There's nothing more life-shattering than proposing to someone and getting rejected. After months of anxious anticipation, telling your friends and family about your plans in secret, picking out a ring, and making all these preparations for the proposal, your dreams are crushed in an instant with a single "No." Men who have experienced this rejection bravely speak out on the aftermaths of their proposals. Read on for some juicy tales:
#1 Didn't See That One Coming
About two years ago, I proposed to my girlfriend at the time. We were dating for close to four years. I had it all planned for months—take her to dinner and to this nice flower park she loved, then pop the question.
Everything went perfectly... until the part where I got down on one knee and presented the ring.
Long story short, she told me she couldn't because she was cheating on me on and off for a year and told me I deserved better. We broke up and we don't talk anymore.
#2 Absolutely Ruined
Not me but a guy I knew proposed to his then-girlfriend in a restaurant. He made sure to have a friend record it, and she walked out when he popped the question. Then she pretty much ghosted him. He started drinking, found a new "passion" in gambling, and gambled all his savings away. He ended up living on the money of the state, then worked as a garbage picker. He was an... interesting guy, friendly to some... but the state he's in is just sad. Hope at some point he picks up his life again. Haven't heard of him in years though, so no idea where he is now.
#3 Double Realization
I dated a woman for over two years and popped the question. The first time she said, “I don’t know.” A couple of months later I asked her again, and she said “Maybe.” I was pretty bent out of shape. But then I found out she was getting with several of my friends so I dodged one there really. Not only did I realize she wasn't for me, but I also realized who my true friends were.
#4 Only Up From Here
It was REALLY, REALLY bad for a while. Then it was REALLY bad. Then it became really bad. Then it became bad. Then it was just blah. Then it was neutral. Then things started to get better. Then it continued to get better by me learning to be happy and me doing me things. I eventually found someone else, and things have been getting better for twenty years now.
#5 Second Time's A Charm
She said yes, as I had a special occasion planned—one of those observation wheels—I proposed at the very top and we were on our way to a family event. I had a ring made and everything. Then, a few days later, she said no. Everything fell apart. I was distraught. We continued dating for a while but it was long distance. We were on other sides of the world. When I visited, it would be super awkward. Eventually, her dad kicked me out. I was flying standby and stuck in an airport for four days.
Took me years to recover. Now, I am happily married and am glad it never worked out with the first woman. I was not in a good place when I met her and her family was super controlling. It would never have worked. The woman I married is super cool and is my best friend. It turned out so much better than expected.
#6 Business Arrangement
I know a couple who went through an ordeal... The guy proposed in order to give her citizenship and health insurance so she could remain here and get the cancer treatment she desperately needed. They stayed married for about 15 years and he even adopted her son, but they never lived together or were romantically involved. Years later, they divorced when he met the woman of his dreams and wanted to get married. They are all very close friends, with no drama. She lived and is a university professor now. He is in another state with the woman of his dreams.
#7 Give It Time
My mother turned my father down but didn't outright break up with him. She just wasn't sure about the marriage idea; she valued her independence and was nervous about commitment. No hard feelings, though. He called up the next day when she'd had more time to think about it, and she said yes after all. They celebrated 32 years of marriage last month.
#8 Things To Consider
I was the person who said no. We had only known each other for three months and he was smitten, while I was more cautious. I said no, I like you, but it's way too soon. He asked when would be enough time, I said maybe a year. He proposed again at midnight, one year after we first met. I said yes and we have been together 8 years now.
#9 No One Like Mama
This is the story of my parents: My dad asked my mom to marry him several times. She said no, several times. One day, my dad asked my mom to marry him (yet again). She said YES! He freaked out and left her apartment, then dumped her. Three weeks later, he hated his life without her and begged her to take him back and marry him.
They were married 9 months later for 16 years until my mom passed from cancer. They loved each other so much and had such a deep appreciation for each other. That was 25 years ago. My dad has not remarried. No one will ever come close to my mama.
Sign Up For Our Newsletter
Stories that matter — delivered straight to your inbox.
#10 With The Dog's Help
My mom rejected my father for the first TWO times. There were no real hard feelings between them. I guess my mother was just not ready for marriage yet. She ended up proposing to him. My grandmother and mother sewed a suit for their dog to wear and attached a sign around his neck with a ring that read: "Will you marry me?" Then she sent the dog out into the kitchen to beg for scraps while my father was preparing dinner.
The next thing she heard was a very concerned voice shouting. "HONEY! The dog is asking me to marry him!" Cue absolute hysterics. My dad said yes to the proposal. My HUMAN dad and my HUMAN mom are still married two decades later (the fact that I even had to clarify this is severely disappointing).
#11 A Good Influence
My dad proposed to a woman who said no. My dad was an angry drinker and she said she couldn’t be with him unless he got clean. It took him a little while, but he did it. He wound up meeting my mom through a matchmaker and they’ve been married 25 years. If that woman never said no to him, he never would have gotten clean. It was the lowest point in his life. But it all brought him to my mom who makes him happier than ever. My dad talks to her sometimes. She got married to someone else and they had a son who passed from a medical condition.
#12 Project Inspo
So this actor, Patrick Moote, proposed to his girlfriend at a basketball game and got turned down... while on the giant jumbotron. The clip went on YouTube, etc, etc. She told him later that she turned him down because she thought his manhood wasn't up to par. So he traveled around the world, documenting what other cultures thought about "size." He even made a movie about it called Unhung Hero. I've never watched it, but the title alone makes me laugh.
#13 Good Times...
I was a young Marine. I was only home during the weekends. I was dating this girl for about a year from my hometown. When I asked, she said yes. Her dad former Navy kept saying we should wait. We put it off for a bit longer. Fast forward another year. She dumped me. Her father informed me she had been sleeping with A LOT of guys... like more than 50 over the two years we dated. I was very happy I didn't marry her. He apologized to me for her behavior.
She then totally ghosted everyone including her family for about 6 months. I found out she moved seven hours away and was living under a house... not a basement... under a house with her new boyfriend... She called her mom to get her. Her mother and father ask me to do it for them and bring her home. Good times... good times.
#14 A Bittersweet Story
My mom actually said no to my dad’s proposal when they were younger. Not because they weren’t in love, but because she wasn’t sure if it was something she actually wanted to do, rather than something that society expected of her or whatever... They still stayed together and had kids (hence why you’re reading this now). And then, when my dad was terminally ill a few years ago, my mom plucked up the courage and asked him... just to get her back after all those years, he said no—before taking her up on the offer a few days later. He passed a happy man.
#15 Good Advice
I spent $2,200 on a ring I didn't want. This is my biggest regret and I will say this to anyone who listens. The engagement ring chain I bought it from wouldn't take it back. I took it to pawn shops and they'd only offer a few hundred. This store banks on customers who want the whole ring (stone, band, setting). If you're going to buy a ring, JUST BUY THE STONE, a gold band, and a setting. You can get a better deal from a local jewelry store. Apparently, the gem I bought was terrible quality. Most of the cost of the ring was nonsense.
#16 False Alarm
I spoke to her about it beforehand, and she seemed really keen on the idea. So I decided to propose about a week after in front of all our friends and she was so shocked that she picked me up off my knee and shooed me away. Most of our friends were confused because everyone knew it was going to happen, and she said she was excited for it. I didn't know what to do; it was all really embarrassing. Later, she explained she didn't mean no, she just didn't know what to say and was scared. She said yes after apologizing profusely and just this year we celebrated our 9th anniversary.
#17 The Photobook
In 2017, Google came up with this idea to allow you to make photo books out of your Google photos account. My girlfriend and I had been dating for almost 2 years and I knew she was the one I wanted to marry, so I created this wonderful photo book of all of our selfies together and ended it with a page made out of a photo I generated that said, "Will you marry me." I then proceeded to put all these things into an album and build the photo book.
What didn't occur to me at the time was that the album I put these in was a shared album and the other person gets a notification when you add new photos to it. And the other person that the album was shared with? My girlfriend. That evening, we had dinner and it all came out. She saw the photo, she wasn't ready, there were a few reasons why but they were good reasons and smart reasons mostly to do with timing, family, and finances. We weren't breaking up, we just weren't getting engaged at that time.
A year later, we fully discussed the concept of getting married. We went ring shopping, she picked her own ring, and by the time I actually did propose we both knew what her answer would be. We celebrated our first wedding anniversary in April. It seems to have worked out so far! And the photo book is on a shelf to my left as we speak.
#18 The Last Resort
We received a letter from the immigration office saying that she was lacking some documents. At the moment, we were stressed—both of us with work and study, and neither of us was sufficiently fluent in German to decipher this kind of language. We went to the university office for foreign students. The lady in charge translated to us the letter badly, telling us that even if we presented the documents, they would proceed with the deportation process.
We panicked. We started looking for some more help and we ended up in City Hall. With a pure adrenaline rush, I proposed to her in quite a loud voice: "If we get married, could we stop the deportation?" I can't remember if he gave us an answer. "I want to marry her! Will you marry me?"
She started laughing. I started laughing. The guy in the office gave us the telephone to the pertinent department and asked us to call. We went out of City Hall and we couldn't stop laughing. She said to me, "Well, thank you, but let's wait a bit."
After the weekend we went to the immigration office and the people there explained which documents were missing, plus how to get them. She wasn't denied the visa and we kept living in the way we planned. It was intense and (in retrospect) really funny.
#19 For The Family
My mom told my dad no when he proposed to her even though they were already living together. She thought he was infertile and it wasn't until she got pregnant that she said yes. In retrospect, I wish my parents had decided early in their relationship because they can barely stand each other. Still, I guess if they never got married, we wouldn't be the family we are right now.
My ex-husband didn’t get the chance to propose! He had been keeping the ring hidden at his mom and dad’s house. We were on our way out to dinner at a nice restaurant and we stopped at their house on the way there. I thought we were just there to say hi, but we sat down for a few minutes and he excused himself to go to the bathroom.
His mom followed him out of the room and returned a few moments later with him at her heels, tossed the ring box into my lap, and said “I guess this is yours.” I was shocked. We had just found out I was pregnant and he had been planning to propose at Christmas but decided to do it early. His mother didn’t like me, and she’s definitely at least one of the things we divorced over.
#21 What A Ride
Oh, I have a story about this. My friend A had been with his girlfriend B for years, so he decided he wanted to propose. What he didn't know, was that B was also thinking about proposing to him. A proposed first, and B freaked out because she had already set her proposal and bought a ring, so she said no. Over the next week, B freaked out more and more and refused to answer A's calls and messages.
A then decided to use the money he had saved up to buy a plane ticket to Europe. What was supposed to be a three-month trip through western Europe turned out to be a year-long trip around the world. One day, A said that he was coming back and B decided to go and wait for him at the airport and propose to him there. It turned out that while being in Peru, A met a girl and they fell in love almost immediately. They got married in Peru.
Cue 5 years later, A and his Peruvian wife are still happily married and recently had a baby, while B hasn't still quite forgiven herself for ruining her relationship with A.
#22 She Was Right
We'd been dating for a year and a half and I was due to move out on orders (I was in the Army). She suggested we get married, I said no way... I was going off to school (Army-type) for six months, then I'd have a year on a deployment to the Middle East... it just wouldn't work. She was calm and said: "You think I'll be a burden to all of that, but I'll actually be a help."
While just seconds earlier all I could think of was what a pain it would be to get married and leave, now it seemed perfectly reasonable that she was right. We got married a week later at the courthouse. I was 22. Last month, we had a nice socially-distant dinner party for our 29th anniversary with our two amazing kids and a few friends.
#23 Life Goes On
We met in her home country of Germany while I was traveling. I knew I was in love. We dated long distance for a while. Me flying to Europe. Her flying to the US. I suggested marriage so we could be together. She said no a few times. I didn't press. But I was patient and not being pushy. I knew she was worth the wait. Then it hit her that's how we could be together. If we got married, we could live in a country together. The difficulties of being born on a different patch of dirt. A few years later, I'm still married to my best friend and living with her in Germany. Life goes on.
#24 That's Maturity
About two years later, I met my wife of 22 years—we are happily married. The one who said "no" got married, for the first time, last year, and she seems happy. My wife is way into me in ways that the former girlfriend never was, and I see myself as far happier with my wife than I ever was with the one who said no. She's not a bad person; I was just young and in love with someone who wasn't in love with me. It worked out for the best. I'm glad she said no.
#25 The Reverse Card
She had said she wasn't really a fan of marriage, so I thought proposing non-marriage might be well received, and I wanted us to be together for the rest of our lives. So I asked her not to marry me. She said no. We have been married for 10 years. I pulled the old reverse card on her. When you know your partner and understand him or her, you'll know exactly what to do.
#26 Sad American
My mother told my father no three times. On the third time, he drank a lot at a local bar and basically started pouring his heart out to anyone who’d listen. Mind you, it was a very small village in the Italian Alps and my father barely spoke Italian. No one in the village spoke English, including my mother. Word got back to my mom about this sad American at the bar so she went to find him and she told him she’d marry him. My parents celebrated their 44th-anniversary last month.
#27 Stuck In Limbo
We actually got married and moved in together, then two weeks after, she moved out, blocked me everywhere, and never gave me a reason. Shortly after, I was served with papers. Now I'm divorced—that was last summer and I'm not sure where I am now; I guess just making work my main priority for now. I just want to know why for some closure, but that's too far gone now.
#28 Voodoo Wedding
My mom and dad were not married and wanted a kid, so they had me. My dad is Catholic and Hispanic, and he decided he wanted to be married to my mom, so he proposed. She said no because she hadn't been divorced from her first husband for very long and now she had three young kids. She preferred to stay not married. He threatened to leave her and "got on his motorcycle and started to drive away" until my mom chased him down and gave in leading to what my parents call the voodoo wedding the same day.
#29 Fork In The Path
I asked a woman after almost six years together. She said no, and added that maybe it was time for us to go our separate ways. Wow. Shock. But life has to go on. About a year later, I met a different girl and we were engaged within a year. We were both ready for marriage. That was 16 years ago. We’ve got three terrific kids, two boys that are exceptional athletes and a girl who's a brainy little nerd. The lady who refused me eventually got married, had a couple of kids, and got divorced. But she got married again. And had another kid. And got divorced again. We completely lost touch several years ago.
#30 Strictly Academic
She was an art major and I had just joined the forces. We had been lovers since high school. I asked, she said no. She wanted to get her Masters. We were friends for a while but we don’t talk anymore. She works as a bartender, I think, now. I ended up getting married to my best friend. We’ve been married for more than a decade and we have a five-year-old son.
#31 Helping Each Other
She was in trauma from a past relationship, and at that time I wanted to help her move on. I realized that I'd fallen in love with her, as she was the one who, despite being in depression, helped me out of my social anxiety. I just couldn't see her suffer.
So I proposed to her and got rejected, as she wasn't ready to be in another relationship. Since I confessed about love, she got more anxious, and our friendship was temporarily over. We didn't talk or have any contact for months. Later on, I somehow contacted her; we had a bit of talk and I asked how she was doing. I learned that she had been shutting herself in her room minimizing contact with people. I still had romantic feelings for her, but I wanted to be with her and help her move on, so I insisted on being friends again. We spent our time like that, and honestly, she's the only friend I had.
Time passed, and when I saw she was getting back to her normal life, I proposed her again, and she accepted. It was a long way to that day. I've never been happier in my life. It's been 4 years since then. Though we have arguments due to different views, we always come up with a solution to resolve things. And I can say this with certainty that nobody can love me the way she does. I feel lucky to have her in my life.
#32 Communication Is Key
To the men and women who surprise their partners with engagements: why do you think it's okay to force someone to make a major, life-changing decision on an emotionally stressful snap decision? No proposal should be a surprise. You discuss marriage, as a couple, and eventually, you both agree that you want it. Then, one day, one of you then surprises the other with a proposal. You KNOW it will be "yes" because you spoke about it like adults.
#33 Dodged One There
We met through family and I asked her to marry me. I made a romantic video and asked that way. She said she would think about it, then ignored me for two weeks. At some point, she said she thought about it and that she just didn't feel ready, but she still wanted to be friends afterward. Now here is the crazy part! For the longest time, she was the one driving me crazy with marriage! I'm so happy we never got married!!!
#34 Making It Airtight
I tried again! Actually, the first time was a joke. The second time was not. We broke up as we wanted different things and some things happened that messed us up a bit. We are getting married for reasons due to current medical problems because I don't want my family to be able to interfere. We're already basically considered married in my country due to defacto laws, but we just want this so everything is as airtight as it can be.
#35 A Lucky Dude
Not exactly the same thing, but I told my now-wife the second day we were talking that I was going to marry her. Her response was, “I’ll NEVER get married again.” We dated six months-ish, then she dumped me seemingly out of nowhere. We were broken up nearly six months before I unblocked her number and unblocked her on social media.
When we met up again in person, I gave her the biggest hug and kiss and I just couldn’t believe she was back. After tons of long talks and building our relationship back WAY stronger, we got engaged. I married the heck out of her, and now we’re happier and stronger than ever. I’m so glad it worked out this way. I love her more than I thought possible. I’m a lucky dude.
#36 Gone Too Soon
Well, she said yes but no. I met her online and we really hit it off. She was just amazing. We only knew each other for a month before she moved in with me and it was just magical. I proposed just after a year together. She had a genetic disorder and it made her heart swollen. Familial dilated cardiomyopathy. It was pretty bad. You could see her heart pushing out in between her ribs.
She didn't want to get married because then we wouldn't be able to afford her checkups and medication. She was constantly quite weak but still full of life. She took naps very often and one day she just didn't wake up. I cried for days and was heartbroken for a couple of years. I still think of her quite often and visit her grave whenever I visit home since it is 1,000 miles away now. I know I filled the end of her life with happiness as she told me very often. Just feel guilty sometimes.
#37 Love Takes Time
Mine is a little different. Mine said that she wasn't ready yet and asked me to wait and be patient with her. It helped that I knew she had some issues with commitment and change, so I played the long game and waited for her to make a decision. It took three years and the birth of our daughter for her to come up to me one day and say that getting married was interesting to her. One more kid and 21 years later we are still happily married.
#38 Quarantine Mess
I didn't even get to ask. She broke up with me a few weeks after I bought the ring. She told me that she fell out of love with me and that she just wasn't happy with me anymore. We had been fighting a little bit because we were all couped up during quarantine, but nothing too serious. I figured once everything started opening up and we could go do stuff that we'd both chill out.
Well, instead, my girlfriend of five years decided to leave me. Then, one week later, she started dating another guy. She then told me she had feelings for that guy before we broke up, but that there was no overlap. I was devastated of course. I was very upset with her. She was my best friend for 15 years. I had known her since kindergarten.
I was so mad and said some things that I regret. I ended up begging for her forgiveness. Even though I was upset with her for leaving me, I couldn't go on without her at least being my friend. So one day we talked and I apologized. I wished her well and told her I just want her to be happy. I miss her like crazy, but it's her life and she deserves to be happy. All of this happened last month.
#39 The Difficult Wife
I have to use my throwaway because this might dox me, but my dad asked my mom to marry him several times and she kept saying no. She had been engaged before and it was a disaster relationship. She had decided she was never going to get married. But she and my dad stayed together.
Finally, one day my dad said, “Sit down, we need to find a day that works where both our families can be in town for our wedding.” And she was like “Okay.” And they got married. She loves that story but he just rolls his eyes and goes “Your mother is SO difficult.” They’ve been together for 32 years!
#40 What A Revelation
We were dating for a little over a year, but I was so sure she was the one. I drove two hours to see her at her college and we went on a beautiful winter night walk, during which I proposed. She looked me right in the eyes and said, “Oh you thought this was serious? Well um, I don’t know how to say this other than I have been seeing other people. Well, actually, I have been seeing other women.” I was stunned.
I got up, put the ring in my pocket, and walked to my car. I got in and drove away, never looking back, crying the whole time. I haven’t seen or spoken with her in seven years even though she has tried countless times to reach out. Now it’s a story I tell friends who are nervous about asking their significant others to marry them, reminding them that even if they say no, it could be worse.
#41 Awkward Dinner
I'm someone who said no. I was dating a guy for six years; four of them long distance while we were at university but we had both graduated and I'd come home to do a masters at a university close to my home city. He'd graduated in law and here in Scotland, you need to work for a year as a sort of trainee lawyer while sorting exams for a year after you get your degree to be an actual lawyer. It's kind of like passing the bar, I guess.
So anyway, I found out he'd been cheating for at least a year with a girl we knew from high school and I had been waiting for him to come clean when this happened, so I obviously told him no. He got his degree classified and he didn't do well enough to get a trainee post. I finished my masters but didn't particularly like it, so I changed careers more than once. We're both married to other people now and don't cross paths at all... except one day, I was in a restaurant with my husband and in-laws and the girl he was cheating with was our server!
#42 Unfaithful Actions
After about a year, I proposed to a beautiful woman with a beautiful four-year-old daughter (her brother and I were firefighters together and he set me up). She quickly said yes. I then asked her daughter if I could be her stepdad and she said yes. I should have realized something was off when she wanted to wait and tell her family.
We waited for two months and then she broke it off. Her brother knew about the proposal and couldn't figure it out either. I came to find out she was secretly seeing another guy. Her family and her daughter were upset with her. I saw the daughter about six years later with her uncle and she said that her mom made a big mistake leaving me. She wished I was her stepdad.
#43 The Cutest Story Yet
I dated my wife in high school. I was all wrong for her at the time, and it was going way too fast, so we broke up on good terms. One of the last times we talked, I asked her if she would marry me one day. She laughed it off and said no way. She even said I was definitely not the marrying type. Fast forward to college: I was working full time and she was a law student. She walked into the store I was the manager of.
We talked for an hour, and it continued in the parking lot, just talking and catching up. At the end of the conversation, as she was leaving, I jokingly I asked her to marry me again. She laughed, I laughed.. and she said: "We'll see." Married 16 years in October.
#44 Great-Grandpa's Shot
My great-grandpa had just entered a college after getting out of the army from WWII. He was at a dance but had broken his ankle wrestling with his friends because he was twenty-five and did that for fun. So he went to a dance where he met my great-grandma. He asked her to dance, and she later wrote to him, saying that she only said yes because she thought he was a wounded vet, which was technically true. The next day, he asked her to marry him. She said she’d think about it and a week later they get married.
#45 Time To Reflect
I proposed, got engaged for like two months, then got my ring returned in a paper bag with very little explanation of what went wrong. It was horrible right after. Like, couldn't stop thinking about it every second. Then every minute. Then every hour. Then every day. Then every week. Then every month. Then every year. It's been over a decade now and it was the best thing that's ever happened to me. We were so so wrong for each other and it was a bad relationship. You can't see it until you've had some time outside of it to reflect.
#46 Screw The Textbook
This is like a delayed no, I proposed, she said yes, we set a date, six months before that we were talking and she suggested we postpone the wedding, I took that as a breakup and moved out (not the best at communicating).
A few months later, after us continuing to see each other, I suggested we get back together. She said, "Well, we might as well get married then." We got married two weeks later, and that was over 13 years ago. So much for "textbook."
#47 Biggest Red Flag
It should’ve been the reddest flag amongst them all. Four months later, I discovered she had been cheating on me for eight months. I walked away and spent a few years figuring out who I was and what I really wanted out of a relationship. About a year later, I met my now-wife and we’re celebrating 13 years together this year. She’s the best thing that ever happened to me.
#48 Don't Me Like Me
I was with her for six years. Four years in, I popped the question. She said she didn't want to get married. I heard she didn't want to get married yet, so I stuck around. It was a mistake. I should have left when it became clear we had different plans for our lives. But I always thought she'd come around. It wasn't her fault, it was mine. When it ended, I felt like I lost at least those last two years. Love blinded me. I believed what I wanted to just so I could stay in the relationship. Don't be like me.
#49 Patience Is A Virtue
We were living together. I asked and she said: "No, I love you but I need to think about it. I don't think I'm ready yet. Can you give me some time and ask later?" A few months went by and I asked again... Same response. A few more months, same deal. A couple more weeks and then she said, "Hey, what do you think of us getting married?" I replied: "That's an excellent idea, why didn't I think of that?" Our 39th anniversary is next month.
#50 Full Circle
We were friends, but we were kind of dating. Then we actually dated, and I proposed the idea. She said, “Heck no.” We grew distant, then we met up randomly while traveling separately in London by chance. We talked over a cup of coffee and I found out she really liked me but had understandable concerns about the idea of marriage. Then we walked and talked some more, and eventually, we started dating again. We became really close; closer than before, and now we're married.