How to tell people to shut up about marriage.

Hey! I’m getting of marrying age-that sweet spot a few years out of college-and many of my friends are tying the knot. I’ve been dating my boyfriend for a few years and the uptick in “When are you going to get married?/Has he proposed yet?” is atrocious. Not that I don’t want to marry him, of course, but I’m amazed at the number of random people who feel it’s their business. People in the office, grocery store, at the post office, friends of friends I’ve just met. My officemate is 22 and she keeps asking about my thoughts on cake choices and has picked out her ring years ago (yes). And I don’t want to get into discussions about money, budgets or how I feel I’m too young at 23.

If any of you have been in the same situation, how can I react politely and still get people off my back about it?

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10 thoughts on “How to tell people to shut up about marriage.

  1. Matt Sanchelli says:

    [Would be too harsh to just come out and say all of the people putting “pressure” on you about marriage are plainly idiots and you shouldn’t listen to a thing they are saying?

    I’m guessing you live in a central-type state since the general philosophy on life in the midwest, mountain, etc states is get married, settle and have a family. However, if you go to coastal locations (California, NY, etc) you encounter quite the opposite; people who don’t get married until closer to 35-40 and it’s no big deal.

    You’re 23. These people need to realize that you have your entire life ahead of you and that both you, and your boyfriend, are probably still going to continue to grow and develop (individually and as a couple) for many years to come.

    I’m 31 and not married. Up until I met my girlfriend, I often received the same “pestering” from friends, family, etc. When asked if I was seeing anyone, or when I was going to get married…blah blah, I usually replied with something like, “I’m not worried. When it happens, it will happen. I’d rather take my time and meet the right person.”

    Your situation is obviously a bit different since you have been with your boy for a while. But the same principle basically applies. Just let them know, Hey, it will happen when it happens. We still have a lot of great years ahead of us.

    Also, just being out of college the two of you may be focusing on finding career-type jobs (if you haven’t already), or have other goals you’d like to attain before getting married.

    Or, should push-come-to-shove through a person for a loop and next time when you’re asked when you’re getting married, or if he’s proposed, motion to them like you’re going to tell them a secret and then whisper; “Actually, we eloped a few weeks ago and have decided to keep our marriage a secret for a while. So, shhhh…don’t tell anyone.” Then walk away.

  2. PKP says:

    [Maybe don’t be too harsh with these people. Marriage, despite what most people or TV says, is kind of awesome, if you’re with the right person. It’s an incredibly fun and exciting event (and I’m a guy by the way). Maybe these people realize that and just want you to be happy? That may be giving the biggest benefit of doubt ever though… Meh, like many people, they’re just butting in where they shouldn’t.

  3. karlos says:

    [You’re 23 and people are talking about marriage? At that age your biggest worry should be whether or not you can still get away with eating cereal for dinner.

    If you want people to stop asking about it I’d just wait till someone asks again then say this.

    “so, when are you two thinking of getting hitched?”
    In your most casual tone, “when are you thinking of retiring?”,
    “Erm, not anytime soon”
    “Well, there’s your answer”

  4. theattack says:

    [I kind of think you’re being too harsh here. I know it can feel annoying for you, and it can feel like pressure, but I think most of the time these people are just genuinely curious and want something great for you. The person who’s asking you questions about cakes and stuff? She’s definitely not pressuring you. She’s just asking you questions and having fun. Talking about something does not equal pressure to do it.

  5. Happy Pants says:

    [“So, when are you guys getting hitched?”
    “Oh, as soon as we have enough money and career stability, and get rid of all these random homicidal tendencies I have. They’re not bad all the time, it’s just that when I feel my personal life decisions are being judged or called into question, I get the sudden urge to Buffalo Bill whoever I’m talking to. I’m sorry, what were you saying?”

  6. Joanna says:

    [Just give people an ambiguous-as-possible answer. Or tell people that you’ll get married when you get married. Make a game out of not telling them.

  7. lilredbmw says:

    [Let me just be blunt and state that it will always be something. When you are single, people want to know when you will get a boyfriend. When you get a boyfriend, the question turns to when you will get married. Once you are married, everyone wants to know when you will have kids. So, welcome to the world of people never minding their own business. I think in a truthfulness, they might just be making conversation. So, I used to get really upset. I did finally get married, but now the question is always about kids. I used to go in to some long explanation. People would just tune out after awhile. Now, I Just shrug it off. I will say, “When the time is right.” Sometimes, I like to have fun with it and say, “Oh, you didn’t hear…I’m not able to have kids, but thanks for bringing that sore subject up. Sniff, sniff” And then they feel really bad. Don’t get too worked up about it…it’s just people doing what they do best…being nosey.

  8. Dennis Hong says:

    [Ooh, yeah, I like the “f@ck with them” approach. What if you say something like:

    “It’s complicated. The court mandate says he can’t get married again for another seven years.”

    “We prefer to live in sin. The idea of forbidden love just makes our sex lives so much hotter.”

    “His last girlfriend died of mysterious circumstances within a month of getting engaged, so we want to play it safe this time.”

    Or, take it to a whole new level and make it all political:

    “I’m fighting for the gays in North Carolina and renouncing the institution of marriage until every American citizen can enjoy the basic right to marry whomever the hell they want!”

  9. Claudia says:

    [“When are you going to get married?” is one of those questions people ask when making small talk. It makes them sound like they care, when really they are just making polite conversation. Think of it as an addition to “how are you today?” It’s polite to ask, but only your closest friends want all the gory personal details. Going into all the reasons just makes people regret asking.

    Like others have said, it’s in a long line of standard questions you’ll get through your life.
    Before college: When, where, what are you going to study?
    During college: How are classes going? When will you be finished? What are your plans after?
    After college: When are you going to meet someone? -> When are you going to get married? -> When are you going to start having kids? -> When are are you going to have another? -> When are you going to retire?
    After Divorce: Repeat steps above.

    My favourite has always been “when are you going to meet someone?” As if I know anymore than they do. Usually I give a cheeky response: a week on Thursday, I have a good feeling about it this time around.

    Back to the point….

    “When we are ready” or “when it’s time,” is the only thing you need to say. And most of the time, that’s all people will want. If they press for more information, politely change the subject or say “I would rather not talk about it.”

    Most of the pressure you are feeling is more likely coming more from inside yourself and what you think people expect. Which is only exacerbated by your friends getting married. When people ask, it’s hitting that button. The constant reminder that you will when you are ready will also be helpful on that part.

  10. resullins says:

    [Three words: “When we’re ready.”

    I get the same thing constantly. Be polite, be abrupt.

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