We’re guessing that when you think of proposals, you imagine the romantic parts of them, like gushy speeches and excited acceptances. Turns out, though, it’s not uncommon for things to go in the opposite direction. A new survey found that an insane number of women have turned down a proposal—we’re talking nearly one in four—so we asked some of these women why they became the bearer of bad news when their partner popped the big question. Here’s what they had to say:
“I had to. I felt like it was a last-ditch attempt to keep me around because he had been unfaithful. A ring can’t fix something that is broken, and if a man thinks that a girl will forgive for a rock, then he is sadly mistaken.” —Vanessa S.
“What can I say? I knew that as much as he made me melt, we would be a walking disaster together. I think about him every day, but had to make the higher call.” —Deborah P.
“Wrong timing and lousy proposal—yes, without a ring.” —Stephany F.
“I simply couldn’t see myself with said person for life. I have turned down a few proposals for the same reason.” —Rebecca P.
“We were in Fiji swimming in an infinity pool, it was Christmas Eve, and it was idyllic. He proposed to me when I surfaced from a lap underwater. I always thought I’d say yes, but the second he asked, I knew I had to say no. Without a word, I swam two lengths underwater as slow as I could to gather my thoughts. I knew I’d break his heart and rip our life apart, yet I had a nagging doubt. My gut said no. Surfacing from that swim to look into his deep brown eyes was one of the hardest moments of my life. The worst thing is I’ve been single ever since.” —Katy L.