Here Are The All Single Men! September 16, 2009Posted by Onely in Food for Thought.
Tags: happy single men
Ok, well *one* single man, anyway. Onely received the following thoughts from Matt when we called for input from single men. I am reposting Matt’s comments here because they segue nicely with our preceding QuirkyAlone post.
Single, 29-year-old man from Ohio here. I appreciate the consideration in asking for our input. Like many here, I’ve long found being single the most natural state for me, despite social pressures otherwise. I think part of it is that I’m very independent, and I find it hard to really be my own person in a committed, monogamous relationship. Trying to squeeze myself into the mold of 1/2-of-a-couple has always made me feel quite claustrophobic and contorted. Not that I don’t respect those who enjoy it… in fact I’ve spent most of my life trying to force myself to want that coupled state which society considers ‘healthy,’ despite the fact that it’s never felt right. Rather than initiating relationships and then dealing with drama, I generally just remain single.
Single, 35-year-old woman here. I identify with every single sentence, which speaks to the fact that the “satisfied single” experience is not necessarily all that different between men and women, even though men are underrepresented in public dialogs on the subject. I too find it hard to be my own person in a relationship–not necessarily because the relationship constricts me, but because I constrict myself. I am a giving person by nature, and I tend to give too much and not even realize I’m doing that, until I’ve bled out some key parts of myself and made some compromises I should not have made. Your standard committed romantic relationship brings out this tendency in me if I’m not careful. And usually, I am not careful.
I get mixed reactions. I face a lot of pressure from my family, as I am the youngest of 5 children, and all of the rest are married. No matter how clear I try to make it that I’m happy as I am, they seem to see it as simply a matter of time (and by now, I’m very tardy!) My good guy-friends, though relationship-cravers themselves, seem to be fairly accepting. For the most part I don’t really know what others think, because I generally don’t bring it up!
Christina again: Copious Readers, have you noticed any tendency among your friends for one gender to be more or less accepting of your uncoupled or unmarried status? All my friends are pretty open.
I’ve consulted most of the sources as the rest… Quirkyalone, this site, Singled Out… while they may be written somewhat to a female perspective, I still have found them valuable, as I think many of the issues are the same. Some things which can also be helpful are ’spiritual’ resources such as Buddhist readings, the Bhagavad-Gita, or whatever floats your boat… while they may not directly deal with singledom, the lessons they teach about happiness independent from external circumstances, trusting you inner self, etc., have a certain relevance. After all, if you can find a peaceful mindset and be content with yourself and your life, your relationship status and how others view it isn’t something you’re going to be preoccupied with. Easier said than done, of course =)
In terms of difficulties, I think that many of them are the same as those facing women. I agree with Laurence that there are various stereotypes that people make about single men. Are you a serial killer? Gay? Just extremely selfish? Perhaps that’s one difference… while people may see a single woman as unlucky, just not having found the one, they may be more likely to see a single guy as selfish and even predatory for wanting to take part in society without making the sacrifice of committing himself to a woman, 2.5 children, a dog and a minivan.
I think that single women are also seen as selfish sometimes. Copious Readers, have you heard of single women being called selfish? Actually maybe I’m thinking about childfree women more than single women. (Lisa indirectly got called selfish for not wanting children.) However, I agree that single women are definitely not portrayed as predators to the extent single men are. Thinking about this, I’m not sure whether to be relieved or insulted. What, are we not strong enough to be predators? Are we not forceful enough? Hey, we can be intimidating and scheming too!
Another issue is one that I suppose women also have to deal with, which is that for most people there is, well… a sexual imperative. And in men this is actually a physical necessity. Regardless of how you handle this, obviously there is somewhat of an internal conflict, as most heterosexual men can’t simply ignore their attraction to females, regardless of whether or not they actually want to permanently couple… reconciling this and how to deal with it is part of the confusion of being a (happily) single man.
Interesting. . . I’m going to say that hetero women definitely can also have trouble ignoring their attraction to men. It may or may not be generally harder for men; I don’t know. But then for both sexes we get into the corollary issue of (as you said) how to reconcile the sex drive with our society’s tendency to only sanction sex in the context of coupledom (or impending coupledom).
Here’s an interesting scientific observation — Married men tend to have significantly lower testosterone levels than unmarried men: http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/2002/09.19/01-testosterone.html
Anyhow, thanks for remembering us Onely guys and asking for our input.
Thanks so much for inputting, Matt! We really appreciate your taking time to comment so thoughtfully.
Christina (and Lisa)