If you are in your twenties, especially a female in her twenties, the inevitable interrogation into your love life has happened, is currently happening or on the horizon.
No amount of preparation will aid you in the avoidance of that aunt or mother or cousin when they hear you are either:
c) Just broken up with
d) “Focusing on your career”
Whatever your current situation or relationship status (both on and off the record of Facebook documentation, which lets be honest doesn’t make it any more or less official anyway) family and friends want the details about where you have been, with who, where you are going and what you want.
The questions are an avalanche that buries you in overwhelming fashion at the first sign of change.
I love my family dearly, from our faults to our strengths; they mean the world to me, that being said, they are your family. Yes sometimes you just want to scream and pull out your hair, but at the end of the day, you do not know what you would do without them, so you take the heat and nod politely.
About a year and a half ago at 21 years old, in my senior year of college mind you, I was at a family event. Catching up with aunts, uncles and cousins I got the inescapable question about my love life.
Let me preface this by saying, at this point my sister was engaged and introducing her fiancé to the family, my brother’s wife was pregnant with twins and I was wildly single. Comparisons were inevitable.
Needless to say I was being looked at with the “you’re up next!” eyes.
My aunt looked at me with sincerity as she said, “So Magen are you seeing anyone?”
To which I happily replied, “Not really, I’m just focusing on graduating and my next step, moving to New York and graduate school and everything”
Never mind the fact that I was about to graduate from college or go on to get my masters, ignore the fact that I am moving across the country, but please let’s harp on the minor detail of my singularity.
She sweetly followed up with, “well how old are you?”
As if that would change the pitiful attitude she had toward my response.
I reminded her “21”
And the reaction has stuck with me since.
She genuinely “awed”, I had never been “awed” before with such honest concern for my well-being in a romantic context, then she stated “oh….well…you still have time don’t worry.”
Why yes auntie, I do still have time. This isn’t 1950 and I don’t need to get engaged in college to make sure I am set in life with a husband to cook for at 21 years old.
I didn’t take it too personally, some view the single life as a sad or lonely thing but I was perfectly happy there.
Off my back it rolled with a humorous outlook on how times have changed in regard to romance and relationships in your twenties.
At the moment I thought that would be the most intrusive and blunt reaction to my love life. Boy was I wrong.
Now 22, with a serious boyfriend, it gets really interesting.
I’ll spare you the gory details because I am even trying to forget the encounter, but the moment my dad grilled me about future engagement was the moment I needed to ice my chin for it had dropped hard onto the wood floor of my apartment.
I go from being single and half pitied/half judged for it, to being in a relationship and being reprimanded for something that is irrelevant and so far in the future it is currently incomprehensible to me.
Let me assure you, neither am I engaged, nor ready to be yet.
In a serious commitment yes, but those are not mutually exclusive.
However, this made me realize something.
It makes sense.
I had been single for a while, and I had been focused on myself, to ensure I was who I wanted/needed to be for when I do find that person.
I was ensuring my own future so that when I added someone to that it was going to be healthy and natural.
I was not going to date for the sake of dating, I was going to date to find that person. I am not frivolous in my romantic endeavors, if I get into anything, it is serious, and my family grew to know this well.
They know I have high standards for myself, therefore high standards for the guy I commit myself to on any level of romanticism.
Upon entering into a relationship this clicked for my family.
My prior views on relationships and my demeanor toward them created the monster that is familial interrogation and conclusion jumping.
Due to the fact that I am now in a relationship, they do not, in any way, shape or form take that lightly.
They realize “if she is with someone, it must be serious”, hence the over protective worry of a father that isn’t quite ready for his youngest to move on into further adulthood of commitment.
So I will leave it at this.
You will be poked, prodded, interrogated and even judged for any response you give to the inquisitions of your current romantic situation.
Whether that is:
c) Just broken up with
d) “Focusing on your career”
So learn how to dodge the best you can with vague responses, divert conversations elsewhere or just take it like a champ. And realize, it comes from a place of genuine love and interest, no matter how intrusive.