Being Single: The Pros & The Cons

Woman making heart-shape with hands outdoors
Woman making heart-shape with hands outdoors

We live in a culture that values relationships and marriage. I understand why. Think about it from a biological perspective - humans are programmed for procreation. If they weren't, then the human race would cease to exist! And in order to keep reproducing, it makes sense to always have a partner around. And from a social point of view, marriage makes sense, too. It's a legal requirement that keeps families together.

Given these facts, most of us are socialized to want to get married and have children. Not everyone does of course, but I would say the vast majority are. However, what if someone doesn't have the desire to get married and wants to stay single? Or, perhaps they are divorced, and now that they are single again, they desire to remain that way?

Well-meaning friends and family often ask single people who they are dating. Or if they are already dating someone, when are they getting married? And if they're already married, when are they having children? There is a constant pressure by society to follow a certain path toward marriage and kids.

So what about those of us who are single? Some singles are alone simply because they haven't found anyone they want to spend their life with. Others are single by choice. I fall into the first category. I was married (with my ex-husband for almost 9 years), and we have two boys. But in the 10 years that we have been separated, I have remained mostly single (never re-married). And that's kind of by default. I like being single -- it's better than being in a bad relationship/marriage. But I would also like to be in a good, healthy, happy relationship. Something that I would define as a "spiritual partnership."

Given that I can see both the pros and the cons of being single, I thought I would shed a little more light on it.

The Pros

1. Freedom

This one is huge for me, because I really like my independence. I wasn't always like that, but as I've gotten older, I like to do what I want to do when I want to do it. If I want to go out with friends, I don't have to worry if he's going to feel left out. If I want to take a vacation with a friend, I don't have to think that he's mad because I didn't ask him to go with us. I can do anything and everything I want.

2. Control

Control is closely related to freedom. But in this sense, I'm talking about the ability to control things like your finances or how to raise your kids. I don't have to compromise. If I want to splurge on re-doing my kitchen, then I don't have to ask permission from another person. If I want to discipline my kids one way, I don't have to ask him what he thinks -- I just do it.

3. No annoyances

Ahhhh, this one is great! I don't have to complain or be aggravated if my partner doesn't do the dishes. Or pick up after himself. Or is late. Or watches too much TV. Or .... fill in the blank. Not being married or in a relationship means I don't have to worry about all that stuff. In a sense, it gives me a lot more peace that way.

The Cons

1. Less money

Let's face it - when you're married or in a relationship, you have more money to play with! Double the income means double the fun sometimes. More money for vacations. More money for re-doing your house. More money for anything that you might not be able to do when you're only living on one income.

2. No one to help you

While you have control (pro), you also don't have any help. I don't have anyone to help me figure out how to replace my roof after a big storm. I don't have anyone to drive me to the auto shop to get my car fixed (and no one to drive me back home or to work). It's these "little" things that don't seem so little when you don't have someone to help you.

3. No one to share your life with

I can't say that I am ever lonely. I have lots of friends, and I have my kids. But just because I have a lot of people in my life who love me, that doesn't mean that I wouldn't eventually like to grow old with a partner. My kids will grow up and leave the house. My friends have their own significant others. So it would be nice to find someone to share my life with someday.

No one's life is perfect. And no matter what your situation is, there are always pros and cons. I'm sure most other people would agree with my assessment of the single life. Many of us would like to meet our soul mate, but until that happens, it's just best if we just focus on the pros, and not on the cons.