A romantic proposal and the subsequent wedding, whether months or years later, has become a traditional part of life for loved-up couples in the Western world, with many little girls dreaming of being a bride long before meeting their Romeo.

Apparently, it is not that simple or obvious to every man out there. A bizarre thread in Reddit's relationships subreddit revealed that some men seemingly believe that once you propose to a woman, you are married - or even that there does not need to be a proposal at all.

A 24-year-old woman from the US described how her 26-year-old boyfriend of two years told family and friends they were married after he proposed on Valentine's Day.

She wrote: "I called my parents and invited them over to tell the big news. SO [significant other] had already called and told a few of his friends/family members but I wanted to tell my parents in person. We sit them down and just as I burst out saying we're engaged, my SO says "we got married!!!". I corrected and said "we're going to get married."

"It then becomes apparent my SO thought that asking someone to marry them = actually legally marrying them. Like...you can't just declare yourself married.

"It was super uncomfortable trying to get this through his head in front of my parents, who probably half think we ran away and got married and are now trying to cover it up with a wedding after the fact or something. SO also told the people he called that we got married and so the news has spread that we eloped."

The user described her boyfriend as a "really smart guy" and said she was bothered by his lack of logic. She added: "I can't imagine how he went 26 years without learning what engagement is? I also can't get him to explain what he thought a wedding was for if you're already married after proposing--it sounds like he thinks the wedding is a big after party or something."

However, it seems that the original poster's boyfriend is not the only man who gets confused by proposals. In the comments section, one woman wrote: "My SO is EXACTLY like this. He has a strange blind spot where he didn't know about engagement rings.

A bride holds wedding rings
A bride holds wedding rings petrov/Unsplash

"He asked me if I saw us getting married, I said yes, he said he wanted to get married this summer and I said that sounded good. I thought this was a prelude to a proposal, he thought that was the whole thing and started telling people we were getting married.

"I was like 'wait, we missed a step'. After some discussion it became apparent that the whole proposal/ring thing had somehow escaped him and he thought the ring were just at the wedding and women just got a nicer ring." Neither woman had any cultural or religious differences that would explain their boyfriends' reasoning.

A man then commented on the thread, expressing his own utter confusion about the rules. "Wait I'm a 26-year-old fool and I'm still not totally clear? Does the lady get two rings, one at the engagement and one at the wedding? Does she wear both at once on the same finger? Isn't that uncomfortable?"

Traditionally a person, usually the man, proposes marriage and gives their partner a ring. They then plan the wedding for months or even years, then exchange their marriage vows at a ceremony when wedding rings are also exchanged.

The thread was gleefully shared by Phoebe Bird on Twitter, who called it her favourite relationships story since "shocktopus", an equally strange post about a man who bought his girlfriend a live octopus as a gift.