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It’s Leap Year – are you going to take the plunge!


As 2016 is a Leap Year and only comes around every four years, are you going to follow tradition and propose to your partner?


Leap Year originated from 5th Century Ireland when St Bridget, fed up with the length of time women had to wait for a man to ask for their hand in marriage agreed with St Patrick that women could propose during Leap Year. The first documented proposal by a woman was on 29th February in 13th Century Scotland and so the date was set. A law was also passed that any man refusing a proposal in Leap Year must pay a fine.

So back to present day, do you know that your partner is the one for you, but he seems reluctant to propose?  Maybe he just lacks confidence and doesn’t want to risk upsetting the relationship if you refuse. So the first step is to find out why he is so hesitant. You can do this by casually bringing it up in conversation, maybe even relating it to someone else’s situation, just to find out his opinion on the subject. If he’s dead set against the idea, then you have a tough decision to make if marriage is important to you.

If on the other hand, he just doesn’t think the time is right for both of you, maybe you’re still building careers, waiting to move home or trying to save, then you need to make sure he truly believes this and not making excuses. Have a discussion, plan your future, set a date and don’t allow obstacles to get in the way. Life will always present challenges, creating a reason why it’s not a good time to commit - don’t allow this to happen and affect your future together as a couple.

So take the plunge, surprise him and propose!  He might be delighted that you have and it takes the pressure off him.  You can keep the proposal fun, light-hearted and flirtatious, it doesn’t have to be all hearts and flowers. Maybe theme it round an activity that you both enjoy. You could write a sign saying “Will you marry me?” and hang it on a tree in a favourite walking spot, give him a map and a compass and leave him to find it (be waiting behind the tree to surprise him.) If he’s a wine connoisseur, print a proposal label onto a bottle of wine and book a wine-tasting tour or favourite restaurant, arranging with the owner beforehand that they’ll bring the bottle out when you’re ready. And don’t worry about rings, if he says yes, you can go ring-shopping together afterwards. Instead, create a romantic proposal memento that he can keep forever that’s personal to him.

If the worst happens and he says ‘no’, try not to panic and become emotional, just calmly ask for his reasons. They could well be just practical ones, which you can overcome and if that’s the case you can work together to set a date to become engaged. If you feel however, that he’s making excuses try and find out why he has a fear of commitment. If there’s not an obvious cause then you might have to ask yourself if he’s ‘Mr Right’.  If you can’t accept things the way they are, then take some time apart and try to decide if this relationship is right for you. Don’t stay and try to live with your resentment as few couples recover from a rejection of marriage. Instead, try to think of it as a positive thing – you are now free to find someone who does want to say “I do’.

PUBLISHED: 11 February 2016

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