Why Do Women Still Wait for Marriage Proposals?

I can’t be alone in feeling this way.



After my mom and dad had been dating for a few years and marriage was on the horizon, she started dropping hints about how she’d like him to ask. She’d recount the story of her friend’s proposal — a room full of balloons, a single one that read “I love you,” popped to reveal a ring inside — hoping he’d be inspired by the creativity, but her efforts were in vain. When he did eventually ask her, it was on a couch in front of the TV. He just kind of leaned sideways during a commercial break and tossed it out. We all grew up laughing about it.

I never remember questioning the premise of the whole story, which was that it was my dad’s responsibility to do the asking. Probably because when I was a kid, the conversation around proposals generally wasn’t very nuanced. It was about how the guy asked the girl. I accepted this as status quo because it was! From where I sit, it still is, to my continued surprise.

I’ve seen the recent feminist wave tackle patriarchal bullshit on levels sweeping and microscopic. Most women I know, whether they closely identify with the movement or not, are aware of sexism, double standards, implicit bias, the wage gap and the unfair burdens placed on women. Which is why I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why I haven’t seen the traditional Western approach to marriage proposals picked apart more in my media feeds and friend circles.

My Facebook newsfeed is a barrage of women – from all over the feminist spectrum — announcing their ecstatic joy at having been asked. Questions around “taking it to the next step” still often revolve around if the dude will come around, when it might happen, how he’ll do it. In other words, if, when and how the man will take fate into his own hands.

It’s not that I’m not thrilled for these women — I ugly-cried behind a bush when I spied on my brother-in-law asking my sister — but I’m also confused by the whole expectation-laden, untouchable-seeming narrative of it. The marriage seed planted in the minds of little girls and boys is kind of fucked, right? Man asks father for daughter’s hand in marriage, man asks woman to marry him, father walks daughter down the aisle. The fate of every woman in the hands of the men in her life.

As adults entering relationships, most of us trade the high school “Will you be my girlfriend/boyfriend” question for a more thoughtful, two-way conversation around exclusivity, defining the relationship, a mutual agreement. So why isn’t the transition to engagement — arguably the most intense one of all — that much more measured? That much more mutual? Maybe these conversations are happening more than I think, but my bubble says otherwise.

I respect tradition; carrying the parts of history forward that strengthen a sense of community and ground us in something other than chaos. But when it comes to “choices” and “traditions” that subjugate women (and, in this case, the LGBTQ-identifying population), I struggle to rally my live-and-let-live attitude. I worry about the long-term implications of holding up ancient practices that undermine our gender.

Am I a self-righteous killjoy? I’m just frankly a little confounded by the free pass this whole traditions seems to enjoy in a society that’s so loathe to dole them out. Why do you think we’re still clinging to this? Why are we so okay with it? What are you feelings on the matter?

While we’re on the topic of marriage, here’s how Sex and the City almost ruined Leandra’s relationship.

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  • Alison

    You are not a self-righteous killjoy! These are great questions. Thanks for encouraging me to think about them.

  • I’m actually right at this point in my life. My boyfriend and I have always been great at communicating with each other and we know marriage is in the not too distant future. I found myself wondering the other day — as I watched my third high school friend pop the question over the last week — if we should just bite the bullet. I almost leaned over to him in the car driving home from his mothers and said, “Let’s just be engaged.”

    But then it’s tough because what if he had something special planned, and I ruined it? He’s been asking me about rings, and he loves doing romantic things and surprising me. If we stand up as women and say “forget tradition” are we taking something from the men who do want to make the grand gesture? It’s a special time for them too, especially when they know we’re going to say yes.

    And don’t get me started on the expenses of actually getting married. That’s probably the biggest reason we aren’t engaged yet.

    • Schek

      The expenses of actually getting married can be as little as the cost of the license and the officiant. My husband and I got married on the beach – last minute – while already on vacation. Never had a ring, no parental permission requested, no man “gave me away”, no expensive dress… 15 years later – happily married! You decide all these things. It’s whatever you want it to be but there are no inherent high expenses.

  • I totally see your point Haley. In a world where women are “leaning in” and embracing their inner Gloria Steinman, it makes sense to talk about proposals being done by men and women. Although, as a twenty something small business owner who asked men to my junior and senior prom and made the first move to begin 2 out of my 3 most serious relationships, I never want to ask a man to marry me. I call the shots in a lot of aspects of my life and a proposal is one area where I want a man to take charge.

  • Pa La

    I have the feeling this also happens when it comes to “chasing someone” in the early stages of a romance. I’m a heterosexual woman and I keep being told I should never chase a man.

    • Adrianna

      When I was single, other (single) women criticized me for being too forward if I mentioned that I told a guy that I was interested in him. Uh if a man couldn’t handle me asking him to hang out, he wouldn’t be able to handle me.

  • Sarah

    I’m inclined to think that, if a couple is approaching the topic of marriage, they likely have had serious conversations about where they stand and what their intentions are within the context of the relationship. I don’t think it is just about “dropping hints,” etc. It’s far more of a partnership and two-way discussion than this piece makes it out to be!

    On that note, I think traditional proposals are less about subjugating women and more about exalting them; a man who is so in love with his future spouse that he finds himself romantically inspired, giving her precious memories that last a lifetime. Far from making a woman feel like she’s waiting in the wings until he’s ready, a traditional proposal is a public, tangible declaration that he wants to spend his life with her, and only her. She has the choice to take it or leave it, and that’s empowering.

    Lastly, psychologically speaking, men and women may have different needs in a relationship. I’m no expert, but I know my husband responds to things much better when he feels he’s had the chance to assert his opinions and volitions. While men ought to be respectful of women’s needs in a relationship, we owe it to the dudes we love to do the same.

  • Cassidie Clayton

    Man! I’ve been wondering the same thing! What is up with the secrecy of it? It’s such a bizarre tradition. I remember having to ask for my friend if her then boyfriend was going to propose. This seems more odd to me than taking the man’s last name. My daughter has her dads last name so the grips of the patriarchy hath taken hold already, but I think I’ll discuss this, because it doesn’t need to be such a dance. Though, to be fair my proposal with my husband was great and still traditional. It’s easy to see it as evil when its not someone you love doing the little ceremony.

    One brighter light I’ve seen are instances like my brother and sister in law. They were engaged (technically), had everything scheduled and planned, but no official proposal. But everyone kept hounding him to propose as if it wasn’t going to happen if he didn’t. He did eventually ( THANK GOODNESS, right) propose. But I wonder if this tradition will slowly fade away out without much hubbub.

  • sara beth walsh

    My now-husband and I organically started talking about the long-term future (after jumping through hoops to get him on my health care, of all unromantic reasons), and before we knew it, we were discussing the intimate family wedding we envisioned. He said, “OK, I just need to save a little more to buy the Thing, so I can do the Thing I Need To Do in the next few months or so.” But for the next few days, we kept discussing wedding ideas and getting more and more excited, and in the middle of a Polar Vortex snowstorm, I was mid-shower when I realized, I didn’t NEED or even really WANT a ring; he is already working on paying off student loans–how is it fair to ask him to cover that huge expense too, when we are a team in everything else?

    My mother only ever had a wedding band, and I suddenly knew that that was the right thing for me, too. So I came out of the shower dripping wet and told him if it meant something to him, he could get the ring and do a formal proposal, but that I personally would be just as happy without. We agreed we didn’t feel compelled to follow tradition just for tradition’s sake and more excited to go ahead and tell our families we had decided to get married, so we called everyone, got dressed up, braved the blizzard, and celebrated with the best meal of our lives at a fancy restaurant, giddy with excitement and happiness. Lots of people were confused in the coming weeks and months as they stared bewildered at my empty ring finger, but we didn’t care. We were beyond happy and wouldn’t change our “co-posal” for the world–it was US.

    I too am genuinely thrilled and touched by others’ proposals and traditional weddings when they are right for the people involved. But it IS possible to march to the beat of a different drum and still be romantic and truly joyful if you feel so inspired! Just turn a deaf ear to society’s expectations and listen to what is really right for you and your loved one.

  • Amy Stufflebeam

    I proposed to my dude back in August and it was the best decision. I asked his mom for her blessing, as well as his sister then went and bought a ring. When the time came, I read him a letter, got down on one knee and popped the question. It was so liberating to take my future into my own hands and my fiancé was really touched. I’m constantly amazed by the reactions I get, from horror to disbelief. Most women tell me they wish they could do it, but they’d be too scared, their partner would reject the idea, etc. It was the right way for me, but I understand that it’s not for everyone.

    • Chloe Bruderer

      It blows my mind anyone would be horrified by this sweet story. So awesome!!!

  • Adrianna

    I would go as far as to suggest that engagement rings are an antiquated tradition. What does that whole ritual mean in 2017? The man gets on his knee and promises to financial stability (symbolized by the ring) in exchange for sex.

    I’m 27 and have been in a relationship for almost five years. I would never drop hints instead of directly asking to discuss whether we wanted to cement an economic tie to one another. I don’t understand why anyone wants surprise proposals.

  • Abby

    My husband told (not asked) my parents he was planning on proposing, but he wasn’t very subtle about it so I found out immediately that was his plan. I think he’d been meaning to do it in 3 to 6 months. I don’t like waiting for things and I knew he would say yes, so at brunch one day I just said “I think we should be engaged”. He agreed, we called our families to tell them, and that was it.

  • Julissa

    “The fate of every woman in the hands of the men in her life.” – dude, so true. That is a big decision to leave up to one person in the relationship. 🙁 But also it’s a lot of pressure so I’m not sure I’d ever want to ask!

  • This is totally where I’m at with marriage. In our 6 years together, my boyfriend has vowed to ‘never get married’ yet my friends still insist that he will ‘surprise me one day’ like I’m holding out, hoping he’ll change his mind… I often retort that I’d be more annoyed that he’d had a drastic change of mind and not told me about it, but I’m only met with laughter like not saying ‘yes’ straightaway is a hilarious joke…

  • Chloe Bruderer

    In my head when I get engaged (IF, I guess I should say) I hope that it could be up in the air who does the asking. And my dad said if someone ever asked if they could marry me, he would say “Idk ask HER”.

  • Azlin Armstrong

    I just entered my twenties, so marriage and proposals aren’t really on my radar yet (although that still doesn’t stop my facebook feed from being a nonstop photo stream of men down on one knee.) I’m so excited by all of you wonderful people, taking your futures into your own hands!

    I have very traditional, conservative christian parents (my first boyfriend had to ask my dad’s permission just to date me, the poor thing), and so I’ve given some thought to the father giving away the daughter at the end of the aisle thing. I would be much more excited by an alternative that celebrated both my mom and my dad, one that focused on honoring them for the support, love, wisdom, etc. that they’ve shown me. I’ve really embraced feminism over the past few years, and I’m not sure I would be comfortable with that particular ritual in my wedding; my dad is so traditional though, it might break his heart not to get to do it.

    Thankfully my single twenty year old status means that I’ve got plenty of time to sort this one out lol

  • Deanna

    This article came at the perfect moment. I was just thinking about this the other day. The entire wedding ceremony is just full of these things that don’t necessarily make sense anymore but for some reason it’s still very appealing to me. I am definitely starting to think about how I don’t need a proposal. My boyfriend and I have talked about getting married enough times that I know it’s our next step and I think I would like it to be a decision we make together. there must be other ways to commemorate that moment without rings or an over the top showy proposal. I do see the appeal and I think it’s really beautiful when people choose that route but it is actually very liberating realizing we can do things our own way.

  • tmm16

    “The fate of every woman in the hands of the men in her life.” – this really hit me hard. I’m kind of angered now, but also indifferent at the same time. I also don’t think you’re a self-righteous killjoy, at all.

    I don’t think of marriage at the moment, I’m more concerned with my career and personal goals, but I know that if and when it happens, it’ll feel effortless. I’ve sabotaged many relationships because I’ve overthought everything, and when the guy is right, I know I won’t even have to think about it; it’ll just happen.

    I also admire women who propose to their boyfriends. I could see myself doing that.

  • Sarah

    My husband and I went to city hall for our marriage license instead of an “engagement”. We had been discussing the future of our relationship for a few months and both decided we didn’t want a traditional engagement or wedding, just a fun dinner with our closest friends and family that we would call our “ceremony”. I also wanted to get the engagement out of the way so we could get on with our lives but boy oh boy did we realize that everyone else REALLY wants a big engagement announcement and wedding!! A lot of my female friends were shocked at the “non-romance” of it all, in 2016 what is romance?! I would love some insight from women who are very adamant on the type/size of ring they want (and will wait for?!) and the way a man “should” propose… really, i’m fascinated.

    • b.e.g.

      We wanted our wedding to be a small affair at my parents house, catered, around the swimming pool, informal, close family from both sides and friends only, like a regular house party 30-40 persons maximum. Then the families started in with the nonsense. Unfortunately, not wanting to disappoint anybody we let them run with it. When I learnt the invitations had gone out already, I freaked out at the total number of guests. 175. Well, that was shitty, because there was no way they would fit around my parents swimming pool, or even inside the house, and I was adamant we were NOT going to rent a hall or spend a fortune on a wedding. I looked over the list, realized that I didn’t recognise half the names, and had a hissy fit. This was my wedding day, and I wasn’t going to do it the traditional way. So I cancelled the wedding and pissed everyone off. 25 years later I still hear about how we cancelled the wedding and offended the extended family. Right. In the end, we had a VERY small wedding, our parents, siblings, their partnerts, and our son. We booked a room at an old mansion, catered to perfection, invited everyone the week before, they all showed up on time, dressed nicely, we cried, we ate, we drank, we loved it.

  • b.e.g.

    I guess it all depends. The risk of marriage proposal too soon can lead to the break-up of a relationship. Panic, not ready, not sure, feeling of rejection if the other party says no, not ready. Tricky stuff. Some marriage proposal scenarios are fairly simple. Man, woman (or man/man, woman/woman, whatever combo fits here) date for a while, realize they are compatible and feel they can make a go of it, hopefully to long-term success. Yes, I know nothing is quite so simple, there may be financial or other considerations. Yet there are situations where it may be awkward for a woman to propose. In my case it was because I had a child. My new boyfriend enjoyed spending time with my son, but did that mean he wanted the responsibility for this child? That is a long-term decision that can have life-long effect and ramifications. So I had to wait for him to make the commitment not only to me but to my son. And he did. Atop a ski hill, on the edge of a cliff (symbolic don’t you think), he took off one ski, knelt down, and asked me. I started crying, said yes if only he’d step away from the cliff. He didn’t get “the ring” until later, and we both paid for it. It is a beautiful memory.

  • Juli

    I’m from Argentina and i’ve always thought this about american culture! I guess things here are a bit more informal and getting married or proposing is more of a conversation than an event.

  • I wouldn’t mind if my boyfriend proposed to me (not yet though lol) but I wouldn’t want him to spend loads of money on a ring when we’d both rather use it to travel! I wouldn’t be OK with him asking my parents’s for permission ‘cos it’s not up to them! I wanna know first! And I hate surprises where everyone else is involved but not me… but I also kind of wish someone else would plan something nice for me once without me having to plan it all myself… for them to take the initiative and responsibility for once… ahem my boyfriend doesn’t do much planning lol.

  • Katrina

    We had been talking about getting married for a while, when we both realized that we should take action about it. I never wanted a “he asks me” moment, but thought about how we could approach that milestone moment asking each other. We both started looking up rings for each other online and I found a cheap flight to Hawaii. We then decided that we would find a beautiful spot there to tell each other how we felt. Then we would surprise our friends and family with our co-posal!

    I wouldn’t have it any other way. If you’ve both decided, you’ve both decided. No woman needs the pressure of being asked when she hasn’t even considered marriage as an option yet. Why not just make it like everything in a good relationship – it’s done together as a team!

  • Phoebe Stern

    My fiance and I had been having serious and day-dreamy talks about our honeymoon, where we might get married (or elope to), etc for some time. I told him I didn’t want a ring, for so many reasons including personal taste. So over time we just became engaged. We eventually announced it to our families because we wanted to get married on my family’s farm, and we had to be engaged to ask (sadly the farm is being sold and we won’t be having it there). We decided to get engagement tattoos instead to announce to our friends, they are of a quote from one of our favorite authors. A couple of friends I told before the public announcement asked me if there was a ring, but I lost count of the number of women who asked me how he proposed. These people know us, know me, and weren’t surprised at our engagement or the tattoos, yet they are so conditioned to ask this question. If that is the type of engagement you want, go for it, but having this be the expectation is frustrating for so many, probably including the men who are not naturally given to displays of affection.

  • christina

    My now-husband proposed to me, but mostly because I thought we’d never get married since he spent a good deal of time railing about how marriage was a product of the establishment and that he’d never get married never ever.

    Jokes on him because he would have been stuck with me anyway. But we both got an awesome vacation and a real fun party out of it.

  • Julia Ruiz

    I was JUST talking about this with my sister. I’ve always been the one to take charge of things, to ask the hard questions and mostly to initiate the relationships I’ve been in, so waiting around to get proposed to sounds ludicrous to me. I would love a creative proposal because the whole display of love, commitment, and affection would reassure me that s/he is serious about me, but if we’re both ready to make that commitment I feel like I would talk about it and agree to it. I can’t see myself just waiting around to be asked. That being said, I don’t think I would propose myself, so what is the result? Idk idk

  • Andrea Loewen

    You’re not alone at all! As a not-engaged, unmarried lady in a relationship, I wonder about this a lot. On one hand, there’s a part of me that is still super-hopeless-romantic and there is a romance to the whole proposal thing. But it’s also archaic and silly. (Especially asking the father permission – puke in my mouth. Ask for a blessing, fine, from BOTH my parents, but no permission, and not just dad.)

    One of my best pals did the best thing: her and her husband wanted to propose to each other. They picked a weekend where they would go away, and each got to plan their own proposal. They also didn’t do rings because she didn’t want one if he didn’t have one, and they didn’t find any they liked for him. It was mutual, but still really romantic.

  • Bailey

    I love the stories of the creative proposals, but every couple is different, and I think we’ll start to see more new and different ways of approaching it (and like you said, it’s surprising the norm hasn’t shifted much already).

    My fiancé and I got engaged without a lot of fanfare. I think we both knew we would get married from very early on, so it didn’t feel like such a grandstand, freakout, fairytale moment–just a happy decision we made together. I never wanted an elaborate surprise proposal, but for whatever reason, finding a ring for me to wear was important to both of us–a forever token to remind us of this exciting time in our lives, something concrete to represent what we have to the world? Not sure exactly why, but it meant something to us.

    So we made a ring shopping appointment, left with one on my finger that we picked out together, went for steak frites and martinis, and in the car on the way home he asked if I would marry him for good measure. I think it’s possible to pick and choose from tradition–keep some conventional elements if they feel good to you and leave the ones that don’t.

  • Maria

    Well, I didn’t have any expectations. We were already talking about having children so I knew that we were going to be together. I didn’t even care about getting married. Just being together and having children and be a family was great for me. But my husband to be was the most traditional and romantic guy in the world. We traveled to Paris (his suggestion – we travel a lot so it wasn’t something that could have ringed a bell for me), and he proposed in front of the Sacre Coeur on his knees! My reaction? I was so surprised, that I didn’t even answered to him. I just laughed and laughed and tried to make him stand. He was so confused from my reaction!!! He was staying there in his knees and waiting for my answer. And I laughed. When I understood that it was important for him to hear the “yes” I hugged him and said the word. And then he cried! He was afraid that I didn’t want him because of my initial reaction. And believe it or not I have a picture of the whole thing. A photographer who was there for a project saw us and took a picture! And he approached and congratulated us and sent us the picture. So, without expect or even need a big proposal I had the most romantic one! But, apart from all that, I still believe with all my heart that the most important thing is to believe that he or she is the partner for the rest of your life and not the proposal.

  • This article is spot on, thank you for writing it. I respect those people who choose to wait for their guy to ask them, and I too have cried watching friends’ proposals. But for me I felt like a helpless lady in waiting back in the dark ages when I thought my now fiancé was going to ask me. I didn’t want him to ask me to marry him as I felt it should be our choice together, not just his. So we went ring shopping together, went to a nice dinner, and are now happily engaged. There was no question from him, but nice words from both of us about how much we love each other and how we are entering this together. I will happily buy his wedding band this summer. For me marriage should be a mutual choice, not just for one person to decide when the time is right.

  • Jen Akuna

    Great question to ask! I agree that the proposal is something every couple should consider, rather than automatically expect the male (in a hetero relationship) to own.
    My husband proposed to me in front of our families (who were meeting each other for the first time), which was a sweet way to share the moment with the people most important to us. He called my mom beforehand to inform her that he was planning on proposing and asked what she thought about it, to which she replied gleefully “welcome to the family.” He gave me his great-great-grandmother’s absolutely gorgeous ring – I couldn’t have picked a better one out myself (though honestly I would’ve liked to because I am very particular – but it ended up working out great)! This was the right choice for us because we’d been talking about the life we wanted to build together for some time (a conversation I initiated), so it made sense to me that the next move to “make it official” so to speak would be his.
    Also props to those who forgo the ring – I’m personally deeply touched to have such a precious, irreplaceable reminder of how important I am to him on my finger every day (also, it’s shiney).

  • Antoinette

    My step-mom proposed to my dad. They were both divorced and she said she knew she wanted to marry him after the first day they met. So she asked. My dad called to say she proposed and he was thinking on it. I thought it very liberal and forward thinking! Anyhow, they are about 16 years into their marriage and I doubt anyone remembers she asked him. People get over these things, it is us who need to get over ourselves and ask men if we want to marry.

    With all that said, I speak from a ringed place. When throwing shit to the wind, I’m always careful to ask myself if it would apply to me since it doesn’t apply to me. It’s really hypocritical when many of us went the traditional route, then sit on our lofty traditional stools, and tell other women to be forward thinking and liberal. I am aware of my traditionality. As a self proclaimed feminist, my life is reeks of tradition. I was proposed to at 19, I accepted and just celebrated my 20th anniversary on the 27th.
    I believe my young self would have if she wanted to. She was a rebel and didn’t care what people thought then. She also pissed off her family and went to the justice of the peace two days before her wedding to be married quietly. So do what pleases you. Wait for a declaration of love and proposal if you want, or ask if you dare. Life is too short and filled with crappy stuff to not do what makes you truly happy.

  • belle

    I don’t think I know any family or close friends who were just proposed to out of the blue, or had to “wait” for a man to decide their fate. I would personally hate to be proposed to by “surprise” without a thoughtful discussion about how the relationship will work in the future. I dislike public/showy proposals, and I think the decision to get married should be a private one that you share with your friends and family once you’ve hashed out the details. That said, I also tend to enjoy doing things on my own, I like working a lot and I don’t want children so marriage is not exactly something I’m worried about….all to say that I think engagement should start with a private discussion and mutual agreement. While I’m on the topic, why the hell would you let a man choose a piece of jewelry you’re planning to wear for the rest of your life?!

  • Marcelita

    Well, I may be influenced by my latin origins, but men here are not the “easy-to-marry” type, those who take the step on a timely manner, do it because of pushy women who don’t even care if they’re ready or not. Men love being single with add-ins like having you around without the committments, so when he does ask the question, getting out of his comfort zone, you know its real and probably won’t tell you “you wanted this! Not me” when you snap at him pregnant because he’s drunk and late for family dinner. Sadly, when he asks, you know its real committment.

  • Alice

    My husband and I decided we were engaged together via normal conversation. I got a ring about 8 months later and designed it myself with the jeweler. But! You absofuckinglutely don’t need a ring for an engagement. You just need the intent to marry each other. I know everyone is different, and to me traditional marriage proposals are so pukey and sexist. Why would the man have any different role than the woman at all? So effing insulting. That is of course if you’re even a heterosexual couple. I just feel like EVERYTHING should be completely egalitarian. You will both have different strengths and weaknesses and bring different things to the table but assumed roles are so bizarre and creepy to me.

  • Lauren

    Thank you!! This has always bothered me too. I always thought if you were a woman and felt you “needed” to be engaged or married, why wait? Just ask him yourself. My husband and I always knew one day we would get married but we both were happy living together. After 6 years he did ask me and I was surprised because I wasn’t “waiting for it.” I always thought it was because he was ready to ask and I wasn’t yet but because we were together so long I often got a “he finally came around!” reaction from women. No, we both chose each other, I didn’t wait around for him to choose me.

  • hannah

    Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like the true surprise proposal is a thing of the past. I have several friends who got engaged in big grand ways “pop-the-question” kind of scenarios, but there were always months of negotiations behind the scenes.

    I get it, though, these still sometimes feel insincere and antiquated (and don’t even get me started on the asking the father tradition). If it gives people hope, I’m in a situation I never imagined where he knows he wants marriage, I know I don’t know, and if things ever change, I’m the one who gets to say the word.

  • Because it’s difficult, it requires facing rejection, and women generally don’t want gender equality to apply to anything that is difficult.

    • Amanda

      Oh god, shut up.

      • so what’s your explanation?

        let me guess — culture, society, forces you to act a certain way, blah blah blah?

      • Well I Certainly Agree

        Well with so many women nowadays sleeping around with different men all the time which it will be very difficult for them to commit to just only one man anyway.

  • doublecurl

    I really feel like this is just a big reflection on the gender-based power dynamic in relationships (girls have the power early, guys have the power later type of thing) and on a personal level from experience with commitment-phobes and general fear of rejection when broaching any type of commitment oriented conversation.

  • Swati Rao

    Ive been thinking this for such a long time. I really dont understand why we put up with the frustration of having our futures decided for us. We let another person dictate the shape of our lives. I would love to see women take more control in this aspect. I wonder how men feel about this. Thank you for actually discussing this problem!

  • Amy S

    I completely agree! My partner and I recently decided together to get engaged. It made the most sense for us to make a decision like that about our relationship together and we then surprised/told all our friends and family, which was fun and exciting and something I wouldn’t change. But since then he has been teased/picked on by friends about not giving me ‘a real proposal’ and not ‘being a man’ and getting down on one knee.

    I have nothing against anyone wanting to do that, but isn’t that kind of the point? That you get to do what suits you and make you happy? If we are really serious about gender equality/marriage equality/breaking gender steotypes then why does a man still HAVE to get down on one knee anyway?

    We are not getting married for any god(s) or for anyone else, we are doing it because we decided it’s something we want to do. So why should we have to do it anyway other than what suits us?

  • Joyce

    I’ve been proposed marriage three times (two marriages one failed engagement). If I get divorced again, I want to do the proposal.

  • Clairebear

    The whole “asking the father” thing really needs to go away. First off, as adult women we don’t need our father’s permission for anything. Secondly, what makes my father the more qualified one of my parents to give his blessing? If I had to chose, my mom is more qualified and much harder to please.

    As for proposals, a good friend of mine booked a venue before her boyfriend proposed. Sometimes it comes down to personalities, she is much more of a planner than her now husband.

  • Megan Cox

    People always ask me “So how did he propose?” He didn’t. He committed himself to me and said “If we’re doing this (dating), we’re getting married.” We just agreed. No proposal. Then we began to plan how and when to tell our parents, get the ring, visa, etc. It’s been 3 years and now we’re finally almost there! Just waiting on the visa.

  • Izzy Morin

    I proposed to my boyfriend casually while out for a walk, and he said yes immediately. I knew better than to wait for a proposal because I had always been outspoken about my lukewarm feelings about marriage (and decidedly cooler feelings about a big traditional wedding). We have a lot of conversations about gender roles, toxic masculinity and emotional labour, so his accepting my proposal came as no surprise to me. People always seem kind of disappointed when they ask “how did he propose???” and I tell them that I was the one to pull the trigger. Even more surprise when they ask about the wedding dress and I describe a beautiful flowing emerald velvet wrap dress. We have shed a lot of the traditions associated with weddings and marriage as they don’t appeal to us or work in our relationship, and typically friends are quick to adjust to out choices. Still working on the families though…

  • Bonnie Goodwin Sargeant

    We decided to get married over take out Thai on a Friday night. I had my grandmother’s engagement ring reset and I love that my grandparents are on this crazy trip with me every day. My husband is from England and when you have those pesky citizenship questions to deal with it tends to make your thinking way more practical. We love each other, we want to be together, it was a huge decision….but it felt really simple. I still feel like its the most romantic story in the world when I tell it.

  • Alexa

    My boyfriend and I have started looking at wedding venues, and there are people who have told me they are waiting to congratulate me when “it’s official.” I guess when he “officially” asks me?

  • s_knucks

    i asked a man to marry me once, and then he broke up with me basically on the spot.

    so. never again. if my current boyfriend won’t ask, then so be it. marriage isn’t a requirement, after all /shrug emoji

    [some background: my mom asked my dad to marry her, and i’ve always been the one to make the first move in all my relationships, ALWAYS. like, first kiss, asking on dates, etc etc. I’m sick of being the braver person. I’d rather wait]