Featured Image Credit: ArtMarie / Getty Images
When you’re in a long-term relationship but haven’t yet tied the knot, being asked the question “when are you getting married?” becomes one of life’s many routines. The question is not asked with sincerity — those asking you know that you are not currently planning to get hitched, which is exactly why they’ve asked in the first place — but rather in an accusatory manner. It’s a question designed to patronize; to make the person asking it, who is always married or at the very least on the cusp of doing so, feel better about themselves. It’s a question that, in layman’s terms, can fuck right off.
I’ve never had any problem with being directly honest about why I’m not married. For many years, my reasoning was that as I am not religious, I don’t really see much point in it. That belief still somewhat stands, but over the years I’ve softened on the idea, as has my girlfriend, so it’s now definitely A Thing that we’re going to do at some point in the future, but not now. And because we’re not planning to run head-first into a church, shoving rings on our fingers and desperately trying to get the government involved in our relationship, we’re still asked the same question: “When are you getting married?”
So in an effort to put an end to this redundant question once and for all, I’ve devised a series of fool-proof methods to escape this laborious routine from here on out, both for myself and for anyone else afflicted by the apparent disease that is wanting to live your own life.
Method 1: The money conversation
People don’t like talking specifics when it comes to money. Though they’re likely just fine when talking about promotions, buying a car or splashing out on a vacation, if you ask them to delve too deep into the financial aspect of these pursuits then you’ll likely be met with an uncomfortable glare. But despite the general awkwardness surrounding finances, some people are clearly a-OK with wanting you to lay bare the specifics pertaining to your hypothetical wedding, despite marriage being one of the most expensive things the majority of us will ever do.
So here’s the plan: when some idiot asks “when are you getting married?” you respond with a point-by-point breakdown of why you’re unwilling to splash the cash on laying out a lavish event, when that money could be better spent elsewhere. Sure, it may not be as “romantic” as putting on a free bar and watching your second cousin once removed drink himself into oblivion, but it’s a much more adult decision than spending money you don’t have on what amounts to a giant party. It’s weird: you’re told not to spend all of your money on booze and partying throughout the duration of young adulthood, then as soon as you hit actual adulthood you’re pressurized into spending said money on exactly that.
Oh, and don’t even get me started on the insistence that you can just have a “small wedding” as if that wouldn’t lead to its own set of problems. While everyone would love to just invite the people they actually care about, the reality is that if they chose to do so, a bunch of people won’t be invited and you’ll spend the next 5 or 6 months of your life hearing about how your Great Aunt Cynthia is devastated that she’s not on the guest list. When people say that they have no issue with a small wedding, what they actually mean is that they want you to magically conjure up a wedding in which you can invite almost exactly the same number of people but for less money, otherwise they’re almost certain to be offended by your guest choices. The only option, then, is to hold the small wedding they’ve suggested to you, but then opt to not invite them to it.
Method 2: Ask how their relationship is doing
As previously mentioned, those who ask you when you’re planning to get married are likely doing so as a result of their own insecurity, rather than out of a genuine interest in the future of your relationship. Despite asking such a sentence inevitably leading to you and your partner growing visibly uncomfortable, with it essentially forcing you to explain the reasoning behind your life’s decisions, they’ll go ahead in pursuit of this discomfort regardless.
A great way of subverting this awkwardness is to respond by looking deep into their eyes before asking: “How is your relationship going?” No one in a perfectly functioning relationship cares about other people getting married; they’re too into their own love life to give half a damn. So, when you ask this individual how they’re getting on with their significant other, chances are you’ll be greeted by a few stutters before they blurt out “YES, WE ARE VERY HAPPY, THANK YOU,” after which they’ll proceed to show you the Facebook album of their most recent vacation.
If you want to be particularly unkind, or if the person you’re talking to is an insufferable jackass, then feel free to push harder with this line of questioning. Squint your eyes a little as though you’re suspicious of their answer, and wait for them to crack. Then, when they offer the slightest sliver of insight into a potential problem they’re having with their SO, make your move: “See, this is why [insert your partner’s name] and I don’t want to get married right now; we hear of so many people tying the knot too early, and then their marriage ending in divorce!”
Then you wait for them to cry, before you lick the salty tears dripping from their cheeks. Mmm… heartbreak.
Method 3: Be intimidatingly honest
When someone asks “when are you getting married?” they don’t actually want an honest answer from you. They want the awkward stammering, you fumbling your words while hurriedly trying to explain your own financial decisions. One of the best responses to this question, then, is to be as intimidatingly honest as possible until you’ve sucked all of the air out of the room you’re in, and everyone left inside it is desperately trying to escape the conversation.
Now I’m not suggesting you should start outlining any problems you have in your relationship / personal life that would prevent you from getting married. What I instead mean is that you should hit the individual asking you with the cold, hard facts, while remaining completely devoted to the pursuit of making everyone in your vicinity never want to bring up weddings with you ever again.
“Half of marriages end in divorce, so I’m not entirely sure why we’d want to put that pressure on ourselves,” you could say, before concluding: “How is your marriage working out for you?” You could even hit them with a particularly tough gut-punch, explaining how you want to avoid being stuck in a sexless marriage and instead wish to carry on enjoying all the great, pre-marital sex you’ve been having. Then offer a knowing look directly into the eyes of their husband / wife, before watching all of their self-esteem and confidence drop from out of their asshole.
And now this: Top 10 Reliable Reasons Why Second Dates Don’t Happen
Follow @PaulTamburro on Twitter.