Those public proposal videos gone wrong on YouTube are some of the most painful things you can watch.

Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t imagine putting someone on the spot and asking them to marry me on camera at a basketball game or a county fair or any other kind of public place.

Because what happens if it goes wrong?


Why did you turn down a marriage proposal?

Women shared their stories on AskReddit.

1. Too young.

“We were 19 & 21 and had been together for 2 years. He took me to Paris, pulled out all the stops and proposed under the Eiffel Tower.

I told him it wasn’t a no, it was a not yet (if he would wait). I wanted to travel and knew I was too young for marriage.

We ended up traveling together, making amazing memories through the years – we got engaged when I was 24 and married when I was 27 in the most perfect service and have been happily married 4 years next week!”

2. Uh oh.

“Only dating very briefly. He proposed in a restaurant, with a terrifyingly large ring, and provided me a pdf copy of his tax return so I could see he would be a good provider.

Everything he did told me he hadn’t really ever listened to me or got to know me properly.

I said yes in the restaurant, to avoid causing embarrassment, and called it all off afterwards. He turned into an obsessive stalker and I had to get an AVO in the end.”

3. Let’s get serious.

“We were dating for about 4 years, and were in our early 20s.

I felt unsure about our rest-of-life compatibility and suggested we needed to have some serious conversations to work out our plans moving forward after Uni. All of these conversations made me increasingly sure we were incompatible.

Surprise surprise, they made him increasingly sure about the future and he wanted to get married. We were literally doing the deed under a lit Christmas tree at 3am and he asked me to marry him.

I said we weren’t ready, bad plan. He still didn’t have any idea what that would look like or how we would work out some fairly serious things around our location, jobs, etc.

Eventually I got tired of saying no to a marriage I didn’t think would work, and felt pushed and trapped… so I broke up with him. We remain friends; I was a bridesmaid in his wedding a couple years ago. It was the right choice.”

4. Over the phone…

“A friend from high school whom I had known for about a year proposed to me while I was in my first semester of college.

The proposal was made over the phone, long distance (this was in the late 1960’s). I never saw him as more than a great friend. My Mom thought he was really great which was nice but, no reason to basis a marriage. He really was a nice guy and we had fun together but, I was not “in love” with him.

A few years ago I found out that he d**d of cancer in the mid 1980’s and I was sorry to learn of his d**th. We did not keep in touch and I only saw him once after the proposal and he had married a lovely woman who I thought suited him. Seems I was wrong as she divorced him at some point.”

5. Not a fun story.

“I was 19, and I was a mess.

I’d recently been r**ed, and wasn’t getting therapy. My father had been diagnosed as terminally ill with lung cancer. I was extremely depressed. And I was dating a guy I didn’t like, because I was having trouble saying no to anything to do with s** or relationships since I just felt like trash after being r**ed.

…..and then I got pregnant. The guy I was dating heavily pressured me into having s** without a condom ‘just this once’ and I didn’t feel like I had the right to say no (I was feeling extremely guilty about the r**e).

I knew at once I wanted to ab**t. I couldn’t take care of myself, let alone a baby. But the guy wanted the baby, and proposed to me. He had this dream that I would be his 1950s style stay at home wife and he would go to work to provide for us. I offered to have the baby if he would look after it, but he refused that option.

I said no, of course. I had an ab**tion and have never regretted it. We broke up immediately.

It’s not exactly a fun story, but it’s a real one.”

6. Worked out in the end.

“We had been together for about four years I think, and he just kinda popped it out of the blue, like “we should get married” style. So I was like “are you asking me?” And he said yeah, so I said no lol

Basically we were both punky street kids and I just didn’t want to get married, because marriage is just a contract ofc. So I rolled my eyes at him but I was secretly very flattered.

We stayed together pretty much for years and he ask me a few more times over the course of that, and well, after about ten years he finally wore me down and I said “OK, I guess it doesn’t matter.”

Which was as close as I think I was ever going to get to saying yes to anyone – lol – he is definitely the only guy that could have worn me down like that.

We are still together, 16 years since I first said no.”

7. Nah.

“He bought me a ring as a Christmas present. The proposal came the day after with him saying “by the way, that’s an engagement ring”.

He tried the same thing again the year after. Told him both times that if he couldn’t even ask me whether I wanted to actually marry him or not, I didn’t want the rings.”

8. Glad it’s over.

“My ex was an a**sive narcissist. I was 21 (very naive, first relationship) he was 54 and divorced.

I had been gaslit and pushed into the relationship but didn’t realize that until later. He demanded keys to my apartment and passwords but refused to give me his and a whole list of c**p like this. Now I wouldn’t put up with it but at the time I did. He proposed at 11 months but by then he was verbally and emotionally a**sive and had come close to hitting me.

My sperm donor father was a very a**sive al**holic so I only have memories of his BS and I knew I didn’t want to repeat the a**se cycle. My mom, Grandma, and Aunt have all had a**sive husband’s and I didn’t want it to continue with me.

Once ex-bf became a**sive I warned him to knock that s**t off or I’d leave. He proposed after calling me a stupid **tch. I followed through. I changed the locks in my apartment and my passwords. He actually CALLED me after I changed my passwords screaming about it. I broke up with him, why the hell is he trying to get into my stuff??

After a few weeks of me refusing to go back to him he contacted my boss and accused me of stealing and contacted the fire department I volunteered with and accused me of endangering my team to showboat and get attention. Thankfully both believed me over him and he was blacklisted. He tried to show up several more times at FD events and he was always immediately escorted off property.

I’m still glad I got rid of that a**hole.”

9. This is brutal.

“I was 20 and he was 26. I was with him since I was 16 and through out the years we were together he was a**sive and controlling.

When I ended it, I went on my first spring break trip with my friends and he showed up at the airport. He thought he was cute proposing in front of everyone. I said no and walked away.

I told him if he followed me I would scream for help. Friends caught on with the awkward exchange and hid me until we boarded.

Found out my mom told him because she LOVED him and when he said he wanted to marry me she gave my status away.”

10. Feels different this time.

“I was 16 and he said I could go to college once we were done having kids. He had 12 siblings. I thought we’d never be done having kids.

I’ve been with my husband for 40 years but we’ve only been married 8. When we were young we decided we didn’t need a piece of paper to prove we were in love and wouldn’t get married. Work started requiring me to travel and live away from the family for chunks if time.

A friend of his convinced him he should propose to remind me that I had a family when I was off on my own. He proposed but I said no. I didn’t need a ring to remind me. Despite having all sorts of paperwork done, after a health scare we realized that it would be easier if we were married.

Honestly I wish I would have said yes the first time he asked. I can say what has changed. But if just feels different. I like calling him my husband knowing that he is.”

11. Lay off the booze.

“Childhood sweetheart and boyfriend in Paris asked me to marry him during a dr**k night out. Said we should move to Vietnam and start a movie company. I thought he was joking.

When I said no, he went on a 5 day drinking binge. I had said no because I knew he was al**holic. Well, fast forward 20 yrs, he now lives in Vietnam, has a movie company, stopped drinking and happily married.

Good on him! Apart from the al**holism, he was a great guy! Glad he realized his dream.”

12. Gotta follow your own path.

“We were high school sweethearts.

Even though we’d dated since the second month of our freshman year of high school, I had zero assumptions that we’d get married or even stay together after high school. Everyone including him was adamantly encouraging me to follow him to the university he was going to and I was d**d set on going to a very different school that everyone deemed beneath me.

Our families held a joint graduation party for us at his family’s house after we did the official school walk/diploma thing. I was asked to grab something upstairs from his room.

When I came back to the top of the stairs and looked down EVERY MEMBER (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, parents) of both of our families was standing on the bottom floor looking up at me expectantly as he knelt at the bottom of the stairs with the ring. I was shocked.

I didn’t want to come down the stairs but I did, shaky-legs trembling from adrenaline. I started crying which was misinterpreted as a yes and everyone cheered. I grabbed him and ran out the front door. We talked and I told him we weren’t on the same page and I just couldn’t go back in there. He was devastated. I left the party.

Unbeknownst to everyone (including him) I was planning to leave to work abroad for the summer. I was keeping it a secret so that no one could talk me out of it and and I was going abroad primarily so I wouldn’t have to deal with more pressure to switch schools over the summer.

So when I left the party, I decided that rather than wait to leave until the next morning, I’d just get my stuff together and go now. I was out of the house within the hour having left pre-written notes for everyone letting them know I’d contact them when I got where I was going.

Pretty much everyone was livid with me. I’ll admit that literally running away from the pressure and continued conversations I didn’t want to have was not the most grown up thing to do, but I still maintain it was the right thing for me to do.

How many times can you calmly tell people to let you lead the life you want only to have them not listen to you and tell you they know better, insist you live your life according to their wishes?

I’d reached my limit and that trip allowed me to assert my independence, find myself and my own voice. I came back a new person and I believe I’ve had a much a happier life for following my own path.”

Have you ever turned down a marriage proposal?

Or been turned down?

If so, please share your stories with us in the comments.