Ask A Very Smart Brotha: Should I Propose To Him?

July 31, 2013  |  


Hey Damon,

My boyfriend and I have been living together for 3 years now. We’ve talked about marriage throughout our relationship and he says that he sees himself spending the rest of his life with me. But it’s been nearly a year since we’ve had this conversation and nothing. No more conversations and no proposal. I know that we’re supposed to be together and at this point I’m wondering if I should take matters into my own hands. We went on our first date because I asked for his number. And now I’m thinking maybe I should just ask him myself. Do you think there’s anything wrong, aside from traditional norms, with proposing to a man?

Proposing To My Man


Dear Proposing to My Man,

There’s popular piece of advice passed on by grandmothers, great aunts, and randomly creepy old women at bus stations to younger women that a man should love his woman more than she loves him. Since elders don’t exactly go around sharing this with young boys, I wasn’t aware this saying even existed until I was already grown.

When I first heard about it, I was incredulous. What happened to fairness? What man in his right mind would even want to be in a long-term relationship with someone who wasn’t head over heels for him? I mean, isn’t that basically setting men up for an extended version of the “friend’s zone”?

Thing is, once I got over the initial shock of hearing that—and once I got over myself—I started to realize it was actually good advice…for both genders. It’s not saying that women should marry men they’ll never be in love with. Just that, when you consider that the approaching and courting process is (usually) led by men, it makes sense that a guy should be the one who falls first since he’s the one who’s trying to “win” her. And, in the optimal situation, she eventually “allows” herself to be won. Basically, she “catches up” love-wise. And why this way and not the other way around? Why should men have to “prove” ourselves to convince women to be with us? Easy. Women have more to lose. Between the drastic effect pregnancy has on woman’s bodies and overall health and the fact that fact that (generally speaking) women have a smaller reproductive window than men do, making a bad relationship-related decision just has more severe consequences for a woman than it does for a man. Because of this, it makes perfect sense for women to make sure men are thoroughly vetted before they make a long-term decision about him. And, in order for a man to willingly volunteer for that process, he likely has to be very, very into her.

Anyway, I’m bringing this all up as a context to understand why I think it’s a bad idea for a woman to propose to a man. If he’s not into you enough to propose to you, I doubt he’ll be into you enough to stay committed in your relationship. I mean, do you really want to spend the rest of your life with a man didn’t make any real effort to prove he wanted to be with you?


Damon Young

Pittsburgh native Damon Young (aka “The Champ”) is the co-founder of the ridiculously popular Their first book “Your Degrees Won’t Keep You Warm At Night: The Very Smart Brothas Guide To Dating, Mating and Fighting Crime” is available at   

Trending on MadameNoire

View Comments
Comment Disclaimer: Comments that contain profane or derogatory language, video links or exceed 200 words will require approval by a moderator before appearing in the comment section. XOXO-MN
  • EsotericBlak

    Ladies, NEVER ask a man for his hand in marriage.

  • lerinc89

    Same thing happened with me and my husband. We dated for 3 years, just got married this year. We would talk about it but I think we just got lazy and let it slip lol. Then one day, I was like okay we need to stop slacking on this and get it done. So I started shopping online for my engagement and wedding ring as well as his wedding band (ugh, hated it!). I felt like it took so long to find one and wanted to stop but didn’t stop until I found my rings. I think we were engaged for like 4 months and then married. Best thing ever & I absolutely love being married to him.
    So, just because he stops talking about it doesn’t mean he’s not committed. Sometimes, you gotta give him an extra push on some things. I need it too. Nothing wrong with that. Plus real weddings take forever to plan. & honestly it doesn’t feel any different being married. It’s like we’re still dating but I get to call him my husband lol. Good luck!

  • Lihau

    Gender roles really messes up people’s thinking…

  • Truth!

  • Mztisa

    If a man won’t propose to you he doesn’t long term. Period. Asking him won’t change that even if he agrees!

  • Peabody

    Why do men have to always ask? This isn’t the 1950’s. Should women always cook and clean? If your answer is yes, then ok, the man should ask. But if you are saying men should do their fair share, then I say…women should do they fair share in proposing and asking men out on dates.

    • OSHH

      Doing your fair share around the house when both people work, has absolutely nothing to do with a man pursuing and proposing to a woman= the natural order of things, designated by GOD almighty, he designed men to be head of the household, a leader not a dictator understanding that to lead one must serve.
      When woman take on roles intended for men, such as taking the lead role of pursuing and proposing in relationships she will be in that dominate role for entire course of the relationship= out of order and breeds resentment etc on both parts.

      • appassionata


    • That’s a straw man’s argument. That’s like saying “this isn’t the 1950’s anymore why do women have to doall the baby delivering?”

      There are some things you can’t PC away.

  • appassionata

    This woman needs to admit she’s made a mistake, accept it for the learning experience it is, cut her losses and walk away so she can be available for a man who truly wants her enough to pursue and commit to her.

    She says they went on their first date because SHE asked HIM for his number. That was the first clue that she was dealing with a passive man. The relationship began with him being passive, and it will likely remain that way–he enjoys the companionship and he’s confident that she’s not going anywhere–BUT he also knows he doesn’t want to make her his wife. When the relationship ends he will find a woman he considers worth pursuing and marry her.

  • GirlSixx

    Me personally I wouldn’t do it, but hey to each her own…I also.stand by the firm belief a man should love you more than you love him because it does even the playing field, since men can grow on us but not the other way around.

    • Herm Cain

      Lets be realistic that bs saying is for women who want a lap dog that whole makes sure he loves you more thing is about control and being able to run your significant other why can’t they love equally

      • just a thought

        You make a good point with the whole control thing.

        However, I do think sometimes we fail to understand that men and women can’t love equally; we are biologically different, we define and respond to love differently. In my interaction with men, I discovered that men don’t require birthday parties, Christmas gifts, Valentine day cards, to feel loved. They just want us to love them enough to shut up when they are watching a damn game. Lol. I believe real men don’t want competition in their role as leaders (initiators); they just want women to appreciate them as leaders (just my observation). Women, on the hand, thrive on conversations and gifts. In our [women] minds, when men are quiet, they don’t love us or care for our feelings. For men, a quiet woman is loving woman. Women want to cared for and men want to be respected. Certainly a different kinda love.

      • Its another way of saying he should be clearly communicating signs that he cares for you. You can have equal regard but if YOU ( the woman) are always having to ask where’s the relationship going? Do you want to get married? etc. it doesn’t bode well for the future of the relationship.

    • Lihau

      Men can ‘grow’ on YOU. There is no ‘us’.

  • justsayin

    Please do not follow Joseline Sideho Hernandez’s example.

  • Guest

    Well, with this younger generation, a lot of emphasis is put on the wedding, the ring and other material possessions. He may be waiting until he has enough money to buy you the ring “you deserve” or until he has enough money to pay for what may be an expensive wedding, or maybe he wants to reach a certain point in his career. Who knows? You say you two have talked about marriage, but have you talked about a 2-4 year plan? The reason I say that instead of 5 is because most 5 years plans end up getting off track around that 3rd year lol With that being said, figure out what he is waiting on. He may think it is “just a piece of paper” like a lot of people now days believe. If marriage is important to you, remind him that getting engaged is not expensive. An affordable band is not hard to find. They have some for less than $50 online. Just to let you know that you two are headed in that direction. If you want to propose, go ahead. I just wouldn’t suggest it.

  • deepbrownsista

    Never thought proposing to a man would be a good idea – sounds thirsty to me.

    • Trisha

      Hence, why you’re not married and most likely never will be. Carry on….

      • Guest

        Really? I never thought it was a good idea either and I have been married 13 years…

        • Bluberry01

          I never really understood how people make comments without fact-checking first, ESPECIALLY about people they do not know or have never met.

          Were they just hoping to be right?

      • deepbrownsista

        I am 24 years in with two great kids 21 & 15. And very happily married!!!

        • Sha Sha

          Welp then! LOL

        • BURN! LOL good for you.

      • Going on 7 years and would never have dreamed of asking my husband. Where they do dat at?