black couple laughs while looking at each other and holding hands walking on a beach at sunset
Lauren Newman Photography

Whether you and bae are high school sweethearts who have been together for a decade or you met more recently through an online dating site, there's no set timeline for how long a relationship should last before it's time to get engaged. But once the moment comes for someone to pop the big question, however long that is for your relationship, there are a few tell-tale signs of an impending proposal that will let you know if it's about to happen. (By the way, 40% of proposals happen during engagement season, which extends from Thanksgiving to Valentine's Day.) If you're anxiously waiting for a marriage proposal or simply want to know what to expect down the road, keep reading. Changes in your partner's behavior, impromptu hangout requests from your BFF, a sudden case of zipped lips amongst your family members, or any of these other hints can all indicate an upcoming proposal.   

Jewelry goes missing or is moved around. 

Chances are you haven't been robbed—but a proposal might be on the way. Don’t be surprised if you notice that a random ring has gone missing from your stash of jewelry or it seems like your collection has been shuffled around. If your significant other is purchasing an engagement ring, they will need to know your ring size, so it's less likely that you've misplaced the ring and more likely that your partner has sneakily "borrowed" it because they're about to propose. Our advice: unless you're positive that it's genuinely lost, keep mum about the missing ring so you don't foil your S.O.'s plan—although feel free to share the excitement (quietly) with your closest friends!  

Your partner seems nervous or is suddenly less chatty. 

This is one of the more obvious signs of an impending proposal. Your partner could be keeping more quiet than usual as a result of the anxiety that goes along with proposal plans and picking out the perfect engagement ring (something from your “hidden” Pinterest board, perhaps?). 

But when it comes to spending the rest of your life with someone, maintaining an open line of communication is always better than not talking at all. If your S.O. is suddenly tight-lipped or avoidant, don't automatically assume the worst. Casually and calmly ask them if there's anything they need to talk about, but don't try to force an answer out of them. If you suspect that they might be about to propose, nagging will only intensify those butterflies that they're likely experiencing. And if something other than the upcoming proposal has them feeling stressed, they'll appreciate the opportunity to reconnect with you. 

Your S.O. suggests out-of-character date nights. 

Let's say that a typical date night for the two of you consists of getting carry-out dinner, watching a movie on the couch snuggled up with a blanket, and going to bed early. There's certainly nothing wrong with taking it easy and relaxing together, but if your significant other has a sudden interest in going to a theme park, concert, museum, or suggests another unusual date night idea out of the blue, something might be up! There's a chance they're either planning to propose during your spontaneous adventure, or they're trying to re-ignite that fun-filled honeymoon phase spark in anticipation of an engagement.

gay couple celebrating smiling for the camera while shooting bottle of champagne into the air
La Petite Photo

Saving money becomes even more of a priority. 

Remember when we said out-of-character activities could be a sign of an impending proposal? Well, what happens if your dinner-and-drinks date nights stop occurring on a regular basis? It doesn’t necessarily mean your relationship is on the outs. The average engagement ring costs about $5,500, so in reality, skipping dinner dates could be a sign that your S.O. is saving up for that hefty jeweler payment. 

Family stops asking when you're getting engaged. 

If your relatives have constantly been spamming you with questions about when you're getting engaged and then suddenly drop their act, they might be trying to keep their mouths shut so as to not ruin the surprise. Either your S.O. is planning a surprise proposal with your family, or your loved ones know all the details about when it's finally going to happen. But fair warning: once you're engaged and in the thick of wedding planning, you might encounter other pesky questions about your budget, wedding details, or plans to start a family (sigh).   

Best friends schedule mani-pedi dates or other outings. 

Did you get a last-minute text to meet up for coffee and manicures? Maybe your best friends know something you don’t, and they want your hands to be ready for that sparkly new piece of bling. With elaborate proposals and professional proposal pics on the rise, your squad is looking out for you by ensuring that you feel your best when the big moment arrives. Other scenarios include BFFs flying in from out of town, planning a get-together with your entire group of friends, spending the day at a picture-perfect location (like a vineyard), or going shopping for new outfits. At the very least, these are great excuses to spend extra quality time with your favorite people, but they can also be signs that your friends know your partner is about to propose.

You have a vacation or last-minute getaway planned. 

Treating yourselves to a rejuvenating stay at a five-star resort, taking an annual trip to your favorite vacation spot, or spending the weekend at a cozy B&B are all fabulous ways to reconnect with your S.O. every now and again. They're also prime opportunities for a proposal! If you have a special getaway coming up or your partner suddenly says, "Hey, let's skip town for a weekend!" it could be a sure sign that they're about to propose. Just don't focus too much on whether or not the proposal will happen—you should enjoy your time together no matter what.