How long does it usually take for a man to propose? Everything you need to know

Things have been doing great between the two of you for a while now, and there’s nowhere for you to go but forward.

But why is he not proposing?

In this article, let’s talk about how long it usually takes for a man to propose and what can trigger him to make the big move.

Some stats you need to know

1) It usually takes men three years to decide on marriage.

According to priceonomics, it usually takes men at least 3 years for men to consider marriage.

And if you think about it, it makes sense. There’s a lot of people in this rapidly shrinking world, so before he commits he wants to be super sure before committing to you for real.

Gone are the days when all it takes for a man to marry a girl is to look at her and think she’s pretty. Now he has to worry that maybe his soulmate is on the other side of the world.

2) The marrying age has gone up.

If you were to look at trends, you’ll see that people are waiting longer and longer before they commit.

A hundred years ago, you were expected to get married at 21. These days people are waiting until they’re almost 30.

And if you think about it, this makes sense.

Living has become much harder in this economy and we’re now more concerned about being “compatible” than we used to, so a man liking a woman is no longer enough for him to take her to the aisle.

Now a man actually has to think about being useful and being sure he’s set for life before he makes you part of it.

3) Marriages simply aren’t as popular as they used to.

In 2019, only 16.3 new marriages were recorded for every 1,000 women (aged 15 and up) by the US Census Bureau. There was a minor decrease from 2009 with 17.6.

Back in the day, marriage was something people expected and got into for the sake of survival. Didn’t matter if it was loving or loveless—in fact, you were lucky if you loved your spouse.

But these days our priorities have changed.

Living is still rough but we can now live independent lives, so marriage has become about love instead of practicality.

At the same time, diversity of thought has bloomed as of late. We’ve become aware of poly-amory, and some people simply don’t believe in life pairings.

And then there are those who shun their religion, or simply don’t think that you must marry someone to show you love them.

Try talking to your boyfriend about it. Maybe he’s one of those people who, for one reason or another, simply doesn’t believe in marriages.

He might even offer to have a civil union with you instead because he thinks marriage ceremonies are just pointless money-burning.

What makes a man want to propose

1) If he’s ready.

Marriage is a formal commitment and there are many things to consider before making the big leap.

Because it is a very valuable milestone in a person’s life, people make a lot of extra preparations to make the union special.

Unfortunately, the costs of a wedding simply can’t just be taken lightly.

Your man wants to give you a day the both of you can remember, and share this momentous occasion with the important people in your lives. He wants to make sure nobody will walk away disappointed.

So for the moment, he might decide to live under the same roof as you first. “Living in” with your boyfriend might not sound as romantic as being married to your husband, but as far as day-to-day living is concerned they’re practically the same anyways.

On a brighter note, if you are already living together, then it is likely that you will end up marrying when things get better for both of you.

2) When he’s certain he can love you unconditionally.

Let’s face it, all of these considerations combined will never trump the primary mover in a relationship—Love.

A study by Horowitz, Graf and Livingston on marriage and dating confirms that love and companionship are the top reasons why people want to get married.

He will want to propose to you because he knows he loves you. And that his feelings for you are unconditional. Times might be easy, or they might be rough, but he’ll be there with you anyways.

Many things can sway his decision-making at times but it would all boil down to whether he treasures you enough to make things happen.

Love and acceptance go hand in hand.

A man would think his partner should accept him wholly for who he is, and vice versa. Proposing for marriage means that he abides by this condition—flaws and all.

After all, love doesn’t demand perfection.

He’s trying to know you inside and out so that by the time he bends the knee and asks you to become his partner for life, he’s 100% sure of his choice and that he won’t regret it even when things get a bit ugly later on.

What can you do for now

While they say good things come to those who wait, you can’t just be a sitting duck forever and do nothing.

Remember, the relationship is between the two of you and it’s totally fine to take an active part leading to the weighty decision.

Here are some tips you can use that will turn your waiting time into a productive one:

Be sure about your own feelings.


While it may make anyone excited if you’re on the receiving end of the proposal, you need to check in with yourself first and foremost. If he’s taking his time to sort his feelings out, this is an opportunity for you to do the same.

Close your eyes and walk yourself through the process as if it were the real thing and ask yourself how you would feel about it.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I really love him or do I just want to get married?
  • Why am I impatient?
  • Am I pressured by society to get married?
  • Will he be a good father? (if you want to have kids)
  • Does he check all my non-negotiables?

Get to know him on a deeper level.

You can date a guy for two, three, or even six years and still not know everything there is to know about him.

When you’re trying to marry someone, you’ll want to make sure that you are honest with one another.

Is he a slob, or a clean freak?

Does he appreciate your hobbies, and you of his?

Can you be your true self around him?

And most importantly, do your values align?

After all, each and every one of us hold values and beliefs that are unique to the individual. And if you are to live with someone for the rest of your life, you need to make sure there aren’t any relationship-ending differences.

Prepare yourself for marriage.

You can’t wait for him to propose…but are you truly ready?

Marriage isn’t just about sunshine and rainbows. You need to also keep your feet firmly on the ground and brace yourself for what lies ahead.

There are roles you need to fulfill and you need to be on the same page as your partner before taking the next step together.

Men sometimes propose with the desire of creating a family in mind. You need to be prepared for the role of building that home with him, or if you want to at all.

And of course, there’s the matter of money, which needs to be discussed. Do you share one wallet, or continue carrying your own money? How much money will you set aside for the future?

In short, there’s a lot to prepare for. Don’t wait for him to propose for you to be ready. And if in the end he won’t and you’d break up (knock on wood), well hey, at least you’re prepared for the next one if it ever happens.


We, as a society—but especially women— like to think of marriage as one of the things we must have when we grow up.

That, like in the movies, we will eventually find and find our “happy ever after” with our very own prince charming.

But the sad fact is that there are so many things in real life that get in the way, even if he himself wants to marry you already!

For what it’s worth, however, there’s nothing wrong with being the one to propose, or at least push things along if he’s being too timid to act decisively.

But the wisest thing to do for now is to be patient and focus on becoming ready instead.

Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash has years of experience writing relationship articles for single females looking for love. After being single for years with no hope of meeting Mr. Right, she finally managed to get married to the love of her life. Now that she’s settled down and happier than she’s ever been in her life, she's passionate about sharing all the wisdom she's learned over the journey. Pearl is also an accredited astrologer and publishes Hack Spirit's daily horoscope.

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