Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic
Kathy Ehrich Dowd
September 08, 2015 01:30 PM

Shonda Rhimes‘s upcoming memoir is titled Year of Yes, but there is one important question that the revered show runner will always answer with a no: “Will you marry me?”

“I was seriously dating somebody and I was like, ‘I don’t want to do this,’ ” Rhimes, 45, tells Entertainment Weekly for its latest cover story. “We’re all so conditioned to want it, I felt like there must be something wrong with me. But the minute I said it out loud to my family, it was fantastic.”

The creator of Grey’s Anatomy, How to Get Away with Murder and Scandal says she ultimately realized that she had been channeling those deeply held feelings into one of her characters.

“I guess I had been secretly feeling that way and writing it for Cristina,” she explains, referring to Cristina Yang on Grey’s (played by Sandra Oh).

Making the personal decision to remain unwed has come as a huge relief for the Illinois native, who says she’s direct when people ask her whether she’s looking for a relationship.

“Now if somebody says, ‘Are you looking for that?’ I say, ‘Nope, looking for a boyfriend, not a husband,’ ” she says. “And there’s a freedom to that. There’s no pressure if you’re not looking for it.”

RELATED VIDEO: Shonda Rhimes Poses with the Casts of Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy and How to Get Away with Murder

But there are plenty of things to which Rhimes has said yes recently, and she’ll chronicle those positive developments in her book.

Out in November, the memoir will recount the year she challenged herself to say yes to every invitation, and Rhimes says the first two invites brought her face-to-face with one of her greatest fears – public speaking. She addressed that fear head-on when she agreed to deliver the commencement address at her alma mater, Dartmouth College, and appear as a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

“My panic was always really huge. I had so much social anxiety,” said Rhimes, who credits her Year of Yes challenge with helping her overcome that fear.

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