This depends on the nature of the relationship up until this point, as well as the nature of the refusal. A rejection typically mean one of three things.
Not right now
I need to think
Case 1: Time for a serious talk. If the other person never wants to get married, but the proposer does, this may be a breaking deal for the relationship. It’s possible that the proposer might listen, and after asking “well what now” would want to continue the relationship. I’ve seen some people say “I don’t believe in marriage”, or have a legitimate reason for not wanting it (such as losing certain benefits if they’re disabled), but it’s still possible they want the relationship to last forever as is, without any kind of sanctioned government or religious involvement.
Case 2: This is really common. Again, time for a serious talk. If something needs to happen (finish school, better financial situation, etc.) first, but the person still wants it eventually, then the proposer should honestly think how important it is that it happens right now. IF they truly want this, they are probably okay with waiting. If they aren’t, well, they may want to re-evaluate why they proposed.
Case 3: Also really common, particularly in short term relationships. There’s that whole trope of “love at first sight” that a lot of people seem to want, and it just really doesn’t work well typically. If the proposal catches the other person off guard, then this could also be the case. This is a major life decision, and the proposer should respect their partner’s desire to think about it. If they aren’t willing to let them think about it, then this may not be a good choice. Again, things should be talked out, as a better understanding may lead to a better outcome.
Notice the common theme? Communication. Any of these situations will be better if people are willing to sit down, talk like adults, and figure out what is best for each of them. This is also why most relationship councilors say that proposals in massive public settings (college football game, crowded restaurant) are really risky if there’s even a sliver of doubt.
Thanks for reading!!
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