It is true that being single prepares you to lead a stronger and more courageous life. It forces you to deal with certain situations because there is no one else to do it.
I pay all my bills and take care of savings and my retirement plan. I read a few books and blogs so that I could understand money better, because I knew if I didn’t do it no one would. My father passed away when I was in high school, so I missed out on a lot of those daddy-daughter lessons like parallel parking and finances. Also, no one threatens the boys I date because my mom is all too excited to see me with someone.
I had to learn a lot on my own, including intimidating men which apparently I do very well (pansies!). But if I was in a long term relationship or a marriage I may not have to do this. Typically skills around money and house repairs fall to the man in the relationship. I never learned how to change a tire sadly, it actually intimidates me. I am incredibly afraid of not getting the bolts on tightly and the wheel flies off on the highway. But for the things that I don’t know, I found resources to help. I have a guy that does my taxes, good friends that repair cars and AAA membership. I can read a map and stay calm when I am lost. I have a friend that is a cop, when I need a little more help.
I was thinking about this very idea this week. I hit a financial bump in the road that is throwing me for a big loop. It is scary to have that happen when you are alone, no one to rely on but yourself to bring in enough money.
I got really upset because it is a scary situation. Let’s just say there is a tax error from 2010 and the IRS is not happy with me. In top of that I have some major car repairs due. It’s bad timing. I got upset and I cried because I was scared, embarrassed for being where I am financially and feeling very alone dealing with this problem. I actually cried for a long time, the kind of crying where you stop and you think you’re ok and then it starts again for no reason. I just let it happen.
I reached out for comfort from a guy that I am dating, I had hoped that hearing his voice would cheer me up. I got his voicemail and tried to leave a vague and chipper message “Just saying hi!” So ultimately I had to pull myself together.
And I did. I reassured myself that things would be ok, that I had options and ways to work on this problem. That I was strong, and flexible and there are always ways to make money. I started to work on my resume to apply for a job I found that would be a great fit for me. I went to bed early, and woke up feeling ready to tackle my day.
This is an underrated skill of being single. We get the privilege to learn our own finances and repairs. If we choose to couple up someday, we come to the table with skills that equal (or may surpass!) our partner. We don’t need to be babied or rescued.
And while it is nice to have support from friends or a partner, we can self soothe. We cry it out if we need to, but we don’t need anyone else to fix our problems. We can learn to do it ourself. Sometimes it does take trial and error and lessons get learned the hard way, but more than anything we learn the strength to rely on ourself.