Marriage Grilling

27 Sep

Letterbalm Interrogation ChairDear LetterBalm: Thanksgiving is almost two months away, and I’m already getting anxious about my relatives. I hate going home for holidays and having them ask why I’m not married. I thought bringing a girlfriend home would stop the rude questions, but it didn’t. They still asked me in front of my friend (who didn’t have a boyfriend, but didn’t get interrogated). I’ve run out of excuses not to go home. I need to put my family in its place and stand up for myself without alienating them. Can you help me develop a backbone?

–Wimpy Single Girl

If you let them get to you, they win. That’s the simple explanation. But their meddling and well-meaning but intrusive questions can still hurt – especially if they compare your life to the accomplishments of other family members. You need to show that their questions don’t bother you – you’re sweet as pie. You have the power here. Ms. L.B. advises you to develop stock phrases that sweetly, but firmly, disarm your family, deflect the conversation and, if necessary shut it down. Keep smiling and practice relevant versions of these statements in front of a mirror before you head home again:

  • Oh, Aunt Kimmie, I love my life so much, I haven’t got time for marriage yet.
  • (Said with a big smile) I’ve been dating so many men, I can’t choose which one I want. I date ‘em and kick ‘em to the curb.
  • (Another big smile) From what I’ve seen so far, marriage can’t compare to a good job, a devoted pet and a great circle of friends. And, maybe, chocolate.
  • Uncle George, if you ask me again why I’m not married, I’ll turn off the game and leave the room.
  • If you want me to keep bringing you beers and being at your beck and call during this visit, stop asking me why I’m not married.
  • Why on earth would you ever keep asking me this question? We have better things to talk about. Now, tell me about that orchid competition you’ve entered ….
  • Married? No, not yet. But I hear you did some great things in the town council meeting. Tell me all about it.
  • Now, no talk about marriage. How about that game last week ….
  • (As soon as the questions start, in a loud voice, with a smile) This is a marriage-free zone. No questions about marriage for the duration of my visit or I’ll pout and stamp my feet.


  • I don’t want to end up divorced/separated/bitter/angry/unemployed like you, so I’m staying single. (Never use this one – just think it.)

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