that she wanted me to propose. I even got her father’s blessing before he passed away and proposed to her surrounded only by close friends, family, and funeral home staff. I feel like I did everything right but sometimes that isn’t enough I guess. –dennismiller2024
I was casually dating a guy in a rock band. He just knew he was going to “make it big” and be a rock star, and I always thought he was a little bit crazy, but heck, it was all fun and games because I was young and that’s what I was looking for. I loved to follow his band and dance the night away on weekends, partying with my friends in whatever nightclub he was playing, a great way to forget about school and studying for a few hours.
When he popped the question, I was so surprised I burst out laughing! I was 22 years old, just graduated from college and was about to start my career. I was starting an internship and was leaving the country for a year, and he asked me on bended knee while I was literally packing my suitcases. He figured I was giving him an ultimatum and was threatening to leave him unless he finally broke down and offered to marry him.
It was especially odd because we had never spoken about being together in the future, and I had never even introduced him to my family. His proposal was so unexpected and inappropriate, I simply asked him to leave my apartment and promised I’d send him a postcard from Europe. I couldn’t get that door closed behind him fast enough! –LucindaYolanda
We were only dating for six weeks. He also proposed in the middle of sex with no ring, like literally stopped mid-thrust and asked. –Anyanka-goes-rawr
I was 17 in high school, he was 16 in high school. He came to my house one day and I was taking a nap. He just let himself into my house, woke me up (I’m the only person here) and drops to one knee and pulls out a cheap ring, probably from some kind of coin machine at a mall.
My words were “I just want to go to bed.” and he started crying, saying he didn’t want to lose me. I told him to go home. We’d been dating for like a year and continued dating like it didn’t happen.
Sometimes I wonder if that was even real, it seems so bizarre. Also, he cheated on me the entire relationship and a few years after we broke up got busted for statutory rape of a minor. So. Good riddance! –blahblahbrandi