What Happens When Someone Says "No" to a Marriage Proposal?

Updated on September 4, 2018
Emily Margaret profile image

Margaret has a degree in Fashion and Marketing. She currently works in bridal. Interactions with her clients inspire her articles.

Rejection of a marrage proposal can be a confusing time for many couples.
Rejection of a marrage proposal can be a confusing time for many couples. | Source

Should You Break Up After a Failed Marriage Proposal?

This can only be answered by the couple involved. While many people may feel tremendous pressure to end the relationship after a failed marriage proposal, it is important to remember that a "no" for now is not a no forever. Marriage should happen when you both feel that the time is right, and not feeling that the time is right doesn't invalidate the love that you share.

Asking someone you love to marry you can be difficult. It often involves weeks or months of planning, though for some it's as simple as feeling that the moment is right. Feeling rejection is going to be emotionally hurtful even though the love that they felt is still there.

Rejecting a proposal is also difficult. Many people feel anxious or scared by even the idea of having to reject a proposal. If you love the person asking and do intend to spend your lives together it can be hard to say no even if you do not feel that the time is right. There can be fear of embarrassing their partner, themselves, or their families who may have gathered to witness the proposal.

The discussion of breaking up will likely come up, as well as possibly considering taking some time off to decide if they are at the same place in their lives. As a couple, you will have to explore why one of you wants to get married and why the other is not ready to do so.

Emotions will be running high and it is important to remember that your reaction may change once you have calmed down.
Emotions will be running high and it is important to remember that your reaction may change once you have calmed down. | Source

What Do You Do After a Failed Proposal?

If you do decide to stay together, it can be challenging to decide what your next step should be. It can be good to discuss the situation with a trusted friend or loved one and ask that they speak with anyone who is aware of the failed proposal until you make your decision. Once you have made your decision it, reach out to anyone that you feel should know about the situation.

It is very common for couples to break up temporarily. While an initial overreaction is stressful, it is also very common. There can be a lot of pressure on everyone involved, and they may feel at first that a failed proposal means a failed relationship. This, however, is not the case. There is no hard rule for all couples, though it may take time to realize this.

Step one should always be to process your feelings. If you do not understand your feelings, you will not know how to discuss them with each other. After figuring out what you want to say, you can speak to each other to say what you need to. Therapy or speaking with someone you both trust can help you to work through your feelings and get the most out of your communication. When tensions are high, an expert can help you to communicate what you mean to say to your partner instead of what you may accidentally say out of stress or from being too overwhelmed.

It can be hard to know what to do with the ring after a failed proposal.
It can be hard to know what to do with the ring after a failed proposal. | Source

What Do You Do With the Engagement Ring if You Break Up?

Even if you don't break up it is very common for the person who purchased the ring to return it or resell it if they purchased from a store with no returns. Some couples who do not choose to break up may choose to use it as a promise ring, or to save it for when they are ready to get engaged, but this is less common.

After a breakup, the engagement ring is generally returned to the person who purchased it. If it was passed down by family, it will often return to the relative that it came from. It is not uncommon at all for the initial reaction to be "I don't want the ring back" upon an attempt to return it, though this will likely change after the giver has had time to calm down.

Most people will attempt to sell an unwanted ring. The timeline will depend on when they are emotionally ready, and if they need money due to expenses relating to the breakup. If you sell the ring to a store you will only receive a small portion in return. If you are not in need of the money urgently, there are several websites where you can sell your ring for a higher amount than a store would offer you by selling directly to someone seeking a ring.

The path of life can be winding or clear.
The path of life can be winding or clear. | Source

There are a lot of decisions that have to be made when a proposal doesn't work out. It is an experience just like any other in life, and while it is hard, you will be stronger for it. Figuring out what to do can be confusing, stressful, and frustrating, but at the end of the day, it propels you forward on your path regardless of the choices that you make after the initial proposal. The important thing is to take your time, think clearly, and choose what is best for you.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


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    • profile image

      The Real Truth Is 

      3 months ago

      Most women today are very high maintenance, have very high standards, very selfish, greedy, spoiled, picky, narcissists, cheaters, can't commit to only one man at all, gold diggers, very money hungry as well altogether. And the list goes on and on as well. These are very excellent reasons why so many of us good single men can't find love at all today, and that is why we always get rejected. And these are the type of women that will always want the very best of all, and will never ever settle for less.

    • Emily Margaret profile imageAUTHOR


      21 months ago from New York, New York

      This article isn't gendered and is intended to be relevant to anyone dealing with proposal rejection, regardless of their gender or orientation.

      If you have recently rejected a proposal due to your feelings on proposals, I hope that you found some information in the article that is helpful for you! Feeling empowered in refusing any unwanted proposal is important for people of all genders and orientations!

    • profile image


      22 months ago

      So in this age of "equality",the actual truth that in the ages of 20 to 31 ,women outearn men by 8% and more men are losing work in their job sector,PLUS 70% of divorces are initiated by the women ,this in spite of the modern women cheating just to get her husband to file for divorce- not to mention divorce court and parental rights total bias- and yet modern empowered women expect men to still approach and propose?


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