· By Case Kenny
The rise of lonely, single men
Last week an article in Psychology Today titled 'The Rise of Lonely, Single Men' went viral. It said that men have become “more likely than women to be unpartnered, which wasn’t the case 30 years ago.”
It cited a Pew Research study that said the reason behind this was “dating opportunities for heterosexual men are diminishing as healthy relationship standards increase."
From my perspective I think this makes a bit of sense. Women are much more comfortable now more than ever to be single and to not lower their standard to just be in a relationship. Couple that with the fact that apparently men make up 62% of dating app users, so supply and demand - women have more choices, and they’re not looking to rush into something with someone who isn't serious.
It’s great to see women refusing to settle.
On the flip side, I see the continued trend that men need to step into, develop and practice emotional intelligence.
Self honesty. Self intimacy. Self vulnerability.
This article reminds me of a very important topic. Here in 2022 we have en epidemic of loneliness - both men and women. We have a dating pool filled with lonely people.
We need to remind ourselves that loneliness is NOT a good reason to date.
Specifically, dating to treat the symptom of loneliness is not a good reason to date.
Do you think you’re truly capable of giving or receiving someone’s love, connection, energy, attention if YOU can’t be alone with yourself?
Do you think you’re truly capable of giving or receiving someone’s love, connection, energy, attention if YOU can’t sit and be with all elements of yourself? The dark side, the insecure side, the lonely side?
Do you think it’s a good idea to hide your loneliness in the form of dating someone else? To sweep it under the rug? To escape it?
Loneliness is part of the human experience but it’s not really what we think it is.
There’s a bunch of research that shows that loneliness is not caused by being alone physically - it’s caused by a lack of relationships that feel deep and satisfying.
But a lot of the time we don’t take the time to see the difference. To date as a means to escape literal loneliness is skipping over the cause. You should date, yes, but date as a means to discover connection… not treat the symptom.
Don't date just to treat the symptom.
WHY are you lonely? What in your life is lacking connection? Specifically? Radically specifically? Maybe it's the fact that you haven't done the inner work, you're never fully sat and just been with yourself to figure out YOU.
You’ve never challenged yourself and your conditioning. (cough cough men cough) You’ve been escaping that by dating around, by hooking up, by running when things get serious.
According to the research women (and men) aren’t putting up with that escapism attitude anymore. And so you have a lot of lonely people...
The answer isn’t to try to cancel out or escape that loneliness by dating around… the answer is to define the connection that would make that loneliness not exist.
What connection would be worth it to you? What connection would mean you’re willing to look your conditioning in the eye and challenge it? What connection would mean you’re willing to get uncomfortable?
There's a difference between dating to escape loneliness and dating to challenge loneliness. Treating and curing.
To challenge loneliness is to say "I am defining the connection I’m looking for. That is my objective." The objective is the WHY. It’s not a warm body. It’s not the hookup. It’s not having someone to flirt with. Know the difference both in yourself and others.
Challenging loneliness is finding intimacy within yourself FIRST. It’s an intimacy that is open and honest and most of all challenges your prior conditioning.
If you’re lonely… what are your needs? Not the BS needs… the aversion you have to being single, the symptom: the comparison, the lonely nights, the 3rd wheeling, etc.
What are the deep down, no BS needs you have? Men, get to the point of figuring this out. Stop dancing around it. Stop saying you’ll figure that out one day.
Stop saying you're broken. It’s easy to treat the symptoms… swipe, date, hookup, next. Get serious. Learn about yourself first. Learn what you need.
On the receiving end of someone else's loneliness?
Learn to spot the difference between someone who just wants your love and your presence to treat their symptoms of loneliness AND someone who wants it because it fulfills the connection they deserve... and they're willing to work for it and prove it.
What do their actions tell you? Are they treating you like a placeholder because that’s what they want? Are they just surface level? Is there depth to your connection?
Do they show interest in you beyond your presence? Physical presence? Do they only talk about the present? Do you feel like they are compensating for something? Moving too fast? Moving too slow? Something is just off?
Ask yourself those questions and react from a place of honesty.
Know the difference both in yourself and in others: escaping OR working to find the connection that is deserved.