Is It Awkward For Women To Propose To Men?

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Shorter Version

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“When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”

~Nora Ephron

Is it awkward for women to propose to men? Well, it depends on who you ask…

If you are usually the one being proposed to, a woman proposing to a man may seem odd or even a little preposterous. It’s probably hard, if not impossible, to truly understand all of the angst that goes into “popping the question.”

There’s a whole lot of planning, second-guessing, jitters, excitement, tears, stomachaches, and fear involved in this momentous, life-changing event. However, even in this 21st-century modern world of independence and innovation, some people still believe the man must propose to the woman of his dreams. 

Wait…what? What year is this?

Not only does society, at large, feel it is on the man to plan a memorable proposal, but it’s also on him to purchase his fiancée’s engagement ring, the wedding rings, and to ensure that the proposal and wedding go as planned.

But, guess what? This isn’t the world your grandparents grew up in. In other words, beliefs are changing every day. And, some women are choosing to forego tradition by taking control of the proposal.

These women have decided to carve out a brand new path when it comes to love and marriage. They are purchasing the rings – for both of them and they are getting down on one knee to “pop the question.” Some are even asking their partner’s parents for his hand in marriage. And, just like their male counterparts, they are praying for an amazing experience and a big fat “YES!”

So, is it awkward for these women to propose to their partners? If you ask them, they’d most likely tell you, “Absolutely not!” But, for others, it may be a different story. The truth is, it’s a preference.

Just because you don’t feel comfortable or even believe in women proposing to men, there is no reason to force your views on others.

History of marriage proposals

The original goal of marriage proposals was to help form connections between two people – connections that would eventually lead to marriage. These marriages created new families of both blood-born members and their spouses.

However, during the 18th century, marriages became complicated and structured – so complicated and structured that people started to marry simply for the financial and social benefits. As a result, it became imperative that women marry financially-stable men to reap the economic benefits of the union.

The problem? Because men typically held the jobs and made the money, women had to wait for them to propose. However, by the 20th century, the tide had begun to slightly change. People began to choose their own spouses based on love and respect, not just financial stability. It was during this time the bolder, more independent women began to contemplate proposing to their male partners. 

But, it would take another century before it became somewhat accepted by society. Even then, however, the majority of people still viewed men as the “breadwinners.” Because men made the money, they held the power of marriage. What did that mean for women? They were still left waiting for a proposal.

Modern proposals

A lot has changed since your grandparents’ era, however, the sentiment that a man must propose to a woman has remained mostly unchanged. In fact, to many 21st-century women, the proposal must be left up to the man. To these women, it’s a status symbol – the ring, the proposal, and the wedding. It is a sign of self-worth and desirability – at least in their minds and in the minds of those around them. These women were chosen.

Friends, family, co-workers, acquaintances, and even strangers flock to look at the woman’s ring. “How many carats is it?” “He must really love you to give you a ring like that?” Women have become so engrossed with the ring and the proposal that many begin hinting at a proposal a few months after they get into a relationship.

These women want to get married but have been taught or conditioned to wait for a man to ask them – not the other way around. So, they wait and wait, hoping that their partners will eventually ask them.

Do you have to wait?

Do they have to wait? No! They could ask their partners instead, but the idea feels too foreign and awkward to them, so they continue to wait.

Societal pressure makes many women feel like they should not propose to a man because it’s just not appropriate. And, many women adhere to that belief. Ironically, however, this comes at a time when women strive for independence and the freedom to make their own choices. But, somehow, proposals are different. Once again, women are stuck waiting on someone else to choose for them – their self-worth and future.

So, is it awkward for women to propose to men? Heck no! Well, not for most women anyway, and not in this day and age – unless you allow it to be… The key is to “do you.” In other words, follow your heart wherever it leads you.

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Actionable Steps


Make sure he’s ready to get married

Before you propose, make sure your boyfriend is ready to get married. In other words, stick a toe in the marriage waters before you get down on one knee and pledge your undying love and devotion to your partner.
If your partner seems receptive to the idea of marriage, delve a little deeper and find out when he’d like to get married. A year from now? Two years from now? Down the road a bit? Or right now? Knowing this will help you decide when to propose to him, so you get the response you’re hoping for.


Pick the perfect place for the BIG question

It is also important to pick the perfect place to propose. When I say the perfect place, I mean the perfect place for you and your partner. Maybe, the perfect place is where you had your first date…Or, maybe it’s a place you’ve been dying to visit together… Or, perhaps, it is at home, while snuggling in bed and watching Netflix.


Wait for the right time

It’s also important that you wait for the right time. Does that mean waiting forever? Absolutely not. But, you don’t want to propose to your partner after a major fight or while you are having relationship issues. You want to wait until the time feels right – for both of you. Make sure you know where your boyfriend’s head’s at before you propose to him.
Only you know when the time is right to propose to your partner. Don’t behave impulsively and propose in the spare of the moment, because you may not get the response you’re looking for. Wait until your relationship is in a happy, stable place and then ask.

P.S. You may want to consider proposing on special date like an anniversary, holiday, or birthday.


Read the longer version

You can learn more about how women propose to men by reading the following articles: Why Don’t Women Propose to Men?, How It Feels to Propose, According to 8 Women Who Did, and What I Learned From Proposing To My Boyfriend.

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About the Author

Dr. R. Y. Langham

Dr. R. Y. Langham

Ph.D. in Family Psychology

Ree has a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy (M.M.F.T.) and a Ph.D. in Family Psychology. She spent over ten years counseling families, couples, individuals, and children on adjustment issues such as blended families, same-sex couples, dysfunctional family relationships, relationship issues, etc. Now she writes for famous health organizations and is a published author.
Full Bio | LinkedIn

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