Tick Tock

11 Aug

Letterbalm Biological ClockDear LetterBalm: My problem is so common, it’s a cliché. I just turned 30 last month, and the Greek chorus of “when are you going to get married, you’re not getting any younger” and “your biological clock is ticking” is getting louder from my family. They started this when I graduated from college! I’m happy at my job, have good friends, go on dates, and I’m able to travel and enrich my life. I’m also saving for a house and, years down the road, retirement. My attitude is that if I meet the right guy, I’ll get married and have children. If not, I’ll be O.K. I’m pretty relaxed about it. But my parents and my (divorced) sister are harping on my age and how I should grow up. Every time a cousin or a family friend’s kid gets married, they start in again. Part of the problem is they think of my career as something temporary until I get married, which hurts me. How can I close down this hurtful and annoying behavior?

–Blissfully Single

You’ll probably never be able to mute the chorus completely. Ms. L.B. suggests that with your extended family and friends of the family you adopt a cheerful non-engagement. Don’t lose your cool; quickly turn the conversation to them. Have a few brief, standard responses ready. Such as: “I haven’t found the right person.” or “I’m happy whether I get married or not.” or “Right now and maybe always, getting married isn’t a priority for me.”  Regarding your immediate family, sit down with them when they’re not distracted – clearly, not at a wedding or big family gathering – and be firm:

Family, I’ve heard quite enough from all of you about my getting older and my biological clock ticking. Here’s the thing: I love my life, and I’m perfectly happy as it is. My job is not a place holder until I find a husband, and it upsets me that you don’t believe me when I say my career is very important. It shows me you don’t respect me or trust me to live my life well. If I don’t find the right guy, I may never marry or have children, and you’ll just have to get used to it. Look, you’re my family and I love you all so much. But if you don’t stop harping on all this – which is aggravating and hurtful to me – I’ll have to limit the time I spend with you. Would you really push everything to that point just because you want me to live my life as you say I should?

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