Putting it all on the line and then having someone reject you is devastating.
It’s even worse when you propose marriage to someone and they say no. It’s pretty much the ultimate rejection.
Sadly, it happens all the time.
But what happens to people after their proposals are turned down?
Let’s dig in to some true stories from folks on AskReddit.
1. Here’s a story…
“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, is 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 3 month trip through western Europe turned out to be a year long trip around the world.
One day, A says that he’s coming back and B decides to go and wait for him at the airport and propose to him there. It turns out that while being in Peru, A met a girl and they fell in love almost immediately, and 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.”
2. Still stings.
“As a woman who was engaged and the proposal was later revoked, it still stings a little 11 years later.
When you’re sure you’re with the love of your life, losing them can really pop a hole in your life plans.”
3. Starting over.
“Very first girlfriend ever.
Started dating at 17. After six years of dating I proposed. She said “No, I’m sorry.” I asked why.
She said, “I’ve been thinking about this for a while but didn’t talk to you about it. I found someone else.” Then she broke up with me right then and there. I asked if she cheated and she said no. “We’re just friends right now. But he makes me happy when I’m with him and you just… don’t. You used to. But not anymore.”
I tried sabotaging their relationship when I found him begging her for nudes, tattled to her ultra-christian parents that he was twice her age (which he is), and did everything I could to be the insane one. Finally realized what I was doing, apologized, promised to never talk to her or her family ever again.
I sold the ring and used the money to buy a guitar and a boatload of weed and spiraled out of control for three years. Flunked all my classes, got a dead-end job at a construction gig, slowly descended into borderline alcoholism. Couldn’t leave the house or go to work or do my job without being high.
Gained a ton of weight, let myself go. Finally contemplated suicide, planned it out with a 20-page instruction manual on how to make it painless, not screw it up, and not hurt anyone in the process. Never went through with it because I kept getting scared and spending my suicide fund on weed and alcohol.
Finally broke down and told my parents all of this. Asked for help. Spent another year in a rehab program with a therapist. Got out and have been clean for three years by this September and still wake up at 3am feeling sick every couple of months for the way I treated her after having spent six years telling her that I loved her.
But that’s all over, now, and all I can do is learn from it, promise to be better, and keep going.
So now I’m turning 29 in a week, still living at home with parents, and constantly battling self-loathing and anxiety while working a job for $9.25 an hour. But I pay my parents $300/month to stay with them and I’m going back to school.
Taking the minimum number of credit hours per semester since I’m paying for it out of pocket and I work full time (and overtime when I can get it), but slowly dragged my GPA from a 1.28 to a 2.64 and can start getting help next semester instead of paying for all of it out of pocket, now. I also lost a ton of weight during the pandemic and weigh just 189, now, (in rehab I dropped to 220, but I was closer to 245-250 before that).
Safe to say I won’t be worth dating for a long time, but maybe when I get my degree under my belt and finish growing and learning I can get a self-sustaining job I can move out and truly start over.”
4. Wasn’t meant to be.
“First major gf, she was stunning , modeled and I was besotted with her. Well she started slipping away and I thought it’d be a great idea to propose to her and that way she’d be with me forever.
Thankfully she was too smart for my desperation and turned me down flat telling me upfront that she was too young to settle down and wanted fun. Losing her was more traumatic than being turned down and I struggled with despair but I channeled myself into my career which took off.
A few years later I found my true love and it was her that proposed to me, 26 years later we are still happy. As to my ex, I bore her no ill will and can only thank her for being smart enough to know that we were never destined to be together.”
5. I wish you well.
“I was just out of high school, 19 y.o., and in the USAF. We had been dating since our sophomore year in high school (about 3 years at the time). I thought I was adulting pretty well!
I asked, and she respectfully said no. She followed up the rejection by saying she thought we were too young and weren’t ready, even with a 3+ years relationship.
We continued to see each other for about another year. Things were never bad and we didn’t fight. It was January and she came over on Friday evening of the MLK weekend and we broke up. She stayed the rest of the weekend and went home on Monday afternoon.
We wished each other well and went our separate ways. We haven’t spoken since. I have no idea what or how she is doing today. I didn’t keep up with her. I do still wish her the best in her life.
I met my wife in October of that same year and this month we celebrate 28 years of marriage. Our children are adults, well adjusted, and college graduates.
I think my life has turned out quite splendid.”
6. Never give up!
“We had been dating about 6 weeks. I knew. I just knew she was the one. She said, “You’re a great guy and I love you, but I’m not ready to get married.”
We continued dating. I asked again a week or so later. Similar response.
Lather, rinse, repeat. I asked 4 more times over the next few weeks. Finally we were at a Chinese restaurant. Fortune cookies come. Mine says, “Your wish is within reach. Ask once more.” Hers says, “Get your hope chest ready.” No bullshit. No setup.
Totally random cookies from the restaurant. I reached across the table, took her hand and asked for the 7th time. She didn’t really say, “Yes.” More like a sigh and a resigned “Okay.”
First date: Dec 12, 1981 Married: Apr 3, 1982
Still together. One son, 2 granddaughters, 2 great granddaughters. Still giddily in love.
Never give up! Never surrender!”
7. A scavenger hunt.
“I was with my girlfriend for five years, I planned a scavenger hunt in a park, at the end was a perfect spot to pop the question, a single bench next to the water right at sunset. The entire hunt should only take 15 min. But after about 5 min and 2:5 locations found she said “This is stupid.” I said no worries we don’t have to do this if it dumb…
Turned out she had plans that night that she did not want to be late for. That night she was with someone else. I found out immediately by a accidental butt dial while their getting down and dirty in a car somewhere.
I loved her very much and it crushed me. When she came home in the morning I told her that I felt like there was nothing between us anymore, an that I wanted to break up.
She cried and carried on how bad a person I was, her parents who were very religious told me how disappointed they were in me and that I was just leading her on. I ate that crow tail and all, a pride and ego swallowing siege.
If I said she cheated her parents would probably have disowned her so it was my best interest not to say anything so at least she have a home to go-to.
I never told her I found out she was cheating, spent the next ten years of my life surfing the east coast and living off couches in exchange for cleaning their homes or being homeless.
I did contract remote work making ~120k a year just shoving it in the bank, while spending maybe $300 bucks a month or necessities, my hair unkempt, my clothing dirty, torn and tattered.
Nice laptop, nice surfboard and a duffle bag half full of my only possessions. It has been wonderful, never been so happy.
I know she asked about me one time through her brother, her parents told them I’m a deadbeat homeless man.
I met a girl, she was poor, lived in low income housing. But she is a hard worker, two jobs waiting tables, went to night classes, and had two kids from a previous marriage. I asked her how could she love me, I had nothing, just look at me. She did not care, she cleaned me up, cut my hair, offered to buy me some new clothing.
She asked me to marry her and I did. I bought her a house, and a new Toyota van for the kids, and she’s not had to work a day after. Next year will be our ten year anniversary.”
8. A big shock.
“We talked about getting married and agreed that so long as the proposal was a surprise it would be fine. So I got help from some of her friends to make it special. Dinner at her favorite restaurant with our families in attendance and the ring on a piece of chocolate cake delivered by the waiter.
The act was “we just all happened to show up at the same place on the same day at the same time”. Sure, a child could see that it was a setup, but that wasn’t the point.
Evening goes great, cake comes out, ring is discovered, I get down on one knee…
…and she says no in front of everyone.
My family is shocked. Her family is shocked. Her friends are…not so shocked.
She breaks up with me right there. “You took too long.”
A month later she’s engaged to one of her co-workers.
Joke’s on her though. Not only do her parents like me more than her (we’re still on speaking terms and I regularly go hunting and fishing with her father. Meanwhile he hates his son-in-law) I started dating one of her *former* friends (she lost a few over the breakup) and we got married the following year.”
9. Very bitter.
“I proposed. She said fucking No.
But funny thing is that we had agreement. Proposal was just a formality. One moment I analyzed all her words, and asked her where are we heading. I don’t want long term relationship if she doesn’t want to get married. She said that she doesn’t want it. So we broke up.
2 weeks later she came to me with all these damn tears on her face asking to come back, that she is ready and already told her parents about marriage. Ok then I bought flowers, ring, ballons, booked a table in a nice restaurant.
My friends came. And… she said no. I was devastated. I crushed everything around. Suicide thoughts… Alcohol. Now I’m lonely because I’m taking a break from all this bullshit. Fuck you, T.”
10. “Don’t be like me.”
“I was with her for 6 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 wasted at least those last two years. Love blinded me. I believed what I wanted to to be able to stay in the relationship.
Don’t be like me.”
11. A rough one.
“About 2 years ago I proposed to my gf at the time, we where dating for close to 4 years previous.
I had it all planned for months, take her to dinner and this nice flower park she loved and then pop the question. Everything went perfectly… untill the part where I got down on one knee and presented the ring.
Long story short she told me she couldn’t cus she was cheating on me on and off for a year and told me I deserved better we broke up and we dont talk anymore.”
“We were friends, and we were kinda dating, then we dated, then I proposed the idea, she said “hell no”, then we grew distant, then we met up randomly while traveling separately in London by chance and talked over a cup coffee.
I found out she really liked me but had understandable concerns about the idea of marriage (childhood/past relationships), Then we walked and talked some more, then we started dating again, became real close, closer than before, and now married and counting the days till our first child.”
13. The aftermath.
“She was an Art Major and I had just joined the Army. 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.
I ended up getting married to my best friend. We’ve been married for more than a decade and have a five year old son.”
14. A nice story.
“My mother told my father no three times. On the third time he got wasted at a local bar and basically started pouring his heart out to any one who’d listen.
Mind you, it’s a very small village in the Italian alps and my father barely spoke Italian and 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.”
Thanks to these people for opening up and sharing their stories with everyone.
Have you ever been in a situation like this?
If so, please share your story with us in the comments.
We look forward to hearing from you.