What Are the Disadvantages of Being Single?

Though being single can bring the advantages of freedom, time to yourself and sole control over decisions such as where you live, there are also disadvantages associated with the single life. Being single can have a negative effect on your emotional well-being, your finances and even your health. When deciding upon your ideal relationship status, it is important to consider the drawbacks of being without a partner or spouse.

Increased Stress

If you find yourself single, you may be affected by increased stress. Research conducted as part of RAND’s Center for the Study of Aging and documented in a study by Lee A. Lillard and Constantijn W.A. Panis found that never-married men miss out on a variety of health benefits obtained by married men, including "a home atmosphere that reduces stress and stress-related illnesses."

Decreased Finances

While both dating and treating that special someone can prove expensive, being single could also leave you out of pocket. Published in October 2003, a "BusinessWeek" article entitled “The Unmarried Penalty” highlighted the financial disadvantages faced by single individuals. These included fewer employment benefits, higher levels of unemployment, lower wages and lower social security and unemployment benefits. Singles are also more likely to face poverty, with single mothers being worst off. According to the National Poverty Centre, “In 2008, 28.7 per cent of households headed by single women were poor, while 13.8 per cent of households headed by single men and 5.5 per cent of married-couple households lived in poverty.”

Lowered Health

Your marital status can also impact your health and longevity. A Center for Disease Control report which examined over 127,000 adults between 1999 and 2002 found that married people were healthier than their single counterparts. (Amongst all ethnicities, ages and levels of income and education, divorced, widowed, never-married and cohabiting adults were found to be more likely to be physically inactive, to smoke regularly and to drink excessively. Single people were also found to be more likely to suffer from health problems such as aches and pains, headaches and serious psychological distress.

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About the Author

A freelance writer since 2007, Mary Horgan has written widely on a variety of lifestyle topics, including education, sports, food, tourism and fashion. Her work has been published on sites such as and Horgan is currently studying for a Bachelor of Arts in English language and literature at King's College London.