Experts suggest it’s because women build ‘stronger platonic relationships’
Relationships charity Relate has recently revealed that single men feel more pressure to find a partner than their female counterparts, with over 70% of single men claiming they feel ‘significant pressure’ to couple up compared to 58% of single women.
The charity, which aims to promote healthy relationships in society, polled over 4,000 people from a variety of backgrounds living in the UK. Just over 1,400 of those surveyed were single. Relate also polled over 600 users of the dating website eharmony.
Age as well as gender identity played a part in the way respondents felt about societal pressure. Results revealed that “younger respondents were also more likely to report feeling pressure to find a relationship than older ones – around a third of those aged 18-34 (30% of those aged 18-24 and 32% of those aged 25-34) said that they feel this often or all the time.”
Experts claim that the disparity between single men and women may be due to the fact that women tend to build stronger platonic relationships. “Men’s friendships are often based on shared activities (e.g., poker or golfing buddies), and are more ‘transactional’– reciprocating favours and working together on projects. In other words, men share activities, women share feelings.”
Ronald Reggio, Henry R. Kravis Professor of Leadership and Organisational Psychology at Claremont McKenna suggested in an article for Psychology Today. And in 2015, The Telegraph claimed that more than 2.5 million British men ‘have no close friends” and said that they feel this often or all the time.) This goes some way to explain why 47% of single men who took the survey associated being single with loneliness compared to 43% of women.
Women also have modern feminism to thank for their relative contentment. While women’s liberation movements have reminded us that we don’t need a partner to be whole, men have not enjoyed the benefits of a similar men’s liberation movement (not to be confused with dubious ‘men’s rights’ movements). Patriarchy’s negative influence on men have not been extensively explored, and only recently have men been encouraged to think critically about how preconceived gender roles and toxic masculinity may negatively affect them.
Despite some feeling under pressure to find a new love interest, the organisers of the survey found that being single was “by no means all doom and gloom”, with 61% of British singles claiming that independence was one of the advantages of being unattached, and 45% of singles agreeing that being single allows them to have more time for themselves. “I’ve used this time to become happy with myself and love who I am, which has actually now put me in a better frame of mind to date again,” one eharmony user said.
Words: Ebere Nweze
Photos: Getty Images
This article originally appeared on The Debrief