I’m Super Grateful That My Family Doesn’t Pester Me About My Love Life

My parents have never nudged me to find a guy and settle down. They’ve never made pointed remarks about my empty ring finger or given me grief when I break up with a guy they thought might be “The One.” They’re totally low-key about my love life and their mellow approach is a huge part of the reason I’m a happy, self-confident woman.

  1. I’m an independent adult. I’m a smart gal. I make my own choices and I accept the consequences of my decisions. I navigate my life without depending on the rules or expectations of others. That self-reliance makes me tough to bully. It’s really the only way to go if you want to be at peace.
  2. I don’t have any guilt about my choices. My romantic experiences don’t affect my family’s opinion of me. Naturally, when I introduce a guy to them, I always hope they’ll give him their seal of approval but I know damn well they wouldn’t approve of ALL the dudes I’ve been with. (They probably figure as much, but they don’t ever pry.) No worries. I’ve never taken those guys home anyway.
  3. I never have to defend my decisions. Nobody thrives under scrutiny. How are you supposed to learn and grow when you’re constantly afraid you’ll be criticized for some misstep? I make tons of mistakes. But I never worry about being judged for them. To my family, a dumb decision is a good life lesson, not a piece of evidence against my overall competence.
  4. I feel totally entitled to my privacy. I’m fierce in my need for space. Even though I choose to share a lot of my musings and life experiences with my family, I tend to be button-lipped about my love life. Anytime we do discuss personal matters, they know I’m willingly opening up to them. Our relationship is built on trust, not coercion.
  5. I’m not pressured by a timeline. No hubby, no babies—hell, it’s been a long time since I even had a real relationship. Although I may stress about these situations, my family never weighs in uninvited. They’ll be excited for me when I find my forever person, but they’re not going to pick on me for taking my time about the process.
  6. I trust myself. A crazy thing happens when you’re not always checking over your shoulder to make sure your decisions satisfy other people: you become almost invulnerable to regret. Why would I regret anything? I like the journey I’m on. (Yes, even when being single makes me want to tear my hair out.)
  7. I don’t have to deal with awkward setups. My parents are highly social people. I’m sure there are plenty of friends’ sons and grandsons they could introduce me to, but my clan knows that I’d much prefer to select my own mate—they leave me to my business, thank God.
  8. I know they respect me. Since they raised me to deal with my own crap and be my own woman, my parents know I can handle things. Hence, there’s no need for them to interfere. They don’t keep their distance out of indifference—they just have faith in my life skills.
  9. They realize romantic love isn’t everything. If I find myself a perfect match, they’ll be proud of me. If I decide that the only pairing I need is a long reading list and a fridge full of good beer, they’ll still be proud of me. I’m their goofy, capable, highly individualistic daughter, not a damsel in distress.
  10. We can be closer because I’m not feeling judged. I’m at ease with my family. No resentment, no feeling cowed by their expectations. In fact, they’re my favorite people to socialize with. They recognize that I know my own mind and my own needs.
  11. They’ll always come through when I need them. If I ever get into a bad situation, I know they’ll come to my rescue. To quote my mom, “You’re an adult, and you know how to take care of yourself. My job as a parent is to step back, but you can always talk to me if you want to and I’m always here if you need my help.”
  12. My parents are actually quite traditional, but it’s okay that I’m not. Their notion of the ideal family includes a married mom and dad and a couple of kids. I don’t want to take that route but because they’ve always taught me to think for myself, they never expected me to mimic their beliefs. I’m free to pursue my own vision.
  13. I know how to put busybodies in their place. According to my friends, my family situation is pretty rare. My pals hear a lot more mention of marriage and childbearing than I ever have. Lots of people find the probing questions offensive but are so used to the invasion that they hardly think twice. On the other hand, meddlers tend to leave me alone. Why? Because I’m comfortable telling anyone, “None of your business.” After all, if my parents stay out of my personal life, I certainly don’t owe an explanation to anyone else either.
  14. If I ever have kids, I’ll show them the same respect I’ve been shown. I doubt I’ll ever decide I want a brood of my own, but who knows? Should I one day decide to become a mom, I’ll follow the good example of my parents. I won’t teach my children to seek my approval. I’ll teach them to follow their own instincts.
Jackie Dever is a freelance writer and editor in Southern California. When she's not working, she enjoys hiking, reading, and sampling craft beers.