3 Sensitive Letters to Reject a Marriage Proposal - Never the Right Word (2023)

It should be one of the happiest times in your life, but deep down you feel a faint pulse of panic in the pit of your stomach knowing you’re not 100% sure you want to marry your partner.

You do not ever want to consider yourself married to them, and despite whatever the amount of time you’ve spent with them, you still have doubts that you can happily spend the rest of your life with them.

Rather than get married with uncertainty, leading them on in the process, only to break their heart later on with a divorce; you decide that it’s best to lessen the pain by bravely letting your partner know you do not want to marry them.

Whilst conversations of this nature are best had in person, sometimes using writing to express the complex feelings felt during pivotal times in our lives can be both effective and cathartic.

In this instance, telling your partner you do not want to get married in this way gives you and your partner the opportunity to share and process the information in your own time and space. You can then have a discussion or make a decision from there.

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Being bold enough to reject a marital proposal to someone you have been involved with for a long time is hard. How do you even start telling someone that you love them so much but cannot imagine a future with them?

Below are some effective but sensitive templates that can help you get started in getting your message across:

Illustrations courtesy of Shutterstock.

3 Sensitive Letters to Reject a Marriage Proposal - Never the Right Word (1)

Message Template 1 | “I Want to Look Back One Day, at the Moments We Spent Together and Smile”

Dear [Insert Name],
We’ve been talking for a while about our relationship and where it is heading, and I’ve been giving this a lot of thought, as I’m sure you have too. I don’t want to hurt you, which is why I need to tell you now that I cannot marry you.
You mean so much to me, but I am not ready to settle down. Who knows what the future will bring, and perhaps when you read this message, you’ll want to find someone new, someone who is ready to commit to marriage with you. By telling you this now, at least we have the chance to remain friends, and to look back at the happy times we’ve shared.
I hope you understand that I’m telling you this now, to protect us both from doing something that would ultimately make us unhappy.
[Insert Your Name]

Use this template to make your partner know that despite breaking their heart, you want to do the right thing for you both. You may still want to continue in a relationship with them, just not marry them, so it’s important not to suggest ending the relationship if that’s not what you want.

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3 Sensitive Letters to Reject a Marriage Proposal - Never the Right Word (2)

MessageTemplate 2 | “No Matter How Selfish You Think I Am, the Truth Is That I Am Not Ready to Let Go of Single Me”

Dear [Insert Name],
You asked me last night to marry you, and this came as such a surprise that I asked you if I could think about it before replying. I’ve been thinking of nothing else since we spoke, and I want to tell you how I feel now, so that you aren’t left waiting for an answer.
You mean so much to me, and I love spending time with you. The truth is, though, that I am simply not the settling down type, so it would be wrong of me to accept your proposal. I like how my life is at the moment, and I don’t think I’m cut out to be married – it would make both of us unhappy in the long term, I think.
I’m sorry that I can’t give you what you want through marriage, but I hope you can understand that it’s better to talk about this now, than go through with a marriage that one of us doesn’t want.
[Insert Your Name]

This template lays all of the responsibility for the decision at your door, and your partner does not have to feel like they were the one who was in the wrong. When you take the blame and portray yourself in a bad light, you make the other person feel better about themselves, knowing that they tried.

Illustrations courtesy of Shutterstock.

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3 Sensitive Letters to Reject a Marriage Proposal - Never the Right Word (3)

Message Template 3 | “Reach Out to Happiness. Let Go of Better and Move On With the Best”

Dear [Insert Name]
We’ve been together for quite a long time now, and I think we’ve both been thinking about our relationship recently. I know that you want to take it to the next step, getting married and settling down together.
It’s not easy to say this, but I am not the right person for you to marry, and I think you should move on and find someone else. You deserve someone who can commit to marriage and who can give you the same love and respect that you have to give.
We have had some great times together, but you deserve so much more than I can offer.I hope that one day you’ll look back and see that this decision was the right one. I know that will always remember you and the times we had together.
[Insert Your Name]

This message is best suited to the situation where a marriage proposal, or the hint of a proposal to come, has made you realize that you want to end the relationship completely. It’s phrased to give the impression that you are letting your partner go, to find that special person that they deserve. By painting yourself as not good enough, you are helping your partner see that they are not to blame.

It’s important to remember that relationships are unique to the individuals involved, and as long as both parties are openly communicating there is no wrong or right way to go about them. It’s entirely possible and acceptable to love someone and still decide that marriage is not the right best course of action. You may feel incredibly loved by your fiancé and also feel like marriage just isn’t for you.

Successful marriages are about more than love. There are many aspects of married life to take into account such as finances, having children, career aspirations, well-being, and individual fulfillment. It’s tricky if you can’t immediately identify the cause of that nagging feeling you have, but in these kinds of situations, many people will tell you it’s best to follow your intuition. Eventually, more often than not, the events in your life will make sense to you when the time is right.

At Never the Right Word, our aim is to give you practical examples of how to handle life’s difficult conversations. If you have an awkward situation that you’d like example templates for, request a topic here.

If you’re interested in further reading, we’ve also included links to our trusted resources and related posts below. To find out moreabout NTRWandourrecommended tools, you can do thathere.

Lastly, if you found this content helpful or want to share your own examples, let us know in the comments. We’d also be delighted if you shared this article and joined us on social media too!

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How do you respectfully decline a marriage proposal? ›

Here are some few tips on how to politely turn down proposals.
  1. Keep it simple. Remember, you do not owe anyone an explanation, just tell them you are not interested and move on. ...
  2. Be as clear as possible. ...
  3. Go with the golden rule. ...
  4. Offer friendship. ...
  5. Don't take back your rejection.
Jul 23, 2019

How do you reject a smart marriage proposal? ›

Tell them your answer in person, if possible. It's only fair. If you or they are too emotional for an in-person refusal, then a telephone conversation or a hand-written letter are the next best options. You should not use a highly impersonal method like text messaging to turn them down.

How do you politely reject a proposal letter? ›

General rejection letter

Unfortunately, we have chosen not to move forward with your proposal at this time. Though your proposal is impressive, we are unable to fit your work into our budget. We wish you the best with your future endeavors and hope for the chance to work with each other in the future.

How do you positively decline a proposal? ›

Let's consider these points in detail.
  1. Thank the Person.
  2. Deliver the News Directly.
  3. Explain Your Reasoning.
  4. Suggest Other Ways of Partnership (If Appropriate)
  5. Keep the Professional Tone of Voice.
  6. Don't Explain Rejection with Price.
  7. End Your Email Appropriately.
  8. Rejection with a Willingness to Receive Other Service Offers.
Dec 14, 2018

How do you reject someone in a nice way? ›

Sorry, Not Interested: 10 Tips for Rejecting Someone Nicely
  1. Be Direct. There's no beating around the bush when it comes to rejecting someone. ...
  2. Keep It Simple. ...
  3. Don't Apologize. ...
  4. A Call or Text is Fine. ...
  5. Don't Drag It Out. ...
  6. Don't Mention Physical Traits. ...
  7. You Don't Have to Explain. ...
  8. Accept That You May Hurt Them.
Nov 3, 2021

How do you say no to marriage after engagement? ›

If you're sure about this, it's best to just tell your fiance, "I can't marry you because I still have feelings for someone else." Be honest and direct. If you think you'd like to try to make things work with your fiance, tell him in no uncertain terms that he needs to get a job immediately or the engagement is off.

How do I tell my fiance I don't want to marry her? ›

Find a quiet moment when neither of you has anything more urgent to do, sit them down— with some physical distance between you— and tell them honestly that you do not want to get married now, tell them why as diplomatically as possible (you owe this to a committed partner), and tell them how you want to proceed going ...

Is it okay to say no to a marriage proposal? ›

Rejected proposals are often kept on the DL, but experts want you to know that you can and should say no if he pops the question and things don't feel right.

What if I say no to a proposal? ›

It's likely that both you and your partner could benefit from some space after a proposal is turned down. Give yourself a few days to think and to allow yourself to feel sad and heartbroken. You will need some time to process your feelings about your relationship. During this time, stay off social media.

Do couples stay together after a rejected proposal? ›

Many couples do survive marriage proposal rejections successfully, some having proposed to their significant other multiple times until they finally receive a yes. These are persistent partners, but these should also be healthy, loving, and committed relationships with loads of communication and respect.

When you say no to a proposal? ›

Before turning down a proposal or breaking-up know what to say to end a relationship. For example, “Thank you so much for letting me know about your feelings, I appreciate this gesture so much. But I am not looking for anything serious right now. I have a few commitments and career goals I need to focus on.

How do you say no gently? ›

10 different ways to say no
  1. Sadly, I have something else going on.
  2. I have another commitment.
  3. I wish I were able to.
  4. I'm afraid I can't.
  5. I don't have the bandwidth for that right now.
  6. I'm honored you asked me, but I simply can't.
  7. Thanks for thinking of me. ...
  8. I'm sorry, I'm not able to fit this in.
Jan 7, 2022

What is the most respectful way to reject someone? ›

How to politely decline
  • Apologize first. This might seem like an odd piece of advice, especially if you objectively haven't done anything wrong. ...
  • Don't beat around the bush. ...
  • Use the actual word. ...
  • Say NO twice, if you have to. ...
  • Forward them to someone else. ...
  • Mirror their request. ...
  • Offer an alternative. ...
  • Get back to them.

How do you reject humbly? ›

How to Say “No” Graciously
  1. Think before you respond. If possible, don't give your answer immediately. ...
  2. Accentuate the positive. ...
  3. Give a reason when possible—not a fabrication. ...
  4. Be straightforward about the future. ...
  5. Listen to their response. ...
  6. Stand your ground. ...
  7. “No” language examples.

What to say to reject someone without hurting them? ›

I know it's not easy to share your feelings and I admire the courage it took to let me know how you're feeling. I don't want to hurt you, but unfortunately, I don't feel the same way. I understand if you feel disappointed and that this may make our relationship awkward for a bit.

How do I tell my fiance I don't like the engagement ring? ›

Be Honest But Kind

Be clear, kind and don't place any blame on your partner. Remember, you're starting a conversation, not making a complaint or demanding a new ring! If your partner wants to tell you the reason behind choosing that particular ring, listen to them, and tell them how much you appreciate the thought.

How do you tell my fiance I want to break up? ›

These tips can help you have a successful conversation.
  1. Give them some warning. Clueing in your partner to the impending breakup can help them begin processing what's about to happen. ...
  2. Choose a low-stress time. ...
  3. Be clear and kind. ...
  4. Stay calm. ...
  5. Give them a chance to talk. ...
  6. Plan to revisit practical matters.

When should you call off a wedding? ›

Luterman says abuse, whether sexual, financial, emotional or verbal, is automatic grounds for canceling a wedding. Similarly, if your partner is secretive about their finances, do not marry them, she says. Same thing goes for a partner who puts you down or denies affection without being willing to work on it.

How to tell someone you don t want to be married to them anymore? ›

Plan What to Say.

Begin with a short summary of your unhappiness, make certain he/she understands the seriousness of the situation, and then clearly state that you don't want to be married to him/her anymore. At this point, stop and let your spouse respond, but do not give them false hope.

How do you accept your partner doesn't want to marry you? ›

What to Do If Your Partner Doesn't Want to Get Married
  1. What Are You Looking For?
  2. Balance Your Needs.
  3. Process Your Feelings.
  4. Hear Their Perspective.
  5. Understand Their Fear.
  6. Consider Couples Counseling.
  7. Know When to Leave.
Jan 3, 2022

What are cold feet about marriage? ›

What Does it Mean to Have Cold Feet? When people talk about cold feet before a wedding, they are referring to pre-wedding jitters or second thoughts about whether they really want to get married.

How do you say no to a married man? ›

Telling him it's over: “I've thought things over, and decided that we should stop seeing each other.” “You know as well as I do that this can't last.” “It's time for me to walk away.” Giving a reason: “You can't give me what I need.

Can you say no to being in a wedding? ›

Although it might be uncomfortable, you can most certainly say "No." While you technically don't need an excuse, this is one of the times where you should provide one to be polite. "Having some kind of an explanation is good just so the other person can understand your perspective," Post says.

What percent of engaged couples break up? ›

The average engagement is 12-18 months long and about 20% of all weddings are called off after engagements. There could be several reasons for calling off your wedding such as: Uncertainty about a relationship.

What does rejection look like in a marriage? ›

When your partner rebuffs your advances; avoids your attempts at intimacy; turns away when you try to kiss him or her; is reluctant to have date nights; goes to bed significantly before or after you do; falls asleep on the couch or in the kids' room; drinks too much during a romantic dinner and crawls into bed without ...

How long is the average relationship before proposal? ›

Most couples date for two or more years before getting engaged, with many dating anywhere from two to five years. Once the question is popped, the average length of engagement is between 12 and 18 months.

How do you reject a guy nicely? ›

It's a cliché, but actually works.
  1. "I am glad and amazed that you showed interest in me but the problem is I love someone else." ...
  2. "I am already with someone. ...
  3. "I never ever saw you like that, you know. ...
  4. "Thank you, I'm really flattered, but I'm not looking for a relationship right now."
Apr 18, 2021

How to reject a girl without hurting her? ›

  1. "I've just come out of a serious/heavy relationship and I'm not interested in dating people at the minute." ...
  2. "I'm in an on/off relationship with someone else, and I don't know where it's going, so it won't be fair to start seeing you." ...
  3. "I don't want a girlfriend at the minute. ...
  4. “I'm not the guy you're looking for.”
Apr 18, 2021

How do you politely say no? ›

10 different ways to say no
  1. Sadly, I have something else going on.
  2. I have another commitment.
  3. I wish I were able to.
  4. I'm afraid I can't.
  5. I don't have the bandwidth for that right now.
  6. I'm honored you asked me, but I simply can't.
  7. Thanks for thinking of me. ...
  8. I'm sorry, I'm not able to fit this in.
Jan 7, 2022

How can I reject him without hurting his feelings? ›

7 ways to reject someone nicely
  1. Be honest.
  2. Prepare yourself.
  3. Do it face to face.
  4. Stick with "I" statements.
  5. Know that what you're feeling is normal.
  6. Avoid putting it off.
  7. Don't give false hope.

How do you tell a guy you're not interested anymore? ›

20 tips to let someone know you're not interested
  1. Say no to the relationship, not the person. ...
  2. Use I statements. ...
  3. Short and to the point. ...
  4. Be honest and kind. ...
  5. Be respectful. ...
  6. Share your feelings. ...
  7. Focus on incompatibility. ...
  8. Saying you're not ready for dating after all.
Dec 3, 2021

How do you reject someone without breaking their heart? ›

You don't want to hurt someone's feelings, but you also don't want to put yourself in an uncomfortable situation. There are several steps you can take to reject someone while keeping their heart intact.
Make a clean break.
  1. Set clear boundaries. ...
  2. Consider blocking the other person on social media. ...
  3. Don't lead anyone on.

How do you reject a proposal without hurting him quotes? ›

“Hi (guy's name) I just want to say that I appreciate your proposal last night. However, I would like to say that you are better off without me because (put your reason here) and I really think that I would not be able to reciprocate your attention right now. I hope that you understand.”


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