Ready for engagement

Ready, steady, propose!


It’s rare these days that a proposal comes completely out of the blue – most couples will have discussed long-term plans and whether marriage is going to play a part in this. But even if you know a wedding will be taking place in the not-too-distant future, there can definitely be a certain impatience as you wait for a proposal!

So if you’re sitting here and wondering how to know if and when he’ll ever propose and what the signs are that he’s going to propose, here are some clues that might give you some insight…

Ever since the 1970s, the age at which couples are getting engaged is getting later. In the UK, latest figures show the average age for heterosexual couples to marry is 38 for men and 35.7 for women. For same-sex couples it’s even older – 40.1 years for men and 36.6 years for women. Over in the US it’s 31 for women and 33 for men.

But while engagements may be getting later, many more couples live together before and it’s therefore highly likely that you’ll have already had The Discussion and know if he’ll ever propose.

“I was pretty sure my boyfriend was going to propose to me once I realised our planned trip to Wales had been changed to a surprise weekend in Barcelona!” says Helen Webster. “The signs were there – we’d been talking about marriage for a while, and had been to a lot of his friends’ weddings. So when I was whisked away to a luxury hotel in a romantic city I thought this was probably it!”

And Helen was right – her now-husband Steven asked her to marry him while they were enjoying a dip in the infinity pool on the roof of their hotel. “Without my noticing, he dropped the ring into the pool, dived in and then emerged holding the ring, and asked me the question,” reveals Helen. “Although he was so waterlogged that I didn’t quite understand him at first so he had to ask me twice!”

Proposal signs to look out for

So if you’re both in agreement that marriage is the next step, here are some signs that will give you some clues as to when he will propose.

  • Is it close to a special anniversary or birthday?
    Proposing on a birthday or a special occasion such as Christmas or Valentine’s is very common. If there’s one of these coming up soon in the calendar there’s a good chance your proposal is coming up too!
  • Is your partner planning a trip?
    Holidays and weekend breaks are also popular occasions to propose, so if your partner has organised some time away with just the two of you, this could be it! This is particularly relevant if your partner doesn’t normally plan and book breaks away.
  • Is your partner acting differently?
    Proposing can be a nerve-wracking time, with lots of elements to co-ordinate, as well as worrying about the all-important yes! If your normally cool and collected partner is acting a little jittery, nervous and secretive, this could be a good sign that they’re planning a proposal.
  • Is your partner looking at your jewellery box?
    Let’s face it, most men don’t really pay attention to the jewellery you wear or the style it’s in. But if you’ve seen your boyfriend hovering around your dressing table and furtively looking at your accessories, then he could well be scoping out your style in order to choose the perfect engagement ring.
  • Is your family acting differently?
    Your partner could well have already asked for your father or parents’ permission, and your family could be in on a very exciting secret! Are they behaving unusually – such as asking you odd questions, looking proud and tearful whenever you see them, or inquiring about future plans? Again, this can be a sign to  look out for if you’re wondering when he will propose!

Take matters into your own hands

But what if there are no signs of a proposal on the horizon? And you don’t know when to stop waiting for a proposal?

Well, first of all, if you don’t see any of the signs, it doesn’t necessarily mean your significant other isn’t planning a proposal. They could be an amazing bluffer, and just very good at concealing the signs of their preparation!

And secondly, if you’re tired of waiting for him to propose, but know you want to get married, then why not pop the question yourself? That way you can be totally in control – no more waiting around and wondering! Plus, you may just give your partner an amazing surprise that they’d never dreamed of…

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