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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

To see DearSugar's answer


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.


smp7328 smp7328 9 years
I agree with Asia. Stop answering the phone. I do it too. And it works.
ninjastarlett ninjastarlett 9 years
second popgoestheworld's words
madam-pince madam-pince 9 years
My perspective is a bit different: very religious parents often press their kids to marry so they won't be "fornicating." (I was raised in a very conservative religious household.) Given the parents' overbearing behavior, I wouldn't be surprised to find this the case. They may have been able to ignore matters during law school, but can't deal with it now that education is no longer a cloak. At any rate, DearSugar gives good advice, although I'd counsel Paula to gently but firmly tell her parents to MTOB.
petite42 petite42 9 years
Missed the part about moving to a town with few job prospects! No job... no health insurance coverage. If your parents have been covering you, perhaps they want to rest assured someone else will have you covered, even if you don't find a job? Because Cobra is quite expensive. I paid something like $400 a month when I had to go on it. If you have student loans to pay back on top of that, well... if you don't have a job and you're not married... are you going to look towards your parents to help you out? If you probe them and discover that health insurance is part of their concern, there is a solution: your bf can put you on his coverage as a "domestic partner." But there's still the issue of student loans. I really do suspect this is all TRULY about financial planning... and the only guise here is they don't want to sound like they're booting you out of the nest into the hard, cruel world to finally fend on your own. Remember that your parents have their own retirement to think about. They probably just want to be able to relax, knowing you're going to do okay without their financial support.
geebers geebers 9 years
Wow this sounds like my relatives (and my mom at one point but she got over it). It drives me bonkers. Now I just ignore them or leave the room.
rpenner rpenner 9 years
i understand where you're coming from. my parents don't constantly bug me about it but they definitely try to talk about it often and drop lots of hints. my parents reasons are very different from yours but i do understand how frustrating it can be. dear's advice is great. i'd definitely go with that. but i also like what popgoestheworld said. i'm sure if they knew they were doing more harm than good they'd drop it.
cubadog cubadog 9 years
While I do agree Sugar's response is very mature. I would still have a sit down with my parents and in a nice, mature way to back off. I would even question as to why they are so insistant that you get married so quickly if your not ready your not ready. As for moving to a town with few opportunities that is your problem not theirs. I cannot stand overbearing parents.
Liss1 Liss1 9 years
Set a date, it doesn't have to be anytime soon it can be a few years from now. Hopefully that will get them to leave you alone.
javsmav javsmav 9 years
Yeah, maybe they are concerned with the fact that you are moving somewhere with few job prospects. Honestly, I think YOU should be concerned about that. Maybe they're worried that if you aren't married, then it's easier to break up, and there you are stuck with a useless bar and no job. (Kind of speaking from experience, but thankfully I got a job in DC before the situation got really bad & I didn't have to take another bar exam). Still, it's not their business and you should tell them to back-off, but I would do some serious thinking before you move to this jobless place. Job searching is hard enough in a good market.
saranightly saranightly 9 years
Tell your parents something like, "If I'm not married in 5 years, you can start bugging me," or 3 years or 10 years or whatever you think is an appropriate time. Until then tell her that you are perfectly happy in your relationship, you plan to get married in the future, but their constant pestering is putting a strain on your relationship with him and with them.
petite42 petite42 9 years
"Under the guise of financial planning" ... is it possible this really is all about finances? Did your parents pay your way through law school? Are you still on their health insurance plan? Are they planning to pay for your wedding (when it happens)? Are they still working and not yet retired? If the answer is yes to all of the above, then perhaps they want to know when they will finally be off the hook with you? If so, it's a pretty simple case of telling them when, or explaining that you need no help to pay for your own wedding. The economy is doing pretty poorly right now - they could be watching their investments tank and worrying about whether they'll EVER be able to retire... sigh... maybe they planned to tap into their home equity but can't do that because real estate is tanking too... just saying...
Asia84 Asia84 9 years
stop answering the phone. i do it all the time to my mom. she leaves these crazy messages saying that she hopes that i'm still alive (because she's mellowdramatic), and how sorry she is about whatever it is i wish she'd stop bugging me about. yea, it freaks her out for a few days, but it gets the job done.
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
You are not marrying them for better or worse. I would just speak up.
leeluvfashion leeluvfashion 9 years
Geez, your parents need to backoff and be quite. I like Popgoesthe world's idea!
sass317 sass317 9 years
"a little strangely" my bad
sass317 sass317 9 years
Do they have serious grandparent fever or are they afraid youll get pregnant before you get married? I mean my DH and I got some not so subtle hints from family that they wanted us to get married (his mom sent him jewelry catalogues and "happened" to remember that he had leftover college money and told him about it for him to use for "you know...any important purchases that might come up"), but I think while they knew we were going to get married, they just wanted to have an idea of when- so maybe if yall give them a general idea of when its going to happen they will back off voluntarily. You didnt say how long yall have been engaged- maybe they are bugging you bc its been awhile and there is no word of setting a date. I know the second we were engaged we got asked constantly when the big day was, luckily (and probably a litting strangely) we had actually pretty much set a date before we got engaged so we had an answer
Marci Marci 9 years
:D :D I like popgoestheworld's strategy.
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 9 years
Tell them to buzz the bleep off.
Fatica Fatica 9 years
My boyfriend and I are getting the same thing from our extended families (his grandparents, my aunt). But it's not often at all and we kind of just laugh it off. We've been together 5 years but we're still young and we're in no hurry to get married. Your folks are probably just assuming that it's gonna happen any minute so they want to be prepared. And if you're going to be the first kid to get married, they're probably excited and nervous. I agree with DearSugar's advice. Give them some info so they know where you're at and let them know that they can relax. Maybe they're afraid you'll elope. Not wanting to talk about them probably makes them more nervous.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
Tell them that the more they pressure you, the less you want to get married. That should shut them up.
sass317 sass317 9 years
Wow, I would be SO annoyed. Sugars advice is really mature- I would be tempted to just say, "BACK OFF!" the next time they bring up wedding plans and then hang up. You just have to be very firm when you tell them in no uncertain terms that you obviously plan on marrying your fiance, and if they would like to be invited when that happens, then they need to back off and let you take care of your own life.
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