How Soon is Too Soon to Propose?

Engaged couple hugging.

Image Source: Jose Escobar 

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You know your partner is the one, but how do you know it’s time to shop for an engagement ring and pop the question? You may be wondering how long to date before getting engaged, or simply if it’s too soon to propose. 

While there’s no exact amount of time to date before getting engaged, there are many signs that you’re both ready to tie the knot. There are also averages for the length of dating before getting engaged that can help you feel inspired when the time is right for your relationship. 

How Long to Date Before Engagement

There’s no exact rule regarding how long to date before buying women’s or men’s engagement rings. Every relationship is unique, and your dating duration will vary depending on you and your partner’s special connection. 

Still, there are averages that can help you get a better understanding of when man people choose to propose. The Knot surveyed 5,000 couples and found that the average couple has a relationship length of two or more years before getting married, with only 30% of couples getting engaged in less than two years. They also found that the average United States engagement length was 16 months.  

If you’ve been dating for those average durations, it doesn’t mean that you immediately need to start researching proposal ideas and the 4Cs of diamonds. Love doesn’t follow rules, and every relationship is different. The key is to propose when it feels right for you and your partner rather than after a specific amount of time has passed. 

When to Propose

If there isn’t a precise amount of time to wait before proposing, how long should you date before getting engaged? There is no exact answer, but rather a growth of your relationship, love and shared connection. 

While there isn’t a specific amount of time to date before marriage, there are key milestones of a dating relationship that show you’re on the path to a proposal. This includes discussing key elements of a relationship to determine long-term compatibility, bringing your lives together in a manner that feels authentic to you both and sharing responsibilities together. 

Image Source: Leo

It’s too soon to propose if you haven’t had crucial discussions with your partner about your future, your finances or your core beliefs. The goal of these discussions is to find a path forward that you both will enjoy walking together. 

Many couples also choose to wait to get engaged until they’ve met each other’s families and friends. Depending on personal preferences, some couples also choose to live together to further test their compatibility before getting engaged. 

Age and Waiting to Propose

Couple hugging during their engagement photos.

Image Source: Anthony Tran

The timelines for dating, marriage and engagement vary depending on many factors including age. Typically, dating couples in their 20s would wait longer to get engaged than a couple where both partners are in their 50s. This is due to different life stages and changing priorities 

Is it Too Soon to Propose?

Loose yellow gold bands and diamond engagement ring on a light background.

Proposing at six months of dating doesn’t necessarily mean it’s too soon to propose, but many relationship experts warn that getting engaged this early could mean you’re getting engaged in the honeymoon phase of your relationship. It’s important to wait to get engaged until you’ve reached a relationship stage in which you can see and understand all of your partner’s qualities, not just the positive ones. 

It may be too soon to propose if: 

  1. You’re still in the honeymoon stage 
  2. Communication is a constant struggle
  3. You haven’t discussed your future goals 
  4. Finances as a couple are a mystery 
  5. You feel like you don’t know each other very well 
  6. Conflict is difficult to resolve  
  7. You aren’t getting joy out of the relationship  
  8. There isn’t an understanding of your beliefs 
  9. It is difficult to picture yourself marrying your partner  
  10. You’re considering proposing simply because there is pressure to do so 

Marriage is a major decision, so it’s important to feel ready to take the leap into this next stage of your relationship before you buy a wedding ring. 

Signs You’re Ready to Propose

While there isn’t a specific amount of time that indicates it’s time to propose, there are different signs that you’re ready to get engaged after you’ve been dating. 

You may be ready to propose if: 

  1. You’ve discussed your core beliefs and understand each other  
  2. Communication is consistent  
  3. Your lives have grown together 
  4. Disagreements are solved in a healthy manner  
  5. You feel like an important part of your partner’s life 
  6. The honeymoon phase has ended  
  7. You can’t imagine your life without your partner  
  8. You feel like your most authentic self around your partner  
  9. You’re ready to settle down   
  10. You’ve discussed and planned a future with finances, goals and priorities in mind  

Every relationship is special and ultimately, it’s up to you and your partner to determine when you’re ready to take that step of getting engaged.  

Top Questions About How Long to Date Before Engagement

If you and your partner haven’t discussed your finances or future, it is likely too soon to propose. Many couples get engaged after dating for at least two years.  

You should wait at least until the honeymoon phase has ended before getting engaged. Most couples get engaged after two or more years of dating. 

According to Brides, most couples wait anywhere from two to five years before getting married.


In the scope of a relationship, the three-month dating rule refers to waiting at least 90 days to form a full impression of a new partner. This helps encourage you to evaluate your partner outside of the honeymoon period so you can get a better understanding of who they are. It also helps identify how compatible you and your partner may be. 

According to experts, it’s most common to start saying this romantic phrase as early as two or three months into dating. As with everything else, the exact timing will be unique to you and your partner. 

Just as there’s no exact time frame where it’s too early to propose, there’s no amount of time in which it’s too long to wait to ask the pivotal question. It all depends on your specific relationship. 

According to Zola, the average engagement duration is 16-18 months, though that number has grown in recent years up to 24 months. 

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