What Can A Poker Game Teach You About Getting A Proposal?


Will your efforts at getting a marriage proposal land you at the winner's table?

It’s that time of year again, wedding season, and if you have a long term boyfriend you may be feeling that the pressure is on to get that marriage proposal. The complaint that I’m hearing most from women in this situation is “I’m sick of going to weddings and being asked when I am finally going to be a bride?” If the wedding happens to be for a couple that was dating for less time than the woman who is still waiting to be engaged, then this phrase is uttered with an even greater sense of frustration and often with a fair amount of profanity. 

So what should you do when you are tired of waiting for a proposal and you want to speed up the process? Before you jump in and start pulling out all the stops, take a deep breath and try to look at your plan objectively rather than emotionally. Picture your strategy as if you were trying to win a poker game rather than trying to win at the game of love. Here are some of the most popular strategies that women use once they decide that the notion that “he’ll propose when he’s ready” needs to be replaced with an active approach. 

Giving Ultimatums AKA Bluffing

One of the first steps that women take when they really want that proposal is to threaten to break up if their man hasn’t proposed within a set amount of time. The majority of the time, the woman has no intention of leaving the relationship if he doesn’t meet her deadline. This situation is just like bluffing in a game of poker. In poker the goal is to make your opponent believe that your hand is stronger than it is, and when trying to get a proposal you are trying to convince your partner that you are much more ready to leave the relationship than you really are. 

In poker, you can only successfully bluff if your opponent has no idea which cards are in your hand. In relationships, the same is also true. You have already “tipped your hand” if you have previously let your man know that you want to marry him no matter how long you have to wait, or if you have given ultimatums in the past and not followed through. If you have already shown your hand, then there is no point in giving an ultimatum or deadline unless you are fully prepared to leave the relationship if you don’t get the outcome that you want.

Base Your Actions on Reality Not Wishes AKA Know When to Fold

Some men have no trouble discussing marriage and family early in a relationship. We often view them as having much more “husband potential” than men who admit that commitment scares them. Despite a promising start, you may find that in reality the man who seemed so enthusiastic about marriage turns out to be no more likely to walk down the aisle with you than the guy who was upfront about never wanting marriage. 

In poker this happens all the time. The promising hand that started with an Ace and a King can end up as worthless as the hand that started with a two and a seven.  Of course in a card game as the dealing continues we base our decision on the cards in our hand, not the cards we had hoped to get.  Just like deciding when to fold in poker, you need to look beyond the relationship that you had hoped for and focus on the relationship that you have actually been dealt.  This is the only way to make the right decision when it comes to choosing whether to play out this hand or to fold and start with a fresh hand that has a better chance of being a winner. 

Living Together AKA Going “All In”

Whether it is a poker game or a relationship, some people are better than others at identifying when to fold their hand or call it quits in their relationship. No matter which category you fall into, we would all agree that the last thing you should do is to put all your chips into the pot when it is clearly time to fold. Despite how easily most women would recognize this truth in a poker game, they often make this very mistake when they are trying to get a proposal out of a relationship that has no hope for marriage.

These women will acknowledge that their best efforts have not brought them any closer to walking down the aisle, yet they then agree to become even more invested in this relationship by moving in with a non-committal boyfriend. Throwing more chips into the pot or more time and energy into a relationship does not change the reality that it is time to quit. It may delay the inevitable, but at some point you will regret throwing all of your chips at a losing hand. 

So, if you rated your strategy for getting married one day as if it were a poker game, what type of player would you be? Would you be the type who can never get past the first few hands because your enthusiasm has you throwing all your chips in before you properly evaluate your hand? Or will you be the type who learns that the key to making it to the final table is to quickly identify the losing hands that you are dealt before you invest too much in them? 

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