Katie Burton wasn’t scared to go down on one knee and propose to the love of her life.
It’s a decision not many heterosexual women make, but the U.K.-based writer argues more women really should, she recently wrote in a HuffPost U.K. blog.
“Ever since the incident, I’ve become a sort of one-woman pressure group on the issue. I know you think I must be weird. But I’m really quite normal. I just think more women should propose,” she wrote.
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Burton continued she proposed to her boyfriend on a ski slope, and people around her looked shocked.
“There are lots of reasons why women don’t propose. One of the most alarming I’ve heard is a fear that the boyfriend will feel emasculated by the experience,” she wrote.
Women are financially independent, getting married later in life (or staying single) and are even having kids on their own. Some female celebrities are even popping the question themselves. And with Valentine’s Day on Wednesday, the unofficial day of love, it does pose a question: why aren’t more women proposing?
Matchmaker Laura Bilotta of The Dating And Relationship Talk Show on Global News Radio 640, says it takes people to create a movement. And although same-sex couples have been proposing for decades, heterosexual women are not seeing other heterosexual women do the same.
“Women tend to not propose because they don’t see other women doing it, once there’s more precedent for women proposing, then more women will start,” she tells Global News.
“I don’t ever think it will be 50/50 but I do feel that eventually, it will be de-stigmatized, like women choosing to keep their maiden names. Our culture is changing; with sexual orientations and gender becoming more fluid.”
On top of this, the act of getting down on one knee with a shiny ring has almost always been depicted by a man, either on television, film or real life.
In 2016, a New York Times article added some experts said women don’t propose because they don’t want to be seen as less feminine, too sexual or too strong. Men, on the other hand, felt powerless, rushed or confused why a woman wouldn’t wait for him to pop the question.
Getting down on one knee
Burton adds, for any woman who fears judgment, a man who loves you will want to marry you no matter what. Bilotta agrees and says if the people in your life (or outside your life) have comments to make about your decisions, you shouldn’t let it bother you.
“I think you should still go for it if you want but familial expectation is hard to overcome,” she continues. “Chances are, families will be judgmental about so many different decisions about your marriage and kids, so this may be the start of learning to ignore it.”
Traditions around marriage are also changing, she adds. While some wedding ceremonies are rooted in culture and tradition, some couples have made up their own — and this is constantly changing.
“Relationships nowadays are often far more intimate before marriage than ones previously,” she argues.
“Couples usually have been dating longer, live together, and maybe even have pets and kids; their lives are intertwined. Because of this deep connection, you probably know your partner’s views on proposals and marriage.”
And while the conversation around getting married may be delayed to begin with, Bilotta says most couples talk about it at some point.
“Many people forgo the proposal altogether nowadays and just decide together that they want to get married. There’s nothing wrong with this route either.”
No hard rules
And while navigating these choppy waters, she adds, there is no hard rule anywhere that says men have to propose to women.
“If you love the person you’re with and it feels right to propose to them, then go for it. You’ll know it’s the right time when you feel it. If you think, ‘I can’t wait to marry this person,’ then it’s probably time.”
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She also adds if you want to marry your partner, you should also have an idea what their reaction would be beforehand.
“If you propose to your man and he freaks out about it, then that may be a sign that he isn’t such a great guy. Now, if he politely declines because this was a moment that he was really looking forward to, then that’s a different story,” she says.
“You should think about your partner before proposing — you know him best — if you think his feelings will be hurt, then consider it carefully before deciding to pop the question.”