Today, we have more lonely, single men than ever before. This is particularly concerning as, unlike many women, men struggle to be on their own and suffer more as a result. In heterosexual relationships, women usually maintain friendships for the couple, but when men are single, they don’t have someone pulling them to socialize with other people (usually another couple), causing loneliness.
The obvious cost of loneliness is the emotional turmoil it causes a person, however, the relationships we have in our lives have more of an impact on our physical health than many realize. In fact, the longest study on happiness showed that even the role of genetics proved less important to longevity than the level of satisfaction with relationships.
But this isn’t just a concern for men. On a societal level, men who are single and unhappy cause issues because men are naturally more aggressive. As a result, they’re more likely to act out with violence.
Dating Apps and Social Media
Psychologist Dr. Greg Matos says that because men make up the majority of dating apps (upwards of 62%), women are overwhelmed by the number of options they have. Competition is greater than ever before and the chances of meeting someone in person are rarer, especially in the post-Covid, remote-working world we find ourselves in.
The problem with dating apps (among many) is that if a man is unable to present himself properly online, he’s less likely to get matches. He may be more attractive in person, but if he can’t take a decent picture or write a coherent bio, then women will swipe past him.
Before the rise of social media, men and women would typically settle down with someone in their local area. Now, with apps such as Instagram, women can build a profile and interact with high-status men from around the globe. This means that the man in a stable job who lives just down the road may not be as attractive a relationship prospect as he would have been for previous generations.
With a greater dating pool size, women are becoming increasingly more selective.
With a greater dating pool size, women are becoming increasingly more selective. According to Dr. Matos, women want men who are “emotionally available,” “good communicators,” and “who share their values.” They have less patience for poor communication skills today, which is creating a “relationship skills gap” that, if not addressed, will lead to fewer dating opportunities for some men.
Lonely Men and the Manosphere
Gone are the days when women would have to rely on a man to support them financially. Before women had equal access to education and jobs, they had no choice other than to settle down and marry a man with a stable income. This meant that even unattractive men who didn’t have a lot going for them could offer financial security, at the very least. Now, what do they have to offer?
According to British journalist James Bloodworth, this is just one of the contributing factors to the growing number of single men. The low success on dating apps perpetuates the idea they’re undesirable to all women. With so few matches, they transpose this onto real life, believing they will be alone forever. When these men turn to mainstream outlets for advice, they’re provided with a “Disney-fied” version of the dating realm and are told to just “be themselves” and the right person will come along and love them as they are.
The low success on dating apps perpetuates the idea they're undesirable to all women.
These men soon realize that this is, in fact, not true and so go in search of alternative views, where they come across the manosphere. Bloodworth defines the manosphere as “made up of pickup artists (PUAs), involuntary celibates (incels), men’s rights activists, as well as ‘Men Going Their Own Way’ (MGTOW). PUAs try to lure women into bed with tactics and manipulation, whereas incels blame women’s sexual liberation for their failure to find a partner. Men’s rights activists express […] a ‘nostalgic yearning for ancient societal rules and stereotypes,’ while MGTOWs aim to live their lives free from female contact.”
For incels, in particular, they become part of an echo chamber that perpetuates the idea they all have no hope of ever finding a woman who will commit to them and will forever be alone. Many in the incel community blame feminism and the sexual revolution for their difficulties in finding a woman (and to a certain extent, this has influenced it), believing that there should be a “mandated redistribution of sex” to solve the issue. However, alongside “enforced monogamy” (this is culturally enforced monogamy, where men and women are encouraged by society to commit to one person, not the act of physically forcing women to be with undesirable men), the real answer to the problem lies with men themselves.
What Can Men Do About It?
Contrary to the manosphere encouraging men to be emotional robots, Dr. Matos recommends men “level up [their] mental health game. That means getting into some individual therapy to address [their] skills gap. It means valuing [their] own internal world and respecting [their] ideas enough to communicate them effectively. It means seeing intimacy, romance, and emotional connection as worthy of [their] time and effort.”
Men can generate the love life they want.
Self-improvement seems to be a consistent message to the men suffering from fewer dates. During a conversation on the Triggernometry podcast, Bloodworth, who has done extensive research into the manosphere, recommends these men make a conscious effort to improve their lives in order to be more attractive to women. Going to the gym, picking a hobby, starting a business, and dressing well will not only make these men happier in themselves, but they may find women are more attracted to them too.
Although dating apps offer a quick, convenient solution to finding a partner, these apps omit the best parts of a person. Those with the most attractive photo may not have the kindest heart, and the guy with a poorly written bio might be the funniest person in every room. These are things we only learn from face-to-face interactions with people.
The constant rejection many men are facing on dating apps doesn’t necessarily correlate to how successful they will be when meeting women in person, and it’s important men realize this. Daters filter out many suitable matches when swiping on dating apps, but attraction grows easier in real-life situations.
Luckily, it’s not all doom and gloom like the manosphere claims, and men can take this situation into their own hands and improve their chances of finding love. Whether that’s through therapy or going to the gym, or both, by committing to themselves and their mental health, men can generate the love life they want. But will they step up to the plate?
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