18 Real Stories From People Who Experienced Failed Marriage Proposals

Kasia Mikolajczak
marriage proposal
Unsplash | Nathan Dumlao

Deciding to ask somebody to marry you is a huge undertaking. And you can't take it lightly. There could be planning involved and, of course, the anxiety that comes with all of it. But what happens when you go through it only to get rejected? OMG! I can't even imagine that.

It does happen, alright. So when a Reddit thread asked, "People of Reddit who have been denied when they proposed, why did it happen and what was the end result?" there sure were stories many interesting stories. Let's take a look at some of them, okay?

This Amazing Story

rainbow heart
Unsplash | Jiroe (Matia Rengel)

"I proposed after three-ish years of dating and one year of living together and she said 'no.' I was offering her my great-grandparent's wedding ring. That was Friday night. By Sunday night, after a trip to her parents, she came back and told me that she was gay. That was 22 years ago.

Since then I have been married for 16 years to the next woman I dated. My wife has the wedding ring that I offered to my ex. The gay girlfriend has been with her partner for nearly 22 years. I have a daughter and they have a girl and a boy. I love them and they are just the best people ever. This is a bullet we both dodged."

That's amazing, right?

This Emotional Ordeal

woman in the delivery room
Unsplash | Jimmy Conover

"My friend's parents met at a bar down the shore. Her dad was crazy about her mom, but it was unrequited. She slept with him anyway, just a one-night stand, and ignored him after that. Until she found out she was pregnant.

He was over the moon and she was intent on having the baby. He tried to be with her, but she consistently refused him. Proposed to her several times, ending in eye rolls and exasperated 'no' from her each time.

After 9 months, she went into labor and let him come with her into the delivery room. Just her and this guy who had been begging her to marry him. A few hours into labor, the doctors started to notice something was wrong. The baby's heartbeat was slowing rapidly. The mother started to panic, but the father stayed calm. He stayed with her and communicated information from the doctors. But there was little anyone could do. She delivered a stillborn. After everything happened, my friend's mom realized she had found her soulmate. They finally got together and are still married to this day."

Oh my goodness.

This Happy Ending

kids making hearts with their hands in the air
Unsplash | Melissa Askew

"She said 'no,' because she didn't think we were ready yet. She was a senior in college, I had graduated but hadn't found a good job in my field. After graduation, and her getting a professional job (And me getting a not quite so crappy job) We got married exactly 1 year later, on the anniversary of the day she said 'no' the first time. 19 years and four kids later, It's going pretty well."

All's well that ends well.

This Awkward Moment

man saying "awkward alert."

"Oh god. I have a story! My good friend was dating this guy for nearly two years.

I could tell things were getting a bit stale with them, one day when we went out to get lunch she told me that she was going to break it off with the guy. She seemed far more stressed about hurting the guy, he was an alright person in my book, but anyhoo she is telling me how she is going to do it and was asking for advice.

Right in the middle of me giving her some input, the guy comes in and looks a bit frantic, she must've told him that she was going there to meet me. He musters up the courage and walks right to our table, completely ignoring me, gets on one knee and pulls out the ring. The dude was shaking so much, and I was in awe of the worst timing ever, that my mouth was open in shock. People around that I was excited so everyone gathers around the table starts cheering, the guy asks my friend and my friend just got up and walked out to her car and drove off.

I almost died from second-hand embarrassment. All I remember is gasps and snickering from the people near me and he just sat in her place looking crushed. I didn't know what to say. I feel kinda bad so I just got the check ASAP and gave him a pat on the back. He is doing better, the last I heard, this has been about a year now. My friend is still recovering from the whole ordeal."

That must've been awkward to witness, huh?

This Confession

man looking shocked
Unsplash | krakenimages

"She said 'no' and then confessed that she had been sleeping with my brother. It ruined the trip a bit, to be honest."

Oh, yeah, I'd say so, ha, ha. I'm glad to hear this person wasn't all that affected by it. I would have been gutted.

This Break From Tradition

wedding couple in an Indian wedding
Pexels | Pexels

"From South India. Proposed to her and got rejected right away. The reason is her parents won't accept the marriage outside their caste. Long story short, I waited and she accepted me after three years, and took another five years to convince both our families. Married in 2011 and expecting our second child next month."

Ah, I love that. This is proof that true love conquers all.

This False Start

Unsplash | Barbara Šipek

"Dated this girl off and on for 12 years. Most recently we had been together six years. We're on a trip to the Philippines and we're swimming in this beautiful lagoon. I decide it's the perfect setting to propose. I begin with 'hey baby' and she must have heard it in my voice because she turned around and said 'doooon't do it.' Took the wind out of my sail real quick. She eventually said 'yes' a few months later in Australia."

Ha, ha, I had to laugh at this one.

This Role Reversal

woman and man kissing holding a heart balloon
Pexels | Pexels

"My dad proposed to my mom after they'd been seeing each other for just under two weeks. She laughed and basically told him he was crazy, that it was way too soon. My dad said, (and he is very proud of this fact,) 'Fine. I asked you once. I'm not gonna ask again.' My mom thought he was bluffing.

"fter a year of dating she started giving him a hard time about not asking her to get married again, and he stuck to his guns and said she missed her chance and he wasn't going to ask again. My mom finally broke down and asked him to marry her. Made sure she properly took the piss out of him when she did it, too. Made a big show about asking his father for permission, got down on one knee in public, got him the gaudiest engagement ring she could find. He said 'yes' and they just celebrated their 30th anniversary."

Aww, that's such a cute story, no?

This Wise Decision

safety deposit box
Amazon | Amazon

"I proposed after seven months of dating and she said 'no' as it was too soon. I agreed and put the ring in a safety deposit box and told her that if she changed her mind, it's there for her. After 2 weeks, she said 'yes' and we decided to have a long engagement period (2 years) so that we could be sure. We've been married for 37 years."

You see, persistence pays off.

This Dodged Bullet

couple on the beach at sunset
Unsplash | Igor Rodrigues

"Mine was more of a '[poop] or get off the pot' deal. We had been together on and off for five years. She kept coming back and telling me she couldn't live without me, then [would] get sick of [me] and drop me for a few months at a time. And make no mistake, I was a no-esteem whiner back then.

She knew I am the marrying type, but she could not commit. Finally, after I had moved into my own apartment away from roommates, she asked to move in. I basically countered with a marriage proposal, knowing in the back of my head she would likely say 'no.' That's what happened, and we never got back together. 18 months later, I met the woman of my dreams and now we have been happily married for over 15 years. Worked out just fine, thanks."

Glad to see everything worked out in the end.

This Rightful Decision

man in military uniform
Unsplash | Jeremy Bezanger

"I told my husband 'no' the first time he asked. We were drunk and hadn't been dating long, so I thought he was joking. He will swear to you that it was not a joke and that he would have taken me to Vegas that night if I'd said yes.

The second time I said no, he was on R&R from deployment and I think he asked because it felt like the right thing to do since I was waiting for him to get back so we could continue dating (and not seeing anyone else while he was gone), not because he really wanted to get married."

He asked again almost as soon as he got back and I said no again, to take a few months and decompress and just date for a little while. We kept dating and talking about it and decided the time was right about six months later.

I am SO GLAD I said no all those times. Not because he wasn't the right one, but because he was and I didn't want us to screw it up by getting married before we were both totally sure."

I think that was the right decision here.

This Cool Turn Of Events

hotel sign
Unsplash | Marten Bjork

"I asked her twice, over the course of 5 years. She said 'no' twice, so I told her I wouldn't ask again. Five years later she proposed to me in a hotel called 42 (I'm a huge Hitchhiker's Guide fan) using an iPod (I'm a huge gadget fan). I said 'yes.' Married for 12 years now."

Ha, ha, that's so cool, huh?

This Ultimate Love Story

woman who seems touched by a sweet gesture
Giphy | HBO Max

"My dad asked my mom to marry him the moment he met her. Not joking, I swear. My dad was an Air Force captain and my mom was a civilian worker when she became his secretary. Dad had a ring in his pocket for his girlfriend as he was going to propose that night. He decided to 'practice' on my mom, who flat out said 'no.' Apparently she elaborated with 'not while I'm your secretary and before the first date!'

Dad dumped the GF, mom transferred, they dated for two years, then she said 'yes.' They celebrated their 13 1/2 anniversary when he passed away from cancer 14 years ago. Every moment prior was filled with happiness and love."

This story warmed my heart.

These Sweethearts

red Mustang car
Pexels | Pexels

"My dad proposed to my mom in the 8th grade. It was her first day after moving from out of state and her first class. When she sat down he walked over and said 'I'm gonna marry you,' she said 'no, go away.' They didn't see each other beyond that class till they were 19.

He saw her when he was 'cruising the strip' at Sonic (that was the cool thing to do, park at Sonic while the car train turned around) asked for her number. He had no paper so he scratched it on the roof of his 69 Mustang (it was primed). They have been married with three kids for 37 years now.

Also years later, my dad saw his old mustang painted candy red and you could still see my mom's name and number plain as day."

Holy moly, eh?

This Blast From The Past

Facebook logo amongst other app logos
Pexels | Pexels

"In 1988, I asked the love of my life to marry me. She said no. In a funk, I left town and went on with my life. Married another girl, had a son, years went by. My marriage was pretty bad, so after 16 years we divorced.

My friends convinced me to join Facebook; they said it would help meet girls and stuff. A few months into FB, I get a PM from the past. The love of my life had also married, had kids, and divorced. This is 25 years after my proposal and her rejection. There's a lot more to the story, but six months after that first PM on FB we were married and I was happy for the first time in decades. We are still going strong, with our sixth anniversary coming up in a few weeks."

Will you take a look at that? Pretty incredible, right?

This Persistent Soul

man putting a ring on a woman's finger
Unsplash | Andre Jackson

"I proposed after dating my girlfriend for two years. I was about to graduate college and move away, and she was a year behind me. I had the ring, everything perfectly planned, we discussed our future together. When I proposed, she initially said yes. About half an hour later, she seemed off. I asked her if anything was wrong, and she said she needed to think. We talked for awhile, and then she said changed her answer. She said we were too young, she wanted to be on her own for awhile, to be independent, etc... Jokes on her though, because now we're married.

To explain, yes, we are married to each other (and she does know). We stayed together afterward and another year later I proposed again, that time with a longer lasting success."


This Dramatic End

person holding phone with text messaging open
Unsplash | Oleg Magni

"I was proposed to and said 'no.' After four weeks of dating he got down on his knee with a HUGE diamond ring and said a huge speech along the lines of 'when you know you know. Will you marry me?' Since I barely knew the guy I flat out said no followed by 'sorry...are you okay?'

He didn't speak to me for the rest of the night and then when he dropped me home I told my roommate about it. As I was telling her about it I get a text from him - YES A TEXT - saying 'you've broken my heart. I never want to see you again. Goodbye. I love you.' We were both 22 at the time."

Ah, young love. It's so dramatic, right?

This Heartbreaking Story

man saying "heartbroken."
Giphy | Bachelor in Paradise

"Eight years ago. It's been eight years. We had known each other for five years, dated for three and a half. Every single day I saw her was the best day of my life. We met while working at a pizza chain and had gotten close at work. I eventually worked up the courage to ask her out (even though it was awfully frowned upon as she was a driver and I was a manager). She said yes and we went to a party together and literally didn't talk to a single other soul that night. I was hooked.

We dated for a year and then moved in together. I can still see her face perfectly, even that long ago. Her family was wonderful, her father, an esteemed professor at a nearby college, and her mother was a cancer survivor with a heart of gold. Everything just seemed to fit. And I knew that I wanted to be with her forever. After dating for three years, I finally popped the question. I had set up a normal night in, ordered a pizza, and had a nice little night in. We had a cat, Triumph, a nice little apartment, the whole shebang. I had tied a little pillow with the ring onto Tri and sat her in the other room while my lady was in the bathroom. When she got back, I called for the cat and she came in, pillow and all on her back. I proposed and she burst into tears, saying she was sorry, and ran out of the apartment.

I tried desperately to reach her, through family, friends, any way imaginable. I finally heard back from her sister after 3 days. Her entire family knew and I was apparently, I was the only person out of the loop. She was diagnosed with a very aggressive terminal brain cancer, just three days prior to me proposing. I was gutted. For so many reasons, but I could understand why she didn't tell me. After I had proposed, she told her sister that she had decided not to put me through that but I didn't care. I would have stayed with her to the end of the earth. I tried night and day to contact her to no avail.

She died just five weeks after I had proposed. I have never felt more lost and alone than I did at her funeral. Her family was very comforting but I began to hate myself. Thinking that it was something that I had done to scare her away, making her believe that I would leave her if she told me when it couldn't have been further from the truth."

OMG, I'm honestly tearing up reading this unbelievable story.

Wow, I definitely wasn't expecting that.

bride and groom
Unsplash | Євгенія Височина

It's pretty amazing that most of these stories ended up with the people still getting married. Isn't that incredible? I definitely got emotional reading a few of these, especially this last one. That one made me feel so sad. I truly hope this man can still find somebody who can ease his pain. I sincerely wish him that. Do you have a special love story that started with a 'no' to a proposal you can share with us?