Caroline Gerdes
Updated August 25, 2014

When my boyfriend and I moved in together this year, I knew people were going to ask me questions about our future. Some I was prepared for, others were a surprise, followed by an awkward silence. And some startling conversations feel like they are happening on loop. So, before changing your address, let me help you brush up on how to handle the following conversations.

“When’s the wedding?”

OK, this one is totally obvious. You have taken a relationship step that has become a common precursor to marriage. So, don’t act shocked when people ask you this.

“When are you having a baby?”

While more and more people are co-habitating on the path to marriage, plenty of couples still call living together the last big step. Without knowing where you stand, people are going to skip the aisle and jump straight to the baby questions. It’s best to read the situation. When someone is well-meaning, I shake it off. When someone is annoying, I answer with a very mature, “None of your beeswax.”

“What are we going to tell your [insert relative who would think you’re living in sin]?”

Lying to certain relatives is now a staple at all of my family functions.“Yes, we both moved to Pennsylvania.” “Yes, we have different apartments.” There’s also this option: “Wow, you don’t hear the phrase living in sin too often these days.”

“How was your vacation? Can I please see your left hand?”

If the two of you go on vacation, people will get frantic. When my boyfriend and I returned from Paris, on two separate occasions friends grabbed my left hand and looked disappointed. We also received countless phone calls from friends and family members asking if we had news. They pretended not to be disappointed when we only had travel stories, most of mine were food-related.

“This is our neighbor Caroline and her um boyfr. . . fian. . . husb. . .?”

There comes a time when the word “boyfriend” doesn’t feel big enough for what your partner is to you. Then there is a time when other people realize that “boyfriend” isn’t big enough. And, that time is when you move in together. Help out friends, colleagues and neighbors—take care of the introductions for them.

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