When you’ve been used to sharing a home with family, roommates, or significant others, striking out on your own can be a disorienting transition to a new lifestyle – one that has its pros and cons. Living alone isn’t something everyone would choose, but at the very least, it can teach you a lot about yourself.
I’ll be honest – I personally love living alone. I’ve had my own apartment for a little less than a year now, sharing it only with my dog, and I find it suits me well. I can’t imagine having it any other way any time soon.
But it does come with its challenges.
Pro: For an introvert, it can be heaven. Not only do I live here, I also work from home, so I spend a lot of time at my place. But that doesn’t mean I’m a homebody; my social life has actually blossomed since I made these changes. I get enough at-home time to recharge my social batteries that I can go out more often on evenings and weekends. And no roommates means fewer casualties to my “I don’t want to deal with people right now” moods.
Con: For an extrovert, it could be hellish. Now, very few people are 100% introverted or extroverted, and even party animals need their downtime. But just like I get overwhelmed when my calendar is too busy, an extrovert might go nuts not having anyone around to talk to, even if it’s just idle chitchat.
Pro: Most bills are lower. Now that I’m doing half the laundry and dishes, live in a much smaller space that uses less heat and electricity, and buy only the groceries I want, I felt pretty good seeing my monthly expenses go down.
Con: They’re all on me. I can’t deny that splitting costs with a roommate would save me some money, but that’s a call everyone has to make about their living arrangements – is it worth the extra expense to have such privacy and independence? For me, that’s a yes.
Pro: I don’t have to share food with anyone, or make meal plans or grocery lists with anyone else’s tastes in mind. I can get annnnny pizza toppings I want and eat all the little spicy peppers that come with it.
Con: Cooking for one can suck. I don’t mind cooking at all when I’m making a meal to share with others, but I just don’t get excited about cooking for myself, and scaling down larger recipes can be a pain (unless you’re just a huge fan of leftovers). And there’s no dietary accountability, no one to make me think twice about eating a whole box of jalapeno poppers in one sitting or support each other in making healthy choices.
Pro: No one to argue with over what you’re going to watch next on Netflix.
Con: No one to help you decide what you’re going to watch next on Netflix.
Pro: My dog is in many ways the ideal roommate. He’s chill. He keeps me grounded, in some ways, because I know he depends on me and trusts me. We never get in dramatic roommate squabbles, and he doesn’t get a bite of my food unless he does something for me first.
Con: A human roommate can be left alone overnight and doesn’t need to be taken outside to do his business when the windchill is in the negatives. It’s all part of owning a dog whether you’re single or not, but I’ll freely admit it was easier when I had someone at home to help.
Pro: Everything is exactly where I put it and organized the way I like it.
Con: There’s no one else to blame or yell at when stuff turns up missing or broken.
Pro: All the drawers, cabinets, and closets are mine. Everything within these walls is my territory to do with what I please. I’ve slowly been decorating my little shoebox with my own flavor of geekish hippie IKEA addict, and it feels good that every decorative choice reflects me and not a compromised blend of me +1.
Con: Ever try to hang curtains without someone’s help? Level a frame? Mount a mirror? Move a sleeper sofa? Independence is great and all, but I can’t say I’ve never smashed a toe, dropped something, or otherwise made a huge mess trying to DIY something I shouldn’t have.
Pro: All the privacy I could ever crave. As long as the blinds are shut and the door is locked, it can be Naked Time anytime!
Con: Erm, I can’t really think of a bad side to Naked Time.
I’ve talked to just as many women who hate living alone as I have to women who love it. It’s a distinct lifestyle that can be a little more complicated from the inside that it would look from the outside. But, no matter what side you’re on, it’s worth remembering that the grass will sometimes looks greener across the fence.
Marisa is a professional writer/editor and creative writing teacher living in southwest Ohio with her mutt. Recently divorced, she is busy enjoying the single life and all the adventures it offers. She believes the sexiest thing you can do is love yourself first, and is a champion of clear communication and listening to your gut as well as your heart. Got a question for Marisa? Write to firstname.lastname@example.org