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How to Propose Without Catching Your Partner Off Guard

In the United States alone, between 40 and 50 percent of marriages end up in divorce. The remaining 50 to 60 percent end up in marriage counseling. Sure, that second statement is made up. But that does not mean marriage as a prospect for any couple is any less grave.

Deciding to get married is perhaps one of the most serious decisions you will make in your life. You do not get married because you are afraid to end up alone, spending weeknights watching Jeopardy. You get married because you love your partner, and you see yourself spending the rest of your life with them. You get married because you entertain the possibility of raising a family with your significant other.

If your heart is in the right place, then, by all means, get a ring ready and plan your proposal. Just make sure you follow these recommendations so that you do not shock your partner in a way that makes them run away from you while you're on your knees, expecting a yes.

Listen to your partner

A sensitive person will know if their partner's ready to say I do. It only takes active listening to pick up on those hints. So, listen. While you're Netflix-and-chilling, watch out for those side comments that might have something to do with getting hitched.

It helps if you're watching something like Friends or Grey's Anatomy, where romance is often a big aspect of the narrative. You might get fewer opportunities for marriage-adjacent comments if you are watching Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. That is unless your partner has a morbidly romantic or romantically morbid streak.

Talk to your partner's friends and loved ones

Yes, you're the most intimate person to your significant other. But keep in mind that there are things your partner will find easier to discuss with other people. You are not automatically your partner's go-to resource person for everything under the sun just because you share a bed at night.

So do your research. Give your partner's friends a ring and ask them what they think about you proposing to their friend. Visit your partner's family and let them in on your plans. If any of them knows a marriage proposal's still a no-no, they'll be decent enough to warn you, ideally, in a way that won't break your fragile heart.

Drop hints

If your partner's a little coy about marriage talk, don't hesitate to initiate the conversation here and there. But most casually, that is. This way, you won't scare your partner.

It'll help if you can be funny about it. You do not want to make a marriage proposal talk sound like getting a cancer scare.

The goal is to let your partner indirectly know that a marriage proposal's something you are considering. Once you finally do it, they won't have any excuse about how they did not see it coming. Should they use that excuse for rejecting your proposal eventually, then maybe they are completely insensitive, and you have been spared from years of eating food you're allergic to because your partner can't and won't remember your dietary limitations.

Keep the proposal low-key

This is going against the grain because the grain is the bigger, the better. The more viral, the wiser. If you have repressed dreams of becoming a celebrity, then go big and bombastic with your marriage proposal. Just remember that such a route has got higher stakes. For one thing, it's like turning your partner into a proposal hostage. They can only say yes. Otherwise, they are complete pricks.

And if your partner's fine with coming off as a complete prick, you'll come off as pathetic. So might as well keep the proposal low-key. Go big on the wedding instead.


Now do not fret if your partner still rejected your marriage proposal even after following these recommendations. They must have a good enough reason to do so. And they might have just saved both of you from committing a costly mistake. We say costly because weddings in the United States cost $33,000 on average.

Also, there's no shame. According to a study cited in Cosmopolitan magazine, one in four marriage proposals is rejected. That means you are not alone. There are many people like you with a small box hidden in their closets. There are so many of you that starting an online support group's a good idea.

Once you're ready, dust yourself off and take that ring to where you bought it, and ask for a refund. There's no use holding on to it. Use the money for a new gaming PC or something.

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