- 8 years ago
Waiting bees, how do you respond to the ‘When are you going to get married’ question?
So, in my experience, if it’s asked by a close friend or family member, and they’re asking it with genuine concern for your well-being and happiness, and they actually listen to your response respectfully, that’s all fine, and it can actually be great to discuss it.
But generally I find it’s more commonly asked by rude, rude people (or people who think they’re being super funny) like random strangers, acquaintances, distant relatives or family friends.
I have actually had the following happen to me:
Scenario 1: At a lunch with some of my parents’ friends, on a visit home, family friend grabs my hand (in front of everyone) and asks, in a joky tone: ‘And when are you getting a ring, huh? All my children are married now and Lisa is younger than you, huh?’ Wow, thanks, I didn’t realise.
Scenario 2: I run into an acquaintance from my church outside a coffee shop, haven’t seen her in a year as she’s been living abroad. She grabs my hand immediately (what’s with the grabbing?) and asks “Are you STILL not married?” Not: “How is your job? How are you?” That’s how she STARTS the conversation. Um, thanks.
Scenario 3: Rencently, at a close friend’s wedding – I’m the bridesmaid so I’m at the rehearsal dinner, and frankly kind of emotional anyway. So my friend’s uncle in front of everyone (her kind of awkward in-laws, who I’ve just met, his best men etc.) grabs my hand (again with the grabbing) and says “A pretty girl like you, why aren’t you married yet?” Which is kind of sweet, if a little patronising! And then his wife answers: “Well, don’t you know, she’s got bad taste in men, he’s stringing her along”. Which is really annoying since clearly someone (my friend?? Her parents??) have been gossiping about me, and my guy is FANTASTIC.
Scenario 4: A more general one: Every single time I meet someone new and the topic gravitates to my SO, I dread it when they ask “So how long have you been together?” because when I say “7 years”, they automatically gasp and then say “Wow, and so when are you going to get married?”Aaargh. Gee, thanks for making me feel like a FREAK.
I really do not know to answer that question. If I could be honest, I’d say: “I don’t know! It’s up in the air. He says he wants to get married, but he needs to sort out his career first and our timeline is vague. Yes, we want to get married, no I don’t know when. Yes, I desperately want to get married. No, that doesn’t mean you get to pity me. I’m an awesome person, for freak’s sake. I have a job and two degrees, great friends, and a good life. I have more going for me than just my relationship status, but yes, I do want to get married and I have no control over when, and it’s freaking frustrating!” But you can’t very well say this to some random person, especially not in front of other people.
And I get that these people are mainly just being nosy and rude, and I should shut it down with a terse response, but it’s really hard when you don’t want to make a big deal about it, especially like in the aunt/ family friend scenario. They have good intentions (maybe) and you can’t very well tell them to stuff off or give them a cold response (in retrospect, I should have been a bit more assertive with the random church friend though). But making a scene at my friend’s wedding rehearsal would have been really rude.
I just kind of mumbled something and laughed it off. That’s actually normally what I do, or I make some very vague statement like “someday” or “in a while”. If I do say something true like “Probably when he sorts his career out?” I’ve got funny looks before like I’m making excuses for him. Normally I’m also pretty shocked and/or upset about encounters like this too, so I really don’t know how to respond. It generally just gets me down, and sometimes I don’t want to meet new people because of this (seriously). I mean I really don’t need to be reminded that I’m not married, or that people think I’m a freak because I’ve been dating my SO for 7 years.
How do you respond?