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 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?