I encourage you to check out those posts because there is super practical advice on how to manage dating and the holiday season – which frankly, can be awkward and confusing.
But this year I was inspired by the younger generation to give you a different message:
Your dating and relationship status is no one’s business but yours.
This article in Refinery29 called Dear Single Women: This Holiday Season We Fight Back is a sassy and fun read.
It is geared towards single women in their 30s, but is wholly applicable to our generation of over-40 singles.
Part of what makes the holiday season especially stressful are all the questions you get from friends, colleagues and family about your love life. Comments and questions that are dressed up as loving concern but are frankly kinda rude and none of their business.
“What happened to so-and-so?”
“Sure youre not being too picky?”
“Have you tried Tinder, Match, getting a dog, wearing lipstick, losing weight…blah blah?”
This year empower yourself to bat back some of those (too) enquiring minds with a message of your own, a la Shani Silver, the author of the article:
Please feel free to feed your family with its own ingredients. If our loved ones are so concerned with our single status such that they ask about it over turkey and yams, we’re going to call out the fact that they have done nothing to actually help us change it. If they want to walk onto this dance floor, let’s tango goddamnit.
“Dad, I know you want me to be happy. I want to be happy, too. But bringing up the fact that I’m single at the holidays makes me very unhappy, because believe me Dad, I’m aware of the situation. So unless you’re hiding my husband in your back pocket, it’s really not your place to talk to me about a very personal area of my life that is actually none of your business. Also, if my husband is in your back pocket, take him out for fucks sake, I’m exhausted.”
You are taking control of your experience and drawing the boundaries for what you are and are not willing to tolerate. And frankly, those questions are intrusive.
Of course, you may not want to lay it on this thick with your 85-year-old dad in a wheelchair – but it sounds like fun, right?
Instead you can reply with something like: “Yep I’m still single and looking. But, unless you know someone good for me, right now I’m focusing on just relaxing, being grateful and having a good time decorating the tree and enjoying this party. Another glass of champagne, Aunt Jo?”
Or, if you are feeling really snarky, you can just wait a beat, smile slyly and say, “Wouldn’t you like to know?”, wink.
Exit stage left.
This holiday take charge of those Nosey Nellies, and come up with a few “non-answers” that will preserve your dignity, happiness and privacy. And give you a good giggle when you think about it later.
The holidays are to be enjoyed, not survived or tolerated. Especially if you are single and over-40. As Shani Silver says:
From the first cup of cocoa to the last bottle — I mean glass — of champagne I want you to enjoy every second. We’re not going to survive the holidays, we’re going to live them up. It is no longer our job to make other people feel better about our single status at this time of year. It is our job instead to change the way single women are discussed, and to enjoy this time of year as much as anybody else.
Here’s to next year when your relatives meet Your One and do what mine did when they first met Larry: they asked me why I was so lucky to meet such a great guy. (Really, that happened.)
Happy Holidays, girlfriend!