“Ooh Paris, is he going to propose??”. A question asked by a woman, around the same age as me, who I’d met a mere half hour previously. I’d been with my boyfriend for four years and I hadn’t really thought about marriage and kids. Yes, it’s something I wanted, but I was a couple of years into my career and only mid-20s.
This was just the start of seven years of questions. It’s intensified somewhat the past year or two. I attribute this to moving abroad together, and because my sister (younger) had a baby last year.
“Now it’s your turn…”
“When are you going to get married?”
“Karen’s made you an Auntie…”
“Have you spoken about it?”
“Give your wee Nephew a cousin…”
Just a few things I’ve heard. Then there are the unspoken prompts. The look of pity, confusion, when you tell say that you’re not married, but you’ve been with your partner for ten years. It’s painful and leaves me in an unfavourable mood.
The pressure of pregnancy is real. Magazines, served ads, questions from friends, relatives, and strangers… It’s without malice but leaves a sour taste. Getting pregnant isn’t an easy thing. It’s not something we’ve tried personally but from knowledge from friends and friends of friends, it’s not a certainty.
Every proposal that’s come round has been a celebratory moment, but I’d be lying if I said that there haven’t been waves of deep pain, jealousy, and frustration. This invariably leads to me giving my Boyfriend the cold shoulder, without him knowing why. We’ve spoken about it and he is of the opinion that we’ve missed our moment and he finds the process very old-fashioned.
As a woman with feminist values, I should take the bull by the horns and do it myself. As someone with anxiety, poor self-esteem and a deep need for external approval, this is something I just can’t bring myself to do.
Then I think… Is this something that I want, or is it something that I think I want because it’s expected?
Do questions make me feel awful? Yes.
Are we happy? Yes.
If anyone reads this and empathises, please know that you’re not alone.
If anyone reads this and ever asks questions like those above… Stop and think before you ask because you never really know what people are going through, or how it will make the individual feel.