The study of love is an inexact science, but we'll do our best.
With so many hot celebrity couples on our radar these days, some newer to the scene while others have been around for a couple of years, you can usually find us wondering who's going to get engaged next.
Trust us, it's quite a life.
But since wedding planning involving famous people tends to be an elevated form of the otherwise everyday activity—multiplied by infinity when it's a royal wedding—we can't help but try to be ready for every scenario. So, here is our rundown of couples who certainly at least seem to be on the engagement bubble.
(A few disclaimers: We have no horse in the race; we don't think anyone needs to get married, whether they have children or not; there are no real rules when it comes to how long a couple needs to date before getting engaged; and all of these predictions are subject to change as soon as one hour after you read this.)
THE SAFE BETS
If these couples aren't engaged (or perhaps even married) by year's end, that means they've broken up and we'll eat our hats. Where does one go to get an edible hat...?
Prince Harry & Meghan Markle
Cat's out of the bag, the meeting of the relatives has begun... At this stage of his still-young-but-advanced-in-royal-years life, and with several years' distance between him and his last public relationship, it's safe to assume that one of the most eligible bachelors in the world wouldn't be ingratiating the Suits actress into his daily life if he wasn't right serious about her.
Also, having been married once before, Markle seemingly proceeded with caution before letting Harry sweep her off her feet. But now that she's swept...
Better start tuning up the organ at Westminster Abbey!
Blake Shelton & Gwen Stefani
These two have been laughing off engagement rumors for ages already, but at some point they're going to be laughing at us, not with us. After coincidentally divorcing their respective spouses within months of each other in the summer of 2015, Blake and Gwen coupled up so fast, it was hard not to see the fellow coaches on The Voice as just an incredibly convenient rebound.
Yet now, well over a year since their relationship began, they're splitting time between L.A. and Blake's Oklahoma homestead, he seems to have formed a good relationship with her kids, the extended families are spending birthdays and holidays together and it's way past the expiration date for two people who are only dating to promote music.
She's into family, he's into family... So here we are, waiting patiently for them to combine families.
Bradley Cooper & Irina Shayk
We learned in November that the Oscar-nominated actor and his supermodel girlfriend were having a baby together and they've been the subject of engagement rumors ever since.
Regardless of their expectant status, however, they've been dating for almost two years and were already talking about marriage months ago. More expressly, a source told us in November, pre-pregnancy news, "They have discussed marriage and kids."
That was for darn sure! So, they may want to wait now till after their child is born to tie the knot, but we're looking for Cooper to lock this down.
"I look at my parents, who have been married happily since 1963, and my grandparents are the same," the American Sniper star said in 2013. "What guy wouldn't want that?"
READY TO ROLL THE DICE
Some couples are a little tougher to figure out than others, but that's why we're here—to prevent you from having to think too hard about them.
Katy Perry & Orlando Bloom
The couple that goes everywhere together, from naked paddleboarding to the Democratic National Convention to Children's Hospital, might just be getting engaged one of these days.
They've only been together for about a year, but the odds are improved by the fact that Bloom's ex-wife, Miranda Kerr, is engaged (and probably pretty excited to tie the knot) and Perry has gotten to know Bloom and Kerr's son, Flynn, who just turned 6 and is entering that stage where he's very much aware of what the No. 1 adults in his life are up to. Moreover, a source told us last summer that Bloom was considering popping the question before the year was out.
Hmm, maybe he wanted to wait till that dratted 2016 was over. Either way, even if that hasn't come to pass just yet, Perry threw a surprise party for her beau's 40th birthday last month, an indicator that all was still going along swimmingly as they passed the one-year mark since their fated flirtation after the 2016 Golden Globes.
Olivia Munn & Aaron Rodgers
The Office Christmas Party actress and her NFL star boyfriend have spent the last third of their nearly three-year relationship fielding engagement speculation, most recently just weeks ago when Munn was wearing a ring that, while sparkly, wouldn't have been nearly as suspicious if she'd worn it on any other finger.
A similar thing happened a year ago, with Munn blaming a refreshingly normal-person occurrence for the misunderstanding.
"I had been eating too many salty foods, so it didn't fit," she told Entertainment Tonight. "It's my emerald ring that I wear all the time on my right hand and I had to put it on my left because my right hand was getting too swollen!" More recently she appeared to be wearing a ruby, which is her birthstone.
Finger-size fluctuation aside, Munn and Rodgers have two dogs together and seem poised to take the next step—provided Rodgers isn't inordinately stricken by the Packers' loss to the Falcons in the NFC Championship game and needs a lot of emotional recovery time.
Cheryl Cole & Liam Payne
The parents-to-be could be talking marriage as we speak! With their baby due soon, the singers' relationship and expectant status is fully out in the open and Liam—while refusing to talk about Cheryl's pregnancy, like the gentleman he is—told fans during a Twitter Q&A that he's "the happiest I could be."
Meanwhile, the British tabloids have of course been banging the engagement drum for months, with first a source telling Heat magazine in September (before the pregnancy news was even confirmed and Cole's divorce from her ex was finalized) that Cheryl would "'marry Liam in a heartbeat.'" Then a source told Closer mag in October, "Cheryl knows Liam wants to propose and now he's free to. She's a traditional girl and has said she wants to marry before they have a baby together."
And then, a week after that, a source told NOW magazine that the ring had been purchased! The so-called insider said, "Liam's still young enough to believe that true love conquers all and he bought the ring weeks ago."
Not that there's anything wrong with that!
Ryan Gosling & Eva Mendes
The parents of two haven't even bothered to pose on a red carpet together in three years, let alone apprise us of their plans, so who really knows with them?
It was reported-then-unreported last fall that the actors had secretly wed, leaving their next step as up in the air as ever. What we're going to guess with them, though, is that they're at least engaged in spirit, but in no rush because things have been going along just fine as they are for so long.
And if they do swap vows, it will not be after some prolonged public engagement. We picture it more along the lines of the couple waking up, looking at each other and going, "Want to get married today?"
Because sometimes it makes sense and sometimes it doesn't.
Khloe Kardashian & Tristan Thompson
Now that Khloe is finally divorced and free to really do as she pleases, she sure does seem happy with Cleveland Cavaliers player Tristan Thompson, her boyfriend of going on six months. She spends a lot of time in The Land, her family reportedly adores him and we know the Revenge Body star isn't averse to getting remarried when the timing feels right.
"I think that's why we are in relationships—to find the one," Khloe told Extra last month. "And, I mean, I am in love with him. I think he's the best. And yeah, so I hope [he's the one]. Only time will tell."
And just days ago, Us Weekly quoted one source saying, "They've talked about getting married," and another saying, "She'd be happy about an engagement."
That being said, Khloe's a busy woman, seemingly either working or working out all the time, and Tristan's still in the thick of the 2016-17 NBA season (and you better believe LeBron James'll get on him if he loses focus). So, we'll wait and see what happens after the playoffs are over in June.
Gigi Hadid & Zayn Malik
Sure, they're awfully young and have only been dating a year—but that could be exactly why they think they need to get married ASAP! Having recently celebrated their one-year anniversary, these two have obviously joined the jewelry-fueled engagement-rumor mill.
There was even a report that Zayn popped the question already and Gigi refused—but that sounds fairly preposterous. The 21-year-old Vogue cover girl wished the "Pillowtalk" singer a happy 24th birthday on Instagram last month, writing, "happy birthday my handsome! so lucky to know and love a soul like yours...wishing you the best year ever!!"
Sounds like a plan!
Kaley Cuoco & Karl Cook
And of course he loves dogs, because we're pretty sure you're not allowed into Kaley's house unless you're a card-carrying dog lover.
Their coupling was undoubtedly downright quick, but here we are and it's been almost a year—which is substantially longer than she waited to get engaged to her ex-husband. We may have answered our own question right there, but with Karl now at "favorite human" status in Kaley's eyes, it doesn't look as if she'd be opposed to at least saying I-will to someday saying I-do.
As with all of the couples mentioned above, we wish them the very best and let the rings fall where they may!