Advantages And Disadvantages Of Being Single Essay

“Just for fun”, I went through my contacts to calculate how many of my friends are in relationships/married, and how many of my friends are single. I should not have done that, because it turns out, about 99% of my friends are in relationships/married, and about 1% (which is basically me and two other people–even my sister, of which we NEVER thought would get married, said she found her ‘soul mate’) are single. I posted Navigating as a Single-Ite a few months ago, of which I listed some benefits to being single. However, after this astonishing finding of being the only one of my friends without a significant other, I am thinking that being single is NOT the way to go. Here are some disadvantages of being single:

1. There is no one to call when you are on vacation/at a conference: I really like it you are on a trip, and after dinner, everyone goes back to the hotel room to ‘call home’ and ‘check up on things’, and since your room mates and parents don’t really care how your trip is going, you sit awkwardly, lonely in the room by yourself, trying not to but unavoidably listening in on everyone else’s conversations. I mean, I guess I could call home and ask my sister to let me hear the dogs bark, but they probably don’t care that I am away either (This is probably why only single people seem to publish SnapChat stories: it is a cry for help, like, “Please someone! Validate my existence! I promise I matter in this world!)

2. Everyone has already dated everyone else: The older we get, the more people get married, which means the dating pool gets slimmer and slimmer every time. I really love meeting someone, doing the whole “get to know you” activities, and then finding out, “Oh, you went to CSU? Do you know my friend Jessica? Oh, you dated her?” And then you both turn to your phones to text Jessica and ask her about the DL: “Is he nice? Does he have any weird habits? Do you still talk?” And, inevitably she responds, “Eh, he’s ok.” I mean, there is a reason she broke up with him, and because she is my friend, I trust her judgment, and therefore, I am kind of over him already. It is really cool, for friendships, that so many social circles collide, but as far as dating goes, I don’t really like this, “Oh it’s such a small world!” I don’t really want to even think about how many of my friends you hooked up with. I like to be an original. I want to date my OWN guy, get some fresh meat to bring to this social circle that has NO drama attached.

3. You get asked to babysit/dog sit every weekend: One big disadvantage of being single AND responsible is that everyone wants you to watch their houses when they go on romantic dates and lavish vacations. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE playing with your baby, and I LOVE bonding with your dog, but what kind of ends up happening is, I sign up to do it, because I know 99% of my friends are on romantic dates/lavish vacations with their significant others, and I will have nothing to do anyways, so I might as well make a little extra cash. But, then I am not out, slutting it up at the bars, and therefore limiting my chances of finding My One True Only, which means my dreams of going on those romantic dates and lavish vacations get pushed very, very far into the future, and all I am left with is a baby that can’t talk, and a dog that poops everywhere.

4. Everyone thinks you are fair game: Because you a single, for some reason, that opens the door for anyone and everyone to contact you, even those people who are WAY out of your league. One of my two single friends went on a date with this guy in JUNE, and he still continues to text her every single day. He sent a message along the lines of, “I don’t know what to do anymore. I have tried being aggressive, I have tried being passive. I tried to be nice to you, to be mean. I just don’t know how to get to you but I don’t want to give up because you are too beautiful”. Well, dude, perhaps you should just read the signs and give up. For some reason, in his head, since she is single, he can continue to stalk her, as if her single status warrants this kind of attention. Sometimes I am tempted to just nab a fake boyfriend so people know I am OFF LIMITS. DON’T BOTHER ME. I DON’T WANT TO TALK TO YOU. I AM SINGLE FOR A REASON AND THAT IS BECAUSE EVERYONE, INCLUDING YOU, SUCKS.

5. And, everyone thinks they found your perfect match: I am always so flattered that the 99% of my in relationshiped friends want to hook me up with someone all the time. They always exclaim, “I know the PERFECT person for you!” And, then you meet him, and he doesn’t have a sense of humor, isn’t smart, not going anywhere in his life, oh, and has some kind of weird fungal disease on his feet. You feel bad for letting your friend down, but you really can’t fake liking someone. And, then it’s really awkward, and you put your friend in a position where he/she can no longer hang out with you and the blind dater in the same room ever again (I mean, probably because he became the guy that isn’t getting the hint to STOP TEXTING ME).

6. You get the sympathy date invitation: Your friends always invite you to group-coupley things. You politely decline and say, “Oh, but I don’t want to be the seventh wheel and ruin it for everyone!” Your friend encourages, “It won’t be like that at all! We would love for you to come! There is a huge group of us going!” But, it’s pretty apparent from your InstaGram pictures that this WAS a couples event, because everyone is grouped off, hugging their significant other, and you are standing very awkwardly, very alone by yourself. Like, you are so far away from everyone else in the picture that it appears you must have some kind of repulsive disease (which also doesn’t help your chances of finding a significant other if you are always the one who appears to be ostracized from the group). And, once everyone gets a little bit of alcohol in them, they start getting really touchy-feely with each other, you have no one to touch, they want to leave the event early, and you end up leaving with everyone else to go home to your very, very alone house.

7. Having to explain to your family WHY you are single: I always feel like a reject of society whenever people ask me if I have a boyfriend, and I defiantly respond, “NO”. I mean, how else do I respond to that question: “Well, I COULD have a boyfriend, but this guy said he doesn’t like me”, “There is this guy who wants to date me, but he just doesn’t make enough money for my taste”, “I have a defect that I can’t tell you about right now, but whenever I tell guys about that, they run away”. Sometimes, I make up stories of dates I went on, just so they don’t think I sit at my house, lonely and depressed all weekend. Society does not understand that I am NO LESS of a person because I don’t have a significant other.

8. There is no one to help you when your tire goes flat: Or, the faucet on your bath tub breaks (so you use Duct Tape to put it back together). Or, you run over a little bunny on the side of the road and start crying so hard you have to pull off the side of the road. Since 99% of the people I know have a significant other, I always feel guilty asking them to help me, because they already have someone else to take care of. My poor dad gets about five frantic calls from me a day and is probably praying for the day I get married so I can pawn that off on someone else.

9. You have to buy all of your own stuff: It’s always really nice when you DO have a significant other, and the check comes, and you slightly turn your head away, pretending not to notice it, hoping they will pick up the bill. I mean, I am perfectly happy paying for us if you want me to, but it’s nice to have the option that perhaps I don’t have to. However, being single, it is inevitable that you are paying for yourself. Like, I need to be very careful about ordering three of those very delicious, but also very expensive drinks, and an appetizer, and a dessert. So, don’t even hope for it to go on someone else’s card (Oh, and this also means that I must watch my alcohol consumption, because I am also probably driving myself home).

10. There is no one to share your funny life stories with: I personally think my life is a riot. So many unfortunate things happen to me on a daily basis that I really think someone else would benefit from hearing about. Like, on my way to class yesterday, I ran into a swarm of gnats and I am pretty sure I got one stuck in my eye that I spent the entire class trying to inconspicuously blink out. Or, over the summer, I almost got hit by the neighbor kid carelessly pulling of his driveway, so I felt the moral obligation to write him a letter, reminding him of Colorado driving laws. And, I really think someone would laugh at my post-hair cut, post-LifeTime steam room mullet picture. But, alas, since 99% of my friends already have significant others, no one really cares about MY misadventures in life, and I have to keep all of those things to myself.

(If you like this post, check out my new book: Happily Never After)

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For some, "healthy, wealthy and single" has become a mantra for the 21st Century. It implies happiness, and even smug satisfaction, at being unattached. 

Does that go for men and women alike?

Today, more women are single than ever before, and many by choice, which is something relatively new in my experience. Having a husband is no longer considered necessary, nor even desirable in more and more cases. What's changed? Society, for one thing.

The single woman of today is a far cry from former generations. Bette Davis, in the movie Now Voyager (1942), plays a spinster aunt who laments that she will "never have a home of my own, nor a child of my own." Today's woman would not let the lack of a husband stop her from having both, if she wanted them. Cultures differ, but modern American society generally accepts a variety of  lifestyles that were unthinkable a half century ago.

As I see it, there are both advantages and disadvantages to being unmarried. Some are obvious, and well-documented in books and articles. One that I read recently lists 10 advantages but, oddly enough, no disadvantages. That's only telling one side of the story, in my opinion.

Briefly, the advantages to being single, according to the article, have to do with:

(1) Keeping physically fit. Singles tend to work out more in gyms and exercise groups to stay slim and attractive. Married women tend to gain weight, and unhappily married women gain proportionately more.

(2) Achieving greater things. This is attributed to having more time due to a lack of responsibility to a spouse and family. It is also claimed that singles tend to be more productive during their careers, probably for the same reasons.

(3) Doing less housework. A single woman has no untidy spouse to pick up after, which gives her more time to do other things -- presumably greater things. (See No. 2, above.)

(4) Managing money. The single woman does not need to ask anyone how she can spend her own salary, and doesn't need to worry about becoming saddled with an irresponsible spouse's debts.

(5) Having less, but better, sex. Statistics show that singles have a better time in the bedroom, though intimacy occurs only about half as frequently. Hormone levels are higher in a "courting relationship."

(6) Being better rested, and even smarter. Researchers have found that sleeping two to a bed isn't as restful as sleeping alone, so singles get more sleep, which they say results in enhanced memory and cognitive skills.

(7) Having less depression. Single women generally have fewer mental health issues than married women, especially those with children to worry about.

(8) Acquiring friends. Singles need not rely on one person for companionship and tend to have more friends than their married counterparts who have less time for them, due to demands from spouses and children.

(9) Taking better trips. Although married people take more vacations, according to statistics, singles engage in more interesting activities and may meet more interesting people as a result.

(10) A better sense of self. Women who remain single have grown to know themselves and what they want out of a relationship as well as life in general, and may have happier marriages later on.

There are some good points made here, although others are largely debatable. Playing devil's advocate, I might point out that singles are disadvantaged with respect to social engagements among their married couple friends. Who wants to be a fifth wheel? And while the truly independent lady may have more time and freedom, she also has no one to take care of her when she's down with the flu, no one to make repairs around the house, and often no date on a Saturday night -- not to mention New Year's Eve!

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