To me, for the most part, being single is not a curse or a burden. It’s just what the universe has in store for me at any given time in my life. You can still have fun when you’re single. You can still go on excursions and vacations and out to a fancy meal and treat yourself to some cheap tacos when you’re sad and buy that one serum that will make your skin glow like a newly polished diamond. Heck, I’d argue all these things are even more fun when you’re single because you can vacation where you want, eat as many dang tacos as you want and slather your whole body in that lifesaving serum because you — and you alone — bought it.
But the most frustrating part of the single life is that once that taco-and-serum haze diffuses, you’re left with a bonkers-high bank statement that details every single thing you’ve bought with your own hard-earned cabbage. There’s no going dutch when you’re single. There’s no, “Oh, I’ll get this round if you wanna get the next round, babe.” There are no treats from your significant other, even if that treat is just buying the paper towels; you’re always the paper towel purchaser.
That’s honestly the toughest part about being single: the constant reminder of your relationship status by way of your bank statements and the balances on your cards. And yes, I fully understand that spending money is just a part of this thing we call life and that money is going to be leaving someone’s bank account regardless of whether it’s yours or your partner’s.
But money, as the saying goes, talks. In the case of my romantic status, my money talks and tells me, for instance, that I’m not able to buy the gifts I want for my family at various holidays or birthdays because I have to save it for every aspect of my life and cannot rely on the pleasure of even discussing splitting the cost of say, an ultra-nice gift for my parents with a partner because I have no partner. Also, I need to save that money to make rent and function normally (thanks a lot, paper towels).
Working through the emotional and mental obstacles that come with long-term singledom is one thing. There are plenty of holistic and therapeutic approaches to mending the broken or lonely heart. But when money — the lifeblood, the necessary tool, the thing that levels the playing field — suddenly factors into how you spend your time and what you purchase with it, escaping that single status is nearly impossible. It’s soul-crushing. Going out to dinner suddenly feels a bit more somber, not only because you have to decide if it’s worth it to sit at a table, alone, but also because you know you can’t split the bill. You can surely go to a museum or take a long stroll through the park or maybe just casually wander through the aisles at Ikea and do furniture shopping, but there may be days you need to justify the point of spending that time and money if you’re going to do it alone.
I’m not raining on your parade too much, am I? I don’t want to. I just want to highlight that yes, even though it’s perfectly possible to live a full and happy life as a single person, when you’re the one paying for everything, it feels like being single is being constantly thrown in your face. There’s a bit more “living with abandon” that comes to being partnered and paying for things. You have a wider range of options, less of the financial and emotional guilt and the reminder of your romantic status isn’t thrown in your face quite as often.
Those bad feelings will pass in time, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t sting right here, right now.