Congratulations, it’s a relationship!

“I hear congratulations are in order. You have a new man in your life.”

Yes, the most important thing to my family is my relationship status. Apparently, it is so pathetic that I must be commended for getting someone to date me. At the age of 34, I must be getting pretty desperate.

I do love this person, but I can’t help but think that with this response I am a failure in the eyes of my family because I am not married and spawning. I come from one of those trees where success is measured by the number of grandchildren and there is unspoken competition over who has the most. I feel like this is a hollow achievement, as 16-year-olds have been doing it for years without even trying. Well done, your kids had sex, how are you not freaked out about the thought of that?

I have spent the last good portion of my life doing the fake smile and hollow laugh of the single relative that is asked at every gathering why they are single. I have actually lost patience with the whole bullshit question thing because it is always the first thing people ask about. I always want to respond with: “No, but my collection of serial killer spoons is coming along nicely and in my spare time I like to touch cycads inappropriately.” Though still not as important as my love life, or lack thereof.

Nothing illustrates this more than an encounter I had with an old teacher I ran into. One of the first questions was if I was married. Now bear in mind this is a person that was responsible for my education and her focus was whether or not I spent a day in a white dress. It goes to show how much value is placed on those 12 years of torture. So I lost patience and responded with: “No because no one wants me”. Awkward silence. She followed up with it not being true when the empirical evidence stated as much – which is funny as she taught science. #TrueStory

I know this whole thing was meant with love but I can’t help but feel insulted that my recent coupling is such a big deal that I am just short of a party. Nothing has changed since I started dating my current partner and I would like to think that this has not changed me as a person in the eyes of those who are supposed to love me unconditionally. That said I do have a lot of opinions on the concept of family and loyalty that I will get to at another stage. I don’t want to be congratulated and I don’t appreciate the way in which this ‘news’ spread through the family grapevine as some massive achievement that comes up on the list just before who is dead. This should be treated as normal and not as special.

So, as it turns out, I still have to pull out the fake smile and hollow laugh every time the fishing joke is made at the next family reunion.

Great things to respond with when you are asked why you are not married:

  • Nobody wants me
  • I haven’t figured out what is wrong with me yet
  • I have standards
  • I don’t want to rush into something. By the way, how is Brandi’s divorce going?
  • The condom hasn’t burst
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