Why Singlehood is Harder for Men
In commiserating over the difficulty of dating, my friend mentioned off-hand that men don’t do as well as women single.
He didn’t mean men in their twenties and early thirties. Instead, he referred to men in their late thirties, forties, and beyond—men beyond the state of patrolling the bars until all hours with a gaggle of guy friends.
And he’s right.
Despite how our culture portrays men as fleeing the married state—and, once married, how we like to pretend that the married state chafes them—I’ve noticed that the men in my circles remarry pretty quickly after a divorce, whereas divorced women stay single a while (if not in perpetuity).
Humans need companionship. And our culture makes it hard for men to forge profound, nurturing friendships—especially when compared to women. For close personal connections, men need to get married.
Unless they forged a friendship in childhood and have a longstanding buddy relationship, a man feels uncomfortable reaching out to another man for dinner, a movie, or a cultural event. And a rare man would call another man to catch up or to unload his innermost thoughts, joys, and frustrations.
A man may gather with a few guys for a poker night or a round of golf, but as men get older and have obligations around careers and children and family, getting a group together grows harder. One-on-one meet-ups could happen more easily and would better foster deep conversation and connection, but a man meeting another individual male for an activity feels odd.
Friendships with women feel more natural for men, given the reduced cultural-norm baggage around a man calling a woman to spend time together and to talk. However, established adults of the opposite sex rarely spend time together outside dating or relationships. Casting an invitation for social time seems like an attempt to take the connection in a romantic direction.
Bring on the awkward. Again.
Without companionship and connectivity, single men get lonely. They feel disconnected. Their happiness falters. They quickly move to end their single status and, fortunately for them, the odds favor their plights: After forty, the dating odds favor men over women.
If only sifting through a greater number of options made it easy to find the ideal mate.
What do you think? Do single men have it easier or harder than single women?