Dating > Engagements > How to Propose to Your Boyfriend – Feel the Fear and Ask Anyway

How to Propose to Your Boyfriend – Feel the Fear and Ask Anyway

If you're unhappy in your relationship, try a different approach! Learn how The Hero Instinct can be the key to securing a man's love, attention, and devotion for life.

These tips on proposing to your boyfriend will help you say the most romantic, scary words on earth: “Will you marry me?” If I wanted to propose to my husband when he was my boyfriend, I’d do something fun and funny. Nothing elaborate or expensive – but sort of a lighter, more entertaining equivalent of an engagement ring.

“We are finding men talking about cohabitating as a test drive while women talk about it as a step towards marriage,” says Pamela Smock in A Little Bit Married: How to Know When It’s Time to Walk Down the Aisle or Out the Door. “Some women interviewed said they hoped moving in would fast-track the proposal. But the research on that is inconclusive.”

Here’s a summary of research on how to propose to your boyfriend – I found a great book that describes how men react to the “female proposal. Learning the science behind proposing to your man might help calm your anxiety and nervous emotions of when you think about asking him to marry you.

It’s now normal to date for three, five, and even ten years without making plans to get married – or even a proposal of marriage. If you’re like many girlfriends who don’t wanna wait, check out these tips for the female proposal.

How to Propose to Your Boyfriend

First of all, are you really ready to get married? Read Questions to Ask Before Getting Married.

Shake off the belief that it’s better to wait for your boyfriend to propose

Many men interviewed in Seligson’s book said that the female proposal is often what they needed to walk down the aisle – and they didn’t think less of girlfriends who propose to their boyfriends! On the contrary, the female proposal may have a similar effect as women asking men out on dates…it’s flattering and appealing.

Ask yourself why you want to get married

Figure out your reasons for getting married – and if he would be a good husband. Before you propose to you boyfriend, make sure he’s “the one”! And, make sure you really want to be married. Here are some wrong reasons to propose: you think he’s the best you can do, you’ve already put seven years into this love relationship, your mom loves him, or you’re scared to be alone.

If your boyfriend doesn’t seem interested in you, read Your Boyfriend Doesn’t Text or Call? How to Pique His Interest.

Don’t propose to your boyfriend the way you would want to be proposed to

Don’t propose to your boyfriend the way you would want to be proposed to. Is your most romantic idea of a marriage proposal a candlelight dinner with flowers and soft lighting? That sounds great…but that may not be the best way to propose to your boyfriend. What’s his favorite way to be romantic? What’s his love language? For instance, my husband loves to be hugged – he adores physical affection. If I proposed to him, I’d consider giving him a full-body massage first (or during my proposal!).

Match your “female proposal” to your personality traits

proposing to your man

“How Do You Propose to Your Boyfriend?” image by lickr via flickr, cc license

At first glance this may seem to contradict my last tip for proposing to your boyfriend – but bear with me. When you propose marriage to your man, make sure your personality traits are coming through…not just your effort to propose in his “love language.”

For example, I don’t like to wrestle with my husband, and we have different senses of humor. So, to remain true to who I am, my marriage proposal wouldn’t involve wrestling or his comedic style (but he would probably love a proposal like that!). A female proposal should remain true to both personalities. Just like a happy marriage must celebrate both spouse’s personalities.

Expect to be nervous – and be honest about your feelings

My husband was shaking when he proposed, and said he couldn’t believe how nervous he was! Asking someone for their hand in marriage is a huge step – regardless of whether the person who proposes is a man or a woman. So, expect to get a little sweaty. Also, be honest about how nervous or scared you feel when you say “I want to marry you.”

I loved that my husband told me how nervous he was, because it showed his vulnerability and love for me. It made him appear more human and lovable. So, don’t just expect to be nervous…try to share your feelings about proposing and marriage with your boyfriend.

One of the most important things about being married is keeping your identity. Read How to Stay True to Yourself When You’re in Love.

If you have any thoughts on how to propose to your boyfriend, please comment below!


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46 thoughts on “How to Propose to Your Boyfriend – Feel the Fear and Ask Anyway”

  1. The more I think about it, the more I wonder what’s wrong with the female proposal? Why should the guy get to be the one who makes this decision? It’s because of tradition. We need to look more carefully at our traditions and where they come from!

  2. Heather,

    I wish you all the best as you propose to your boyfriend! I bet he says, “It’s about time you asked me to marry you” :-)

    Let us know how it went…and if you have any tips for other girlfriends who are proposing, please share.

  3. Hi!
    I think this is absolutely awesome and totally fitting for my boyfriend and I. I plan to propose to him and hope he doesn’t beat me to it!
    We have been together just under 2 years. We met on an online chatting site. We are both divorced from 11 yr relationships. We often talk about marriage and recently he said (jokingly I think) that I can propose to him as he has already proposed once to a woman. Ok..well! I’ve already been proposed to as well. So! Why NOT switch it up!?!? Fun! His ex was a spoil me brat type..needed a ring. I on the other hand am so not that type of girl!! I am so opposite of his wife in many ways.
    Him and I enjoy the outdoors and found this lil creek with a small waterfall on a walk one day. We often visit it. I plan to bring a blanket and maybe a picnic lunch. I have songs on my phone that he says makes him think about me/us and I’m going to propose and give him a ring!
    I want it to be memorable..special for both of us and romantic along with crazy n quirky! He loves me for some of the crazy quirky things I do and this definately is!!
    I will be scared and nervous but I feel in my heart that my best friend will say “yes” !
    Thanks for sharing your story and reading mine..ill be back with the after story!
    P.s…I already have the wedding planned! Lol..thanks to PINTEREST!

  4. Hi, I really want to propose to my boyfriend but I am a little worried because we are both only 17. We have promise rings and we talk about getting married all the time and how life will be in the future. I feel committed to him but I am hoping to go to university next year and because he is an academic year below me, he will still be finishing his A-levels. I also know that he may want to go to uni aswell, so we could end up really far away from each other, we have talked about this and are both going to try to stay in the same area. When I think about it, I feel like I’m not sure if this is the best or worst possible time to ask – I don’t want to drag him into anything when the future is looking a little uncertain but I also don’t want to lose him in this uncertainty.

  5. I will be proposing to my bf of 2yrs:) i am soooo nervouse…im going to give him full body massage cook him his fav meal..and dessert..i also bout him a “mangament” ring:) im just waiting for the ring to arrive:)

  6. I am going to ask my boyfriend to marry me…..I want to take him night fishing and under the moon and stars tell him, how much he means to me…and how i want to spend the rest of my life with him. I have picked around and asked him before threw txts….and he asked me one day standing in line at walmart….But we are not officially engaged….And i am sooooo ready to be. WISH ME LUCK

  7. I already bought the ring, and i’m going to propose to my boyfriend.

    Our first date, we met at a coffee shop on the beach and after coffee we went on the boardwalk and he started to dance with me. It then started to rain. It was so romantic.

    So i am taking him back to that same spot, put “our song” on my phone, start to dance with him, then in the middle of the song, i’m going to ask him to marry me.

    I am so excited. We play around saying “Just marry me” or “Marry me please” lol So i know he wont take me seriously…. That’s when i’m going to pull out the ring

  8. Arthur Laframboise


    My oh my. Fire hit the nail perfectly on the head. It is absolutely time for women to get in on true equality. You need to stop acting like spoiled children, act like real women. Let’s see you take the possibility of rejection.

    What’s more you need to accept true honest communication. Before you get married, tell your boyfriend about what’s in it for HIM. If he gets married he’ll have the opportunity to have sex with the same woman (that is if she wants to of course) for the rest of his life, be liable to pay alimony to you forever in case of divorce (after 10 years of marriage in California for example), see his life ruined by a simple phone call by you to the police for a false rape claim or domestic violence accusation, see his prenup (that you signed willingly) thrown out of court by a judge for any reason said judge sees fit.

    Go ahead, talk about these things with your boyfriens and see how he reacts.



    1. I think the fact that it’s becoming more socially acceptable for women to propose is definitely a sign that we’re moving towards equality– (although maybe not in the right direction since it only serves to further fortify the institution of marriage which is wee bit problematic, but that’s kind of a side thing)– but definitely not in the sense of “heh, well, now women have to deal with rejection.” It’s awesome because women get to have agency; I don’t have to sublimate my will into some kind of ploy to get someone else to ask the question I wanna answer. I think it’s also wonderful that it takes the pressure off of men and discourages that whole “you gotta figure out what women want” because we’re not allowed to just vocalize it and act on it ourselves. It’s fantastic and wonderful.

  9. Ok so me and my boyfriend have been together for a year and a half, we have talked about getting married but I’m not sure if he’s just saying he wants to do it or if he really does. We lost our daughter in May of 2012 and I don’t want to pressure him into anything he’s not really ready for.

    Can someone help me please!!!!!!

  10. Hey,
    I want to ask my boyfriend to marry me but I’m not quite sure how to go about that. We have a very unique relationship, so i want to do something unique. Any ideas?

  11. Hi ladies I am truly in love with my boyfriend/babies father of two boys we been together since 06 and we have problems but I’m sure everyone does I don’t no how to propose to him I always talked about it to him I am planing to propose on fathers day what should I do I already bought a ring for him I want to do something special what are some ideas

  12. I wish more girlfriends would come back and tell us how it went when they proposed to their boyfriends! I know the boyfriend would be flattered and happy.

    I keep asking myself why I didn’t propose to my husband, instead of waiting for him to propose to me. “Fear of rejection” keeps popping into my head. But men face fear of rejection too, and it doesn’t stop them from proposing to their girlfriends!

    So it must be our family, cultural and societal norms. It’s the man’s “job” to propose and pursue, and it’s the woman’s job to be pursued.

    Isn’t that boring?

  13. and you dont need to worry about the ring….. or even the right time and place…. men dont care much about that type of stuff.

    just get a ring that looks as cool and manly as possable….. its very hard to find a good ring for a man….. you may want to kept the recipt and insist on getting him a new one if he feels for even a second its not his style

    (giving a man a ring is almost an impossable task,,, and might make most girls sweat…. dont worry about it… men dont care about stuff like much…… we really just care if it is too female like….. so keep the recipt if you can….. and if you can keep the recipt…. make it very clear to your boyfreind that its okay if you wants to return it with you to find a more manly one.

    i dont blame the women here for being scard…. most men would be…. so its proably even be worse for you….. but girls want to get married more…. so i think women should do the proposing.

    being scard is fine….. im sure any guy would be flatterd….. of course one of the reasons he has not porposed him self may be becuase he does not want to get married…. but thats the risk you take when you propose.

  14. dont get me wrong…. i admire women who propose…. its just the female insecuirity is so sickning…..

    men dont lose respect for women who act brave…..

    we lose respect for women who are cowards or hypocryts (most women)

  15. sigh… female insecuirity is so anoying.

    no, a guy wont think less of you for proposing… or asking him out.

    leave it to poor female logic to think “if i do something nice for this guy, he might not respect me any more”

    honestly…. the way women think makes me lose most of my respect for them as a gender

    Women: if i grow a pair of balls…. and do something brave…. like propose, then my boyfriend will magicly stop respecting me” ???

    wtf?…. what kind of crapy female logic is that?

    women: my boyfreind is a man, and he needs sex….. but if i do this nice thing for him…. he might… magicly stop respecting me”

    ??? wtf is wrong with u chicks….. i know logic is your weak point… but damn that bad logic.

    listen up…. men will never respect women they way you want them to. (unless women magicly gain the abbilitys men have, and they wont)

    men will never respect YOU, the way you think you want. (womens idea of respect is skweed,,,, i dont even think most women even think about the deffnintion of th word respect before using the word.

    but i can tell you…. that when a women stops acting like a coward, and does something usful or brave…. like having sex, or porposing, or asking a guy on date….. only a women could be so foolish as to think a man would LOSE rspect for her for doing this. (this is why men are better at logic)

    men admire bravery and initiative….. not cowardence, sexism, and female insecuirty.

    feel free to propose to men….. they wont look down on you for it…. but we do look down on you for being a coward….

    how are women cowards?

    here is an example

    women: i have wanted to get married my whole life….. why wont my boyfreind perpose already?

    how is that a good exmaple?…. easy…. becuase your a freaking hypocryt.

    man up (women up)…. and put your money were your mouth is for a change girls.

    if you have been dreaming about getting married your whole life,,,, THEN GROW SOME FEMALE BALLS AND PROPOSE!

    i know, most women want the man to propose….. and want the man to get down on one knee, and they want to have there special marriege cermony that is 90% for the women.

    THAT, is what will make a man lose respect for you….. being a typcial female hypocry, sexist , and coward.

    if you want to get married so bad…. then propose…. if you think your man will lose respect for you for that…. then your a female that never deserved respect in the first place.

  16. hi can any one help me i want to propose to my boyfriend on the 29th february im finding it very hard because he lives in newcastle and im in norfolk

  17. Good morning:
    My name is Natalia Núñez, I am a chilean reporter from “El Mercurio” newspaper which is the most important, biggest and older newspaper here in Chile and in LatinAmerica. I read about some girls in this blog who are preparing to propuse their boyfriends.

    Right now, I am writing a piece about women who propose. And I am looking for some of them to be interviewed. I was wondering if is possible Stephanie or Stacey or Latoya or Lily can write me at in order we can have a little chat. Any woman who already have made a proposal will help me as well.

    Thank you!


  18. Hi all,

    I am looking for some advice….i am in the middle of preparing the big proposal to my boyfriend on the 29th Feb…but struggling on how to propose and what to buy him? Don’t really wanna go down on one knee so looking for any more ideas … Also my bfax doesn’t wear jewellery so buying him a ring would be pointless…looking for some more ideas?

    Any help would be appreciated!!

    Thanks for reading x

  19. Hi, I’m considering proposing to my boyfriend on christmas day to kind of take the pressure off him to propose to me, but I don’t know what to do about the ring because I would not have a clue about the size of his finger(s) so how do I go about getting something to give to him?
    He has quite ‘fat’ fingers so keep that in mind, but I am so nervous my mum knows I want to do it so badly but she suggested getting him a promise ring so I looked and they’re all so girly so went back to my proposal idea.
    Any ideas guise? :)

  20. Hi I’ve been dating my irish boyfreind for a year now and am planning to ask him to marry me on the 29 of febuary next year. He is a bit of a traditional irish man so im sure he is going to say yes but i wanted my proposal to remind him a bit of his home you see in irelands history the female proposal as you call it has a place… every leap year on the 29 of febuary women proposed to men bc they feared beiing old maids or their guy wasnt getting all there subtle hints back then in europe the 29 of febuary in a leap year was considered a lawless day bc it wasnt recorded on european calenders so it was a day most strayed from the norm including most wedding proposals anyways thats a bit of history

  21. I have been thinking of asking my bf to marry me for a while now as he is far to laid back to even think about it hehe i think if you know your bf enough and can gage his reaction then go fot it!!!!

    As both my self and my b/f are very laid back and causal people i was thinking of cooking tea one night of spetti alpha shapes and spelling out “will you marry me” and then walking away and let him either say yes or pretend he didnt see it or while we are cwtched on the sofa one evening tie a present tag around his finger and in the card have written “marry me” possible very corny but im hoping its kinda sweet any thoughts? xxx

  22. Ladies, if the man hasn’t asked you, there is generally a reason behind it. Don’t be pushy. If you force him into marriage, it will most likely not end happily. I hate to be the negative one here, but men tend to be afraid to commit and making them rush into the ultimate commitment isn’t the best way to start out married bliss. Be patient.

  23. Oka so me and my boyfriend have been together for almost 3yrs now we have a 9month old together we have been on out own since I was 17 and he has gotten me a promise ring we have always talked ab gettin married went the time was right and I think the time has came !! He is gone to NY or two weeks and I wanna surpirse him wit a ring when he gets back is tht a stupid idea or wat ?? I really wanna marry the guy I love him how do I do it !!!

  24. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    What happened — did you propose to your boyfriends, or are you still looking for tips? Let me know – I missed your comments, but would be happy to help you now!

  25. My boyfriend and I have talked about getting married but it seems like he is trying to think of a great way to propose to me, in our relationship we don’t really have gender roles so I am thinking of beating him to the punch and surprising him with an awesome marriage proposal that will sweep him off of his feet… problem is I have very high expectations for myself. Any ideas on an extremely out there way to propose to him without him getting suspicious?

  26. Hi me and my boyfriend have been together going on 2yrs in sept and i have been thinking for a couple of months to ask him to marry me i am somewhat tired of waiting on him we have been living together since we 1st started dating and we have a 7 month old. i really love him with my all and i want to ask him i just dont know how

  27. Hi everyone! To make things short i have been in a relationship for a while now and just bought a home together and me and my boyfriend have been talking about marriage but he keeps saying im not ready! well i wanna show him!! so0 i have been asking advice from people around me and the male gender mostly agree its 2011 we can start a new trend and some men just need a little push, from other though mostly females they are nervous and some think its a sign of desperation but it all depends on your relationship and if you are at the same level with your partner.
    So0 im actually going tomorrow morning to buy him a ring. i saw peoples above commnets about not having to buy a actual ring but in my case i wana show him im serious so im going to have one made.I do want suggestions though my father is very traditional and would want my boyfriend to ask my father if he can marry me and walk me down the aisle and so forth, but i am a non traditional girl! I actually dont want a huge wedding to please everyone els i would rather be a little selfish and fly someplace tropical and have a small wedding but will see..I also dont know how i would explain this to close friends. please give me ideas of where to propose also im very shy so i wouldnt be able to do it anywhere to public, but in ny its getting nicer out so i was actually thinking about a lake nearby we always go to…HELP!!!

  28. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Thanks for your tips on proposing to your boyfriend, Simone!

    Let us know how it goes, if you get the courage to propose :-)

  29. I’ve been trying to get the courage to propose, and have been searching for how to propose for a long time.

    Here are more tips on how to propose to your boyfriend, from another site:

    Get down on one knee – it’s a charming gesture, regardless of gender.

    Tell him why you want to marry him. Blurting out a hurried “Willyoumarryme” will ruin the significance of the moment. Take the time to write out a few sentences about why you’re proposing marriage, and why you see the two of you growing old together.

    You may also want to address why you’re proposing to him instead of the other way around. Say, “We’ve always had a non-traditional relationship, and I thought this was the best way to enter into marriage,” or “Sometimes I don’t know if you realize how much you mean to me,” etc.

    Don’t say: “I never thought you’d get around to doing this, so I took matters into my own hands.”

  30. Me and my bf of 7 months got engadged before christmas but i wanna ask him with a ring but i dunno how to say it can any one help me xx

  31. Hi Guys,
    I am wanting to propose to my boyfriend (thinking about doing it at a hockey game), just looking for other girls to talk to and get some ideas or whatever.


  32. Hi, My boyfriend is in the Army and is overseas and we have talked about getting married and my heart says to ask him. But I’m just not sure how to since he’s there and I’me here. I’m nervous now and all I’ve done is decided that I’m gonna do it. Any suggestions would be me some time

  33. My bf and i have talked about getting married alot. and i think he might be nervous to do so because he actually proposed to another woman a long while ago and she said no. which was very hard on him i am sure. Well i am the lucky one who has him and we just bought a house and were actually expecting a child. And i love him so much that i truely do want to spend my life with him. I already bought him a ring but I dont know how to incorporate the new house into it. i want to make him dinner and it be romantic but i dont want it to seem like i am over doing it the way a man would. any suggestions?

    1. Hey Kimbery,

      My name is Brooklyn Bagwell and I’m a Casting Director for Sharp Entertainment. We’re casting for a new groundbreaking documentary series about women proposing to men! We’re currently looking for women who are planning to propose to their boyfriends in the near future. Is this you?

      Please let me know if you or anyone you know would be interested in this casting call.

      You can email me back on

      Brooklyn Bagwell

  34. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hi Janelle,

    Thanks for your comment; your talk show pilot sounds fascinating!

    I don’t know offhand of any women who proposed to their boyfriends — other than the women who commented here. I don’t have any way to contact them, but if any of them sees your request and is interested, they’re welcome to contact you via your email address.

    Sorry I can’t be more helpful; I wish you all the best in your talk show.

    .-= Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen´s last blog post…Money Skills – Tips for Teaching Financial Literacy to Kids =-.

  35. Hi Laurie!

    My name is Janelle and I’m part of the production team for a groundbreaking new, talk show pilot focusing on relationships/dating/marriage/etc. I read your article and wondered if you may know of any women who want to propose to their boyfriends. I am currently looking for women who would actually be interested in doing so. Please email me if you can.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    My Best,


  36. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hi Sara,

    Yes, definitely one way to do it is to buy an engagement ring together, after you propose…I don’t think there are any rules, though! Whatever seems right to you, go for it.

    But if you do propose, I’d suggest giving him something to wear on his finger that’s sweet and romantic — even if it’s just for the night! I’ve heard of women slipping a beer tab on their boyfriend’s finger, to represent the engagement ring. But I think there are more romantic gestures than that. It depends on the couple and their experiences…and their secrets and inside jokes.

    I think the most important thing is to bring your own creativity and love into the proposal, no matter how you do it or when you buy the ring. Don’t worry about the details; instead, follow your heart and share your honest feelings and hopes for the future.

    I wish you all the best! Let me know how it goes…

    .-= Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen´s last blog post…How to Find a Good Marriage Counselor =-.

  37. Hope he said yes Devin! I have a question.. say I would propose to my boyfriend.. after that would we go buy me a ring afterwards? How do you go about doing that!?

  38. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Wow, how exciting, Devin!

    I wish you all the best as you propose to your husband tonight…my thoughts and prayers are with you.

    I hope you come back and let me know how it went…..
    .-= Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen´s last blog post…How Love Changes – The 3 Phases of Romantic Relationships =-.

  39. I know that when I do things with my boyfriend that society considers a man’s job to do, it’s make me look even more sexy and appealing to my boyfriend. I know that he is the one for me and we’ve have had the marriage talk over 20 times, so I know that he wants to be married to me. Tonight I will propose to him. I am very nervous, but I’m going to do it. Praying for the best.

  40. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Thanks for taking the time to comment, proposal tips.

    I know there are girlfriends who want to propose to their boyfriends, but are nervous, shy, and scared, I don’t blame them — asking for someone’s hand in marriage is huge, whether you’re male or female! (boy, that sounds old-fashioned: “asking for someone’s hand in marriage”).
    .-= Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen´s last blog post…11 Differences in the Way Husbands and Wives Handle Money =-.

  41. Times are changing, and it takes a lot of guts to ask someone for marriage. There is absolutely nothing nothing wrong with a woman proposing to a man.