In her former life, Emily “Gynomite” Gordon was a couples and family therapist licensed in 2 1/2 states. In this life, she’s a freelance fighter of your emotional woes with Ask Gynomite. Write her at firstname.lastname@example.org- all emails stay confidential. Today, Gynomite takes on being concerned about a friend.
I’m a 27yo and have been with my guy for almost 5 years, dodging marriage questions for 2 years. Here’s my question:
What’s the deal with marriage pressure? My boyfriend and I have a running conversation about this and we are truly open and honest about what we both want. But being 27, I don’t want to fixate on that right now. For me, the most important part is enjoying what we have now, so that we can build a life together.
But I keep hearing all these stories of ultimatums and guys FINALLY “coming to their senses”… it just makes me think, is that how the process is supposed to go? I feel like the whole world is telling me I’m wrong for NOT wanting marriage NOW and like my boyfriend doesn’t love me if he’s not shopping for rings.
I thought this was supposed to be a “go at your own pace” kind of thing?!
Hello there! So you’ve been happy in a relationship for five years, and just because you’re in your late 20s, people keep bugging you about marriage, and want to know what the deal with matrimonial pressure is- did I sum that up correctly?
The deal with marriage pressure is that marriage, for most people, is the conclusion of a journey that two people start together. I don’t believe that’s a correct assessment, and furthermore, I am saying that it’s setting yourself up for failure to think of marriage as an endpoint rather than a beginning point. Nonetheless, people often don’t know what to say to each other in small talk situations, and if you combine that with the fact that people often feel uncomfortable when things are left “unfinished”, then yes, people will ask you personal questions about your life plans. It’s like if you start reading the Harry Potter books and then stop at book 5- it feels like a crime to leave such a thing unfinished.
So that’s the deal with marriage pressure. It’s annoying but easily ignorable, especially if you’re happy where you are. But here’s something to think about, just in general: always be careful of the things that you “don’t want to fixate on right now”. When it comes to marriage, moving, changing careers, making realizations about yourself, etc and so on, not fixating things can also mean that you’re afraid of them. It’s always good to check in with yourself and make sure you’re not doing something because you’re afraid of it. Things you’re afraid of should be charged into, headlong, in a quarterback stance.
But overall, if you’re happy with your relationship where it is, and you feel like it’s progressing even without the piece of paper that insists it is progressing, my advice to you is to either take the noble stance of “We’ll get married when gay and lesbian couples can marry” (both a good cause and a good way to shut people up), or you just ignore it and go back to spinning each other around in a meadow, laughing and kissing.
It is a go at your own pace kinda thing. It’s your life. Living it to shut people up is the same as not living it.