Some people say that a “Marry me” ultimatum is the least romantic thing on the planet. They’re wrong. It’s actually No. 4 on the list, behind only root canals, zits and “Battlestar Galactica” jokes. Ultimatums are scary. Ultimatums can backfire. There are some scenarios, of course, where the guy really is dragging his feet and needs a little extra nudge. Let’s assume that’s the case here. So how do you get him to propose in the new year?

Your options:

1. Frequently talk about your dream wedding.
He’ll love this! Show him photos of ice sculptures, wedding dresses, flowers and wedding cakes. If, however, your boyfriend is not Franck from Father of the Bride, consider a different route. He probably likes the idea of marrying you, but the specific tactics of a wedding can seem overwhelming.

2. Give the runner a signal.
There are loads of possible reasons why a guy hasn’t proposed, and fear of rejection is one of them. Eliminate this fear. Give the runner a signal that it’s okay to round the bases — you can do this with innuendo subtler than “I expect you on one knee by midnight of December 31.”  

3. Let him know what kind of ring you want.
For 99 percent of men, the idea of ring shopping is perplexing and terrifying. We know that it’s supposed to be expensive and diamond-y, and that’s about it. What kind of shape, setting and style do you want? You can say something like, “My friend Julie just got engaged — her ring is gorgeous. It’s just perfect; it has yada yada yada…” He’ll see through your little ruse, but so what? (You just gave the runner a signal.)

4. Have your parents confront him
Do this ideally over a big family holiday dinner. Your dad can ask, “What are your intentions with my daughter?” and this should put him at ease. (Can you sense the sarcasm?) Or maybe…

5. Be comfortable with a proposal in 2012, not 2011.

You’ll spend the next 50+ years together (or if you’re Kim Kardashian, the next 50+ days). Think Big Picture: Does it really matter if you get engaged in December or June?

Of course, if he’s been playing Hamlet (to wed or not to wed…) for five years and you’re at the end of your rope, and you know in your gut that IT’S TIME, there’s really only one strategy you need:

6. Have an honest conversation.
No games, no trickery. Without framing it as an ultimatum, talk about how you both envision your future together. Where is this going? When is this going? Try not to nail down a specific, concrete date — this saps the proposal of spontaneity and romance — but you can have the conversation in broad strokes.


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