Whether you’ve been dating the same person for longer than some of your friends have been married or you’re single and ready to mingle, if you’re in your thirties, you probably get a lot of people asking you: “But don’t you want to get married soon?”
Though it’s highly annoying, it’s super common, says Jane Greer, New York-based marriage and sex therapist and author of What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship.
This question comes up a lot in your thirties because at that age the traditional mindset is that that you’ve had plenty of time to date, and you should be settling down and starting a family by now, says Greer.
“It comes from their judgment about what they think the ‘right’ thing is to do at this stage of life,” says Greer. And that doesn’t mean you have to follow it or let it get to you.
Here’s what four unmarried women in their thirties have to say about dealing with the constant pressure to get hitched.
“They Always Ask If He’s the One”
“In my twenties, people always asked me when I was going on my next first date or when I was going to try online dating. One of my mom’s friends even offered to pay for me to see a matchmaker she believes has a good track record. Now that I’m in my thirties, people ask me whether I’ve met someone I could settle down with. Whether I go on five dates with a guy or date someone for a month, my family and married friends always ask me if he’s the one. If I say I’m unsure, they tell me not to waste too much time. They make it seem like my time to find the one will expire as I age. It just makes no sense to me anymore.” —Stacey G., 32
“Everyone Wants Me to Get Engaged, Like, Yesterday”
“I’ve been with my boyfriend for six months. People never ask me what kind of fun dates we’ve been on or what I like most about him; they only want to ask me if and when we’re getting married. I had dinner with an old teacher, who is in her seventies, and she started calling him my fiancé. I’m usually very calm, but when people ask if my boyfriend of less than a year is proposing soon, I get so mad. I think they’re worried I’ll still be single when I’m 40. But if that’s the case, I wouldn’t be upset. They would be, though.” —Bethanny W., 34
“The Pressure Made Dating Harder”
“I’ve always told myself that if I’m not married by 35, I’ll probably never be married. That mindset ruined my twenties because I took dating way too seriously. Every date I went on, I thought, ‘Is this the kind of person you want to marry? If not, break it off now.’ I didn’t give anyone a chance. I just turned 30 and I feel like the pressure is picking up speed.” —Megan S., 30
“I Always Change the Subject When People Ask”
“I’ve been in a relationship for four years and we’re not married. We just don’t have an urge to make things legally official. We are happy just dating and living together. But that’s clearly not good enough for people. When people ask me, I change the subject and say, ‘Oh isn’t the weather nice today?'” —Claire V., 37