Five Reasons Why You Should Say “No” to That Marriage Proposal

May 6, 2008 by Anne Lyken Garner  
Published in Dating

If maintaining a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship seems like hard work, living with him as a husband when he no longer feels like he has to impress you will be almost impossible. No one has to get hitched, but if marriage is on your agenda and you are caught in a relationship with a man whose proposal you can’t trust, it might be time to consider the less painful of two possibilities, marry him and hope for the best, or move on to look for the man who is still out there waiting for you to find him.

Because divorce is so readily available and the new age stronger woman is now contented with a different kind of “semi-committed” relationship, it is easier for men, who still do the majority of the proposals, to take longer to do so if at all.

Has this 21st-century wave of much coveted, en vogue independence really worked in our favour, or has it served to show our male counterparts that we find them slightly redundant and don’t need them to commit to us? When they finally pluck up the courage to do so, (and like our great grandmothers, most of us still wait for them to) are they proposing for the right reasons? If not, unlike some of our female ancestors, we have the option, the freedom, and the following reasons to decline the offer.

1. Does he just want to stop you from leaving him?

Wait to say yes if he is proposing just after a major fight during which you threatened to leave. He is merely employing a desperate measure to make you stay put in a relationship that is obviously fraught with issues. If he really means it he will ask again.

2. Is it because he feels guilty after cheating?

Be suspicious if he proposes soon after you discovered that he’s cheated. He is simply feeling guilty and obviously knows he’s messed up big time, so much so that he takes a reckless gamble at the only thing which he thinks might appease you, a flippant proposal. Later, he might be regretting it as you show off your diamond ring, but by then it’s too late for him to back out. Needless to say, this is not a recipe for a successful marriage.

3. Is it due to a rush of lust?

Decline his proposal if he does it in the throngs of passion. He is on a testosterone high and you satisfy his lusts. He may temporarily not be able to differentiate between lust and love, as it is quite easy to get the two mixed up when hormones are flying high.

4. Is he known for having several fiancés?

You know what your chances are of a loving and stable marriage if you’re with a serial proposer. If he’s had more than two or three fiancées, or worse, more than two or three ex-wives, take a giant step back! It is possible that he is fascinated by marriage or weddings. Make sure that he is certain this time, then when you have, wait a while longer before taking him seriously.

5. Does he ever follow-up?

If you are with a procrastinator, he may have no intention of following up with a wedding date after the engagement. Some blokes are happy to remain in the fiancée/live-in lover arrangement for decades as it allows them to have you hanging on with a partial commitment, while leaving the door open to facilitate a rapid step out in case someone better flits along. Unless you don’t mind this arrangement, you could be his fiancée but never actually see the perpetual waiting chapel.

We all have a sense of – let’s call it intuition – we know if a guy is good for us maybe after a few dates. We sometimes hold on a while longer, for different reasons. Getting it right before the nuptials is so important because by then it will involve more than just our lives. This union usually involves kids, assets, extended family etc. Breaking up might be heart wrenching but getting divorced is ten times worse. Marriage is certainly not to be plunged into on the off chance of success.

Our reaction to an instinctive proposer makes him a future ex-boyfriend or an ex-husband. The onus is on us to decide which is the lesser of the two evils. Remember, if maintaining a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship seems like hard work, living with him as a husband when he no longer feels like he has to impress you will be almost impossible. No one has to get hitched, but if marriage is on your agenda and you are caught in a relationship with a man whose proposal you can’t trust, it might be time to consider the less painful of two possibilities, marry him and hope for the best, or move on to look for the man who is still out there waiting for you to find him.

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31 Responses to “Five Reasons Why You Should Say “No” to That Marriage Proposal”
  1. Judy Sheldon Says:

    Good honest tips, and that’s what it takes to be objective about one of the things that is the hardest to be objective about.

    Thanks, Anne.

  2. louie jerome Says:

    Mmmm…no comment!

  3. IcyCucky Says:

    These are absolutely five best reasons not to get married..

  4. G Says:

    I am a 35 years old . very good looking, smart and successful. I want to get married but i am really afraid of the idea. i dont have a girlfriend because i feel i am not ready for this. this is quiet scary, especially in my age to let someone go into your life and change your habits. on the other hand, i dont want to be lonely and i want to have kids. i love kids and i believe i have so much love and wisdom to give them. i dont know. i am not expecting to some new ideas here. just felt like sharing. feel free to comment…

    thanks Anne. i like your writing.

  5. Nick Kenney Says:

    Excellent advice here Anne! I’d say to walk away from any guy that cheats because once a cheater always a cheater.
    Sadly, so many guys are dirtbags just looking for one thing…

  6. Anne Lyken-Garner Says:

    Hi G,I know you’ve heard of women’s intuition. Women your age have perfected it down to a fine art and know (if they’re looking for a marrying type) the men who’re not. They can smell them out. I know that this is funny but it’s true. Even I, a married woman, can still sniff the difference between a marrying type and the man who’s scared of that sort of relationship after one ordinary conversation.

    The reason I’m saying all this is to say this: The women you date (probably women themselves looking to settle down) can tell that you are scared of this huge step and are uncertain about your readiness for it.

    You probably haven’t been lucky to meet the right woman as yet. (You’re still young at 35) because if you did, you wouldn’t have minded her changing your life, as it could only have been for the better – love, romance, joy, kids, security etc.

    Unless you’re OCD (which I doubt) having to hang your favourite suit in the wardrobe in the spare room is nothing compared to having a woman who truly loves you at your side. A woman who would bear your children and grow grey hairs together with you.

    The first step is to find out WHY you’re scared of the idea of marriage and tackle this. If you’ve had negative experience with marriage by observing someone else’s marriage mistakes, know that this can serve you in either of two ways.

    One – You will not have learned anything from the mistakes you observed and ignorantly commit the very same ones again. Or two – you would be wise and allow that person’s mistakes to show you what NOT to do in your own fabulous marriage.

    I know which one I’d pick.

    Best,
    Anne
    p.s thanks for the compliment.

  7. G Says:

    thank you Anne.

  8. Shames Says:

    Anne,
    Thanks for the article! Good information worth considering before getting married.

  9. Alexa Gates Says:

    good reasons not to get married :)

  10. Ruby Hawk Says:

    There are worse things than being single and divorce is a painful thing to go through. Be as sure as you can before you take that final step then jump in whole heartedly, and give it your best. Don’t expect your partner to be perfect. You are not perfect either. You both will have to forgive a lot. Talk to each other and never go to bed angry.

  11. valli Says:

    Good reasons.

  12. MindIt Says:

    I think you hit the nail on its head when you talked about intuition. A woman would inavariably know if the guy is good for marriage. She gets into trouble when she doesn’t trust her intuitions and somehow keeps hoping against hope.

  13. G.C. Says:

    I turned down 2 marriage proposals for the very reasons you’ve delineated. It’s true, marry wrong and you’re in for trouble for the rest of your life. Marry right and you’ll have eternal bliss. I’ve been divorced once. Divorce is not worth the trouble.

  14. Karen Gross Says:

    Ben Franklin said it best: “Go into marriage with your eyes wide open, and live in marriage with them half shut.” We tend to do the reverse. Remember that all the idiosyncracies you think are so cute when you are dating may drive you nuts when you are married. Divorce is much too easy in our society, and the damage it does can impact generations to come. God invented marriage, and He seems to think it is pretty important.

  15. Anne Lyken-Garner Says:

    Thanks everyone, for reading this article and for taking the time off to leave a comment also.

  16. Josephine Assini Says:

    I am 34 and recently ended a relationship with a 40 year old man, who insisted that I move in with him the first month we started dating, he even cleaned his closet and drawer for me and went as far as picking out where my flat screen would go. Aside from great sexual chemistry and fun workouts, we constantly fought about living together, I never mentioned it but it was always on the top of his conversation list. Our breakup this past weekend comes from an ultimadum to either have his baby or get out of his life. Funny thing is is a week prior to this he showed me a ring that he bought for me. I went into this relationship with no promises to him and complete honesty, I feel very betrayed and so happy that I followed my gut, something tells me that he is in trouble n is looking for an escape through me. Wow never met a man who wanted a baby more than myself.

  17. Anne Lyken-Garner Says:

    Ah Josephine, yours is a strange story indeed.

    I’ve never heard of an ultimatum like that, even from a biologically-clock-ticking-crazy thirty-something woman.

    He wasn’t right for what you needed in your life, but spare him a thought. He’s just loved up and mad about having a family and kids.

    You may not have loved him (which is why your decision to leave was the best one you could make), but I have a feeling that some day this 40-year old baby-crazy man would make a loyal husband and a doting old dad.

    I’m curious as to if he’s ever mentioned marriage. If he wants to have a baby, he’s going to have to up his game to marriage NOT just moving in. Maybe he’ll find a 39 year-old woman who’s just as desperate for a baby. I know how sad and unhappy not being able to procreate can make some people, so I think I understand your ex a little bit.

    Nevertheless, that’s not for you. You are still young. It was wise of you to hold out for love and romance.

  18. Athlyn Green Says:

    Another great article, Anne–and what good advice–really made me stop and think about relationships in a whole new light.

  19. Single female at 32 Says:

    This article is pretty good but unfortunately I am trying to get my long term boyfriend to propose in the first place!

  20. Sweet Suzanna Says:

    My boyfriend is 34. We’ve been together going on seven months. We have a WONDERFUL relationship and no man has ever treated me better. It took him 6 months to tell me he loved me. I already knew, though, by the way he treats me. However when he said it he made some statement afterward about how that didn’t mean he knew about the future or that he would never hurt me. I come from a background of childhood abandonment by my father and have been hurt by two previous relationships. He says he knew that and didn’t want to be another guy in my life who told me they loved me and hurt me. It was as if he were giving himself a disclaimer by saying “I”m not making any promises”. I guess he thought saying I love you indicated thoughts of marriage?
    Anyway…he often brings up statements like “when we’re 80…” and follows with “if we work out and are still together” etc. I told him the other night that I was becoming less afraid of opening up and trusting our relationship. He became uncomfortable and nervous. I didn’t feel he was irritated but he did tell me he didn’t like to talk about relationship stuff. This amazes me because we talk about EVERYTHING all the time. I am beginning to fear that I should pull back and not assume that because he’s 34, loves me and treats me well that he is going to want to get married. He has mentioned marriage in his life and wants children…but if I bring it up he gets nervous. Does anyone think that I am wasting my time if I want the marrying kind to continue with a man who seems so afraid of the things I want? Or is it too soon to tell? I’m just afraid of getting hurt again and I’m opening myself up to him and fear that my heart could be broken.

  21. Anne Lyken Garner Says:

    Dear Suzanna,
    This guy sounds like he has a serious commitment phobia. He is very tentative about expressing feelings, and even when he does, he has to quantify and qualify them so that you wouldn’t think he’s crazy in love with you. I wonder why?

    You have to decide first of all, that you both want the same things. I know several people (women especially) who knew that their men were afraid of commitment just weeks into the relationship, yet stayed with them for more than ten years, after which they left anyway. Why? Because he wasn’t going to commit.

    I would think that it would be easier to split from the start, and save yourself ten wasted years. They walked out with no marriage, no kids, no home, no commitment. You’ve got an advantage over them, in that you’ve not spent that long with him. Also, you seem wise enough to work out that he will not commit without a fight.

    Do you want to force him to commit to you? Do you want to hang around and take the gamble? This is up to you. If he’s 34 and still scared of marriage, I personally don’t see what can change his mind. At that age, if he really wanted a family, he would be more open- minded about the subject. It’s either that or (and I’m sure you don’t want to hear this, but you need to) he doesn’t love you enough.

    When a person is crazy about someone, when he/she feels that no one else in the world can make them happy, they do not wait around to see who else will flit by. People who wait around for ages, are generally not sure about the individual. They reckon that it would be a good idea to wait and see, just hang around a bit, maybe someone else who is better for me will show up.

    You could choose to hang around until he decides that no one better is going to show up, or you could decide that you want to take this decision into your own hands, and make up your own mind. There is no law that says that he has to make the decision about your relationship. You can be pro-active too.

    Don’t be afraid of a broken heart. I’m speaking from experience when I say that you can’t recognise true love unless you’ve had your heart broken a few times. Broken hearts are devastating, but they have their purpose.
    . . . And they do heal in time – faster than ten years, I’m sure.
    Anne

  22. Josephine Assini Says:

    Im back and I wish to add to my previous posting. I decided to get back together with this guy, and things were going well for a few weeks, then he proposed all of the sudden and I was a bit skeptical. However things were ok, then the subject of moving in started up again, and it wasnt before long that I caught him in numerous lies, but at this point my feelings for him had grown and I was torn. I didnt mention in the previous posting that I already have a daughter (8) and he has a daughter (17),and I felt that this was enough for now. I also had explained to him a number of times that i would love to have more children when i am done with school, however he always discounted my feelings towards things. Before long I found his behaviors controlling and he often joked all day long. For example he might say ” baby you dont need your apt we can save that money or you can put it into my account” if i reacted to such a statement it became a joke. These types of comments were on a daily basis. I found myself becoming defensive all day long and it was unhealthy, I spent almost 2 years with this guy, and I wish I had gone with my initial gut feeling as it would have saved some much hurt. What is so disappointing is that I became somebody i didnt like when I was with him but was so hopeful that it would eventually change, we called it quits a week ago and although I feel a big weight lifted, despite the acceptable behaviors I truly loved him and wish him all the best. My decision however is final no turning back this time.

  23. Anne Lyken Garner Says:

    Josephine, here’s an article that you should read. I think that it relates to your post.
    http://www.beyondjane.com/Relationships/Dating/10-Sure-Ways-to-Get-Over-Him.176041

  24. Jessica Says:

    I could really use your advice Anne. I’m 30 years old and I recently left my boyfriend of 3 1/2 years (lived together for over 1 year). I found out yesterday that he called my mother to ask for her blessing as he is planning to propose to me. This is quite devasting because I love him very much but, I left the relationship for many reasons; overall I did not feel happy in the relationship and he has made a lot of mistakes over the last few years. We’ve been broken up for over a month now and he has been having a difficult time with my decision. For the past 6 months he brought up marriage and had said repeated times that he was planning on asking me but, he never proposed and now I feel like this is an unhealthy attempt to hold on to the relationship. Is this something I should even consider?

  25. Anne Lyken Garner Says:

    Hi, Jessica, As I’ve said somewhere in the article, marriage does not fix problems. If problems are already there, marriage can actually make them worse because we know in our hearts that we’re now legally and morally stuck.

    Although we like to think that we live in a ‘modern’ (and I used the quotations because ‘modern’ is sadly, equated with ‘immoral’) society where divorce is fine and dandy, being divorced still comes with its taboo. When we realise that we did not listen to that voice in our head telling us not to marry the person we did, we become devastated that a separation will make us one of the ‘divorcees.’ This is not a feeling anyone takes lightly, and it impacts tremendously on all aspects of one’s life – ask any divorcee.

    You don’t want to be in this boat because you obviously know the answer to your own question. Five years in the future when you’re happily married (to someone you can trust to love and respect you) and settled. You will look back to this moment and think how lucky you were to have paid attention to the wise voice inside your head which told you that it would’ve been one of the worst decisions of your life to say yes to this man’s proposal.

    I can say this with a measure of authority because I was very close to marrying a man I knew (in the back of my mind) wasn’t right for me. Thankfully, I didn’t, and am now blissfully, happily married to the most wonderful man (someone else) on earth. (Well, I *am* biased).

    If he made you unhappy for nearly four years, what is going to change when he puts the ring on your finger? Will be suddenly become a better man? He spoke to your mum because he wants to get her on his side. He knows that mothers appreciate a considerate man, and he knows that she will also tell you of his plan. He’s setting this all up, so that you would’ve been broken down and softened up by the time he finally gets to you. He will propose and if you say yes, you will become engaged. The cycle will start again, but this time it will be harder for you to walk away from him, as he will have a hold on you. He may not even want to marry straight away, but just having you stringed along will be good enough. If you speak to him, ask him if he’s got an idea of when the wedding day will be. See what he says.

    Ultimately, it’s your life and all decisions about it naturally boils down to what you want. You already have a taste of what life is like with this man. The question now is, ‘Is this the way you want to live for the rest of your life as his wife?’

  26. Bill WJ Says:

    I really need some advice. I have been dating a girl for 2 years that I am in love with and she is in love with me. The marriage discussion started about 8 months ago. I made me nervous and I told her that I think we have some communication issues to work on first. We worked on them and then back in December I told her that we would get engaged in 2 months. Well, 2 months went by and I couldn’t do it. I loved her by I had fears. She was very understanding. She said to figure things out and if I still wanted her after I figured things out, she would be waiting. I took 2 months and saw a counselor and figured my fear had nothing to do with her and I know I want to be with her. I went back to her to tell her I wanted to get married. She was reluctant at first but then started to open up. We started to spend alot of time together and started talking about having kids and buying a house. This lasted about a month and then it suddenly turned 180 degrees. She stopped call and spending time together. She said she was very angry at me and need to get over it on her own. This lasted about a month and then she just told me she doesn’t want to get married to me. What do I do to get her back?

  27. Anne Lyken Garner Says:

    HI, Bill,
    Maybe this girl is giving you a taste of your own medicine. The way you’re feeling now is the way she felt when you were toying with her heartstrings by making her wait, put off, wait, put off.

    The fact that you saw a counselor says that you’re serious about this and rather than wallow inindicision, you *want* to fix the problem. Good on you for doing this.

    The first thing to do is to find out why your girlfriend is mad at you. This is the only way you’ll have a chance to fix what’s wrong. Maybe she just needs an explanation for your former indicision. Bring her attention to your pro-active stand, a certain indication that you’re the type of man who works on his problems rather than let them fester.

    If she won’t talk to you, you have to be prepared to give her some time (like she did you). Work out in your mind how much time you’re prepared to give. After this period, try talking to her again, but this time you have to get a bottom line answer. Does she want you or not. If not, it will be time to move on. (I know this is easier said than done.)

    You’re at an advantage because you’re now able to settle down once you find the right girl.

    I wish you all the best with this.

  28. enamoured Says:

    I am a 37 year old divorced single mother of a 9 year old girl. I have met a man who is kind, caring, generous, helpful and posessing more qualities that I find admirable in a man. We have a lot in common and are attracted to one another. He has met my daughter, but I thought that I should keep his and my relationship separate from my daughter until I figure out what our relationship is and will be.
    He is 40 years old, never married, never had children, and as he put it, is open to dating a woman with a child (me) at his age (he has mostly dated young women-20’s). We have been dating for two months, and he spends free time with me.
    I have asked him what he wants out of this relationship. I would like to take it further. I am interested in marriage and commitment. This is his response: “I have no plans, and if I was not with you, I would be with noone.”
    What do you think? Should I stick around? Or look for someone else?

  29. enamoured Says:

    I am a 37 year old divorced single mother of a 9 year old girl. I have met a man who is kind, caring, generous, helpful and posessing more qualities that I find admirable in a man. We have a lot in common and are attracted to one another. He has met my daughter, but I thought that I should keep his and my relationship separate from my daughter until I figure out what our relationship is and will be.
    He is 40 years old, never married, never had children, and as he put it, is open to dating a woman with a child (me) at his age (he has mostly dated young women-20\’s). We have been dating for two months, and he spends free time with me.
    I have asked him what he wants out of this relationship. I would like to take it further. I am interested in marriage and commitment. This is his response: I have no plans, and if I was not with you, I would be with noone.
    What do you think? Should I stick around? Or look for someone else?

  30. Diane W Says:

    11 year relationship with no ring, no kids. By choice. Started dating very young. Not sure if we want to be married. We\’ve grown up and matured together. We\’ve been through a lot together and love eachother more as time goes on. I love him, although we\’ve both changed. At times I want to get married and sometimes when I\’m indifferent. I think this might sound out of the ordinary to most people and sometimes to myself. What to do???

  31. The Duke Says:

    The only certain way to avoid losing the house, children, money, cars, and

    mental and physical health is not married.

    Each strategy, action plan and various precautions that you may take before

    get married, do not solve two major problems related to marriage in a

    feminist society like ours.

    The first of these two main problems arises when you get married: your wife

    from that moment, takes the knife by the handle.

    The second problem is that in case of separation, in most cases is the man to

    lose everythings.

    Regarding the first problem, your girlfriend just became “wife” is

    automatically invested by State laws with a great new power that earlier,

    during the normal relationship, did not have.

    It ’s the power of using blackmail as a weapon in this Feminist State

    society, that is threatening the separation with everything that goes with it

    (the second problem).

    All the grains of the first problem can manifest itself in countless ways. An

    example: you have children, you want to send them to private school, your

    wife, to public school. Discuss, argue, and do not come to a compromise. In

    the evening, or night, your wife decides to revenge about you in a snake way:

    she doesn’t make love with you, for days, weeks, sometimes even for mouths.

    This weapon, we may name it “sexual blackmail”, she had it also before

    marriage, but it was fair, since you could oppose the other weapons:

    1) I leave you,
    2) I go with another woman better than you,
    3) I go to prostitutes,

    etc.etc.

    All these weapons, balancing the relactionship between men and women, now

    doesn’t works anymore!, well, you still have them but you can potentially

    backfire yourself!

    if you leave it, go with another, go to prostitutes or else your wife could

    use his new femminist State laws power, which did not had before, and invoke

    the rules (female), asking for the separation and punish you with everything

    that goes with it.

    During the marriage your wife can do the good and the bad weather, i doesn’t

    matter how much “land” you have in a marriage, keep in mind that she always

    rule on the entire playing field, and this one of those situations where the

    only way to don’t lose, is not to play.

    Do not get married.. We can not and should not entrust our fate to the only

    “good heart” of the woman you’re set, since for men are missing a number of

    safeguards that make the marriage the equivalent of Russian roulette.

    Once you become aware of this, we must consider the underlying problems, and

    before you ask “is convenient for me to get married?” you Would be better to

    ask yourself “why I want to get marry?”.

    For believers, this needs may arise to make the sacrament of marriage. But

    let me tell you.. does this sacrament make sense in a corrupted society,

    where the marriage seems to have become an excuse to have joy in the church

    for a day, have a good time for a week going “honeymoon in the Maldives”,

    only to dissolve this “sacred link “when you wife decide it’s time to” break

    free from the chains of marriage (but not from your bank account)?

    Is this or not, for believers, a serious insult to the sacrament of marriage?

    Just as in a church, used for black prayers and the adoration of the devil

    should not celebrate prayers, so in a society corrupted by feminist cancer, a

    church should not be used to clean the traditions that we have only in the

    outer shell, but within inside is corrupted and decaying.

    For non-believers, however, the issue is much simpler, and decide not to

    marry takes a sense of independence from the increasingly oppressive rule

    from this NAZIFEMMINIST State laws against men.

    Let me ask you, Why give the State more freedom to enter right into our

    bedrooms, giving them more tools in hand to punish us when it decide that

    this is right? why let it be the judge of your sentimental life?

    This power, which the NAZIFEMMINIST State laws has used and continues to use

    to transfer money from the pockets of men in women’s pockets, and to widen

    the freedom of all proportion to the detriment of women than men, now sees

    its greatest expression in their Marriage.

    The only solution is not to marry. If you want to live the experience of

    married life, you can always experiment with cohabitation of longer or

    shorter, always provided that they are not made more insidious and misleading

    laws to equate cohabitation with marriage.

    Something finally must be said very clearly: who buys a poison apple, knowing

    it was poisoned, then do not expect any “solidarity” by his peers when the

    lethal effect of the poison will start to be felt.

    As a bottom line, let me tell you this: many old Wise Sage used to say:”Who is the cause of his illness, cry himself”.


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