it’s time to stop asking us “when”

The holidays are approaching, and somewhere between the excitement about Grandma’s stuffing and having (a few) days with no contact from the office… there’s that uneasy feeling creeping up on you, wondering which family member is going to ask you about it this year. You know the drill:

“When are you going to _______?”

We’ve all been there. Well, at least most of us have, it happens to the best of us.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not confined strictly to the holiday season, but I’d be naive if I tried to ignore the things that come out of people’s mouths after a few boozy drinks and some major tryptophan takeover.

“When are you going to find ‘the one’ and settle down? Maybe bring someone home for us to meet?”

This one always gets me… Especially when it’s asked to someone who is living away from home for the first time; trying to balance school work and social life and decisions that will affect the rest of their life. How do you answer that? “That’s a great question, Aunt Carol. Considering I could barely find a matching pair of socks this morning – settling down with a husband sounds like the PERFECT idea.”

Or you know, those of us who are a little older but haven’t found “the one” yet… Thanks for reinforcing my loneliness and fear of being a crazy dog lady spinster when I’m still only 21! You’re the best.

Instead, ask how our classes (or jobs) are going. Ask us about our friends, and what we like to do in our spare time. Ask us about our goals and aspirations, you may even find out something new about where we see our lives going. There is so much more to a person’s worth than whether they are in a relationship.

“You two have been dating for awhile now, when are you going to get married?”

This one has been the literal bane of my existence recently, if we’re going to be completely honest here.

You’ve found “the one,” you’ve settled down, and spent some time really starting to build a life together. Maybe you’ve gotten a little weary from the 7 daily engagement announcements from your Facebook friends, and started asking yourself this question. But, it’s pretty different coming from that little voice in your head (or a close friend who is familiar with your relationship) than from that neb nose you don’t really know all that well who (loudly) wonders “is that boy EVER gonna put a ring on your hand?!”

*Cue internal screaming*

Every relationship is different, but for us, we just bought a house (and let me tell you, that shit is EXPENSIVE) – ask us about that. Ask us how we’re enjoying living together, and how moving went for us. Ask us about our projects and careers and children dogs. We’ll get married when the time is right for us.
Warning: if you keep asking me about it you’re going to ask yourself right off the (future) guest list.

“Congratulations on your wedding! When are you going to have babies?” 

There is just something so ridiculously intimate about the topic of bearing children, that it really rubs me the wrong way when I hear people ask (newly) married couples this. Plot twist: it’s okay for us if we’re not parents 9 months after our wedding these days. (And it’s completely okay if we are.) For me, once I’m (hopefully, someday) married, I would love to spend some married time alone with my husband. Maybe we’ll travel, or pursue passion projects, or just enjoy some time together before parenthood.

A little more food for thought on the topic – what if they have been trying to have children? Somewhere around 15-20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, and while many women have become much more open about their experiences (which is awesome!) not everyone has. It’s a similar story with IVF (in vitro fertilization), which is an option for women who are struggling to conceive on their own. Imagine dealing with the pain of struggling to have a child, and then being asked why you haven’t yet? Yikes.

Ask us about how married life is treating us, and (if we went on one) how our honeymoon was. Ask us about our home, or our pets. Ask us about our jobs, our passion projects, our travels. And, if for some god forsaken reason you just have to know – ask us gently about our plans for the future. Ask open ended questions, allow us to steer the conversation in the direction of our comfort zone.

Are you catching on to the theme here? I know I mentioned it before, but let me reiterate one more time:

There is so much more to a person’s worth than whether they are in a relationship.
Or whether they have a ring on their left hand. Or whether they choose to have children or not. 

So, I’m begging asking you nicely – stop asking us when.

The answer to that question will always be, “when the time is right.”

Ask us about the things that make us feel alive, the things we love, the things we wake up for in the mornings. Ask about our lives, about our families, about the things that make us who we are.

We know “good things take time,” but chances are, we’re more antsy about the “when” than you are.