Ask Catherine Cohen: Thanksgiving Edition

“What’s a better way to tell my family: ‘Stop asking me when I’m going to get married?’”

the comedian Catherine Cohen wearing a black dress with tulle sleeves and a sparkly silver headband
Photograph by Bea Helman

Catherine Cohen is a comedian and actress. In her original show tunes, character videos and on her popular podcast Seek Treatment (co-hosted with fellow comedian Pat Regan) she skewers the clichés of millennial aspiration, deadpans about sex on antidepressants, and earnestly celebrates such triumphs as finding love or drinking seven beers. Her first book, God I Feel Modern Tonight: Poems From a Gal About Town is out now. Have a question for Catherine? Send it to

My boyfriend and I (both 27) have been together for a year and a half and have lived together for four months. Lately, he has been feeling pretty down and unfulfilled because of his job. He hates it and it’s really hard to find a new one and also he doesn’t know what he wants to do! It makes him mopey and unaffectionate because he doesn’t feel like he can give anything to me physically or emotionally. He doesn’t want to go to a therapist because he doesn’t want to spend the money, but I think he really needs to. I feel really helpless and like my needs are also not being fulfilled because of this impasse. What the heck do I do!

Ooo baby have I been there!!! People love to be like “relationships are hard work” and I love to be like “sorry you aren’t getting laid sweetie!!” But unfortunately, those people are right. Relationships aren’t always fun in the sun (or moon even). In fact, due to forces beyond our control (the planets, their orbits, magnets, their fields, etc.) it’s rare that both sides of a partnership are cosmically fulfilled at the exact same time.

This is all to say, what you’re going through is normal and will pass. You’re allowed to be annoyed at your boyfriend and he’s allowed to be mopey and depressed, as long as you communicate that, eventually, you will need him to take control of his life if you’re going to remain in this partnership. Tell him you love him and need him to show up for you by showing up for himself. This doesn’t mean getting a new job tomorrow, it just means taking small, daily steps in the right direction.

So, how does he do that? 1) He needs to be in therapy. Saying it’s too expensive, while true, is just an excuse. There are affordable options: Check out, which links to various options that work on a sliding scale based on his current financial situation. If you’re not in New York, he can affordably chat with someone online through Talkspace. I was once having a panic attack because I was in New Jersey, and after taking an online quiz entitled “am I dying right now?” I frantically downloaded the Talkspace app and was immediately connected with a therapist who assured me I was safe, breathing, and while I eventually would die, it didn’t seem like it would happen in the next hour.

Beyond therapy, you can be there for him to talk through what his hopes and dreams are, but be careful you don’t become his therapist. While you can support your partner, you can’t control his moods or cure his depression. Trying to fix everything that’s going on with him will only breed resentment. Trust me. *I smile as blood squirts through my teeth*

You’re his partner, not his doctor/mommy—wait, that is a good name for a sitcom though. Catherine Cohen is Doctor Mommy…premiering this fall on CBS. If this goes on for a year or so, maybe he’s not ready to be in the relationship that you need right now. In the meantime, while this situation unfolds, make sure you’re still putting yourself first—focusing on your work and what brings you joy—you can’t be a good partner if you’re not good to yourself! MWAH

Is it selfish/wrong of me to skip the holidays this year and stay in and order Taco Bell instead?

No. Save me a Cheesy Gordita Crunch. That being said, ask yourself why you’re skipping them. Is staying in bed and eating the iconic combination of melted cheese and ground beef actually self-care (it often is!) or are you simply filling the beckoning void with fire sauce (which by the way, they sell at the grocery store! huge win for all me-kind). Ultimately, life is kind of about being uncomfortable all the time until you like yourself. Are you avoiding the holidays because they’re holding you back from being the best version of yourself or are you worried that seeing your Great Aunt Linda will make you question why you’re addicted to spiked seltzer, bad sex and friends without personalities. Just something to think about! Love you ☺

Do you have any good holiday party outfit ideas? I want to stand out!

Bless you!!! Down with minimalism, up with maximalism. It’s time to channel Marie Antoinette, Cher, Dionysus—celebrate excess after a long stretch of sorrow. You could get hit by a bus any day, so buy the metallic boots. I’m thinking sequins, sparkles, silks, feathers, boots that go up so high they go above your head, a bag that’s too small to hold your phone. These are the things that turn gatherings into parties.

I was recently walking my boyfriend's dog in the streets of Brooklyn when my ex (can I call him that if we weren’t really in a relationship?) ran into me. I hadn’t seen him for a year since he crushed my heart. With time and the incredible focus and determination of muting him from all social media, I had forgotten about him and moved on. Moved on to the point I am at now: in a happy relationship. (I mean, he has a dog!) But upon realizing that this unrequited love interest is not dead like I told myself, but very much alive, I am afraid! How do I stay the course and not fall into the trap of my lingering what ifs???

God (can’t live with her, can’t live without her) is laugh, laugh, laughing right now because she’s sent you a test and you have passed. Healing is not linear (tattoo it right above my unibrow) and we are bound to have missteps as we move toward greatness. This is an opportunity to be proud of the life you are building. You have chosen yourself by letting go of this heart-crusher and opening yourself up to love and all its elasticity. Some people will always have a certain power over you (honey the wayyyy I still jerk it to Anthony Kiedis in the “Can’t Stop” video) but that doesn’t mean they’re supposed to be your partner in Brooklyn or in life. Time is a slippery little slut but she always puts out. This fear will pass. Continue to enjoy your new situation and trust that the universe will send you in the right direction. You get to hang out with a dog after all!! You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be. <3

What’s a better way to tell my family “Stop asking me when I’m going to get married?”

Marriage is vintage, an idea, romantic and humiliating and isolating all at once. But what do I know? I’ve never done it…though I am looking forward to getting divorced—imagine the drama, the legal proceedings, the pantsuit I’ll wear in court! As someone who has never met you, I fear that your family is looking to live vicariously through you. They need to take a long look at themselves in the mirror and figure out what’s really going on. In the meantime, tell them you’re getting married and you need $100k for the wedding xoxo