Once you hit my age people are going to ask you about your love life. They don’t do to be intrusive or rude. This is how people are conditioned to talk to each other, especially people haven’t seen you in awhile. Think about it, when you were in high school all any estranged family member could talk to you about was if you were going to college or what was happening after high school. Once you were in college they wanted to know what you were majoring in. Four years later and spring has sprung, people were concerned about what in god’s name you’re going to do with that degree of yours. Well, the heat is now off your career and more on your sex life. To all of my twenty somethingers, we have successfully moved into the wedded bliss conversation category. “Are you dating anyone?” “Do you think he’ll propose soon?” “Why aren’t you married yet?”
They ask you these questions because people organize life into phases. It’s the only way we know how to make sense of anything. We like to categorize, organize, classify. We feel more comfortable looking at someone and knowing: they’re in college, they’re single, they’re employed, they’re married, they’re divorced, they’re an accountant, they’re unemployed, they’re an artist of some kind, they’re pregnant, they have no kids, they have two kids, they’re an entrepreneur. We want to understand each other- some more than others. But it’s easier for us to associate two or three core concepts with a person than it is to spend a lifetime trying to understand each and every aspect of their complicated, three-dimensional personality and existence.
These questions are asked because your mom, grandfather, second cousin, have concerns. For some reason a major fear in most of our lives is not drowning, being pushed off a fifty story building, it’s being alone. We want to know that there would be someone there who cared, who would notice if you weren’t here. People want to know that at the end of a long day at work we come into a home full of life and live, not one that is sad and empty.
The marriage question is tiresome, annoying, exhausting. The concern is (mostly) genuine, innocent, tenderhearted. But not everyone gets married. Not everyone finds their person. Some people want it badly and they never find it. Others have known their whole life that romantic partnership is not for them. But whether we’ve found the person we want to spend our life with and simply have not yet gotten engaged, or we are still single and searching, or we have no desire at all to find someone and get married, we do not need to apologize for it. We owe nobody an explanation. Whether someone’s question is nosy and pushy, or innocent and caring, we are not required to give them an answer to quench their curiosity or soothe their concern.
The question of your love life is never going to stop. It’s going to make us irritated, uncomfortable and maybe even at times questions our own motives. I understand that you are trying to better understand but why do you not want to know about my career, my goals, my dreams? However you look at it though, remember we do not need to apologize for any of our life decisions. And once one factor is complete, they’ll want to know when the babies will come.