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Single vs Single Parent

(20 Posts)
GrandDesespoir Wed 08-Feb-17 12:50:04

Inspired by another thread (but not a TAAT).

Is it unreasonable of me to think that being single and childless (or child-free, but particularly childless) is very different to being a single parent? I'm not saying it's necessarily better or worse - I think it's sometimes more lonely, but probably less stressful - although I do get a little cross when people say they live alone when they actually share their home with children who love them. It's also very easy to feel marginalised if you are neither part of a couple, nor a parent.

I'm sure that being a single parent must bring with it a lot of worries and difficulties, but not having a partner or children can feel spectacularly shit sometimes, particularly at this time of year (dark and cold, Christmas, Valentine's Day, Mothers' Day, etc.).

Not particularly trying to argue one way or the other, but would be interested to read people's thoughts.

pseudonymph Wed 08-Feb-17 12:56:11

I'm not sure comparing the two is particularly helpful. But, being single and (involuntarily) childless can be spectacularly lonely for sure.

SaucyJack Wed 08-Feb-17 13:05:03

I do get what you mean, but I also think the SP's experience of loneliness will depend on the age of their children as well.

Small children are pretty cruddy company most of the time. All take, no give. You can go weeks without feeling like you've had a conversation with someone even as a single parent.

minipie Wed 08-Feb-17 13:05:50

I think it's sometimes more lonely, but probably less stressful

I think a single, childless person has more opportunity to make friends or meet a partner than a single parent. So would be more lonely in that they don't live with anyone (unless they have a flatmate), but more chance of having adult relationships.

I think being a single parent is about a million billion times more stressful and harder work than being a single childless person.

Macaroni22 Wed 08-Feb-17 13:12:09

If you're single with children they are normally in bed at 7pm so you are alone every evening. Being single with no children you have the freedom to go out whenever you want to socialise/meet people.
Financially both sides are 'living alone'.
Not really sure of the reason to compare the two?

EnormousTiger Wed 08-Feb-17 13:16:37

I've never been lonely in my life. I cannot wait for all the children to leave later this year - heaven on earth..... we are all made differently.

Yes it is different living with children (much harder work lovely though they are) and much easier living alone. I don't subscribe to the view that it is lonely and horrible living entirely alone - it is what more and more people seek and adore.

harderandharder2breathe Wed 08-Feb-17 13:17:22

I'm single with no children, I live alone. I have infinitely more choice and freedom than I would if I was a lone parent to a young child (no local family at all). So yabu.

GrandDesespoir Wed 08-Feb-17 13:18:09

I'm not sure comparing the two is particularly helpful.

No, perhaps not. Just musing...

MaisieDotes Wed 08-Feb-17 13:19:31

I found being a single parent much lonelier than being single.

But that was just my experience and it isn't a competition.

BlueFolly Wed 08-Feb-17 13:21:30

I've never been lonely in my life me too, well sort of. The only time I've ever felt lonely was when unhappily married. I think being a single parent would be worse for those tending towards loneliness as so many opportunities to meet up with friends are curtailed.

diamondsforapril Wed 08-Feb-17 13:21:35

Friends are lovely but it can be hard after a certain age as naturally their focus is on their own husbands, children and parents.

I find events like Christmas, Easter, a challenger.

MuseumOfCurry Wed 08-Feb-17 13:22:30

Sorry if you're having a rough time, OP.

Having young children can be incredibly isolating. On bad days, it feels a lot worse than just being alone. Now that my boys are older they are great company but not as much 10 years ago.

jeaux90 Wed 08-Feb-17 13:24:39

Yep being a single parent (especially the early years) I was more lonely than in my single years.

hellomarshmallow Wed 08-Feb-17 13:41:40

I've been a single parent and it's utterly exhausting. This is the key difference between both situations.

It's a strange sort of lonely at times, as it would be nice to share happy/stressful/... times with someone equally invested in the DC. I'm sure being single and childless brings its own emotional challenges for some people.

I agree with PP in that I don't think it's a useful comparison. I think it very much depends on the individual.

hellomarshmallow Wed 08-Feb-17 13:43:55

minipie i love the million billion. Totally agree smile

DoraChance Wed 08-Feb-17 13:49:34

I'm a single parent and am constantly exhausted, and it's also very lonely, particularly these long winter evenings.

cherryblossomcarpet Wed 08-Feb-17 13:54:20

I'd didn't feel isolated or lonely when I was single and childless. I had the freedom to have a great career as I had no responsibilities so could work crazy hours, and do the necessary networking in the evenings. I could go out when I wanted to, go to the gym when I wanted to, and generally have a life.

Now with two preschoolers (and a DH) I am lonely, exhausted and isolated. I haven't had an unbroken night's sleep in 4 years. My life revolves around other people's needs. I can't go out, go to the gym, meet friends etc, without major juggling and childcare expenses as DH works away. 90% of the time where I manage to organise something, it falls through, as one of the kids is ill, the sitter cancels, or DH lets me down.

I can only imagine how much harder it must be for a single parent than it is for me.

megletthesecond Wed 08-Feb-17 13:55:30

I had a social life and friends when I was single and childless.

Now I'm a lp and have zero social life (no phone calls and barely any emails either) and not much energy.

BitchQueen90 Wed 08-Feb-17 14:14:29

I'm a single parent and I don't feel lonely at all, nor did I when I was single and childless. Nowadays I'm stressed and overworked at times, yes, but not lonely. But then I've got family nearby, a good group of friends and no desire for a partner or a relationship anyway. Only difference is now I'm at home with a glass of wine most nights instead of being in a pub with a glass of wine most nights like I was before I had DS. 😉

I think it's one of those things that is entirely dependent on a person's individual situation and feelings. I felt lonelier when I was married than I do being single.

PartyPolitics Wed 08-Feb-17 14:24:00

I am single and have one child, been that way for 8 years. Prior to this I lived alone for around a decade and prior to that lived with a partner for a decade. The only time I've ever felt lonely was when I lived with my ex. I think it's quite unusual to be happiest in your own company though and know that many lone parents feel awfully lonely. Like others have said, when your single and childless you can go out and do stuff, socialise, do hobbies etc. Much more opportunity to meet people. I certainly did although I admit I am secretly pleased I don't have to bother so much these days. Being a LP is the perfect excuse to turn down invites to things you'd rather not attend like work do's.

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