How To Deal With People Who Ask This Intrusive Question

Illustrated by Elliot Salazar.
Something about me being over 25 and dating the same person for over a year made people comfortable asking me when I was getting married. Marriage is a big deal, a huge decision, and something that isn’t up to just one person. So, it is endlessly fascinating to me that people toss the “When are you getting married?” question around with as much casual ease as “What do you want for lunch?” In an effort to keep my annoyance at bay every time I was asked this question, I devised five responses. Depending on my mood, the person asking, and what time of day it is, I pull one of these out of my hat and force a straight face.

"When you make it look more appealing."
I have a friend who will spend 45 minutes venting about her miserable marriage and then ask me when I plan on marrying my beau. One day, she got really passionate about my getting married. “What are you waiting for? Shit or get off the pot!” she exclaimed, emphatically. It infuriated me. Why was I being single-shamed? How can someone who understands how hard marriage is be so dead-set on rushing me into it?

I now stay calm when people ask me "when he's going to put a ring on it," and, when appropriate, I remind them that their stories aren't making me want to rush down the aisle. They usually shut up after that.

"Why are you asking me that?"
As a woman, the “When are you getting married?” question can sometimes make me feel super defensive. Depending on my mood and what I’m going through, the question can make me feel like “Girl, why isn’t he proposing to you?” or “Why are you wasting time?” or even “Aren’t you a little too old to be single?”

So, instead of using my emotional energy to defend a question that I don’t even care for, I just turn it around on the person asking. It usually throws people off, and after they attempt to explain why they’re asking me the question (they don't have a good reason, and suddenly, they realize how rude they’re being) I say, as nonchalantly as possible, "Oh, ok" — before changing the subject to a less personally invasive one.

"After the baby’s born."
I have some pretty conservative friends and family, so an answer like this can be shocking — and that's obviously the effect I'm going for. Usually, by the time they realize I’m not actually pregnant “out of wedlock,” I can duck away and avoid the conversation going any further. But sometimes I stick around long enough to remind them to stop rushing me and my life’s choices.

"February 30th."
This answer makes me laugh. Setting a date that doesn’t actually exist can pacify nosy people for a few seconds, which is long enough for them to realize how unwelcome their question was.

"Probably after we get engaged."
It's a literal answer that usually lets people know they need to back off. If they push further with, “Well, when are you getting engaged?” feel free to insert any of the answers above.

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