You woke up early and moved slowly through your house in preparation. You knew you had to get on the road, but it felt like your limbs were moving in slow motion. You didn’t know why, but something felt different.
You ignored it and proceeded forward because you’re obligated. You pack up your things and make your way out the door. You look back towards the comfortable home and it feels like it’s calling you, begging you to stay. Warning you. You venture out into the cold unknown and shut the door behind you.
It’s a crisp fall day, but the normally bustling roads are desolate, quiet. The car moves smoothly through the winding roads taking you towards your destination. Dry leaves whip through the air around you as you take in the colors, the orange, yellows and browns. The road is familiar. You have ridden it before, but this time, it’s giving you this impending sense of doom that is unnerving.
You arrive at your familial home.
The swingset is missing but nothing else seems out of place. It’s as you remember it from growing up. You see the other cars, which lets you know that your family members are already here. You pat yourself on the back at arriving at what feels like the perfect time.
You take several deep breaths and try to prepare yourself for what you are about to embark on, Thanksgiving Dinner. You are hoping you can avoid the small talk before dinner. Maybe you can focus on the game. You step out of the car, grab your bag and walk up the stairs before letting yourself into the house.
The open door sends the smells of delicious food wafting towards you to greet you before all the familiar faces realize you are standing there. Arms embrace you and smiling faces invite you in and to take off your coat. You oblige. Everything feels good. It feels right, but still, that nervous feeling in your stomach won’t go away.
You say hello to your parents. Your mother is rushing around the kitchen taking care of the last-minute preparations but stops to give you a kiss. Your dad is already wrapped up in the football game and yelling at his team, but he stops to say hello and give you a hug.
Everything looks normal. It looks like every year before.
You are making small talk when suddenly, you look around and realize something sinister is lurking beneath the surface. These people look like the people who love you, but something feels wrong. It feels threatening. It all starts with a question:
So, when are you going to get married?
Then, the horror of horrors, you know now that you are SINGLE DURING THE HOLIDAYS! You can’t run fast enough to get away from the questions about what are your plans for your life.
Why are you waiting so long?
Have you met anyone you like?
Maybe, they can set you up with some single person they found lurking in the subway who is somewhat coherent and kind of employed, but, at least they are single.
They just keep coming and coming until you fall down on the floor and curl up into a ball while asking for someone or something to save you, but no one is coming to save you.
So, what do you do when the holidays are approaching and you are STILL single?
Well, there are a couple of ways to avoid the uncomfortable, prying questions about whether you are any closer to taking part in the institution called marriage, used to torture single people on holidays.
- Schedule a vacation and act like you forgot it was a holiday. Once you paid your money, who is going to argue with you about canceling it.
- Change the discussion very quickly using any of the inflammatory things, like pop culture, politics or religion.
- Find a friend to bring with you who also would like to avoid the single talk at their family gathering.
- The adult way to handle it would be to tell your family that you do not wish to discuss your love life and when there is a change that you will let them know.
Bottom-line is no one has the right to know the details of your dating life or why you haven’t identified someone you want to be in a long-term relationship with. Do not feel pressured to explain yourself in any of your life choices. If your family wants to spend time with you, it shouldn’t have to include making you feel uncomfortable, embarrassed, judged or shamed.
Most of all, protect your mental health. The holidays can be a difficult time for many. Some have seasonal affective disorder, which is linked to less sunlight and a Vitamin D deficiency. This can lead to depression during the cold months. Other people struggle during the holidays for a myriad of reasons. There is nothing wrong with seeking help from your medical provider and then taking care of yourself during the holidays, especially if your family gatherings put undue stress on you.
It doesn’t have to be a horror story. Find a way to celebrate that makes it a joyful holiday.
If you believe in the work we are doing here at The Good Men Project and want to join our calls on a regular basis, please join us as a Premium Member, today.
All Premium Members get to view The Good Men Project with NO ADS.
Need more info? A complete list of benefits is here.
Photo credit: Shutterstock