Dear Carolyn: I've been with my girlfriend a little over a year. Like last year, I plan to spend both Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family, who live about 90 minutes from me.

My girlfriend is upset that I didn't invite her to join me. In all honesty, it's because my family would take this as an indication that I plan to marry her, and that would just produce incredible pressure from them. It's all they think about because I'm the only kid who isn't married yet. But I'm only 29 and not ready to rush into anything, so I don't want to even put that idea into my girlfriend's head.

I have explained this to my girlfriend — excluding the part about marriage — but she is still really upset. I can understand why she is disappointed since she wasn't included last year, either, but she has her own family she could go to (six hours away).

I did say next year there is a good chance she will be invited, when we have a better understanding of where we are, but that didn't help her any.

What more can I say or do?

— Not Ready

Not Ready: “I told her we couldn’t go because gorillas were running loose downtown — excluding the part about the gorillas.”

The whole thing is about marriage! Your unreadiness for it, your family’s preoccupation with it, your status as the only one who doesn’t have one yet.

So what more you can say is everything after “In all honesty,” except for the part that poses a severe tearing-out threat to my hair, that you don’t want to give the little woman any ideas.

So, something like this:

“It’s because my family is on marriage watch and would just put incredible pressure on us. It’s all they think about because I’m the only kid who isn’t married yet, but I’m only 29 and not ready to rush into anything.”

This way, you own your feelings, she knows where you stand, she can know where she stands, you can know where she stands, and you can revisit where you stand, so you both can know where you stand together, and no one is playing Hide the Bouquet for fear of catching wedding cooties.

Or, if you like her, then you can just bring her with you and handle it.

Re: Thanksgiving: Initially, I thought it was flattering to meet boyfriends' parents, until I learned I was one in a long assembly line of girlfriends. Relatives would nod and smile and quickly forget my name. One grandma couldn't keep any of the girlfriends' names straight so it was, "Hey you," for three years. I felt the opposite of special.

I put an end to it by asking, "Why?" every time a guy wanted me to meet the parents. I never heard an answer beyond "I don't know" until I met my husband.

— Hey You

Hey You: This is not only a great point, thanks, but also potentially backdoor instructive to Not Ready, who needs to get right on with bringing home every single woman he dates, for every holiday — major, minor, Canadian — thereby overwhelming his over-invested family with too many names and possibilities to keep straight. You’re welcome.

Write to Carolyn Hax at tellme@washpost.com. Get her column delivered to your inbox each morning at wapo.st/haxpost.