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You Asked: My Parents Want Us Married

Dear Sugar,

I'm about to graduate from law school and move to be with my fiancé in a town with few job prospects. We have been together for over four years and my parents love him. The problem is, lately they have been putting a lot of pressure on us to get married, they've even been making plans for us. They keep pestering me for information under the guise of financial planning. It's gotten to the point where they bug me about it daily — both of them are calling me separately, taking turns — and it's really upsetting me, which in turn upsets my fiancé.

We both feel like they should just mind their own business and let us deal with our relationship on our own. We have been planning all along to get married, but it just hasn't happened yet. Unfortunately, it has gotten to a point where we are feeling forced into it, and it's ruining any kind of surprise. Any advice for me?

— Pressured Paula

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Dear Pressured Paula,

From what you've said, it's very clear that you and your fiancé, while planning on getting married eventually, just aren't there yet. I can understand how frustrating it must be to deal with your parents' obsessive questions, and I think the only way to combat their concerns is to face them head on and with equal ferocity. First of all, figure out a tentative timeline with your fiancé. I don't think you need to get too specific, just generally where you guys see yourselves in one year, three years, five years. Besides just engagement plans, discuss financial goals, career plans, and the location you want to be living.

Once you've figured all of this out, set up a dinner or lunch with your parents so you can lay it all on the table. Tell them exactly what you guys have decided on as a couple, and make it very clear that you don't want to hear any more harping from them. Explain that this is your life and although their opinions matter to you, as a grown adult, you're quite capable of making relationship decisions on your own. I would also mention to them that their incessant pestering is damaging your relationship. While I think being firm is key, it's always good to end discussions on a positive note, so you might want to add that you promise to always keep them informed — and follow through! I hope this helps.


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