Syndicated advice guru Marnie Macauley has straight-shooting, no preaching, very personal, saucy, often amusing solutions to living life successfully single.
How does one handle siblings in their 40s who can’t stop nagging me about being single? I’m 33, the youngest of three daughters and I live 750 miles away from home. When I go home, they constantly give me grief about not being married. I’ve tried to let them know it wears me out and just makes me want to stay away from them and never visit at all. I don’t recall anything I’ve done that would cause such outright hostility. It’s a very painful way to live. Any ideas?
– Odd Sis Out
MARNIE SAYS: You’re right. How painful. How tragic — for them and what a powerful opportunity for you. We start with a story.
Getting It: Your Personal Strategy:
In our story, your fairy godmother has poofed you a white coach with horses and given you dainty feet to sprint you to the “Single Land of Your Own,” leaving your big-footed sob-sibs in your wake. You left. You have freedom and possibilities!
Once you believe you’re the victorious princess, you can use the power you already own. You have nothing to prove, nothing to fear, and hey, you hold the glass slipper. Got it? Good.
Now, act it. Decide you will not react or be treated as the victim. Others can only poison your apple if you let ’em. Use your power with kindness, benevolence, and wisdom.
STEP ONE: Attitude! Instead of cowing, arguing, defending, believe, babe, believe in your power.
STEP TWO: To disarm, use charm. Be invincible and unprovokable. When a sis zings, calmly say: “Drizella … I know you never meant to hurt me with that remark.” (Driz is outed) “We’re sisters, and I insist we enjoy each other.” (Driz has turned into puddle.) “Darling, I adore my singlehood. So, how’s my nephew, little Damien?”
Do this every … single … time. Without fail!
You see, the object is not to change them, but to change how you react to them. As your reactions change, their behavior will change. And as their behavior changes they may turn from hawks to doves.
I moved back in with my mom after getting laid off of my job. It seemed like a good idea at the time because I was short on funds and my mom, who is single too, needs help around the house. Since then, I’ve gotten a job and I’ve stayed here because it seemed like a good arrangement except for one thing: my mother insists on getting involved in my personal life.
For example, last weekend she springs the news that she signed me up on a matchmaking website and now some girl wants to meet me. I was livid! I’ve tried telling her how I feel about this, but it’s like talking to a wall. She has her mind set on one thing: marrying me off so she can have grandkids. I’m 29 and feel I’m too young to be thinking about women when I have to concentrate on getting my career back on track.
– No Momma’s Boy
MARNIE SAYS: You’re absolutely right. You shouldn’t be thinking like that. You should be thinking U-Haul. You may be too young to get married, you may never want to get married, but you’re too old to have it both ways. You’re picking and choosing when to “do” helpless cub and when to roar while hanging in Mama’s Den.
Getting It! Your Personal Strategy:
Repeat after me: “It’s her den – I’m still here.”
Whether you’re stuck because you’re broke, Mama has pot roast waiting, or she’s making you feel guilty, I can’t say. But you can. Finish this sentence and write it five times: “I’m here because …
Challenge each reason. For example: “She needs me.”
Kiddo, if Mama can surf “personals” on the Net and kick up a little action for her cub, she can lope through the Serengeti without a walker or you.
Make a “She’s Driving Me Nuts” chart. Next to each way Mama makes you nuts, indicate “Why I hate it!” “Why I need it?” and “What is it costing me.” Remember, you’re standing for it. Until you figure out what’s keeping you in, you’ll be e-mailing “HotChick666” until your cyber wedding.
To grow you must go. Yes, it’s tough. But if David can slay Goliath, you can get away from a mama who’s got you by the modem.
AVOIDING MEN YOU DON’T WANT TO DATE
I’m a 52-year old woman who’s been widowed for several years and am simply not interested in dating. The problem? I don’t know how to gently refuse a request for my phone number or their “I’d like to get to know you better” comments. How would you suggest, in your humorous way, that I refuse their come-ons without offending them?
MARNIE SAYS: Actually, it’s your “I don’t give a rat’s gnat i’tude that makes you so intriguing. So, for you, Cleo, we will uncover the one, perfect, foolproof M.O.
Getting It! Your Personal Strategy:
Assuming you truly want them gone, you simply must stop being so irresistibly unavailable.
THINGS NOT TO SAY:
“I’m not ready for a relationship but if I were, you’d be first on my list.” (They’ll follow you to a leg waxing.)
“I’d only cause you pain.” (They’ll have a leg waxing with you.)
“Frankly, I have no interest in men. (They’ll give you a leg waxing.)
To lose these men, it would stand to reason the opposite approach would give you the desired result:
“I only date men who are serious about marriage.” (They’ll hop a space shuttle).
“What time can I expect your call?” (They’ll hem, haw … and run.)
“I belong to a small spiritual sect that’s opposed to red meat and sex.” (Need I say more?)
That said: Consider going out with some of them – as buds. I respect your right to turn men away. But ruling out half the population is limiting your options. Men can make terrific escorts, dinner companions, they fix stuff and can be interesting all by themselves!
But do be clear in word and deed that the “friendship” stops at your bedroom door. If you wish to live manless, simply say … “I’m not available. How about I call you if things change?”
Have a question for Marnie that she can answer in Singular magazine? E-mail email@example.com.
Copyright © Marnie Macauley /2012 Singular Communications, LLC