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How to Deny a Marriage Proposal

by Anthony Oster

One moment that many little girls dream about is the day that Prince Charming drops to one knee and asks for their hand in marriage. When your current prince is anything but charming and your reality does not match your fantasy, turning down a marriage proposal may become a serious consideration. How you deny your boyfriend's proposal to marry reflects on your character and may determine if and how your relationship with him will proceed.

Evaluate Your Decision

What are the reasons behind your decision? Are you unsure of your partner's commitment to you? Is your relationship turbulent, and do you feel that this turbulence will be a hindrance to a successful marriage? Are you happy with your boyfriend and the relationship as it stands? Do you not want to be married for other reasons such as a fear of commitment? Why you are denying your boyfriend's proposal should be an integral component of your discussion with him.

Identify the Predictors of a Healthy Marriage

Although every marriage is unique, certain characteristics may indicate success and happiness. Successful marriages thrive on positivity, commitment, acceptance of each other's basic needs, mutual love and respect and empathy, or the ability to place yourself in your partner's shoes. If your current relationship lacks these characteristics, your decision to turn down your proposal may be justified.

Break the News

Break the news to your boyfriend delicately and emphatically. He likely pondered this question for a considerable amount of time, including time spent selecting and paying for your engagement ring. Be open and honest with your boyfriend, elaborating on why you have chosen to deny his proposal, if you are interested in marriage and where to take the relationship next.

Move Forward with Your Relationship

After denying the proposal, you have to answer another question: What am I doing in this relationship? Your boyfriend may be asking himself the same thing. If your reasons for denying his proposal had to do with concerns over your boyfriend's fidelity or your interest in the relationship, taking a break may be the most productive avenue to pursue after denying the proposal. If your denial was rooted in practicality, and you turned him down for something such as wanting to finish school or wanting to date longer before settling down, then asking to remain in the relationship until you are ready to accept a proposal may be appropriate.

About the Author

Anthony Oster is a licensed professional counselor who earned his Master of Science in counseling psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi. He has served as a writer and lead video editor for a small, South Louisiana-based video production company since 2007. Oster is the co-owner of a professional photography business and advises the owner on hardware and software acquisitions for the company.

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