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How to Propose to a Boyfriend (And What to Expect)

Girl proposing to boyfriend

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It’s an exciting time to be a modern woman. Glass ceilings are smashing everywhere, traditional gender roles are getting switched or are disappearing altogether, and outdated expectations on what it means to be a woman are evolving, mostly for the better.

However, there are some traditions that remain heavily gender based. In a typical marriage proposal, for instance, it is still widely expected that it will be the man who plans the whole thing, pulls out the ring, and pops the big question. In the same vein, the only contribution expected of the woman is to come up with a creative response other than “Yes, yes, a million times, yes!”

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While there is nothing wrong with the picture described above, it is absolutely disempowering for a woman to be told they have to leave the task of taking the relationship to the next level exclusively under the jurisdiction of men.

According to the wedding planning site The Knot, only 1% of the world’s marriage proposals are initiated by women, In fact, only 61 brides out of 12,657 did the asking in 2017.

It’s high time to mess with these numbers a little bit.

For one, a romantic relationship must always be a partnership between equals, so it really shouldn’t matter who does the asking. Second, women deserve to have the proposal they’ve always dreamed about, and the most foolproof way to ensure it happens is by doing it yourself. Finally, not everyone is blessed with a romantic streak, so there is absolutely no sense in waiting years for your man to drop down on one knee if you already know you’re the more expressive one in the relationship.

All that being said, you unfortunately will not have enough inspiration on how to propose to a boyfriend on popular media like movies and TV series. Lucky for you, in this article we will provide a comprehensive guide and tips on how to propose to your man, along with important advice on what to expect for the big day. As a bonus, scroll to the end of the article for some love quotes you can use when proposing that will definitely make your man swoon. 

If you’re still on the fence about taking matters into your own hands and proposing to your boyfriend, this may be all the inspiration you need to realize how fun and empowering it would feel to actually do it.

The Best Way To Propose To A Boyfriend

1- Do it for the right reasons

How to propose to your boyfriend

Before you sit down and go through the nerve-wracking process of preparing for a proposal, think long and hard about why you want to do what you’re about to do. If you simply feel like you have no choice but to pop the question because you feel like your boyfriend would never ask, then first evaluate the status of your relationship.

Could it be that your boyfriend has not yet asked because he is not ready for a bigger commitment yet? Alternatively, could it be that he’s just not the romantic type? If you want your boyfriend to propose, it is best to talk these possible issues out instead of forcing yourself to do the asking just because your boyfriend won’t.

If you honestly believe both of you are ready to elevate the status of your relationship and if you genuinely want to ask him to spend the rest of your lives together, then by all means, read on.

2- Make it special and personal

If you have all the right reasons to propose, the next step is to plan how you’re going to do it. There’s no one formula to an awesome proposal. A grand proposal on the beach or in a traditional, romantic restaurant in Paris may seem like the safest way to go, but remember that your goal is to make it special and personal, instead of typical and traditional. Come up with a proposal plan that fits your personality as a couple, and don’t simply base off the proposals you usually see in the movies.

If you’re the kind of couple who prefers to stay in for romantic at-home dinners, then popping the question after sharing homemade steak in your flat may be more memorable and on-brand than planning a getaway that might just feel awkward and foreign to both of you. It is highly encouraged to do things your way.

3- Think outside the (ring) box

Aside from the date and location, one important thing to decide is whether or not you’re getting your boyfriend an engagement ring. Not all men are comfortable with wearing mangagement rings, so you might want to consider changing things up a bit by offering an engagement watch or an engagement tie instead.

Come up with something that your boyfriend will actually want to wear or sport as a token of your love and commitment. Your fiance-to-be would surely appreciate anything you give but might as well present him something he will absolutely love.

Of course, you can also do away with presenting anything at all. Since we’re all about breaking tradition here, you don’t even have to drop down on one knee if you don’t feel like doing so. Your proposal, your rules.

4- Be careful when choosing accomplices

Choosing friends to help plan proposal

Should you decide to stage an elaborate proposal, that’s great, too, but chances are you’re going to need accomplices for everything to go over smoothly. Your closest family and friends would naturally be the best people to help, but you have to be careful about who to ask.

First, recognize that not everyone will be supportive of your decision to propose. There will always be skeptical people in your life and although they usually mean well, they might end up ruining the whole thing for you. Only ask people who you know will be supportive and happy about your plan to propose and get married.

Second, entrust your plans only to those who know how to keep secrets. You would not want to waste all your effort sneaking around and planning the surprise only for someone else to blab and tell your beau about your plans.

5- Absolutely have fun

Even though you’re the one asking the question, you should plan your marriage proposal in a way that would be enjoyable for you, too. When you’re old and grey, you are going to want to look back to this day with 100% fondness and love, instead of a day that gave you major stress and anxiety.

What to Expect When You Decide to Propose to Your Boyfriend

1- Not everything will go according to plan

No matter how carefully you plan a surprise proposal, there are some things that are impossible to foresee. Your beau might end up having to work late at the last minute, the weather might change at the last minute (if you’re planning at outdoor proposal), or the band you hired might not make it in time.

You have to be okay with that.

It’s good to have a Plan B or to plan every single minute of your special night, but don’t sweat the small stuff. You might have to tweak your plans around any last-minute events, but that’s okay. These things could happen regardless of who’s proposing. As long as you get to ask the important question, all the other minute details should be insignificant.

2- People will have a strong reaction

We’ve made quite a strong case about how it shouldn’t be a big deal that you’re the one proposing, but not everyone will be open-minded about this. You must brace yourself for the possibility that other people might think you’re desperate or people might think your boyfriend will be less of a man for getting proposed to.

Don’t let the negativity get to you.

Your relationship is your business alone. Let them talk. As long as you’re happy about the way you decided to take the next step, the opinion of other people should not matter.

3- Rejection is always a possibility

This could be the most difficult thing you’ll ever have to prepare for, but keep in mind that ‘Yes’ is not the only possible answer to the question you’d be asking. 

Moreover, there is a myriad of reasons your boyfriend might say no. These reasons are classified into two categories: the good, and the bad. 

Good reasons your beau might say no:

  • He feels weird that he didn’t get to ask
  • He already has a proposal planned out
  • He thinks it’s too early for such a serious commitment

I won’t go into detail about the bad reasons he might say no, as I’m sure you can imagine what those may be. However, if his reason for saying no is any one of the reasons listed above, you’re still good.

All you need to do is sit down together and discuss what to do moving forward. If he feels weird about getting proposed to, you just have to convince him that as a woman, you have the right to ask for marriage if you feel the time is right. 

If he already had a proposal planned out, he might just be bummed about his ruined surprise, so do express appreciation that he wanted to ask you too, after all. This is what we call a happy problem.

Love Quotes You Can Use for The Big Day

Make your proposal personal

Now, you’re almost ready for the big day. The only thing left to prepare is what you’ll actually say. A classic “Will you spend the rest of your life with me,” could do, but it’s always a good idea to lead to the question by first saying the things you like about him, or why you think you’re a match made in heaven. 

If you have a hard time expressing yourself with your own words, the following quotes might help you say what you want to say:

“On this special day, I want to say: Grow old along with me; the best is yet to be. Will you spend the rest of your life with me?” – Anonymous

“Whatever our souls are made out of, you and mine are the same…If all else perished, and you remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and you were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger.” – Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights

“I love you, and I will love you until I die, and if there is life after that, I’ll love you then.” – Cassandra Clare, City of Glass

Don’t these love quotes just make your heart melt?

Wrapping Up

Now, go out there and make your man’s heart swoon. All the best and congratulations for finding someone you actually want to spend forever with.