Most proposals go off without a hitch — a drop to a knee, a ring, a resounding 'yes!' (often with tears). But for some brides, the first time is not the charm. Here, five real brides share why they rejected their partner's proposal at first, but with better timing and some crucial second chances, eventually changed their mind.
"He proposed during our first date. Yes, we'd felt an immediate crazy attraction but Allan's suggesting marriage seemed ridiculously impetuous. So I said 'Let's wait and see how we feel in six months.' Six months later to the day he asked the question again, this time with a ring. I said yes. That was 15 happy years ago." — Jean
"Tim was my high school love. He proposed before we went off to separate universities because he was afraid we would lose our connection otherwise. I said while I was tempted it didn't feel like a good idea. We needed to have these formative experiences on our own, do some growing up, and when we graduated if we felt the same way, I would reconsider his lovely proposal. Both of us wound up having other relationships during college, as young people should. We always kept in touch, however. We attended each other's graduations and started dating. Five months later he proposed again, saying, 'I still feel the way I did back in high school. What about you?' I said I'd never fallen out of love and this time I could accept with no doubts whatsoever. I'm glad we waited. It helped us mature and have a better chance of forging a healthy marriage." — Anne
"I met Bill five months after a horrific divorce. Bill was a wonderful guy but I was in no way, shape, or form ready for a serious relationship and he was too wonderful to be a rebound guy. Knowing my reservations, he still proposed. And I said no. We stopped seeing each other — he said it would be too hard to continue casually dating. A year later we ran into one another at a bowling alley of all places! I was at a different place in my healing process and we started dating, this time more seriously. Eight months later he proposed again; this time I happily accepted!" — Lyn
"Carl and I met in an English Literature class, bonding over, of all things — Pride and Prejudice. Our class performed skits based on the novel. Carl was Darcy and I played Elizabeth. When he proposed there was an undeniable spark between us and even though I said no because — well, that's what the material dictated — a part of me thought, 'Hmmm.' We started dating after the class ended and six months later he proposed for real. Unlike the previous pretend proposal, I unhesitatingly accepted this one." — Pam
"I'd always thought it wasn't a good thing to accept the first marriage proposal that came one's way. So when Rob popped the question even though I thought we had a great relationship I couldn't bring myself to say yes. What if someone better came along? Six years later I married the second man who asked, and we had a pretty awful marriage though stayed together for 15 years because of the kids. I finally got the nerve to get a divorce and while scrolling Facebook one day, I came across Rob. We started communicating again. He was widowed. A few months later we met in the flesh. One thing led to another and here we are, happily married at last. Do I regret the wasted years? Yes and no. I wish we'd had more time together but I can never regret having my fabulous children. And I can say without hesitation, having survived a bad marriage, I so appreciate a good one." — Michelle
Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW is a New York City-based marriage therapist and author.