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Counter Proposing To Boyfriends

So, you found your forever SO and are sure that they are the one that you’ll live happily ever after together with. But to make things official before tying the knot, there is one step that typically causes the guys to have a headache ‒ a marriage proposal

While it is common for the guy to get down on one knee, three females in Singapore I spoke to share the reason why they decided to make the first move and counter-propose instead. 

1. “I want him to feel equally special and loved”

Image courtesy of Shu Zhen

“One reason why I didn’t initiate a proposal to my now-husband first was that I didn’t want to steal his thunder. Since he hinted heavily that our anniversary date would be an ideal date for a proposal, I didn’t want to ruin the effort and surprise he planned ‒ I only counter-proposed a few days later. But even if he didn’t propose on our anniversary, I would have gone ahead with my own proposal because I knew that I wanted to marry him. 

As we already planned on going for a staycay for a couple of days, I made use of the opportunity to surprise him with my counter-proposal. I set up the room with the help of a friend and told him to only come in later. By the time he came in, I was already on one knee with his ring in hand, and asked if he wanted to be my partner in crime for life.

When a guy proposes, the girl wears an engagement ring but the guy doesn’t until they sign their papers. To me, that doesn’t feel fair. I want people to know that my man is taken, and I want him to feel equally special and loved. 

I think we don’t see many girls popping the question first because society has made it seem as if the guy has to be the one to go down on one knee. I also know of some guys who feel like they should be proposing and would not like it if their partner proposes to them ‒ all because that would strip them of their “manly-ness”.

Honestly, there shouldn’t be a hard and fast rule on who should propose to who, and it shouldn’t feel like an obligation, especially to guys. If they feel like that person deserves it, anyone can make the first move.

Through this process of counter-proposing, I finally understood the stress and anxiety the boys have to go through. It also allowed me to look back at my whole relationship when I was planning the proposal. The best part? I got to reminisce about how we fell in love at the start and continued to fall in love with each other as we got to know one another better.”

Words of advice: “Just like how Ariana Grande sang “I want it, I got it”, go for what you want!”

– Shu Zhen, 29

2. “Never thought of a proposal as solely a guy’s job”

Counter Proposing To BoyfriendsImage courtesy of Cheryl

“My partner is not the best at planning surprises so I could tell on the day that he was going to propose. As a way to surprise him, I had already purchased his ring and brought it around with me all the time in anticipation.

After he popped the question and I said “yes”, I asked him to set up a timer on his camera so we could take a celebratory photo. Through miraculously impeccable timing, it managed to capture the exact moment that I counter-proposed and you can see the surprise on his face. 

All this while, I never thought of a proposal as solely a “guy’s job”, and I wanted to do something special for him too.  

I think it isn’t common for girls to propose because it dates back to when marriage was more of a political or financial transaction rather than a gesture of commitment or love. Hence, they never had a say in whom they could marry, let alone propose to someone. 

Even though that mindset has shifted now, it has created deeply-entrenched perceptions and the tradition of men being the ones to propose. I believe that the media has framed it such that women who propose are somehow unwanted, or desperate – and that can cause women to feel apprehensive about doing so.

But for girls who made the first move, there could be various reasons – I imagine the common one to be that it isn’t an issue for them who proposes and that they want to proceed with that next step in the relationship, so they choose to take action.”

Words of advice: “You do you! It’s a special memory for you and your partner, so make it yours, and don’t be bothered by what others think.”

– Cheryl, 29

3. “It’d be cool to be the one to propose first”

Image courtesy of Phoebe

“I actually proposed to my then-boyfriend after dating for about 4 years because I was waiting for him to do so, but also getting impatient. I knew the proposal was happening soon but I felt that he was taking too long so I went ahead and proposed first. 

Since I had always thought that it’d be cool to be the one to propose, I realised I could be the one to surprise and see his reaction. I wanted to know the feeling of proposing to someone and that gave me the idea to initiate the proposal.

Counter Proposing To BoyfriendsPhoebe’s proposal to her then-boyfriend Enoch
Image courtesy of Phoebe

His first reaction to my proposal was “Are you serious?”, and after the proposal, he told me that he would still be proposing because he wanted to do it. Perhaps I was so excited about making the first move, I didn’t think he’d be upset that I popped the question. 

But I believe for girls like me who proposed first, there is really nothing wrong since the idea of getting engaged is still the same. There is no need to make a big deal because of gender differences. 

While people did question me and made silly remarks about how I shouldn’t be the one to propose, I feel that girls who propose first are brave enough to deviate from the norm. It was a memorable experience for me and I also wanted to share the special experience with him.”

Words of advice: “Don’t be afraid to be the one to propose and do things differently!”

– Phoebe, 29 

These Females In Singapore Show That Anyone Can Make The First Move

Since it takes two to tango in a relationship, these females in Singapore show that anyone can initiate a proposal, not only guys. Their actions definitely deserve respect and who knows we might just have female-initiated proposals more commonly in the future.

Cover: Image courtesy of Shu Zhen & Cheryl.

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