Should I Turn Down His Proposal?


engaged-but-unsureWhen it comes to accepting a marriage proposal, that’s certainly not the time to be impulsive. This isn’t as carefree as buying stilettos you can return if you change your mind a few days later. Marriage is meant to be for the long haul, and if you’re not ready, the commitment becomes monumentally more difficult.

People who commit too soon often act out by parting too much, cheating, drinking and sabotaging the relationship by not treating the other person well. We recently discussed this topic on our blog about the downside of long-term engagements. In the blog post, a woman explains how her relationship got worse after getting engaged because of her fiance’s behavior. Because he wasn’t ready to settle down, his behavior was negatively affecting the relationship.

In some situations, men and women may lose their sense of self if they take such a big step before they are mentally and emotionally prepared to do so. For example, it might be the right guy, but the wrong timing. Maybe you have a list of personal goals you want to achieve before walking down the aisle. The same goes for guys, too.

However, some women are afraid of the outcome of saying “no,” so they accept the proposal to spare their partner’s feelings. If you do accept a proposal and later regret it, it can lead to a broken engagement or more trouble down the line.

First of all, I give a lot of credit to any guy who asks a woman to marry him without being absolutely sure she’ll say yes. However, while I’ve always thought a proposal occurred after a couple had previously decided they wanted to be together forever, this is not always the case. If it does come as a surprise and you’re unsure how to respond when he pops the question, here are some tips on how to handle the situation:

The first thing you should ask yourself is what you’re doing in the relationship. If you realize it’s never going to happen, be up front about it. Don’t confuse the feeling of excitement in that moment with a feeling of insecurity.

Don’t give too many explanations. Be direct and say, “I’m sorry, I appreciate this, but I don’t feel the same way.” Tell him while he may be hurting, he doesn’t want you as much as he thinks he does because you aren’t the right one for him. Make a clean break.

Be honest. If you are thrown off by the timing of the proposal, tell him the question was unexpected and you need to get more comfortable with the idea. Tell him you really care about him, but you want to take marriage seriously and don’t want to jump into anything just yet.

If he loves you, he will wait. There is certainly no romantic way to turn down a man who just asked to spend the rest of his life with you, but just as Katherine Heigl‘s character needed a little more time to decide in Knocked Up, you, too, may not be ready right away. Before you reject him completely, decided whether or not this is someone you can see yourself marrying in the future. If it’s a person you do want to continue a relationship with, then tell him that.

Tell him how much better things will be when your relationship has had more time to grow. Reassure him that you have the rest of your lives to be together if you so choose, and if he wants to be with you forever, waiting a few months will feel like a blip on the screen.

If you realize he’s not the one, it’s important to express that for both of your sakes. Tell him how much the relationship meant to you and how difficult its it to break his heart, and explain you care too much to give him false hope for the future.

The bottom line is you should never accept a marriage proposal until you’re both ready, and you should definitely never settle when it comes to settling down. –-Jen Press

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Comments (5)


  1. allie says:

    I can’t imagine ever being in a scenario where I am forced to turn down a proposal! To be honest, I don’t think I ever dated anyone that I couldn’t see myself spending the rest of my life with. I mean, wouldn’t you just be wasting each others’ time? This seems more like a how-to guide for women who are afraid to commit. Sorry!

  2. I have to think this is really uncommon. I can see this happening in a rebound relationship where the guy is just blind to things, but not in a loving two-way relationship. Usually proposals aren’t a surprise. A lot of women tell the man when and where to propose to them these days.

  3. The One says:

    I think this is helpful, and it does make sense for people who are frank and willing to open their eyes to the truth….

  4. Tau says:

    I was in this situation, I knew him for a year. In that year we dated for 2 months consistantly, 6 months after the break up we started to see eachother here and there, he asked if I’d be ready to date soon and then like 3 weeks later he asked to marry me. I was so disheartened because I was looking forward to a fresh start to building something solid, and he just wanted marriage or nothing. I’m afraid I didn’t receive the proposal very well either, I was so shocked and he didn’t literally ask “Will you marry me?” It was just a convo abt marriage, I told him I’d think abt what he had said and then before I left he asked if I was saying “no”. I actually chuckled involuntarily, it was too strange. I was baffled and wondered if I should consider being with someone who didn’t get how wierd tht was. I loved him though, I loved him so much more than I had realized, I wish I had found this article back then.

  5. Kai says:

    I will not turn it down. I will accept and I look forward to a happy life with my soul mate. Someone who understands me and will make me happy. I will make him love life:)

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