Structural discrimination against single people is the latest topic chosen by our Patreon donors. It is sooooo like them to throw research-heavy bummers my way. Thanks a lot, you beneficent bastards!
I used to think that the biggest financial turning point in my life was when I stopped being self-employed (read “chronically underemployed”) and got a Big Girl Job™ with a steady paycheck and health benefits. It was transformational. I felt suddenly, magically middle class. Like the fairy godmother turned down the heat on her princess-making magic wand to something just as good, but slightly less flashy.
But now, I question if that was really my greatest turning point. Because around the same time, I started dating a friend of mine. Financial pressures pushed us to commit to moving in together almost immediately. In the jumble of first/last/security payments on a new apartment and a flurry of Craigslist secondhand furniture purchases, it took a while to feel any financial benefits to partnership.
I see more clearly now how much dual incomes and shared expenses contributed to our long-term stability, to a magnitude no job could ever touch.
At the structural level, our economy financially punishes single people. I think it often rises to the level of discrimination. But even when it doesn’t, single people statistically have less financial security, and thus will feel “normal” economic strains faster than partnered people.
I’m striving with all my being to discuss this topic without making an “all the single ladies” joke. 2008 was four hundred years ago, and I’m clinging to cultural relevancy with only my fingertips.Read More