Self

Accounting for the Costs of Living Alone

The oft-hailed benefits of living alone have lesser mentioned downsides that should be managed.

Sean Kernan
5 min readFeb 21, 2024

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Myself and my +1 for life, Laura.

“So this is my new life,” I thought, standing in the open front door, surveying my home and taking in all the change. I set down my bag and took a deep, measured breath.

I’d been out of town on a work trip, and my then-wife had agreed to move out. The entire divorce experience — from start to finish — was difficult and deeply emotional. But we knew this was the first step to moving forward.

My living room was missing pieces of furniture. Our dog was gone (she was my ex’s before we met). The house felt eerily quiet, and seemed to whisper back at me, “So what do we do now?” As a married man, there’d always been so much activity at my home, be it through social gatherings, taking the dog on walks, conversation, or the TV blaring. Now, it was all silence.

And as scary as it was on that first night, I quickly learned to love my life. I could dominate the temperature and send my Floridian house into a deep winter without regard for anyone else’s survival. My thermostat went into overdrive and TECO Electric sent me thank you cards.

I kid — of course, but only partially. It’s worth emphasizing: the freedom was incredible. The lack of negotiating on little things like TV and not needing to tip-toe when someone else was sleeping, shone a bright light on my newfound autonomy. I learned the true value of quiet, with no annoying shows blasting in other rooms while I tried to focus. I spent entire weekends with only a few words being spoken.

I finally took up a writing hobby, which had been elusive by own hand, but finally came into being, leading me to you here on Medium.

Then, I began evangelizing the beauty of living alone. And with some degree of joy, I rubbed it in my married friends’ faces, who were buried in toddlers, and celebrating an uninterrupted night of sleep like they’d discovered a rare gem.

But over the coming years — I was reminded of the hidden costs of bachelorhood, and living alone. My monthly bills hit way harder. Splitting on some indulgent purchases was no longer an option…

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Sean Kernan

Writer and writing instructor. Always on the hunt for a good story. That guy from Quora. Writing out of Tampa, Florida.