Tradition dictates that a man always proposes to the woman, but what if you don’t want to follow tradition? Same-sex couples don’t follow this tradition. Non-binary couples don’t follow this tradition. And lots of women don’t believe in this tradition. If you want to take your future into your own hands, sometimes you have to be the one to get down on one knee and pop the question, even if you are proposing to a man. So, what exactly would this look like?
How many women propose to men?
For the sake of this article, we will be looking at heterosexual couples in which the woman wants to propose to the man. This is simply because this is contrary to the heteronormative tradition, and there is no reason for same-sex and non-binary couples to adhere to these traditions.
According to one study, less than 1% of couples in 2017 were engaged because the woman proposed to the man. This is still very much an unconventional trend, but it’s showing signs of changing direction. By 2022, 2% of couples were engaged because the woman proposed to the man. It’s a small change, but it’s still an increase.
What does tradition say?
An old Irish tradition states that women can propose to their man on a leap day, which occurs once every four years. February 29th is known as Bachelor’s Day, or Ladies’ Privilege and it is the one day when women are allowed to ask for a man’s hand in marriage.
But if you’re thinking about popping the question to your partner, you don’t have to wait for this day, you’re allowed to do this any time. If you’re going to do away with traditions, you might as well pick a day that works for you rather than following another ancient rule.
Why should a woman propose?
If you aren’t bothered about gender norms, then women should absolutely have the right to propose. Women should be able to take an active role in moving a relationship forward, and this should include asking their partner to marry them.
It says a lot about your relationship if the woman is able to propose to the man. It shows that it is truly an equal partnership, and this is very important for some people to achieve.
Can this backfire?
Absolutely, you might not be aware just how traditional your partner is until you ask them to marry you. If they secretly hold very strict views on gender, then they might feel emasculated at the prospect of your proposing. They might also feel cheated, as this might be something that they were looking forward to doing. You need to be very confident that your proposal will be welcome before you move forward.
But there is an argument to say that if you are the type of person that wants to be able to propose and you know your partner would take this the wrong way, is it possible that you’re not with the right person?
Do I need to buy an engagement ring?
If you want to propose in the same way that a man would propose to a woman, then yes, you should buy an engagement ring. Some men are choosing to wear engagement rings alongside their partners, so they aren’t actually that difficult to find. Once your partner has accepted, they might want to buy you a ring and have their chance to get down on one knee. If this is important to them, you should allow them to do this, even if it feels unnecessary or too traditional.
Should I get down on one knee?
Again, since it isn’t very traditional for women to propose to men, there aren’t really any rules for how you should do it. Instead of thinking of it as inverting the gender roles, you should instead consider this a new tradition. Instead of getting down on one knee, you might simply want to hold their hands and look them in the eye while you ask them.
What should you say when proposing to a man?
It doesn’t really matter what you say, as long as you include the words “will you marry me?” at some point. It’s common to let your partner know how much they mean to you and give them some insight into what led to this point. And then when you present the ring, you can ask if they would like to marry you.
Do I need to inform his family?
Tradition dictates that the man asks the woman’s family if he can propose first. So does a woman have to do this when she asks for a man’s hand in marriage. You’re already flipping tradition on its head, so we’re pretty confident you can skip this stage.
The only time you might want to check with his family first is to make sure he isn't planning a similar proposal. If he is, you’ll have to decide if you let him go ahead, or if you still want to be the one to ask. If you’re a true romantic, you could keep your ring with you at all times so you can ask each other at the same time and no one has to feel left out.
How do we announce it?
You don’t have to tell people who proposed to who, just that you are now engaged. It might be more of a surprise to his side of the family, as they would typically know if he was planning to propose. How you tell people is down to you as a couple. He might want a chance to buy you a ring before you announce it, so things feel slightly more traditional.
He might be over the moon to have such an unconventional bride that he wants to shout it from the rooftops that you proposed. It’s all down to a matter of preferences. Once you are engaged, you can decide together how you want to announce it to the world.