Rejection, unfortunately, is a part of life and sometimes that means getting rejected when you ask someone you love to spend the rest of their life with you. It's harsh, but some marriage proposals just don't end happily. Everyone who has ever rejected someone has their reason. For some, they just knew deep down their partner wasn't "the one." For others, they could tell the person proposing could potentially hurt them.
These Redditors share the reasons why they turned down a marriage proposal. Content has been edited for clarity.
It Still Feels Gross After 20 Years
“There was a weird guy who worked at a thrift store with my friend when we were in high school. He was in his early 20s; I was about 16 when this happened. I became friends with a few members of the staff and he was a part of that group. He was always weird and kinda creepy, but we had similar tastes in music and hung out with some of the same people. Teenage priorities. He was pretty upfront about finding me attractive from the get-go, although I made it clear I wasn’t into him in that way. Because I was so young and inexperienced with these things and pretty live-and-let-live, I didn’t see any reason to not be nice.
I agreed to go over to his apartment one time while killing time waiting for another friend to get home from her job so we could hang out. I thought we’d have a drink and listen to music. He kept complimenting me and talking about how ‘perfect’ I was. I cut the visit short because it wasn’t sitting well with me.
The next time we hung out, he tried to convince me to run off right then and there and elope with him. I thought he was joking at first. He wouldn’t come off of it and then I realized he was actually serious. He had this weird intensity that was extremely off-putting. I left immediately when I realized he was actually serious and managed to never see him again. It’s been 20-ish years and I still feel gross typing this out. Was he actually joking? I hope so, but jeez that was awkward.
He was a ‘nice guy’ and I didn’t perceive him to be all that much of a threat. We had mutual friends and as a kid who was overweight and not at all conventionally attractive, I barely even could believe he actually felt this way about me. A part of me tended to believe I was being mocked whenever anyone expressed interest in me unsolicited back then so to think he was serious was something I was ill prepared to handle appropriately.
If I knew his last name, I’d check to see if he’s a registered offender now (age of consent in my home state was 17 not 16 by the way). All the better, though. I try to not remember this part of my high school years much.”
“Maybe In The Future”
“My ex and I were high school sweethearts. We had moved across the country for schooling and once we got there (away from everybody that we knew), he turned into a Grade-A Prick. I had broken up with him a couple times, but we always got back together shortly after that.
After one of these break/make-ups, we went to the mall. He had to grab something in the attached Walmart. Meanwhile, I went into the mall. I get back to the car and he says he has a gift for me. He hands me a Walmart bag. Inside of it, is a ring box and a package of Butterscotch Pudding cups. He says, ‘I remember when you said that if anyone ever proposed to you, that you wouldn’t accept unless they had done it with Butterscotch Pudding.’ I have never, ever said this. NOBODY has ever said this.
I open the ring box and freeze as my brain finally starts registering what’s happening. I guess it was longer than awkward, because he finally asked me if I was going to say yes. I said that it was a nice ring, but I thought that we were too young (we were around 19). I said maybe in the future. It was a quiet ride home.
This is also the guy who gave me a book on Cactus Care for my 18th birthday, with the 50% off sticker still on it. I never expressed any interest in Cactus.”
The Only Day He Didn’t Buy Worms
“When I was 19, I used to work at a lake selling worms for fishing, giving kayaking lessons, and doing basic park ranger business. Most of the time I’d go in at 6 am and work until 3 or so. I was alone for most of that time.
There was a man that was in his mid-30s that came to the lake everyday at 6 am to buy worms. He was a quiet, large man. He wore dirty overalls and no shirt underneath. I’m certain he worked on a farm as his hands were worn down and he smelled much like a barn does on a hot day. Anyway, I didn’t know if he did because all he would say was, ‘Worms,’ then go out to his boat. Every day, 6am: ‘Worms.’ I sell him worms. He leaves. That’s it.
One day he shows up with a shirt on and his hair combed- an hour late. I go immediately without him asking to get his worms from the back. I return and he is on his one knee, has a ring in his hand, and says, ‘Will you be my wife?’
I look at him and say, ‘Oh, that’s very nice!’ I thought he was like…practicing his proposal for his girlfriend. I don’t know why, but that’s where my head went because the reality was too unrealistic and confusing.
He looked at me and had a smile on his face and I instantly realized what he meant and I had to backtrack. I said, ‘Oh. Oh no, I can’t do that. I’m in a relationship! This is…it’s very nice of you.’ Then, he put it in his pocket, took the worms, and left. He came back everyday after that at 6 am and never brought it up.
It kind of crushes me to think about it. I feel bad for him.”
God Told Him To Do It
“My high school boyfriend had dumped me after two years, revealing that he had never truly loved me. I went to college, though we still had occasional contact over my first semester. When I came home for Christmas break, he asked me to give him a ride home from where we had been with a group of friends, telling me he needed to ask me something.
In my car in front of his apartment, he told me that he didn’t want an answer right then, to go home and pray about it, but God told him to ask me to marry him. I went home and went to sleep instead, then told him no thank you the next day.
He seemed disappointed but totally unsurprised.”
“If They’ll Cheat With You, They’ll Cheat On You”
“We’d only been together for a few months. We were both in the military and stationed in Germany. I was about to deploy and my contract ended pretty much as soon as I was set to return. She said we should get married so we could stay together when I got back. I’d already been divorced at this point and wasn’t about to marry some girl I’d only been with a few months. I told her we should see how we held up with me deployed and cross that bridge when we came to it.
About two months into my deployment, she and a friend of mine eloped. I was hurt, but boy did I dodge a bullet.
Their marriage ended exactly how you’d expect…divorced in less than 6 months. She was cheating on him with a couple other guys on the side and he was too stupid/naive to realize. Remember folks: if they’ll cheat with you, they’ll cheat on you.”
Fired Because She Wouldn’t Marry Him!
“I was 18 and found a job at a fish and chip shop to earn me some money before I left home for university. My family had been customers there all my life. It had recently been bought by an Indian gentleman who owned a few other takeaways. He hired his 20-year-old nephew there as the manager.
On my second shift, the nephew (Bobby) and I were just chatting during a lull and he asks if I have a boyfriend. As it happens I did, a long distance relationship with a guy in Germany. He asked why I hadn’t married him. I gave the obvious reason, that we lived in two different countries. Bobby seemed to think this was no big issue and we should get married anyway. I laughed it off.
Then Bobby asked if I thought he could meet a wife here in England.
‘Well sure,’ I said.
‘But how?’ he asked.
‘Well you’ll just have to go out and meet someone,’ I said.
Then he asked if I’d marry him. I laughed again, but he was being deadly serious. I told him I was happily committed to my boyfriend and wouldn’t marry someone I barely knew anyway.
Three shifts later, I was let go. No reason given. I went back to hand in my uniform on what would have been my shift and there was already another, younger girl installed there. I caught her giving free food out to her friend and laughed. Whatever reason he had for replacing me, he was stuck with a dishonest thief for staff now.
A few weeks pass and just before I moved away to university, my folks asked me to run out and get a chip shop dinner, so off I went. An older lady who worked there, who had known me since I was a baby and had gotten me the job looked harassed. Turned out she was covering for the new girl who had called in sick. Then she tells me this is the third new girl they’d had since I was sacked. For some reason, Bobby didn’t like any of the girls they kept hiring. Guess none of them wanted to marry him either!
It shut down a couple of years later. It had been, up until then, a profitable business and one of the best chip shops in the town…”
His Biggest Regret
“She was a beautiful woman who I loved with all of my heart and I still think about her almost every day. She asked me to marry her, but I was afraid and I said no. I still hear the way her voice broke when the word left my lips.
It’s my biggest regret in life. I was afraid it wouldn’t have worked and that kept me from even trying. My whole life past my early 20’s would be wildly different and probably for the better. I live each day with the choice I made.
She’s married now to a really great guy, they have two children and I talk to her once every couple of years. I’m in my mid-late thirties, never been married, and I live with a beautiful dog. I know my life isn’t over, and in a lot of ways, I’m in a really good place.
That memory never goes away, though. I know I made the wrong choice.”
It All Worked Out In The End
“I was dating a girl in college. We had been together maybe 8 months, during which we’d broken up for a brief period. She had a penchant for drama and seemed like she expected her life to go like a rom-com. Sleeping with her was great though, so I figured it’d be fun to let things run their course.
We were sitting on the patio and she was in my lap and asked me to marry her. I chuckled because I assumed she was joking. We hadn’t talked about marriage at all, hadn’t had any of the serious conversations about children, finances, goals and aspirations, nothing. So I said, half laughing, that I didn’t think we were in a great position to be considering marriage and that it probably wasn’t the best idea.
She starts doing that stoic crying business where she’s weeping, but maintaining eye contact like we’re in The freaking Notebook or something.
We broke up for good not long after. She married some rich guy who is apparently content to deal with her crazy in exchange for buck nasty bedroom time. I married someone much more well adjusted, so I guess things worked out for both of us in the end.”
Just Because She’s Nice To You, It Doesn’t Mean She’s The One
“When I was 12, I went to the nurse’s office to drop off some paperwork and there was this guy from my year there. I didn’t want to be rude, so I just looked at him and said something like, ‘I hope you feel better!’ and then left. I didn’t know his name, what class he was in, I just knew I saw him around my year group sometimes.
He took that as a ‘she’s the one’ and started to stalk me around school, outside of school, even near my home, which was insane. He would literally skip class to stand outside my classroom and watch me, go pee and then go back to the classroom. It became a running joke in my year, but I always felt super uncomfortable and told him a lot to back off and leave me alone. I literally got staff involved and they didn’t do anything really because he wasn’t ‘harassing’ me. He was just ‘teasing.’
Anyway, it all went to crap during an overseas school trip my whole year took. He managed to find my room and started banging the door down and proposed to me with these big fat pink mother of pearl earrings that cost a fortune. He threatened to kill himself if I didn’t say yes. Bear in mind that these rooms were not published and the only way he could’ve known was to figure out who I was sharing with, followed us to our room and then knocked and asked me to marry him.
I looked him straight in the eyes and told him to do it and went swimming. I was like 12, and after about seven months of being annoyed, I really had enough. I did not give two craps about him, and I doubted him anyway. I figured it was enough to send the message of ‘I don’t like you, leave me alone, I don’t care about you.’
When I came back two hours later, several teachers were holding him down since he apparently tried to jump off of the floor balcony I was on, They made me talk to him so he wouldn’t off himself. I remember being very salty and annoyed. He was later separated from being anywhere near me at school, and I think his parents transferred him away.
To this day, I still have some very iffy feelings about pearls and the size and color of pearls. I haven’t spoken to him since, but over the years he’s tried to add me on social media though I’ve never responded.”
It Was Always Her
“My grandmother broke up with my grandfather when he went to propose. She wanted to date other people. Their relationship started when she babysat his little brothers and lied about her age for a few years before he found out the truth (he was 5 years older).
They stayed in touch and she dated around a little bit, but he never did. She eventually got sick with tuberculosis and was in a quarantine hospital for a couple of years. He wrote her a letter confessing that he was still in love with her and proposed in writing. She took him up on it!
He had three strokes last year and his health has declined drastically after being the paradigm of health for 82 years. She has terrible arthritis.
But they’ve been married for 58 years this year and you can still find them dancing together in the gazebo or making out in the dining room.
I asked him last year why he always chose her and he burst into tears and said, ‘I just never met anyone else I liked better than her. Still haven’t.’
And now I’m crying.”
“It Felt Like An Eternity Of Cringe”
“This wasn’t me, but some poor soul at my local bowling alley.
We were rolling rocks on a Friday night. The bowling alley was happening. The tunes stopped and the guy on the intercom asked if we could all direct our attention to Lane 16.
A guy dropped to his knee and asked his lady friend to marry him. She said no. She looked embarrassed and stormed out.
He took a swig of his drink and rolled a ball down the lane. I’d like to think he thought the music would come back on and everyone would go about their business. Nope. Everyone was shocked and just watched him bowl like four times before the music came back on and he finally just sat down. It felt like an eternity of cringe.”
The Most Offensive Proposal
“We had only been dating for about a month. He was pretty obsessive at first, but I thought maybe it would just be a phase so I blew it off.
One day, he brought me to a jewelers to get my ring size and I could pick out the ring. I also thought it was just a promise ring. No biggie, people do those kinda things early on as well. What got ME was when he bought it, took me to a park, got down on one knee and said, ‘I love you baby. I knew I wanted to do this the moment we matched (unfortunately on Tinder). You’re the love of my life. Now I can show everyone that I own you. Will you marry me?’
He was gonna OWN me. Like a freaking pet. I wanted to wring his neck for saying that. I don’t get offended easily but saying ‘owned’ really angered me. I helped him up back to his feet, though, and we walked back to his car that he was current living in. It was right down the street from my condo so he could ‘keep an eye on me.’ I told him I wasn’t going to marry him and that I thought it was best we should break up and move on. I didn’t feel comfortable having him drive me home, so I took an Uber after that.
Unfortunately, still being the obsessive guy he was, he kept coming to my condo every day with gifts and crying and just trying to make me feel bad and get back together. Then, he started getting angry and the threats started. After about a month, he gave up. I haven’t seen him since, it’s been a year now. Thank god.”
She Could Never Forgive Him
“I found out my ex was cheating on me and immediately broke it off with him.
The next day he showed up on my doorstep, in the snow, crying. When I went outside, he got on one knee and presented me with a heart shaped ring.
I went back inside and baked cookies. It was a great a decision, as I met my current boyfriend a few years later and he makes me truly happy.”
He Did The One Thing She Told Him Not To Do
“He asked me in public, which he knew I hated the thought of. We had actually talked about wedding proposals a few weeks prior and I had made it clear that I would never say ‘yes’ to a proposal in public. He still felt it necessary to ask me at a concert of a band his friend was in.
I said, ‘No.’ He didn’t take it graciously and I got a lot of hate from everyone who was literally around me. People were cussing me out for declining, without even knowing my name. I broke up with him shortly afterwards because he didn’t stop whining about me ’embarrassing’ him so.”
She Deserves Happiness
“An ex-girlfriend of mine was in the military. In short, after a few tours in Afghanistan immersed in active combat, she was diagnosed with PTSD and was receiving treatment for it. We were working through it as a team and all was good. It was obviously hard at times, but we had a good system in place to help deal with it and had awesome communication.
Then rumors begin circulating of her platoon being deployed again. Boom. Suddenly she was given a clean bill of health and cleared to go. She had no issues with it, she wanted to go back, so we talked about it and she explained it was mainly due to the adrenaline rush active combat provides. There’s no comparison. Cue us trying to organize our lives with her impending tour and attempting to build a future together for when she returns.
Her behavior became more and more erratic before she left; she admitted to me that she often pushed her car to 100mph on the motorway and slipped in and out of unlikely spaces in traffic. I was understandably concerned, not only for her, but for the general public. Do they deserve to die because you want your adrenaline fix? She was clearly unwell and not fit for active duty (in my eyes, but what do I know?) and discussions about this subsequently created a lot of tension between us.
She left as scheduled and we kept in touch as much as possible through Facebook and Skype as we had done in the past. A few weeks in, she starts putting up cryptic statuses online about how she’s ‘handed in her papers’ and is leaving the Army. I call her up to question her on what’s happening and the answer is either ‘I didn’t write that’ or some version of ‘I didn’t mean it that way.’ The statuses were invariably deleted afterwards. She also began lying to me about things quite blatantly; when I confronted her about it, she again told me it never happened. In hindsight, it’s absolutely possible she didn’t remember saying certain things due to the untreated PTSD. It was pretty confusing and only got worse when she started to accuse me of ‘holding back’ her military career. Her reasoning behind this notion was due to the fact I wouldn’t agree to move onto base with her and essentially be a stay-at-home nothing. We clearly had different ideas of what our future was going to be and it became obvious to me that she needed some sort of professional psychiatric help.
I tried, I really did. But there’s only so much screaming one person can take whilst suggesting things that might help and having them rejected every time. She came home on leave for a few days, booked us into a fancy hotel and pulled out an engagement ring. Based on our differing viewpoints and seeing no way to reconcile them I said no, and it was honestly heart breaking. My answer caused the end of our relationship. She was devastated and so was I. We didn’t talk for many years.
She eventually left the military, got help and now works a very good civilian job. We still talk sometimes and I’m so glad to see her life as it is now. She deserves her happiness.”
“It Was A Solid ‘No’ From Me”
“I was 17, he was 25.
I threatened to leave him after we’d had a brief argument and he slammed my arm in a door while trying to stop me from walking away. His ‘apology’ involved throwing a ring (still in its box) at my head. Needless to say, the answer was a solid ‘no’ from me.
Unfortunately, being young and dumb, I put up with him for another two years before calling it quits.”