I would have written an article about being single in your 20s as well, but I wouldn’t know. I spent 8 years in a relationship then, so I wouldn’t even remember what it felt like. Now that I’ve reached almost halfway my 30s, I feel I’ve got enough experience to share my side of the single life story.
First of all, though, I want to mention that the experience will be different for everybody. There will be some common ground in this post with your feelings, on other things you may not agree at all. How we experience life is entirely subjective after all.
You watch your friends getting married and having kids
This truly is the thing that I noticed most of all: the number of weddings and pregnancies around and after the age of 30. It’s baffling! Seems like everybody you know has this predetermined internal clock that just triggers their reproductive systems.
I knew a guy who had broken up with his girlfriend at the age of 28, after 6 years. He got into a new relationship about 2 years later and after that things just sped up like crazy. At 31 he was married, at 32 they were expecting their first child and at 34 the second. But that relationship still is only 4 years old!
Watching it from afar really gives you a beautiful insight into how much we are actually programmed by society to get that family going before 35. People who are actively developing their skills and careers will just put everything on hold “because it’s not the time for children”. I will never understand it, but that’s probably one of the reasons why I am a happy single.
So it’s all good for them if they are happy with their new lives. But they’re not always… happy. You wouldn’t believe how many are already divorced or suffering major crises, all because they felt the need to rush things. All while you’re at the sidelines waiting for the next fallen friend to ask you out for a drink because things are not well at home.
It feels good to be in full control
This is probably one of the biggest issues I would have when going into a new relationship: relinquishing the control I currently have over every aspect of my life. I can pretty much do anything I want or go everywhere I please without someone nagging about it.
I also don’t have to sacrifice my energy to please someone else who is living in my home. I am the master of my own world and it’s great.
Single scenario: it’s Friday, you’ve been looking forward to that spaghetti sauce you made earlier this week. You grab a beer, sit on the sofa, turn on the tv and just let your body and mind relax. When you feel like it, you start dinner and enjoy it so much. You might even feel like going to the bar after that, who knows? You’re free to do as you please.
Bad relationship scenario: it’s Friday and that spaghetti sauce is tempting you like crazy. You grab a beer and your wife immediately turn to you and asks “You’re not going to get drunk already, are you?”. You shrug it off and hop on the sofa, ready to relax after a hard week. You wife joins you, this makes you feel comfortable. You put on a show you both enjoy and start to relax. After 5 minutes she starts talking about a co-worker who was being mean to her all day. You realize you’re stuck and just listen to the story.
After, you’re ready to finally get that spaghetti cooking and enjoy the meal you’ve been looking forward to all week. Your wife suddenly gets a text message from a friend, asking to meet up right now. After a short argument, you are now sitting at McDonald’s with another couple you don’t even like.
That example may be a bit exaggerated, but it happened to me quite a few times. It’s not happening anymore. In fact, I may even be the one sending the text message to hang out and ruining someone else’s evening.
Financially, it’s not always cheaper
I always thought being single would actually save me money. It doesn’t. Some things will be cheaper but most are -again- by society tailored towards couples or families.
You always have to buy too much in the supermarket. Almost every product is created for 2-4 persons so you will either have to get creative or toss a lot of things away, which is a shame in its own right. Buying things that ARE meant for a single person is often more expensive than buying a bigger portion. So your best bet is to go to local shops and markets where you can buy portions of your own choosing.
Electricity isn’t much better either. When you’re sitting in a room, with some lights on, it’s more economical to have a lot of people in there than just one. Especially if those other people are sharing in the costs of electricity. 25 Watts divided by 5 is better than divided by 1, when it comes to paying for it.
Same goes for cooking. Let’s say you’re boiling some potatoes. You’re single so you won’t be needing 6 of them, but your pot still needs to be brought to a boil. You can either buy smaller pots (which is smarter) or just cook fewer things in it. Here’s the thing: cooking 10 potatoes takes exactly as much time as 4 in the same quantity of water. Meaning you use electricity or gas less efficiently. This is, however, something that can be easily dealt with through decent meal planning and good use of your freezer.
Want to go on holiday? Prepare to pay supplements, just because you’re single! Outrageous.
Many, many things are trying to force us into relationships just to make life a bit easier. But we are not giving in, because there will always be a way to beat the system.
You probably won’t be buying your own property
Another financial downfall is that it will be a lot harder to buy an apartment or a house. Unless you are getting a LOT of help from family, friends and parents or you’re earning a VERY good wage, chances are you won’t be buying your own property when you’re single. Real estate prices are rising in most countries, so this is a reality you have to face.
You will explore more
We’re not young adults anymore who are shy to go outside. You’re 30+ now, time to get that confidence going and explore the world. The world is both huge and small, so start close to home.
Explore your own town or city first, find some new spots to love. You will meet new people in the craziest places, as long as you’re open for it. It’s just a load of fun to be single and just mingle in a bar. Laughs, funny stories, sad stories, …
Being single in your 30s is also the perfect time to go on your more adventurous travels. With a family, these tend to become harder to pull off. You probably wouldn’t be taking a 6 months old baby deep into the jungle, I hope. So go ahead and remove all those things from your bucket list.
You will get the sleep you need
Major difference between me and my friends with kids: being well-rested.
Hey, if it’s Saturday and I’m still feeling a bit tired from the week I can just take a nap. Nooooo problem. My friends, they can’t do that. The kids are up and running around, demanding both focus and attention at all times. There’s hardly even time for them to argue as a couple because they have 4 little ones running around. It would be my personal hell.
Got a hangover? Sleep it off, who’s stopping you? Just want to relax all day? Do it!
You will be chatting online a lot more
When I want a good conversation, I’ll talk to myself. When I’m bored and I want entertainment, I’ll use WhatsApp or Facebook or anything that has people online.
You can’t always have visitors over, or spend every evening at someone else’s place. Going to a bar on a daily basis is probably not a great idea either. So you will be spending more time just chatting online with your friends, just to keep that social contact going (why is this reminding me of The Sims?).
You will need to be disciplined and CLEAN UP
Well… I learned this the hard way. I thought “I can do what I want, I’ll leave those dishes in the sink for a week”. Until those little black flies start emerging and you’re stuck with a lot more work to do.
Same goes for clothes and general cleaning. It’s best to just do a daily basic sweep of your place to keep it tidy at least. You can do a more thorough cleaning once a week or once every two weeks.
It will also make you feel a lot less stressed when an unexpected visitor shows up!
You will have to endure the “you have a boy/girlfriend yet?” or “when are you going to have children?”
The worst of being single in your 30s is the expectation of having a family, by other families. It’s as if they are trying to justify their own decisions by forcing the rest of the world to enrol in the same life-altering program they did.
Your parents should be made clear that everything has its time and place. They usually won’t be the ones asking these annoying questions. It’s your aunts and uncles that will! Probably the ones who have been having marital problems for years but are still in denial.
The easiest way to deal with these questions is to just say: “Who says I don’t?” and walk away.
You will smell purposely bad on some days
Yeah, you read that right. Some days you’ll just stay indoors and not care about the outside world. These are the days where you just binge a series on Netflix without ever washing up.
And that’s ok, you’re not bothering anyone with this. Just don’t invite people over…
You might want to freeze some sperm or eggs
As time progresses, the quality of natural conception tends to diminish. A lot of people in their 30s who are not planning on having kids for a few years will decide to freeze their genetic material now. This way they will always have a backdoor in case natural conception isn’t working.
Strangely enough, most people I know when the opposite direction and chose to become infertile after they had their kids.
Me, I chose to become infertile because I never want to have kids.
You will learn to be alone and strong
The mistake many people make in relationships is that they rely too much on each other to accomplish even the simplest of tasks.
You, as a single, will have to pretty much do everything yourself or at least contact the right people to help you. No letting your husband or wife make that call you don’t want to, no asking for help to squish that scary spider and no begging your significant other to bring you food.
This may sound a bit intimidating and it is, at first. But after a while, you will become so confident in your abilities that you won’t miss a thing. In fact, you will take pity on people who have to rely on others all the time.
Living alone as a single in your first months really takes some adapting. You have to do everything yourself: cooking, cleaning, entertainment, laundry, … and it will consume quite a bit of time as you learn your way around things. Your initial results probably won’t be great either.
But with time comes experience and soon you will be the master of your home. Knowing how to fix every little problem and working on a tight system to get your chores done. After that, you can always plop on the sofa and have a nice cold beer or a tasty glass of wine.
These are some of the things that came to mind immediately when I thought about being single in my 30s. If you have other crazy ideas or observations, feel free to share them in the comments below!
As always, thanks for reading. If you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it. It will help me out a lot.