Looking to score a rock ... and while you're at it, a husband?
John Molloy, who interviewed 2,500 couples of all ages and backgrounds for his book, "Why Men Marry Some Women and Not Others," (search) said the only way to get a guy down on one knee is to bring up the topic of marriage.
"Many guys said that they went out with a girl for three to five years, and didn’t propose because she never brought the subject up, or she did but by then it was too late. Women drop hints — guys don’t get hints. You have to say it straight out!"
However, don't bring it up too soon, Molloy warned. Twelve to 24 months of dating is prime proposal time, with a peak at 18 months.
"If you bring it up before they’re ready, like in the first six to eight months, they will run away," he said.
And don't be surprised if you don't like his first response. Molloy says guys are likely to react badly to your first mention of matrimony.
"His first reaction is going to be negative, and women who were offended by that never got married. He has never thought about it. Guys don’t talk about it with friends, it doesn’t come up. It’s not part of their world."
Psychologist Diana Kirschner, author of "Opening Love's Door: The Seven Lessons," takes it one step further: If you bring it up and he doesn't take the bait, you've got to let him know you won't wait around forever.
"From working with many single women, I would say what ultimately works is what I would call a fear of loss. If he’s involved with you quite a long time — you’ve made some moves in terms of being ready to commit with him, and he is kind of antsy, frightened and slippery as men can be, say: ‘I really deserve to have longstanding love in my life — I would love it to be you. If not, it will be somebody else.’
And it can’t be an idle threat, Kirschner added.
"At that point he comes to his senses. Sometimes it takes a little while — he may have to actually experience life without you first."