You may be in the most progressive, egalitarian relationship in the world, but if you’re hoping to get engaged as part of a heterosexual couple, there’s still a huge social pressure to conform to the way things “ought to be done”.
And while it’s more acceptable for women to propose to men than it ever has been, sadly, it’s still extremely rare, with just 5% of couples saying the woman proposed in a US survey of married couples. Girls are still brought up to dream about being proposed to, and men are still taught to take the reins.
This social norm often leaves women impatient and bored of waiting. But there could be valid reasons holding men back from getting down on one knee, according to new research by Lotto Land.
The survey of nearly 3,000 British men over 21 years old, who had been in a relationship for at least two years, quizzed them on their attitudes towards marriage and proposals, specifically, whether they want to pop the question and why they hadn’t yet.
More than three quarters of men (78%) were confident they were with the person they wanted to spend the rest of their lives with (n’awww). More than half (51%) had already picked the perfect ring and 37% had planned the perfect proposal scenario.
The biggest factor holding them back? Sadly, and perhaps predictably, 41% said they don’t have enough money to pay for a ring or a wedding. Young couples may be ditching diamonds in favour of cheaper coloured stones, but many people still subscribe to the old belief that a ring should cost two months’ salary (despite this having been simply a marketing campaign created by De Beers in the 1930s).
A fifth (21%) said they’re waiting for the perfect time to propose, while a similar proportion (19%) were hesitant because they’re “worried she doesn’t love me as much as I love her,” which, admittedly, is a pretty good reason to dither.
Around a tenth of men (9%) don’t think their partner’s father will give his permission to ask. (This is another archaic engagement ritual that refuses to die, which harks back to a time when women were passed as property from man to man. Our dads don’t own us and if we’re happy in our relationship, that’s the main thing.)
A small number of men (4%) also hold off proposing because they’ve been persuaded against the idea by friends and family. It’s unclear whether their involvement is well-meaning or if they’re just meddling in their loved ones’ business, however.
If you're tired of waiting for a proposal, consider whether these factors apply to your situation and have a little understanding. Or bite the bullet and ask him yourself.