10 Sneaky Signs He's Going to Propose

man holding engagement ring
Photo Credit: iStock

Hoping you'll find an engagement ring under the tree this year? While some guys can keep a secret like they're in the CIA, others aren't quite so swift. Here, readers share some odd behavior they noticed before their fiancés popped the question.

1. He becomes overly protective of his cell phone

If he suddenly starts hovering whenever you look at his phone or won't even let you lay a hand on it, don't assume the worst — he could just be hiding info about your ring! “My friends and family did a good job at keeping it a secret, but my fiancé's behavior was different; he wouldn't let me look at his phone because of the conversations and pictures of rings he had on there," said bride-to-be Taylor Hartong. "He's usually more open about that."

2. He develops a sudden interest in jewelry

He asks what you think about your recently-engaged friend's engagement ring or points out a celebrity's ring on the cover of People while you're in the checkout line. He compliments the jewelry you do wear and makes note of whether it's yellow, white, or rose gold. And don't be surprised if one of your rings goes missing while he tries to figure out your size.

“Before picking me up from class to go to New York for the weekend, Mike told me he was going to go walk around the mall to waste time. When we got in the car, he was asking a ton of questions about engagement rings — things like what kind of stone, setting, look and so on.” said recently-engaged bride-to-be Felicia Neuber. While she didn't think much of it at the time — they'd had those conversations before — it clicked a few months later when he proposed that he'd picked out her ring that day!

3. Other people start talking to you about jewelry more frequently

Before her now-husband popped the question, Saira Patel was tipped off when an unlikely friend started asking about rings: “A mutual friend, who is not married and doesn't care about this kind of stuff, randomly wanted to discuss what type of ring I would like.”

If your mom or sister steers you into a jewelry store "just to look around" the next time you're at the mall, they could be helping your soon-to-be-fiancé with some research. Or he may take you into a jewelry store himself to observe what you like and dislike. “This is the process of elimination approach,” said event expert Amanda Morris.

4. He pulls a disappearing act

He tells you he's going shopping, then comes home hours later without a single item in hand — and he's so not the window-shopping type. Or you spot him and your dad chatting out of earshot at a family gathering. He could be spending that secretive time shopping for a ring or talking to your parents about popping the question.

5. Your friends and family members get really excited every time you call

Sure, they're always happy to hear from you, but if they've been clued in that a proposal is on the horizon, they may start thinking every call is that call. “Every time you call a girlfriend, mother, or other female family member, they sound overly excited and in anticipation to hear what you have to say, only to figure out that he probably hasn't popped the question to you yet,” said Morris.

6. You've been banned from a certain room or location

“Before my now-husband proposed to me, I had a few things that tipped me off that day. I was told not to come downstairs (I was upstairs in my office) and that the basement was off limits. At the end of my work day, he led me down the stairs and said he had an important question to ask me," said Melanie McComb, who has now been happily married for four years. When she walked into the basement, she discovered that he'd spent the day covering their basement wall with photos to spell out, "Will you marry me?" 

7. Traveling? He develops a serious distrust of the airline

He refuses to check his bag, even when it won't fit in the carry-on (Meet the Parents, anyone?). And if TSA randomly selects him for a bag search, he'll do whatever he can to make sure you're not there while the agent is rooting around in his luggage.

8. He takes the reigns on your vacation plans

“I should have known when he wanted to plan a full day and night of our vacation without my help!" said bride-to-be Blair Krebs, who got engaged in August. "We were going to Napa; I used to live in San Francisco, so I planned most of the vacation, but he asked to plan one night and day."

9. He flat out asks you about how to propose

“He also not-so-subtly asked me what he needed to say when he proposed,” said Krebs. Or he may ask if you expect him to ask your dad's permission first. He wants to make sure he does it right, and sometimes, there's just no subtle way of finding out the answer.

10. He bought you everything else on your Christmas list

“I got everything on my wish list because he didn't want me to suspect the big present was coming!” said Patel.

Tell us: Did you know your fiancé was going to propose?

—Kristen Klein