Traditional gender roles are a thing of the past, if new research on marriage proposals is anything to go by.

A survey in the UK suggests that while it is still largely considered traditional for a man to propose, women are getting so tired of waiting that they are popping the question themselves.

One in 10 women has proposed to her partner, according to the research. However, three-quarters of those surveyed said they wished their partner had done so instead.

To gauge what South African women thought about the matter, 1st for Women surveyed 141 women, who had mixed feelings about popping the question.

In the survey 55 percent of the women surveyed said they would not dare, 35 percent said they would or had asked for their man’s hand and 10 percent would consider doing so.

Robyn Farrell, the managing director of 1st for Women insurance brokers, notes that tougher economic times are having an effect on the rate of marriage proposals.

“Relationship therapists have noted that romance is disappearing from marriage proposals, partly because of the recession, which has caused people to re-evaluate their aspirations,” Farrell says.

Further findings show that 60 percent of men who do plan to ask their partner to marry them will not go down on one knee. This, according to a relationship therapist in the UK, is good news, because it shows that more people are proposing in an original manner and doing it in a way that suits both partners.

“Deciding to get married is a massively important step in every relationship. So, before you propose, the two of you should discuss the possibility of getting married, and ensure that this is something that you both want.

“You need to know where both of you stand with regard to major issues, such as finances and children,” says Farrell.

Farrell adds that you don’t want to catch your partner completely off guard – you may find that he hesitates as a result, or even says “no”.

Once you are sure you are ready to make the move but unsure how you would like to go about it, consider options that will be special for both of you.

* Set up a scavenger hunt. Give your partner instructions for the scavenger hunt, including little surprises he would enjoy at the first few stops, and then hide at the final location, ready to propose

* If your partner is an outdoor enthusiast, plan a hike, camping trip or walk. The element of surprise is on your side, owing to the unusual venue.

* Be creative – incorporate your personality, favourite things and foods into the proposal. Make it memorable.

That said, the best proposal is surely one that will be heartfelt for both you and your partner. - The Mercury