How Soon Is Too Soon To Propose?

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How long should you wait before proposing? How soon is too soon to propose? (Or, if you’re not the one popping the question – how soon is too soon to get engaged?) What’s the “norm”? I mean, how long does the average couple date before getting engaged? And when might it be okay to propose sooner?

So many questions. Questions that are in fact, currently TRENDING. You guys are searching this AT MASS! But it’s no surprise really, is it?

I mean, we’re living in a world full of pressures, expectations and comparisons; and when it comes to marriage – for many – that’s a big thing! So it’s no wonder you want to get it right.

But deep breaths, deep breaths. Because in this post we’re going to break it all down, and make everything far clearer.

“How soon is too soon to propose?” Or, “how soon is too soon to get engaged?” Well my friends, you’re about to find out! So let’s start from the top, shall we?

How Soon Is Too Soon To Propose?

When it comes to how soon is too soon to propose, there’s not just one set answer. After all, everyone is different – in different places, wanting different things, on different timescales. 

So let’s break this down further to establish the key factors, and what influence they have.

1) Age

Your age makes a BIG difference when it comes to determining how soon is too soon to propose.

After all, you could have two couples – both of whom have been together for 5 years…

But if that one couple had been together since they were 15 (making them just 20 years old now!) and another have been together since they were 25 (putting them at a strong 30 now), they’re going to be in different positions right?

The first couple are still learning and growing – trying to work out who they are and what they want. The second, are going to be more likely to more confidently know these things.

So age is a big factor. Similarly is, the stage of your life that you’re in. See…

2) Stage Of Life

You can also get two couples that are the same age – but in totally different stages of their lives.

  • Some could be very-much career focused which may put engagements (and marriage + kids) on the back burner for now. It’s not their priority at this moment in time.
  • Others may be ready to settle down – they’re comfortable, secure, surrounded by friends and family who are also at the stage of “settling down” and they want to do the same thing too. I mean, you might even notice the signs he secretly wants you pregnant (but for all the right reasons!), hence why you’re also now wondering – how soon is too soon to propose?!
  • Then there’s couples who are a little more care-free. Perhaps they’re traveling around, living life to the max, and maybe they fit into neither category. In this case it then comes down to how important engagement and marriage is to them, and what level of desire they actually have to take that next step and commitment in getting engaged now. 

But that’s actually an important note to make and leaves us onto our next key factor when it comes to, “how soon is too soon to propose”…

3) Importance

Marriage is going to mean different things to different people.

If a couple aren’t especially bothered about getting married or aren’t 100% sure that they even want to – then they won’t be in as much as a “rush” to get engaged.

Whereas if a couple have both always known they want to get married – it’s something that’s really important to the two of them and they genuinely feel like they’ve found the right person – then they’re more likely to move things along in that way, and sooner.

What is a natural progression for one couple, may not be the same direction for another. And that’s okay. But what else comes into it? In fact, what else comes into ANY commitment and progression? Well…

Should I Propose Now?

4) Stability

A major factor that influences how soon is too soon to propose – is how strong and secure a relationship is.

Regardless of how long you’ve been together, how old you are, and what you’re looking for:

  • Are you in a healthy relationship? Or are you still working through some key / major relationship issues?
  • Do you honestly feel like it’s the right relationship? Is he / she genuinely “the one”
  • Or are you / your partner forcing the love a little bit / trying to kid yourselves that it can and will really last long-term?

Some may also argue that with stability becomes the questions of:

  • Are you actually in a position that you could get married?
  • Could you physically and financially make it happen anytime soon?
  • Do you have everything else you need in place?

This however, is definitely a little debatable…

See, for some – a long-engagement is absolutely fine. It’s more about the gesture and commitment of getting engaged: it doesn’t matter how long it takes to then get married.

Whereas for others – some will only want to get engaged if they actually have the funds and capacity to have the wedding within a decent time-frame. 

So this can vary from couple to couple! Stability before getting engaged means different things to different people.

Consider this: 

Would it mean more to propose now, even if you need a long engagement?

Or would it mean more to propose at a point where you can then actually start planning and booking things for the wedding? Would it be better to wait?

There’s no right or wrong answer but that helps YOU personally determine how soon is too soon to propose, for YOU… See it’s not about anyone else, its about you two!

The thing that makes everyone love story special is that its unique to them, so there’s no right or wrong way to do things, so long as you know – hand on heart – that this is the right time for you.

I mean marriages have worked out after crazily fast engagements. Take Justin Bieber for example! They’ve also rapidly broke down after fast engagements…

Ariana Grand is a prime example – getting engaged just weeks after a breakup. (Now THAT is what you call crazy!) It didn’t work or last, as you could imagine. But hey – who are we to judge?!

5) Stages Of The Relationship

Now we mentioned how the stage of your life that you’re in, influences how soon “too soon” is, to propose. But another huge factor is whether you’ve gone through the key stages of a relationship.

(Because that’s where Ariana Grand went wrong, right? And why Justin Biebers fast engagement DID work… They’d already been through many of these stages before!)

So what you want to look at, are things like:

  • Had you dated for a while before becoming exclusive and then, official? Do you feel like you really know each other fully, deeply and very-nearly completely?
  • Have you been through both good times and bad times? (As challenges are inevitable. You need to face these and overcome them to truly get to know someone, and know the strength of your relationship.)
  • Have you already moved in together? (And can live together happily and healthily?) Are you renting? Or bought a home together? And did you do this on a healthy timescale without the relationship moving too fast?
  • Have you been on holiday’s together? Experienced different things together? Done all the “fun stuff” as well as the serious ‘next steps’?

See, one of the biggest signs you’re getting engaged too soon, is if you’re rushing the key stages of a relationship or have skipped major steps.

And yes – there’s not one set path. Just like, actually – if you don’t want to get engaged, get married and have kids (like the traditional route) – you absolutely don’t have to!

However, the standard stages are pretty standard as they are typically how a healthy relationship will naturally progress. So this is worth bearing in mind.

How Soon Is Too Soon To Get Engaged?

How Long Does The Average Couple Date Before Getting Engaged?

Now if you’re looking for comparisons, trying to weigh up how long the average couple dates before getting engaged… DON’T!

It is not important. I repeat: it is not important!

For clarity, it’s said that most couples date for two or more years before getting engaged, with many dating anywhere from two to five years.

But not only do all of our above factors come into this (age, stage of life, importance, stability, stages), but then you have to ask: “Okay, so those are the stats, but…”

How much time did they spend together throughout that time?

See it’s not just the length of time that you’ve known a person, but how much quality time you’ve spent with them.

For example, a couple who are building separate businesses, working around the clock & regularly missing that quality time, aren’t likely to be as close or know as much about their partner, as someone who has a more standard 9-5 and makes the most of that time with their partner – proactively building & strengthening their relationship. True?

So at every single stage, no matter what the “statistics” are, there are countless examples of different things that come into it. Which is why it goes back to – the only way to know what’s too soon, is knowing what’s too soon for you. And feeling, deep down, what’s right for you and your partner.

Where Is This Question Coming From?

I want to challenge you now – to really get you thinking. So let me ask you – why are you asking how long should you wait before proposing? Where is this doubt coming from?

Are you wondering if it’s too soon, because you yourself know that you MAY be rushing it? If you were certain you wasn’t – would you really be asking this? Maybe. Maybe not.

And if you ARE rushing it, why are you rushing it? Is this driven by insecurity or anxiety in your relationship, abandonment issues or an unhealthy attachment style? Try to really get to the bottom of it…

Similarly, are you doubting the proposal timing itself, or are the doubts only there because the relationship that you’re in isn’t quite right, or you’re not 100% sure about the person you’re with? Be completely honest with yourself!

It could also be that your fears are coming into it. You’ve heard of the divorce rate stats and you don’t want to be “just another number”. I get it. I do.

But that’s why you have to also get clear on WHY you’re asking this question, as that will play a bit part in your answer of whether it’s too soon for you.

Is it too soon to propose?

How Long Should You Wait Before Proposing?

So providing you’re not looking to do this for the wrong reasons – how long should you wait before proposing? Or, if it’s not you popping the question, how long should you wait before getting engaged? 

Well, like we said – there’s not a major formula or a set guideline. The only thing that matters is that you wait until you’re ready. Truly ready.

But how do you know for sure? How do you know that the time is right for the two of you?

Signs You ARE Ready To Propose Or Get Engaged 

Instead of looking at what others are doing, look at where you’re at and how you feel.

  • Do you want to spend the rest of your life with this person?
  • Do you love and appreciate for everything and all that they are, and don’t want / need to change them in any way? (And vice versa.)
  • Is there trust in the relationship? Strong communication? Lots of love, passion and laughter? Is it everything you know that you want and need? (And more perhaps even?!)
  • Are you both happy in your relationship, and in a good place? (Don’t just answer yes to this one – write down all the answers and “evidence” that you know this is the case, for sure!)
  • Do your family / friends approve? Does everything match up and align on that front, and you have the love and support there, for you as a couple, from other?
  • Are you both on the same page when it comes to your relationship – where you’re at, what you want and where you’ll go from here?
  • Has this always been on the cards for the two of you? You know that it’s what you both want? You’ve made long-term plans together and getting engaged is most certainly part of it?
  • Are you ready to take the relationship to the next stage? And does it genuinely feel like the right time for you? There’s not certain things that you want to happen first, or want to do before? (If so – do them.)
  • Have you read Gary Chapman’s marriage book?! (I mean, this isn’t a deal-breaker but it’s a darn good book!)

Trust Your Heart and Go With Your Gut…

See that’s what you have to remember here – it’s not just about how soon is too soon to propose. That is 100% valid and worth making sure of – most definitely. 

Going slower means you’re able to be more confident about your decision. It’s always better to take things slow than rush things too quickly. After all, “Love lasts, infatuation is fleeting.”

I mean, on that note – research has shown that people who have dated for at least two years before getting engaged have happier marriages! So there may not be any substitute for getting to know someone properly.

But if you know you want to marry this person and you feel like you really do know them fully and completely – you also don’t want to keep holding off until it’s the “perfect moment.”

Why? Because perfection doesn’t exist!

There will always be at least ONE reason why maybe you shouldn’t propose or get engaged right this very moment. But you just have to take a step back and properly weigh it all up.

Does the thought of getting engaged right now SCARE you, or feel EXCITING? Do you have any real doubts, or do the reasons to propose right now, far outweigh anything else?

Trust your gut, and your heart (alongside your head.) What are your instincts telling you about this timing? Then base your decision on that…

How Soon Is Too Soon To Propose?

So in summary of this all – “how soon is too soon to propose?”

Well that’s completely down to you, and what YOU think, plus what you know about where your partner is at and what they want.

If you’re holding off on proposing because you’re worried about how an engagement might look – stuff society and any “standards” or expectations.

At the same time, if you’re wondering if it’s too soon because it feels like it COULD be too soon – then take a step back, don’t cave into society’s pressure on that side either, and wait until you know that you really are ready (and your partner is too!)

Sound like a good plan? I think so. I hope this has helped to clear things up for you, too!

Take care.


How Soon Is Too Soon To Propose?
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Ella Stearn
Ell is a Breakup, Dating & Relationship Specialist & Coach, with over 3 million annual readers, globally. As the Creator of Forgetting Fairytales, her mission is to help you learn to love yourself, find the right person to give your love to, then make it a love that truly lasts.

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