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Solo & Struggling: How the Single Lifestyle is a Financial Trap

Being single can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it can be liberating and empowering to have the freedom to make your own choices and do what you want, when you want. But on the other hand, it can be frustrating and lonely to feel like you’re constantly excluded from certain experiences because you don’t have a partner.

Being single is expensive

One of the biggest challenges that single people face is the cost of living. Especially in big cities like New York, where the cost of living is already sky-high, it can feel like there’s an additional tax for not being in a committed relationship. Going out alone or on dates can be more expensive than going out with a partner or a group. But the financial burden of being single can go beyond just social activities.

Going out alone is expensive, dating is expensive, and the fear of missing out on experiences can encourage single people to constantly be on the go, looking for new connections and hoping to find a partner.

It’s frustrating and can feel unfair. After all, being single shouldn’t be a financial burden. But unfortunately, the reality is that many of the social and cultural norms that shape our lives are built around couples and families. From restaurant tables that are designed for two to vacation packages that assume you’re traveling with a significant other, there are countless examples of how being single can be more expensive.

Dating is expensive, too

Going out alone is one of the most obvious ways in which being single can be costly. Many restaurants, bars, and events offer discounts or deals for couples or groups, but rarely extend the same courtesy to solo diners or attendees. The message is clear: if you’re alone, you’re not as valuable. It can make going out alone feel like a luxury or a treat, rather than a normal part of life.

But going out on dates can be even more expensive. From the cost of a meal to transportation, entertainment, and more, dating can quickly add up. And if you’re constantly dating with the goal of finding a long-term partner, it can feel like an endless financial drain—sometimes with very little reward considering how challenging dating in NYC can be.

Of course, there are ways to mitigate these costs. You can look for free or low-cost events, be selective about the dates you go on, and be honest with yourself about what you can afford. But even with these strategies, the fact remains that being single comes with a financial cost.

Solo & Struggling

Part of the reason for this is that being single can encourage a certain kind of lifestyle. When you’re not in a committed relationship, it’s easy to feel like you need to be constantly out and about, meeting new people and experiencing new things. After all, the more you put yourself out there, the better your chances of finding a partner, right?

But this constant hustle can be expensive. From pricey fitness classes to nights out on the town, the pressure to be constantly on the go can take a toll on your wallet. And when you’re doing it all alone, it can feel even more isolating and exhausting.

Housing can also be a major expense for single people. In cities like New York, where the cost of living is already high, finding an affordable place to live can be a challenge. Renting a studio or one-bedroom apartment can be much more expensive per person than sharing a larger apartment with a partner or roommates. And if you want to buy a home, you may find yourself priced out of certain neighborhoods or types of properties.

Healthcare can be lonely and difficult when you’re single. If you don’t have a partner or family member to rely on for support, you may have to pay more out of pocket for medical expenses. For example, if you need surgery or have a serious illness, you may have to hire a caregiver or pay for home health services, which can be costly.

I dealt with this first-hand when I had a few medical procedures where I needed hospital pickups. Thankfully I could rely on some friends, but being alone made the experience even less enjoyable than it already was.

And if you’re self-employed or work for a company that doesn’t offer health insurance, you’ll have to pay for your own coverage, which can be more expensive than being on a family plan.

Perhaps the most insidious cost of being single is the pressure to constantly be “on” and seeking out new connections. As I mentioned earlier, the fear of missing out on experiences can lead single people to always be on the go. This can be exhausting and can take a toll on your mental health, as well as your wallet.

Moreover, the cultural emphasis on finding a partner can lead to a sense of failure or inadequacy if you’re not in a relationship. This can make it hard to prioritize your own needs and wants, and can lead to a cycle of self-doubt and anxiety.

The Single Tax

Ultimately, the “single tax” is a reminder that our society is still structured around couples and families. While there’s nothing wrong with being single, it can feel like you’re constantly fighting against a system that wasn’t designed for you.

But by being mindful of your spending and making choices that align with your values and priorities, you can still create a fulfilling and enjoyable life as a single person – even if it does come with a higher price tag.

So what can you do to mitigate the cost of being single?

One option is to find ways to connect with other single people who are in a similar situation. This can help you feel less isolated and can give you a sense of community. You can also look for affordable ways to pursue your hobbies and interests, such as joining a club or taking a class.

It’s also important to remember that being single doesn’t have to be a temporary state. While it’s true that finding a partner can be challenging, it’s also true that many people find happiness and fulfillment as single individuals. By focusing on your own goals and values, rather than on societal expectations, you can create a life that is rewarding and meaningful, regardless of your relationship status.

In conclusion, while being single can be expensive, it’s not an insurmountable challenge. By being mindful of your spending and focusing on the things that bring you joy and fulfillment, you can create a life that is both satisfying and affordable. And who knows? You may even find that being single has its own unique rewards and advantages.