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'Just focusing on your work'


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A few days ago I put a comment in the aros as hardworking thread  about how people in my family joked that I was 'just focusing on my work'  as I wasn't in a romantic relationship. ( 


 To be honest I don't mind them saying it but thinking back it is slightly frustrating that the first thing people around me think of for not being in a relationship is a focus on work rather than saying I'm taking time for myself. I don't think anyone would consider joking that I am just focusing on my hobbies.

Has anyone else had people say this sort of thing?

What do you think about it? How would you respond?

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Yeah, my family especially thinks that I'm not in a romantic relationship because I'm focused on my education/career.... which means that they think that pretty much once I finish my PhD, I'll be "on the market." I find it annoying because it shows that many people can't accept simply not wanting romance. There must be some other reason (and it better be an important one at that). I also find it amusing that basically the only things considered important enough to prevent pursuing romantic relationships are study/work. I find that it really just simplifies our lives and takes away some agency... as if we might not have anything else going on (although some people genuinely love their jobs and make it their lives, which is also valid) or that we aren't making the decision to not pursue romance of our own accord. I usually don't find it worth it really responding to these comments. But maybe I should haha, clearly they don't get it. 

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Sounds familiar. I guess it speaks to the normative life goals of our capitalist society: career and family. We are taught to work, get married and reproduce and those are the only measures personal success. Whereas things like hobbies, friendships, community work, etc are much less valued. Sorry, went off on a slight tangent. But I think recognising that these norms are what underpins so many of these kinds of comments can help you to frame a response to your family. 

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