15 Times Marriage Proposals Went So Horribly Wrong That All I Can Do Is Cringe

Deciding to propose to someone takes a lot of courage. So when the S.O. says no, it can be devasting. Apparently, it happens a lot because when Reddit user u/TheBamtotheFoozle asked, "Guys who got told 'No' during a failed marriage proposal, what happened afterward?", over 14 thousand people provided their stories. Here's what some of them had to say:

1."My 7th-grade teacher brought his girlfriend to school to propose to her in front of our entire class, and she said no. It was the topic of discussion almost every day that year. He ended up moving schools at the end of the year."

Classroom with empty desks and chairs, various school supplies on the desks, and French writing on the chalkboard

2."She was graduating with her master's; I still had two years left for my PhD. I floated the idea privately, and she said, 'If you ask me formally, I will say yes. But if you really love me, give me a year to prove to myself that I can live on my own.' I said, 'No problem.' She moved to her job down in New Jersey. The next I heard of her, she was engaged to another guy I knew. I took that as 'another bullet dodged, another life lesson learned.'"


3."It was not my own experience, but I was in the restaurant when a failed proposal happened. Somehow, the guy was able to get the families involved in this fancy dinner without the woman's knowledge of what was going to happen. He ordered their drinks, where he had the ring cleaned and then placed at the bottom of her pina colada drink. She gets up and goes to the bathroom, and that’s when some of her family moved in close, with their cameras and phones ready for the proposal. She comes back, and the drinks are brought. She refuses the drink — much to his dismay — but doesn’t get the hint."

A piña colada in a glass garnished with a pineapple slice and a straw, with a whole pineapple in the background on a wooden board

4."My mom's boyfriend proposed to her three months into dating. She was 40, had one disastrous marriage and subsequent divorce under her belt by that time, and felt like it was too soon in the relationship to talk about marriage. He accepted her no but said he wouldn't ask again, and he hasn't. They've been together for 25+ years now and have never married."


5."We'd been joking around about it for months. I'd ask sarcastically in the most un-romantic way. She'd say no, we'd laugh and move on with our day. I'd apparently conditioned her so well that when I asked for real, she flippantly turned me down, and everyone around me either gasped or got this really awkward look on their faces. She changed her tune shit quickly when she actually looked and saw me holding the ring. We've been married for 17 years now. Good times."

A person holding an open ring box with an engagement ring inside, seemingly preparing for a proposal

6."She told me 'No, but wait awhile and ask again, and I think it will be yes.' We're still married."


"She did the magic eight ball 'Ask Again Later.'”


7."I got everything ready, and she said, 'No, at least not right now.' And it sorta muted the rest of the weekend. Several people heard I was gonna ask and congratulated me the next week. It was surreal to inform them that she said no. It should have been a wake-up call to end it there, but neither of us wanted to. We were our first everything, and we had a lot of history. I guess I thought it would just work out, but her reservations about being married at that time never really went away. I admitted that both of us wanted exclusive things — our lives were headed in opposite directions, and compromise just meant someone was going to be resentful."

Two people sit close, holding each other's hands gently in a supportive gesture

8."My friend proposed once, but she said no. It was very early in their relationship. She said she only feels comfortable marrying him if he bought a house first. 10 years later, he’s afraid to ask her again because she has a standard of how she wants to be proposed with a firework show, a tropical beach area with all her friends watching, and a big diamond-sized ring like the videos she’s seen on TikTok, but now, all of her friends are getting married around her so she now wants him to propose again. It’s a weird waiting game for both of them."


9."We were high school sweethearts, off and on again through college and after. Nine years in total. We planned a trip, and as we left, she said, 'I hope you aren't going to ask me to marry you.' The ring stayed in the bag, and I tried to enjoy the awkward trip. I was pretty devastated. She got married to someone about six months after that (I know). A few years later, I met someone with whom I understood what a relationship should be. I traded in the original ring and have been married for 19 years now. Both she and my two kids are amazing, and I'm super thankful things worked out the way they did."

A hand pulling a suitcase with a straw hat on top, palm trees, and an airplane in the background, suggesting travel, possibly for a honeymoon

10."We dated for three years. He was, I thought, the love of my life. I locked eyes with him, and as I was about to open my mouth and say, 'Will you marry me?' he said, 'We need to break up”.' He met someone else. They have been married for two years, and it turns out I’m into women. We DO NOT speak, but I wish him the best."


11."A good friend of mine, who was only 19 at the time, heard from her parents that her boyfriend of about four months was going to propose at midnight on New Year in front of her entire family. She was terrified and didn't want to say yes, but her parents were super insanely strict and threatened to throw her out of the house if she didn't say yes. I called her (I was drunk) at 11:58 p.m. and kept her on the phone for about 10 minutes, telling her bad jokes and getting every single person at the party I was at to say Happy New Year to her. It ruined the moment for the guy, and he never asked. Oops, I ruined New Year's Eve 1991 for Kevin."

A joyous group of people celebrating with confetti flying through the air. The occasion is festive, but individual identities are not specified
Aleksandarnakic / Getty Images

12."I'm not a man (bi F), but I proposed to my girlfriend at the time. To be fair, there were a lot of complicating factors in our relationship, but regardless, I was head over heels in love with her and wanted to marry her. She said no. Our relationship continued for about a year, and I hoped that she would come around to wanting to marry me. We had... too many conversations about the seriousness of our relationship. Each time, she would say, 'Why can't you just get over it?' I eventually ended it when I finally realized that she just didn't love me the way I did her and that I deserved better. Unfortunately, that took longer than it should have to realize, but I'm one that if things end between us, then it's fully over. And I didn't want to do it prematurely. Everything worked out well, though. My now husband asked me to marry him, and we've been happy for almost ten years now."


13."Not me, but a proposal I saw: I was vacationing in Las Vegas back in 2006 with my then family. The day after Christmas, we saw a magic show. About halfway through the performance, the magician had a young woman from the audience come up and assist with some tricks. He did the meet and greet with her: she was on vacation with her boyfriend’s family, and blah, blah. The magician does his thing, and then suddenly, the boyfriend appears out of some box that was deceptively empty just a second ago."

Las Vegas skyline at night featuring the illuminated MSG Sphere, casinos, resorts, and the High Roller Ferris wheel

14."I found out she had been dating a friend I had helped her to meet. Later, he proposed to her in a restaurant where a buddy and I had gone to eat. Worst coincidence ever. I ended up hearing the restaurant clap and whoop for them. Fortunately, we were on the other side of the restaurant, and that was the extent of it. Well, until they passed me on the highway when I was driving home. Second worst coincidence ever. It was like having someone step on your broken foot. Of course, they got married and then divorced because he had a wandering eye and followed up on it. As for me, I got married a lot later. My wife and I have been through plenty of medical issues together, but we’ve survived and are still happy together — but man, that prior experience was brutal."


15."I realized ten seconds later that she actually said, 'You know I will.' And she's just really quiet when she talks."

Person covering their mouth in surprise during a marriage proposal; they are indoors with string lights in the background
Skynesher / Getty Images

Have you experienced or witnessed a marriage proposal fail? Tell us what happened in the comments below.