real life

Are you living in proposal purgatory?

If you find yourself dreading holidays, landmark calendar events and birthday dinners, you could be suffering from this condition.

If you avoid phone-calls from family and friends the day after one of these occasions, you probably are.

Because you know what they’ll ask. “Did he ask you?”

You are suffering from proposal purgatory.

I have never been proposed to. I haven’t even thought very hard about my proposal apart from a few vague ideas (drinking champagne on a boat at sunset when a friendly passing dolphin swims by and offers me a diamond ring, I say yes and then we eat strawberry cheesecake), because only losers think that stuff out beforehand, amirite?

The dream.

Picture this: You’ve been in a loving, committed relationship for years. You and your partner live together. You know exactly which board games you both enjoy. You’ve discussed the future, not just once, but often and at length – how many kids will you have? Where do you see your careers going? Which suburb do you see yourselves living in?

You’ve met the (hopefully future) in-laws, you’ve seen each other wee, and you might even have bought a cat that he’s allergic to but that you insisted on (you have my full support).

In short, you’re ready to get married.

You’re going to get married.

But you’ve been waiting a really, REALLY long time for your partner to ASK you if you want to get married.

So long that you’re starting to drop cryptic hints about dolphins and cheesecake that are making your other half feel confused and uncomfortable.

So long that you’re starting to wonder whether something’s terribly, unfixably wrong with your relationship.

So long that you’re starting to prepare your cat for a future as a child of a broken family by telling him that mummy will always love him and buying him a teeny-tiny cat suitcase he can use to carry his fluffy ball to his father’s every other weekend.


This is proposal purgatory – the period of time between realising you’ll end up marrying your partner and your partner’s actual proposal. The time when an otherwise intelligent, confident, independent and cat-loving woman starts to doubt her otherwise supportive, loving, happy and (mostly) cat-loving relationship because she doesn’t feel like she can approach her boyfriend about getting married. Because proposal is a man’s territory, and she knows that, and he should know it too (and hurry up about it).

I’ve known women who’ve lived in proposal purgatory for years. And NEVER. DONE. ANYTHING. ABOUT. IT. Because somehow, the longer you’re there, the less likely you are to do reasonable things (like having a discussion with your partner about whether they would in fact like to get married), and the more likely you are to do unreasonable things (like strapping your cat into a pram and taking it for walks).

For some of those women, the long wait proved too much. The relationship ended, often with an utterly bamboozled bloke wondering what on earth went wrong.

Proposals can be anything from an all-out extravaganza to a drunken mumble in the middle of the night, but the one thing they should never be is a pressure on your relationship.

If you find yourself in proposal purgatory, there’s a really simple solution: talk to your partner. Tell them the truth. Admit that you’re feeling vulnerable and ask them whether they see marriage in your future.

Or, why not be the coolest girlfriend ever and do the proposing yourself? (Hit me up if you want to hear a great idea involving a dolphin).

Most importantly, don’t let your relationship disintegrate over a ring and a cute gimmick. You, your partner and your cat all deserve better than that.


Check out what these celebrities got for their engagements…

Have you ever found yourself in proposal purgatory? Any advice for the afflicted?