Delicate art of proposing: Guide for guys to avoid the agony of rejection

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When we think of marriage proposals, we envision a spunky bloke on bended knee with a sparkling diamond ring and a dumbfounded beautiful lady squealing "yes, oh, yes!" to the backdrop of a thunderous applause.

This fantasy has made us conclude that a joyous “yes” is the only answer that is ever given when a man gets down on his knee and pops the question.

Due to this, we rarely ever think about the flip side of marriage proposals; when a woman rejects the marriage proposal.

I feel that numerous articles have been written, advising men on how to execute a fairy-tale proposal but there aren’t enough articles out there advising women on how to properly turn down a marriage proposal.

Turning down a marriage proposal is heart-rending, not just for the poor bloke being turned down, but also for the woman turning him down.

She knows that the damage could be catastrophic. She knows that her partner will be deeply hurt and humiliated by the rejection but she has no choice.

There are many valid reasons why a woman would choose to say ‘no’ to a marriage proposal. Perhaps she feels the timing is not right.

Or maybe she never wants to get married. Or maybe the guy knows she wants to end the relationship and is trying to corner her into marriage so she can stay.

Other women turn down marriage proposals because they feel that they don’t know their partners well enough to get married to them. Whatever the reason, saying ‘no’ to a marriage proposal is traumatizing. Bottom line.

Ideally, the best time to talk to your partner about how you feel about marriage is long before the proposal goes down. Unfortunately, more often than not, marriage proposal are instantaneous and come as a surprise.

It is difficult to react tactfully when you find yourself put on the spot and under a lot of pressure.

It is no wonder that so many women in those ‘marriage proposals gone wrong’ videos turn and bolt as soon as they say ‘no’. It is human instinct; fight or flight manenos.

If you are not sure about the future of the relationship and you don’t want a proposal to be sprung on you, you should look out for signs that he is planning to pop the question.

A man may not come out and say it directly, but he will drop little hints here and there that he is thinking about marriage.

When your partner raises an issue about getting married no matter how jokingly he says it, you should take that as a cue to have the talk about where you stand about marriage and specifically being married to him.

The worst thing you can do is play along with the subtle hints and let him continue with the proposal when you know very well that your answer is going to be a resounding ‘no’.

Accepting a marriage proposal is a big commitment that should not be taken lightly.

My advice to men is to be very open about their intentions to propose. I know that most men want their proposals to come as a complete surprise.

However, you will be doing yourself a favour when you warn her that it is coming. You should never pop the question unless you are a hundred per cent sure that she will say ‘yes!’