M Relationships: Great Leap Forward; Sunday Is an Opportunity to Pop the Question to Your Man and Let Him Finally Make an Honest Woman of You. but before You Go Leaping in on Leap Year, Study Our Guide on How to Propose - It Could Improve Your Chance of Him Saying Yes

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Byline: FLIC EVERETT

ONCE every four years comes the official opportunity for a woman to propose to her man.

Nobody's promising that popping the question on February 29 will guarantee champagne and smiles all round, but there are ways of asking that will help you get the answer you want - "yes", presumably.

SHOULD YOU GO FOR IT? Before you get down on one knee, consider realistically what the outcome is likely to be.

If he's said he doesn't want to get married, or if you've only been together a few months, or if his Decree Absolute from his bitter ex has only just arrived, you probably won't get a positive response.

Most men mean what they say when it comes to commitment - it's a fantasy to think you can win him round with a long-stemmed rose and an eager grin. And the last thing you want is a humiliating scene that ends in tears. Or by him saying yes for fear of hurting you, then calling it all off later.

If you suspect that he is thinking about asking you - maybe he's already proposed and you've wanted "more time", or you have been together for years and never got round to marriage - then feel free to ask and expect him to accept.

HOW AND WHEN TO ASK Once you've decided to pop the question, there are four basic styles of proposal - The Casual, The Formal, The Surprise and The Third Party Insurance.

Before deciding which is best for you, think about your man. Is he a planner who gets upset if he finds a new filling in his sandwich? Or a free-spirit who doesn't know which country he'll be in for breakfast?

Then pick your type of proposal according to his personality - it will increase the chance of him saying yes.

The casual APPEALS TO: The bloke who doesn't see marriage as a big deal. He's fun, spontaneous, and happiest in trainers and T-shirts.

HOW TO: Don't be too casual. "We've run out of milk - by the way will you marry me?" may be amusing, but hardly invests the question with any gravitas. Bring it up in a moment of intimacy - in bed or cuddled up on the sofa.

Turn the talk to how happy you are with him and how much you love him. Make sure he's nodding along. Then drop in your killer question, "In fact, I've been wondering... Will you marry me?"

IF HE SAYS NO: Maintain the cuddle position and say, "I'm a bit surprised - I got the impression you might say yes. …