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How To Get Him To Propose (24 Subtle Tricks That Work)

by Sonya Schwartz

Are you desperately waiting for your man to propose?

Perhaps you’re worrying that he’ll never pop the question and your dream of a magical wedding day will turn into dust.  

Maybe this is having an impact on the strength of your relationship in general? 

If so, you’re in the right place. The following guide features 24 subtle tricks that will convince him to propose. 

But first, I want to tell you about a powerful aspect of male psychology, which can have a huge impact on how they feel about their girlfriends.  

It’s called the ‘Hero’s Instinct’.

In my experience, it appears as if every man holds onto this way of thinking. 

It’s a primal instinct that triggers deep feelings of affection and commitment in a man. 

Once I learned how to activate this, my relationships tended to become far more passionate and loving. Instead of being seen as ‘a bit of fun’, men started to view me as a potential life partner.

I’m happily married now, and discovering the Hero’s Instinct definitely helped me to achieve that dream (read my personal story to learn more).

It’s a pretty simple concept to activate, once you know how. 

If you’re looking for more commitment in your relationship, it’s in your best interests to discover how I learned to use the Hero’s Instinct

By making the most of this psychological trigger, as well as the 24 clever tricks below, you could well be hearing wedding bells in the near future. 

1. Make Sure He Is Ready

Couple talking

It may not matter that you love him and he loves you or that you have been together for 5 years; if he isn’t ready for marriage then it will be a tough one to sell. Your man may know he wants to marry you one day but just not at this present time or he isn’t financially ready to propose. The harder one is if he has fears and worries about marriage or doesn’t believe in it.

After having an honest conversation with my man about marriage after living together for over 7 years, he told me that he knew he wanted to marry me ‘one day’ but wasn’t ready yet. I reassured him that nothing would ever change in our relationship and reminded him of how much it meant to me and how much I wanted to be his wife. You’ll never believe it but a week later… he popped the question!

While my husband said he wasn’t ready, it wasn’t because of anything significant or meaningful. When I asked what changed his mind, he said that he realised that after our conversation that I was right. Talking things through with your partner is a whole lot better than pressurising him or giving him an ultimatum.

2. Is It The Right Time In His Life

Man looking financially problematic

You need to appreciate that if the time isn’t right in your man’s life then proposing won’t be at the top of his priority list and it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been together. For example, your man may be in the midst of a big career opportunity which is at the focus of his attention. Another reason why it may not be the right time is if he is financially unstable either because he is out of work, he’s in debt or because his pay is just about covering his bills.

An engagement ring is a luxury item and that can be very expensive. After the engagement ring comes the cost of a wedding, wedding rings and honeymoon all of which is expensive. Your man will feel the burden of this and if he isn’t working or is financially unstable then it doesn’t matter how much he wants to marry you, he may feel that marriage is not just an option at this moment in time. The worst thing you could do is to add pressure on your man when you know that this isn’t the right time for marriage for your man.

There comes a point in a relationship though when ‘it’s not the right time’ isn’t a reasonable excuse anymore and I think I reached that point after living with my man for over 7 years. This was when I sat him down and had an honest conversation about it.

3. He Can’t See A Future Without You

Man thinking of future

Other than factors such as financial status that you know about then you’ll need to find out whether it is the right time for him by finding out whether he can’t see a future without you in it. Even if you’ve been together for 3 years, don’t assume that it means he can vision you together 30 years later.

You’ll know if he sees a future with you if he uses words like “we” and “our” when talking about the future. You will also know whether he can vision you in his future when talking about major commitments such as buy a home together or even talking about kids.

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You will know if he isn’t ready for marriage if he can’t yet see you in his future. This doesn’t mean that he never will, it just means at this time he can’t see. You will be able to tell this if he never talks about the future or if he doesn’t even know about a wedding invitation in 6 months. Another point is if he is planning on working abroad which could be a sign that he is still focusing on his own life rather than your life together as a unit.

4. His View On Marriage

Man escaping from wedding

Most men don’t really have any strong feelings or beliefs about marriage, whether getting married or not getting married… they’d be happy either way. Some men believe in marriage and know it is something they can see themselves doing while other men have negative feelings about marriage and can’t see them at the end of the aisle in their future.

If your man is neither here nor there about marriage then I wouldn’t expect the amount excitement you would want to see from him. He is most likely doing it because you want to get married and he wants to make you happy. This is something you will need to accept. My husband was a neither here nor there kind of guy and so I know this first-hand.

If your man doesn’t believe in marriage or has fears about it then you could be in for more of a tougher journey to getting him to propose. While it’s not impossible for him to make this official commitment to you, it is something that may come in a number of years with plenty of nurturing and reassurance through the relationship.

If your man believes in marriage then for you it is just a case of waiting for when he feels stable enough in the relationship or when he is financially ready.

5. Drop Hints To Your Boyfriend

Woman thinking

Now that I have spoken about how to tell whether your man is ready for marriage, it is time for me to explain what to if you deem he is ready. Before going straight in for the kill and ask him directly, I would start by dropping a few hints here and there and possibly even help set the scene for him.

Going straight into it and asking him when he will marry you will instantly put the pressure on him which is something you definitely don’t want to do. If your hints aren’t working and you know that nothing should be stopping him from asking you to marry him then a conversation can be had but to start with, we just want to drop hints here and there.

There are a number of clever ways which you can drop hints to your boyfriend; some of which may work and some of which may not. Everyone is different and there is not cemented way in which I can tell you how to get your boyfriend to propose, all I can do is advise that you try each of the hints listed below.

From these hints, you want to either get him to propose or to naturally strike up a conversation of marriage in which he initiates which will mean you can talk to him about it without adding pressure because it was him that initiated the conversation.

6. Casually Bring It Up

Couple watching

One of the things you can do is very subtly and casually bring up the subject of marriage to see how comfortable he is talking about it. This doesn’t mean you should ask him directly how he feels; it just means to bring the topic of marriage up but on a more general basis. For example, if you’re watching a film where someone is getting married than joke about who would be the drunkest at your wedding or mention a mutual friend who is getting married and ask what he thinks about the venue they have booked. Don’t ask him direct questions such as how he would propose or what would be his ideal wedding as it is too specific to you as a couple. At this stage, you want to just initiate a conversation about weddings in general so keep it broad.

Another point is to not bring up the conversation about marriage up out of the blue as he will know it is something that is playing on your mind. When you do bring the subject up, make sure it is when the subject is already at hand such as when watching a movie or after receiving a wedding invitation in the post.

7. Talk About The Future

Couple thinking of future

Another conversation you can get started is your future together. Just as with talk about marriage, make sure that when you bring up the subject of your future to do it casually and subtly and not suddenly and out of the blue.

At this stage you want to find out whether marriage and your future together is something that he is also thinking of or is comfortable with talking about. Don’t jump right in and say that you can’t wait to have 8 kids together… this will just frighten him. You can find out whether he is comfortable about talking about the future in more discreet ways such as asking when watching a movie what he think you’ll both look like when you’re both in your 80’s. If he joins in the conversation and goes along with it then you can take from it that he can see you in his future. If however he avoids the conversation then it may mean he isn’t quite at the same stage as you are.

Start with very subtle and very casual questions and then with time, you can start asking more direct but still questions such as “if we lived together…” or “if we had kids…” or even “if we got married…”. The aim is to monitor his reaction to see whether he is comfortable or dismissive about the subject.

8. Plan A Romantic Trip

Couple planning on a trip

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Sometimes the best thing to do is to set the scene for him and give him the perfect opportunity to pop the question by planning a romantic trip or a holiday of a lifetime. I always plan the holidays in my relationship so it was something I was able to do. It was during a road trip down the west coast of America that me and my partner had an honest conversation about marriage and a week later he proposed when we were at home. Even though he didn’t propose while on holiday, it set a relaxing and romantic atmosphere for him to realise that marriage is in fact what he also wanted.

I know friend who have been proposed to while on holiday especially a friend who is a Disney fanatic in her 30’s but had never been to Disney World. She finally booked a holiday of a lifetime to go to Disney World and I’m guessing her boyfriend knew how much the trip meant to her and knew he could make her visit to Disney World even better by proposing… and so he did.

While being proposed to in Disney World isn’t for everyone, the point is that a romantic trip or a dream holiday could certainly trigger his proposal plans.

 9. Mention You Don’t Want An Expensive Ring

Couple in a jewelry store

This is definitely a tactic I used before I was married and in fact hinted that I wouldn’t even want an engagement ring because it is the marriage that meant more to me. This was an honest feeling of mine and so I would certainly not have been disappointed with no wedding ring. I knew I just wanted to marry my man and that is it.

If you actually want a big rock on your hand then then this may be a tactic you should avoid just in case he actually doesn’t get you an engagement ring or gets you a cheap engagement ring and wonders why you’re not happy. That wouldn’t be a very good start now would it.

Even though I told my now husband that I wouldn’t even want an engagement ring, he still got me one… the day after he proposed we went together to pick one. This was perfect for me as it was just me and him being us rather than a big deal being made about it. Taking away some of the financial stress that can surround marriage away from your boyfriend will reassure him that he doesn’t have to get the fanciest ring to be able to propose.

10. Mention You Don’t Want An Expensive Wedding

Couple reading wedding magazine

Just like with hinting that you don’t want an expensive engagement ring, also hint that you wouldn’t want an expensive wedding… unless you really do! I also used this tactic with my man but actually found out that it was him that wanted the big white wedding. This came as a surprise to me as I was truly happy with just getting married and having a little party with close friends and family. During our honest conversation while on holiday, I told him that it was him that was putting this financial burned of marriage on himself and that I would be happy to just be me and him and close friends and family.

I think maybe he then realised that sometimes you just have to look past the money aspect of marriage and look at marriage for what it is… a commitment to the one you love and a promise to each other you will be by each other’s side for as long as you live.

If you wouldn’t mind having a smaller wedding and a wedding that excludes planners, bouquets and the finest champagne then mention it to him. It will again help to relieve some of the financial burden that can come when deciding whether to propose.

11. Be Wife Material

Woman taking care of guy

While I always recommend remaining playful and keeping the excitement in the relationship, I also suggest you show him that you are wife material and possibly the mother of his children too. You can do this by knowing how to cook good hearty meals, be able to take care of him when he is sick, you’re independent and that you have ambitions and are career-orientated.

Your man wants to see that you can be both playful but also mature. Your relationship should be mostly happy and fun with perhaps the odd argument. However if you continue to argue and cry about your insecurities, your man may feel that you aren’t actually ready for something as mature and serious as marriage.

As much as you don’t want to admit it, if you know that you fight and cry over insecurities it is time to control your emotions and show your man that you are confident, independent and mature. Be all of these things as well as remaining fun and playful. This perfect duo of traits will help your man realise that you are a woman of wife material and someone that he can see himself marrying.

12. Appreciate Your Man

Woman saying thank you

You know how good it feels when your man compliments on your dress or hair but do you compliment him as often? You may be surprised but men have feelings too and will feel they are appreciate if you compliment him and thanks him for things he has done.

Your man is happy when you are happy and so if you continue to nag and whine about the things he does, he is going think you aren’t 100% happy in the relationship when you actually really are. Show your appreciation more saying thank you after he has fixed something or tell him how good he looks in that shirt. If your man feels appreciated then he will strive to do more to please you and one day will realise that marriage will make you happy and will follow through with a proposal.

13. Take Care Of Yourself

Woman taking care of herself

This doesn’t mean that you must always wear a full face of makeup every day or wear your very best clothes. It does however mean that you should take careful of yourself whether that is eating healthfully, take time to do the things you enjoy, take pride on your appearance and to also say no when you don’t want to do something. Saying no to things is important as it shows your man that you aren’t a soft touch and take pride in what you want.

Men are attracted to women who are confident, independent and who are in touch with their soft femininity and so make sure you have all these traits. If you have insecurities then work them out by talking it through without getting upset or angry. If you are too dependent on your man then start building your own life again by going out with friends and focusing on your career.

14. Enjoy The Company Of Married Friends

Coupled friends

Sometimes the best thing that you can do is to surround your man with married friends. If you have mutual friends that are married then make sure to spend time with them by going for drinks or inviting them round for dinner. If they are happy and still the same couple as they were before they got married then your man may feel reassured that marriage isn’t such a big leap as he thinks.

If however you know that your friends are having trouble in their marriage then it may be best to steer clear as much as possible but then you can’t block them from your lives so don’t do that.

15. Be Direct About It

Couple holding hands while talking

So far I have spoken about how to determine whether your man is ready for marriage and how to get him to propose by dropping hints. If you still find yourself with no ring on your finger then now it is time to take the more direct approach which is what I found myself doing when I was on my mission to get my man to propose.

Sometimes hinting can only do so much and the time calls for you to have an honest conversation with your man. Even though you are going to be more direct, it doesn’t mean that you should add pressure or force him into making a decision as this will not help him come to the decision you want.

There are three main ways in which you can have a more direct approach to marriage which I have listed below. Make sure the time is right when you start a more direct conversation just as I did when we were on a dream holiday; we were both happy and destressed which made for the perfect time.

16. Listen To His Fears

Woman hugging boyfriend

Make sure when having an honest conversation about marriage with your boyfriend that you listen to what he has to say and be understanding, even if you don’t agree. You want him to open up to you about how he truly feels and what he is scared of or worried about so you can help resolve those fears and worries. This will not happen if you start to cry or get angry with him. There are two people in the relationship who are equals so make sure you pay his feelings just as much attention as your own.

Once he has opened up about his fears of marriage, you will be able to then reassure him of those fears so he knows there is nothing to worry about. One of those fears may be that he believes that marriage may change what they have or that it would cost a lot of money. Make sure to listen first and then offer your reassurance.

Your man will be more inclined to open up in the future about marriage and maybe even realise that you are not a princess dreaming but a mature woman who loves him and not the idea of being married.

17. Explain Why Marriage Is Logical

Woman explaining to boyfriend

If your man tends to think decision through logically rather than with the heart then break it logically for him and explain how marriage can be beneficial. This may not be the most romantic approach in the world but it will help your man open up to you in a way that he knows best.

You can explain that because you live together you already act like a married couple but just aren’t getting the benefits from it such as being able to put his name on your insurance plan, having joint government benefits and filing for joint tax returns. If this is the kind of thing your man goes for then why not use it?

You can also explain to him that if something happened to either one of you and you ended up on life support or died, you wouldn’t have any of the decisions as you’re not a legally together. The decision making would be passed to their next of kin. While this is definitely going down a more morbid path, it certainly highlights the logical importance of marriage.

One that I used and I thought was important was that I would have a different surname to my own children which I would never want. It may be things like this that he has not thought about.

18. Propose Yourself

Woman proposing to a guy

This is certainly a leap of faith but if all the hints and direct conversations just hasn’t resulted in a proposal and you really want to marry your man then maybe you propose to him, after all we are in the 21st century.

I would give a word of warning for this one though as I know most men find this still very uncomfortable so be sure that your man is 100% ready for marriage and that he is ok with women proposing. You can find this out by casually bringing up the subject. I once brought it up with my partner while watching a programme on the TV but quickly realised that it was something that I could never do. You will be able to tell if your man is open to the idea if he joins in the conversation with you and jokes positively about it and not negatively.

You know your man better than anyone else and so there is no one in the world who will be able to tell whether you should propose to him or not and if so, how to do it… maybe except for his mum.

19. Knowing What Not To Do

woman-thinking

As well as knowing what you can do to get your boyfriend to propose, it is just as important to know what not to do to get your boyfriend to propose. I have to admit that I done at least one or two of these so don’t worry if you have already done some of them, you can fix it by just stop doing it.

Some of these things are more serious that other but you should be able to fix your mistake either easily or with time. I’m not the only woman to have fell victim to one of the below traits and neither are you, many women who are waiting for their man to propose will have done at least one of the following. If you have done any of the following, it doesn’t mean your man will never propose to you now, it just means that you may have delayed the proposal. Your aim should now be to get things back on track and remind your man why he loves you so that a proposal will be in your near future.

20. Don’t Repeatedly Bring It Up

Woman nagging while man covering ears

This is one that I was certainly guilty of but learnt that it wasn’t the most attractive of methods. If you’ve ever watched Mean Girls then you will know the phrase “word vomit” that Cady used when she just simply couldn’t stop talking to her boyfriend about things he didn’t want to hear. This is exactly what I suffered from many years ago. For some reason I couldn’t stop myself from talking about weddings and marriage to my man and I knew he didn’t want to hear it and that he thought I was pressuring him… but I couldn’t stop.

Somehow I finally cured myself and shut my trap when any thoughts of weddings or marriage entered my mind. I only started slowly talking about it again when I noticed he started to mention weddings and marriage.

If you’ve already mentioned you want to be married once then believe me that will have burnt a hole in your man’s mind so there is no need to repeat yourself. The more you talk about it in fact, the less he is going to hear it.

21. Tell Your Friends And Family To Stop Mentioning Marriage

Talking to friends

My family and his family did nothing to help the situation by constantly asking him when he is going to pop the question. To be honest I didn’t even realise this was a problem until my mum mentioned it one day and said that she is going to stop bringing it up because she thought it wasn’t helping. How right she was! It was just his family that continued to do it but I thought it was my family and friends that were more important to stop bringing it up.

When men are being badgered by everyone about when he is going to pop the question, he may feel that he is being ganged up on. This will in turn add pressure where pressure isn’t needed. Your man should be free and allowed to make this very important decision on his own and being pressurised into something doesn’t always work out in the long run.

If you have friend and family who do this and think that they are helping them then thank them but tell them you think it would be best if they stopped and gave him so space.

22. Do Not Give An Ultimatum

Couple wedding deadline

This is one of those ones that if you have already done it then it may be a hard one to recover from and could take time. Many women make the mistake of giving their man an ultimatum giving them an option of either marry them or they’ll walk. At the time, this may seem like the best solution when you feel you have waited forever and still have no ring on your finger. You may think that giving him an ultimatum will kick him into action because he’ll think he might lose you. In actual fact though, giving your man an ultimatum could actually do the opposite and could delay him proposing by quite some time.

Think about it… giving him an ultimatum will make him think that ending the relationship is just so easy for you and so why would he make a lifelong commitment when he thinks you can find it easy to just walk away from him.

He may also believe that you don’t want to get married to him but that you just want to be married. It is important you have your priorities right and that your man is more important than marriage.

23. Don’t Add Pressure

Stressed man

If you’re not sure whether your man is ready for marriage then don’t force it on him as this will add pressure on him and will make things worse. While marriages work based on just a few months of dating beforehand, it is a rare occasion and so I wouldn’t start mentioning marriage if your only a few months into the relationship.

If you know that your man is just about keeping up with bills or has no job at the moment then paying for a wedding isn’t going to be a top priority for him even if he wants to marry you or not. If you know he is financially not ready then be supportive rather than push him into possible further debt. A lot of marriages fail in the first year because of financial stress because of the cost of the wedding.

24. Don’t Be Desperate

Desperate housewife

Many women believe that by being overly accommodating by cooking him a three course meal every day, picking him and his buddies up in the early morning every weekend and to be at his constant beck and call will automatically make them wife material. This isn’t true though as men find women more attractive and see them as wife material if they are confident, independent and will give them a challenge.

It is not fair to both you and your man to pretend to be something you are not just to try and get him to propose. What happens after you get married? Will you carry on being at his beck-and-call for the rest of your life? Never pretend to be something you’re not when trying to get your man to propose as it isn’t something you can continue forever.

Instead of saying yes to everything your man asks, if it is inconvenient for you then say no… he isn’t going to fault you any less for it.

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Sonya Schwartz
A hopeless romantic that struggled for many years to find her Mr "Right" and made all the mistakes you could think of while dating. Known for always choosing the wrong guys or messing up relationships, Sonya was finally able to change her approach and mindset when it came to dating which helped her eventually find the man of her dreams and become happily married. You can read more about me here...

8 comments on “How To Get Him To Propose (24 Subtle Tricks That Work)”

  1. I've been with my boyfriend for a year.Been living together for 10 months.I'm helping raise his teenage daughter,she calls me mom.She is always asking me if i think we will get married. I'm wanting a proposel..What do i do?

    1. It’s still so early! At the end of the day, you know your relationship better than any stranger on the internet. But I’m sure that if you’ve been dating for a year you both have more to learn about one another!

  2. I've been with my boyfriend for a year and five months. I'm about to travel out for work and want him to propose before I leave. He sees his future with me and is certain I'm his better half. How do I make him propose soon before my departure

    1. You’re giving him wifey actions, as well as the benefits that comes with it. You live together, help with bills, cook and clean and probably have sex often. He’s not going to propose because you’re already giving him wifey treatment without the ring.

    2. I've been with my boyfriend for nearly 9 years and living together for 8 years now. We got together when I was 22 but he is 2 years younger than me. We are currently thinking about buying our first house together. I am frustrated by the lack of a proposal but at the same time know that I want to stay with him as partners for life. We have discussed married but I know he has worries about finances and his priority is having somewhere for us to live together. He is not ready yet but I think eventually he will be. I might sounds crazy to you to put up with it this long but at this point I think it doesn't matter as long as we are happy and we are essentially married anyway.

    3. I've been with my boyfriend for nearly 9 years and living together for 8 years now. We got together when I was 22 but he is 2 years younger than me. We are currently thinking about buying our first house together. I am frustrated by the lack of a proposal but at the same time know that I want to stay with him as partners for life. We have discussed marriage but I know he has worries about finances and his priority is having somewhere for us to live together. He is not ready yet but I think eventually he will be. I might sound crazy to you to put up with it this long but at this point I think it doesn't matter as long as we are happy and we are essentially married anyway.I thought this article was good because it highlights the point that it is different for everyone and there is no set right time to get married.

  3. I have been with my boyfriend for 7 months. We are both widowed in our 50s with 2 grown kids each.Both of us fell deeply in love with each other by the second month. We want to get married and start a new life together. My kids are waiting anxiously for my new happy life to begin but my boyfriends kids still live at home with him. He feels it is his responsibility to give his kids a free place to live and take care of them until they are ready to go out on their own. They are both in their 20s. They both know this and do not want their dad to get married because they would have to leave home. Both of us will be selling our houses and buying one together. No kids will be allowed to live with us full time. That is why they are pretending they can't make it on their own. My boyfriend has gone from lets not wait around to maybe we will get married in a year. It hurts big time that he is letting his kids do this to him. I love him dearly and will wait no matter how long, I just don't know how to get him to see his kids for what they are doing to his life.

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