It’s Okay To Say No To A Bad Proposal

If your partner can't propose in a way you feel comfortable with, are they really right for you?

It's okay to turn someone down because you hate their proposal.

by Rebecca Reid |

Over the weekend the University of Essex shared what they clearly thought was a very sweet video of a man proposing to his girlfriend while she was receiving her degree.

The intention, presumably, was for everyone to enjoy the sight of a young couple in love, a woman who graduated and got herself a fiance on the same day. But, broadly speaking, that wasn't the reaction.

It's okay to say no to a bad proposal
If he hijacks your graduation that might not be a great sign... ©Twitter

Just like when a man proposed to his girlfriend while she finished running a marathon last year, or in 2012 when an Olympic athlete's partner took the moment she was being handed a medal to pop the question, the video of this man proposing made quite a lot of people cross.

Proposing is a lovely thing to do. It's a magical moment. But it's a magical moment for both of you. Graduating, on the other hand, is about personal achievement. It's an 'all about you' experience. We don't get many of those moments, where we can totally celebrate our own achievements, in a lifetime. Which is why it's so shitty for a man to hijack it.

The University of Essex has now deleted the tweet in response to hundreds of frustrated replies, explaining that this man's actions, however nobel the intention, were selfish.

The chances are that this couple are very much in love, and that she was delighted with the proposal. But what was she supposed to do if she'd wanted to say no? Break his heart in front of an entire auditorium full of strangers?

Hijacking a big moment with something sweet or well intentioned doesn't make it okay. Just because something is sweet or well intended doesn't mean that it is appropriate.

Your proposal shouldn't be a chance for your boyfriend to show off or be the center of attention - whenever it happens. But especially not if it takes place during what was supposed to be a celebration of your solo achievement.

A proposal should make you want to marry the person even more. It should be a demonstration of how much the proposer loves you, and how well they understand you.

So it's not bratty or unreasonable to feel frustrated by the way that you were proposed to. If you're a hopeless romantic who has dreamed of hearts and flowers, and got a drunken phone call after chucking out time at the pub, it's okay to be pissed off. It's also okay to say no.

The way that someone proposes to you speaks volumes about how they see you, and about your relationship. And I'm afraid to say that getting a proposal wrong is a pretty bleak sign for your future marriage.

Of course plenty of proposals happen instinctively. But if it was pre-planned then the way that someone proposes is a demonstration of how well they know you, how they perceive you and how willing they are to accommodate your wants and needs.

For a shy, retiring type to proposed to in a busy restaurant or public place with an audience would be agonising.

If you're super close to your family and your OH pops the question in the middle of a long holiday meaning you'll have to wait weeks to tell your fam in person, that's really frustrating.

And someone makes a public proposal during a moment which was supposed to be about you, it's important to understand why they've done it.

Do they know that you love the limelight, and that you want as many people as humanly possible to witness your union? Or was the whole proposal designed to answer a need within themself?

Getting divorced is a complicated, messy, expensive business. The best way to avoid it is not to marry someone who is wrong for you. And if the start of your journey to the altar is a proposal which made you feel uncomfortable, misunderstood or undervalued, then perhaps you need to give some serious thought to whether or not you should go through with it.

That said, a dud proposal doesn't have to be the end of the line.

A man (or partner in general) who can hear 'I found the way that you proposed upsetting' and discuss it calmly, without throwing a tantrum or making you feel guilty, might well the communication tools you need to make a marriage work.

Navigating a less than perfect proposal could be a learning experience. If you can sit down with your new fiance and explain that the way they popped the question made you feel unhappy, then you're communicating honestly and learning how to have difficult conversations - qualities which are essential for a successful marriage.

But, if your other half makes you feel guilty for wanting a proposal that you actually enjoyed, or gets angry with you for raising your concerns, then that's a sign you really shouldn't ignore.

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