“When Are You Gonna Put a Ring On It?” A Rant Against Engagement Naggingby Joy Engel on July 10, 2013
I have an incredible boyfriend. He’s thoughtful and handsome and smart and kind and more intimate things that I’m not willing to talk about on the Internet. He doesn’t make fun of me when I say – in all seriousness – that Gwyneth Paltrow wouldn’t want us to eat that. He gets excited when we invent new flavors for our SodaStream and quotes South Park episodes whenever we make tacos (Gwyneth is totally fine with tacos, FYI). We have a relationship that works for us. And I’m happy.
So please, for the love of whatever deity in which you believe, stop asking us when we plan on getting married.
It started off innocently enough. My 94-year-old grandmother asked me about my intentions. It was grandmotherly and sweet and expected. She’s a grandmother! She’s in her 90s! Let her say what she wants. But it’s snowballed from there.
It feels like we can’t go on a road trip, vacation or post a photo together on Facebook without someone asking us to “put a ring on it already” or advising my boyfriend that he needs to “lock that down.” We took a photo together while on vacation earlier this year and my colleague left a comment on Facebook asking that we move the angle of a photo so she could see if I “had anything new” on my left hand.
At first I took it as a compliment. Our friends and family – and random acquaintances and people that follow me on instagram — see that we are good to each other or, at the very least, have a lot of faith in our ability to plan a really awesome party with an open bar. They mean well, they have the nicest of intentions, I know this. But as each friend discovers their inner yenta, I’m slowly losing my mind.
I am not some sort of commodity that needs to be acquired. I’m a grown woman in a relationship where I’m an equal partner. If getting married right this moment was as important to me as people seem to think it is, then it’s something I’d broach with my partner. Heck, if I wanted to get married right now, then I’d ask my boyfriend to marry me. This is not 1754, no livestock is being exchanged; Ya-Ya!
The pressure these comments puts on me, my boyfriend and our relationship is stifling. In my less-sane moments it’s made me think about consulting psychics and asking doctors about my fertility (“if people are concerned that we’re not getting married is it because they can tell I don’t have many viable eggs left? Are my dying eggs putting off pheromones or something?” = actual text message I sent to a doctor friend). What started off as sweet and caring has me breaking out in hives.
I’m not alone. I have friends who’ve designated siblings to chastise yenta-ing family members and heard horror stories of strangers commenting on people’s instagram vacation photos that they were disappointed he didn’t “man up” and pop the question.
The point of the matter is… we got this. When and if my boyfriend and I decide to sign a legally binding contract to love each other forever, we will do that. And asking us – or your friends/family/people you follow on twitter – about timing or intentions is not doing anything to help the matter. So chill out. When and if we decide to get married, we’ll make that decision together. And I promise to let you know. Eventually.