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engagement ring in box proposal

You want the proposal to be a surprise. You just don’t want to be completely surprised by it when he pops the big question. There’s a difference between romantic mystery and plain old miscommunication. Or maybe you are the kind of person who loves it when people pop out from hiding to throw you a surprise birthday party, but you’d prefer not to be ambushed while you are carrying an antique tea set or wearing a retainer. Spoiler alert: Here are nine telltale signs he’s going to propose in the near future.

1. Shared Calendar

You know when he’s going to propose because he told you when he was going to propose. Or you told him. Or you worked it out together. Not much mystery here, but that’s pretty common. Only about a third of proposals are a surprise, according to a recent study, so you might not need to worry about watching for subtle signs.

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2. Ring Buzz

Fingers haven’t been this big a deal since that Dutch boy averted a catastrophic flood. Did your married sister or best friend invite you to try on her ring “for no reason” or “just to see if you wear the same ring size”? Did one of your own rings go missing from your jewelry box for a day or two and then suddenly reappear? Did you wake up from a couch nap with a piece of string around your fourth digit? When you watch Lord of the Rings, does your significant other casually ask, “But do you think that One Ring would have looked better in Rose Gold?” All of this sudden interest in rings could mean that he’s trying to work out how to get you the perfect ring in the right size. Honestly, if that’s the case, encourage him to just check out our blog post on how to find out someone's ring size without asking them and work backwards from there. 

3. Fashion Advice 

Did your roommate look a bit dismayed when you mentioned hitting the gym before brunch on the beach? Did someone suddenly have an expiring coupon to a manicure place? Did your boyfriend, the dude who can shut his eyes at a party and have no idea what a single person is wearing, suggest that you wear something fancy for your next date night? Did your bestie suggest getting pedicures or manicures “just for fun”? Sounds like something’s in the works! All of these scenarios serve as a good sign that he’s making future plans for an upcoming marriage proposal. 

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4. Pointed Questions

Has he been asking a lot of pointed questions about the future, in a way that it seems like he was much more invested in your answers? When you go to other weddings together, is he jotting notes instead of heading to the open bar? Or paying more attention to married couples and asking them about when they tied the knot? Or maybe you catch him staring at the centerpieces with a calculating expression. Like he’s never really thought about flowers much before, but now he might be expected to hold an opinion. It’s possible he’s just trying to learn more about the world he lives in and the woman he loves. But it’s more likely that there’s a ring in his sock drawer right now.

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5. Weird Behavior

Your dad, historically a fist-bump guy, pulled both you and your boyfriend into a bear hug – which is odd. All your aunts and uncles and other loved ones are suddenly telling you what they picked for their first dance. Or falling silent when you enter the room – which is a first. Your college roommate who lives abroad has been texting him – which is disconcerting. Your family members have started offering much more relationship advice than usual. You’re not quite sure what is going on, but something has definitely changed and has everyone around you acting weird. Get used to it. He’s about to be Facebook friends with the little old lady who watched you after school. All of these odd behaviors are likely proposal signs you should pay attention to!

6. Slipshod Secrecy

Look, you don’t really want to be in a relationship with someone who’s an expert at hiding things from you. Good thing, too, because he still had an internet search for “unique pear shaped engagement rings” up when he handed you his cell phone to order the pizza. And when he called to check in on weekend plans and you asked him where he was, he answered, “Oh, I’m shopping for … Uh… birdseed.” When you asked him why he needed birdseed when he didn’t own a bird, he got kind of shifty and said, “Oh, you know. Best to be prepared.” Before you jump to the conclusion that something bad is going on, keep in mind that this type of secrecy is more likely related to him trying to plan a surprise proposal. 

7. Significant Dates and Suspicious Circumstances

Do you have an anniversary coming up and he’s been a bit more frugal recently? Or is Valentine’s Day fast approaching and he’s promising you an extra-special romantic outing? Oh, and he just spent Christmas with your family. Yeah… He almost definitely has some proposal plans in the works, especially since holidays are often a perfect time for popping the question. 

8. Talking About Marriage

If your significant other has recently started talking about weddings a LOT, it’s a dead giveaway that he’s planning to ask you to spend the rest of your life with him. He might even have your engagement ring picked out already. While your actual wedding day might still be a few years away since he hasn’t proposed (yet), talks of wedding planning and married life are among the biggest signs that he is getting ready to pop the question, so be ready to say “yes!”

9. Unusually Romantic Behavior

Your boyfriend is normally a pretty simple guy. His idea of a perfect date night is dinner at a local bar followed by an evening of Netflix at home. You love spending time with him, but you have to admit that he isn’t the most romantic guy in the world. 

So, if he suddenly makes plans for a romantic evening… something is up. Chances are, he’s planning a romantic proposal.

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At Modern Gents, we know a thing or two about proposals, so we are happy to let you in on a few of the secrets when it comes to the groundwork of a surprise engagement. We can’t give everything away, of course. Not after how hard he is working to make the whole proposal such a delightful revelation. And fellas, if it feels like we have been spying on your carefully laid plans, she might just be on to you. So don’t be shocked if she doesn’t seem particularly surprised when the big day rolls around!

How Soon Is Too Soon to Propose?