Women want to be single, they just can't afford it.

Why don't you cook

We're all staying at a hotel if you want to book a room.

You should fix that weird patch on your wall. 

These are some things friends have said to me many times and they're also the things that I really want to do. The issue is, I can't afford to do them... not on my own. 

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Buying groceries for one person is weirdly more expensive than getting takeaway or eating out. There's more waste, no one's there to help you cook or take over when you've had a long day at work, you can't afford to diversify your meals and you end up eating the same thing for five weeks straight. 

Travelling is also more expensive. You can't share the costs of rooms, meals or rideshares. 

And I would love to fix that patch on my wall except that it's way too expensive and never seems to be a priority in my budget. 

The financial benefits people in relationships have over single people are rarely acknowledged. 

However, with the state of our economy in 2024, wealth disparities are becoming obvious with women realising that their choice to remain single is getting more and more difficult as the cost of living is now not only impacting our lifestyle decisions but our autonomy when it comes to being in a relationship. 


I asked some single women about the financial challenges they face that people in relationships don't. Here's what they said...


"Everything is literally double, starting with rent. I pay $705 a week and was seeing someone who paid $850 a week... We talked about moving in, because it made financial sense, but we broke up. 

Going to weddings/holidays — accommodation is split in half or if you're in a big group it's split by room, not by person. Also, having a car is more expensive due to not splitting fuel and services. 

Food is cheaper when you make it for two people (apart from obviously splitting the costs, but you have less waste). I don't even want to think about it as it's depressing. One of my friends also split the visa cost with her boyfriend to be in Australia. Mine cost me $15,000 as I was doing it all by myself. Her logic is 'If he wants me to be in Australia, he has to pay half of it'." 


"I am a single parent and it is extremely difficult. Although I receive financial help from my co-parent, this seems very tenuous and dependent on my ability to maintain what is a difficult relationship. I live in a big city and have no family help, so looking after a child and a household alone is a lot."


"I’m single and part of the reason I wish I had a partner to live with is that you pay HALF as much in rent. Rent in Sydney is insane and as it keeps getting worse, I continually get more jealous of my friends who live with partners."



"I'm a single mum to a nearly five-year-old daughter. Since divorcing my ex I have had no interest in a new relationship for the protection of myself and my child. 

This means rent and all bills are just from me. My biggest concern is having a permanent roof over our heads. I’m in western Sydney and can’t even afford an old two-bedroom unit right now. We live in a two-bedroom granny flat at $420 p/w. If I work a fifth day, I'm actually worse off due to the Child Care Subsidy only covering a certain amount. I can’t have a flatmate without taking on the risk of compromising our security. 

When I first split from my ex, my electricity bills were about $350-$400 per quarter, but now I’m lucky to have one as low as $600 without increasing usage. Everything has risen substantially except my pay which only goes up 2-3% per year." 

From the responses above, it's clear that single women are struggling financially. But what about the women in relationships who can't even afford to be single even though they want to? 

I also asked women what financial benefits they gain from being in a relationship...


"I now live in the US, so my main obstacle is health insurance. I was raised as a conservative Christian and got married at 20 and had five kids (an OG trad wife). I’m no longer religious but because I have two kids with health concerns, I can’t leave my husband. I have to be home caring for my kids instead of getting a job. If it weren’t for the health insurance, I would have left years ago. In my wildest dreams, I someday have a minimum wage job, live with female roommates, and have a dog." 



"Benefits: I was able to buy a house because of dual income. I’ve been able to buy a car, using partially their money instead of getting a loan. I’ve been able to travel with my girlfriends because there’s someone else home to worry about paying bills on time, etc. I can eat more organic foods, because two incomes are contributing to this. I can afford to pick whichever meal I want because the money comes out of our joint account. 

Buying gifts for others is cheaper because we share the costs (but then there’s also double the amount of people to buy gifts for). I have no stress about money because I have someone else to rely on if I am ‘struggling’ one month. 

Concerns: If I left this relationship, it would be so messy because of the joint assets and accounts. I would then need to spend money on lawyers which I would struggle to fund independently. If I left this relationship, I wouldn’t live such a ‘carefree’ money lifestyle, and I wouldn’t be able to travel or have drinks with the girls like I can now. I’d have to find somewhere to live and can’t afford to buy, nor could I likely find a rental in this climate."

If you want more culture opinions by Emily Vernem, you can follow her on Instagram @emilyvernem.

The women in this article are known to Mamamia, but their names have been changed to protect their privacy.

Feature image: Canva.