HELP ME, HARLAN!: Family loves to talk about her love life – but she doesn’t

By Harlan Cohen

Harlan Cohen

Dear Harlan,

My family loves to talk about my love life, or lack thereof. I’m single, 30 years old and happy. No one can accept that I’m happy and single. Everyone’s first question is, “Do you have a boyfriend?”  What is the best way to tell my family that I don’t want to talk about my love life over the holidays? I don’t feel like spending every conversation convincing all my family members of my happiness.   I’m planning to start talking politics whenever someone brings up my love life. Is there a less confrontational approach?


Dear MYOB,

Your love life is a standard family question right after work, the weather and your hairstyle (love it!). I could understand having a problem with a co-worker or stranger asking about your love life, but it’s your family’s job to ask about these things. If you’re so happy being single, then it shouldn’t be a burden to answer them. Make it fun. Come up with a poem or a rap. Here’s a poem for you:

Thanks for asking, but I’m still single

I do go out, and I love to mingle

I find it fulfilling to be young and free

I love my life; I love being me!

When I want a kiss, I’ve got Tinder or Bumble

There’s always a man; I’m blessed and humble 

When I find a guy I’m willing to share

You won’t have to ask, because you’ll see him standing here

Now, let’s move on

Please talk more with me

How ‘bout this delicious eggnog or craziness in Washington, D.C.?


Dear Harlan,

My new boyfriend has a thing where I must text him back within the hour or he thinks I’m cheating on him. It’s only with texting. When I don’t text him back, he thinks that something terrible is happening. He was cheated on in the past, and he lives in a constant fear of it happening again. The relationship is only a couple of months old. I liked the attention at first, but now I find it annoying. He expects me to get back to him no matter where I am or what I’m doing. I was at a family event over Thanksgiving and he couldn’t understand why I didn’t send him a message back. I was with my family. I’ve told him that I can’t always get back to him, but it doesn’t change his expectations. I’m considering breaking up with him. Is there anything else I can do before I end it?

Texting Too Much

Dear Texting Too Much,

He doesn’t have to worry about you cheating on him, because you’re going to break up with him by the time you’re done reading this. Most women have to wait a long time to discover that a guy is this insecure, wounded, jealous and controlling. Since he has been generous, it’s only kind to return the favor. Instead of dumping him or ignoring him, tell him the truth. He’s probably not used to women telling him the truth. Explain that while you enjoy being with him, the constant texting is not working. Part of being an independent woman means living life without having to constantly check in with someone. That makes you feel like it’s not going to be a relationship that can move forward. And really, you need to be trusted. Between GPS, cellphone cameras and constant ways to be watched, you need a guy who doesn’t need to watch you to trust you.


Harlan is author of “Getting Naked: Five Steps to Finding the Love of Your Life (While Fully Clothed and Totally Sober)” (St. Martin’s Press). Write Harlan at or visit online: All letters submitted become property of the author. Send paper to Help Me, Harlan!, 2720 Dundee Road, Suite 226, Northbrook, IL 60062.

© Harlan Cohen 2017; Distributed by King Features Syndicate Inc.


HELP ME, HARLAN!: Family loves to talk about her love life – but she doesn’t–