The Single Stigma

It’s no secret that I am single. I have been single for many moons now and it’s something that I’m comfortable with. I’ve always been highly independent, so being single isn’t something I often get hung up on. I tend not to give it much thought, that is until someone brings it up.

I live in a rural area, that’s fairly traditional and conservative (in terms of values). It’s not uncommon for most people to marry and marry young. I often feel like I stick out at community events because I’m an unattached. Often, once the usual ‘how are you’ and ‘what’s new’ are exchanged, I’m asked whether or not I’ve found a boyfriend. There’s only so many creative ways a gal can say no. Some of my favourite responses include: ‘No, I’m a fighter not a lover’ and ‘No, because forever is a lot longer than it used to be’. No matter what I say though, the response is usually the same:  ‘oh, that’s too bad’, or ‘you’ll find someone eventually’.

After I bought my house, I noticed that people seemed to say certain things when I told them I was a new home owner. Quite often, I heard things like: ‘That’s great! It’s quite a feat to do all by yourself’, or ‘Congratulations. That’s a real accomplishment for a young gal”. It was strange, quite often people seemed surprised that I was able to buy a house, especially since I was single. Around here, there seems to be a deep rooted perception that single women are poorer than single men and couples. I think history has a lot to do with this perception, as many women in this area were farm wives. The women who didn’t marry, often worked as nurses/teachers/secretaries, but of course, weren’t bringing home piles of money and often lived with their parents, or rented an apartment or small house. Despite the fact that times have changed, people still seem surprised that a single woman like myself can afford to buy a house.

The stigma of being single affects men and women, but sometimes, I feel that us single gals get a little more of a raw deal. I’ve had people say they feel sorry that I don’t have anyone to take me to a movie or out for dinner, buy me jewelry, or go on trips with. So? If I want to go out to a movie, I’ll go out to a movie. I don’t need someone to take me out to dinner, and hell, if I want a pair of earrings, I’ll buy myself a pair of earrings. There’s this assumption that being coupled up equals financial security, but really, it doesn’t take two to be well off money-wise. After all, there are lots of individuals who are just fine financially, and many couples who struggle to manage their money.  Given this, it’s just so strange that people think my financial situation is a result of (or highly influenced by) my relationship status.

I have to start practicing my gibberish.

I like to think that as demographics continue to change, these perceptions will change. With more people divorcing, marrying later, or staying single, I hope people will stop associating relationship status with financial status. Until then, I’m going to keep telling people I’m saving my pennies for more cats and a gold plated shotgun to keep me company when I’m a crazy ole spinster.

Do you think there’s a financial stigma associated with being single?

Categories: Personal | Tags: , , | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “The Single Stigma

  1. I have to admit, I’ve felt this way too. But I’ve been in a relationship for 6 years. I think people are so ignorant sometimes to think that the only way to buy a house or to buy a car or to do this, do that – you have to be coupled up. Seriously I used to think that way too, but after being in a long relationship I honestly agree with you – If I want to buy something, I’m buying it myself. If I want dinner, I will take us both out. I think people have to understand that we are all still individuals. That’s what I hate – I’m sort of opposite of you. I hate when people always bring up my BF when I am talking about going out or going on a vacation, etc. I get that we are together and have been for a long time but don’t they understand I’m still an individual and not just 1 part of a couple?! Sheesh!!!

    Ok sorry for the long rant, but I hear you. People need to get a hold of these stereotypes and stop thinking that women can’t handle themselves. It’s sickening!

    • It’s interesting to hear that there are certain assumptions for those who are coupled up as well. It seems so strange how people can view two people as a couple but not as two individuals.

  2. SWR

    This is such an outdated stereotype! Right along with it are the hopes for a woman to “marry rich” and the idea that marriage will ruin a guy’s finances.

    it drives me up a wall when people joke with my partner about how he can “afford me”. The underlying assumption in there is that I am a princess with expensive tastes who needs taking care of. Give me a break, punk. I’ll tell you how it is- I’m careful with money and the more frugal of the two of us! I’d rather save up for one well-made expensive (fill in the blank) than have to constantly buy replacements. And my partner will likely often make less money than I do. So no, I’m not too expensive for anyone. (Sidenote: my partner has his own rant about how society thinks he should feel bad for being “taken care of” by a working woman.)

    Okay…rant over. People need to stop equating gender and relationship status to financial status.

    • I would blow a gasket if someone joked about ‘affording me’. It’s pretty sucky that people pass judgement on your partner for not being the breadwinner. Who cares who makes more? As long as the bills are paid, what’s the difference?

  3. I’m 31 and I’m actually starting to get the pity look and the don’t worry you’ll find someone soon advice from everyone and I know, plus my mom beings me to join every week, Financially and socially I’m starting to feel like a leper.

  4. I am in similar boat as you are. One worse thing that has ever happened to me about me being single went like this: a pretty good guy friend of university from out of town was visiting and staying at my apartment for the night, he thought he was doing me the greatest favour and made supper saying ‘someone has got to do it (make me supper) sometime’. I didn’t want to be rude and didn’t want a confrontation so I sat through dinner, simply unimpressed. In retrospect, I definitely wished I had said more to this friend. This friend came from a small town and held very old fashion values when it came to men/women roles. Long story short, we are no longer friends.

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