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Ask Athena: Everyone Has a Problem With Me Being Single

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Dear Athena,

I have no problem being single, but everyone else in my life does. That includes my parents and my friends — even my sister is always trying to set me up. My parents are very traditional, and they think I should be married and a mother by now. I am only just 30! I'm sick of it! I don't even want to spend time with them anymore.

Signed,

Leave Me Alone

Dear Leave Me Alone,

Back off is right, girl! All intervening parties need to take a chill pill and let you live your life on your own terms.

This pressure must be driving you crazy. But before you book a one-way flight outta here, take a sec to consider why they're laying it on so thick. I imagine all this hurry-up-and-get-married nonsense is coming from a place of love. And if they knew how much it was bothering you, they would pull back.

You said your parents are traditional. Maybe they were married and starting a family by the time they were 30, but times have changed — and it's OK to tell them that. Share how the expectations they put on you interfere with your desire to spend time with them. And the same goes with your friends.

Unfortunately, many people assume that single equals unhappy — that if you're solo, you must be lonely and hunting for a mate. Your friends and family probably think they're helping you when they incessantly check in on your relationship status or try to set you up on dates. It's time to tell them as frankly as you can to butt out. Plainly state that despite how much they love you, they are alienating you. Tell them how foisting their ideas and fears on you has taken its toll.

The only way for them to understand what you need — and let up — is to tell them. If they don't get the hint, take some space and spell out why you're doing so. They need to see that you are, in fact, happy without a partner. And if they can't mind their own business, they won't be seeing much of you.

Yours,

Athena