Here I look at the data for England and Wales on marriage and cohabitation, and also a recent Pew Research survey of dating and relationship status in the USA.
For those who would lament the decline of intimate relationships, there are disconcerting signs of this in the younger age range (under 30). My review of marriage and cohabitation is effectively an introduction to the Pew survey which seems to provide the clearest picture of the declining interest in intimate relationships amongst the under 30s. But most revealing are the comments left by viewers of a CNN programme which presented the findings of that Pew survey. I include a sample of those comments at the end of this article. They suggest a picture of a broken society.
Readers will be aware of the declining popularity of marriage. The extent of this decline may be gauged through the absolute data (number of marriages annually). An alternative measure is the marriage rate, defined as number of marriages per year per 1,000 in the unmarried population. The upper graph in Figure 1 shows the decline in the absolute numbers of marriages annually, whilst the lower graph shows the even steeper decline in marriage rate terms. For men, the peak marriage rate, in 1972, was 84 per thousand unmarried men. By 2019 this had dropped to 18.6 per thousand, barely more than one-fifth of its peak rate.
However, I caution you against falling into the same trap of misinterpretation that I fell into myself initially. The steep decline in marriage rate is partly a result of people getting married later. Because of that, the percentage of people who are unmarried has increased. Since the number of unmarried people serves as the denominator in the definition of marriage rate, this drives down the marriage rate – and this would be the case even if the percentage of people who marry eventually remained the same. Statistics, eh? One needs be careful.
On the other hand, absolute numbers of marriages provides an under-estimate of the extent of the decline in the popularity of marriage when the overall population has been increasing. A better measure of the current popularity of marriage is simply the percentage of people who are married (in which I include civil partnerships). This is given by Figure 2.
This provides a rather different picture for those in midlife to retirement age (40 to 69), for which about 65% are currently married.
However, far fewer people in their early 30s are married, and an extremely small percentage of the under 30s. Is this merely because people are getting married later, or does it mark a change in the habits and wishes of younger people? The former will certainly account for some of it, but there are signs that the latter – a genuine turning away from marriage – is occurring among the young.
One needs to be slightly careful of the data in the 16 – 29 age range. One would hardly expect many 16 or 17 year olds to be married (and this has just been made illegal in the UK). This will bias down the percentage married in the 16 – 29 age range. On the other hand, it is worth recalling that, 50 years ago, most women were married with children in their 20s. (My cousin was married as soon as she turned 16 and was pregnant soon after. 54 years later she remains happily married, to the same man, and has a close family).
Figure 3 shows the number of people cohabiting, but unmarried, as a percentage of the population of the same age and sex. Figure 4 shows the number of people cohabiting or married, as a percentage of the population of the same age and sex. Between ages 30 and 69 roughly 70% to 80% of the population have a live-in intimate relationship. This raises a question as to whether the decline of intimate relationships is indeed real, or just an aspect of such relationships being delayed to later life.
One key piece of evidence that marriage is truly declining in popularity amongst the young was provided by Figures 13.5 and 13.6 in my book The Empathy Gap (a cheap ebook version now available). These plot against year the percentage of a given cohort who have “ever been married” (regardless of current status), where the cohorts are defined by birth year. I reproduce these as Figure 5 and 6 below.
Figure 5 and 6 present fairly conclusive evidence that there is a robust trend towards a smaller percentage of people ever marrying, regardless of the age at which they do so (or if they subsequently divorce). It is too soon to be sure that this trend will continue in those now under 30, because they are most likely to marry after 30. But the trend amongst those now 32 or 33, or older, is clear.
And that brings us to the Pew Research survey in the USA: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2023/02/08/for-valentines-day-5-facts-about-single-americans/
The term “single” is here used to mean “not married, not living with a partner and not in a committed romantic relationship”. The key results were,
(1) Full 63% of men in the age range 18 to 29 in the USA are single, compared with 34% of women.
(2) Across all ages, 32% of men in the USA are single.
(3) Across all ages and both sexes, of people who are single, most (57%) are not currently looking for a relationship of any kind – not even casual dating.
(4) The proportion of single men in the USA who are not looking for an intimate relationship of any kind nor even dating opportunities has increased substantially from 39% in 2019 to 50% in 2022.
(5) The proportion of single women in the USA who are not looking for an intimate relationship of any kind nor even dating opportunities has increased slightly from 62% in 2019 to 65% in 2022.
This paints a picture in which even the active desire for an intimate relationship is disappearing amongst those not already “sorted”. This is especially the case for the under 30s, though not exclusively. And appears to be of epidemic proportions for men under 30.
Note that the data relates to being inactive even in seeking dating opportunities, even for casual hook-ups.
There was a discussion of these Pew survey results on American CNN (yes, CNN!). Many issues were raised, mostly quite sensible – though, inevitably, porn got blamed. I don’t think so. I doubt that porn drives less interest in relationships. The causality is, I suspect, the reverse: failing access to relationships drives interest in porn. “Online misogyny” also got blamed (I suspect this is a contractual obligation at CNN) especially from “people masquerading as men’s advocates”. However, the fact that the issue was aired on CNN, and in a largely sympathetic manner, is novel.
The phenomenon of young men in particular checking out of relationships may not come as a surprise to parents of sons or daughters in their 20s or 30s. My own sons are a case in point. Aged 35 and 37, the older has not had a girlfriend since he was 17, and the younger has never had a girlfriend (or boyfriend), nor is there any sign their unpartnered status is going to change. At least one of them is firmly against marriage and/or children. Both, by the way, are eminently eligible by the standards of 50 years ago. They are reasonably presentable in appearance and gainfully employed, both being graduates in physical science subjects from a good university. Both own their own houses, one with no mortgage and the other with a modest mortgage which he would be able to pay off tomorrow with his savings if he wanted to. But they are simply not interested in a relationship.
Of my 12 nephews and nieces, all in their 30s or 40s, just two are married, and five are cohabiting. Five are unpartnered, and this has been a long-standing condition. There are just two grandchildren with one more on the way. Together with ourselves, my siblings and my wife’s siblings amount to eight in the “grandparent” generation. And these have, so far, resulted in just three grandchildren. Whilst there is likely to be some more to come (maybe), our own family’s “average fertility” is currently running at a woeful 0.38, cf, the replacement rate of 2.1.
The reasons for this declining interest in seeking a relationship, even a casual one, will be many and varied. But the reactions to the CNN progamme, as judged by the comments left, are salutary. The overwhelming bulk of the comments were left by men. They paint such a picture that I have listed a large proportion of the comments below. There were a few along the lines “I have found a great girlfriend/wife, etc”, but only a very few in proportion. There were also a few comments from women, some of which described their own despair at finding a suitable partner. But the selection below is a fair representation of the overwhelming bulk of the comments – and include all those with the largest numbers of “likes”. You will see that there are certain comment themes which occur over and over again…
- The adverse impact of social media in replacing real-life social interactions;
- The skewed effects of online dating apps from which only the top 20% of men get any interest;
- The poisonous, stressful up-hill struggle that is the dating scene, especially modern women’s unrealistic demands;
- That dating is too expensive for many men to afford now, and the man is still expected to pay for everything;
- Men’s fear of losing everything in divorce;
- Men’s fear of false allegations;
- That the whole business of relationships is a huge amount of effort and risk for little reward.
I know that viewers’ comments do not constitute science. But has “science” elicited men’s reasons for checking out of relationships, or even acknowledged that this is the case? Pouring opprobrium on incels doesn’t count. The self-pitying few who take to the internet to whine are merely symptomatic of the vastly greater number of the genuinely disenfranchised whose voice is revealed here.
Do bear in mind that the comments were taken from a CNN programme – which one might not expect to draw an audience especially sympathetic to men. This makes the resulting comment stream even more revealing. The comments paint a picture of a society which is broken. The usual culprits will, of course, interpret all this as misogyny. No, this is the world that feminism has created, a world of atomised, lonely young people with soaring rates of mental ill-health.
Comments taken from the CNN programme with Michael Smerconish (25 February 2023) as of 8th March 2023
I gave up on dating because I was tired of being made to feel both like an ATM and a therapist. (3,500 upvotes)
I’m 43 and I’ve noticed this shift gradually over the last 20 years. Social media has filled the gap of social needs of many rather than actually going out and having meaningful relationships, either romantically or platonically. There is a reason we have an anxiety and depression problem in this country. A lot of people have become shut-ins and some (not all of them) haven’t developed the social skills to function in a public setting and that brings a lot of anxiety to some. (1,600 upvotes)
I can’t imagine dating in the digital age. It must be a nightmare. (833 upvotes)
Having been brought up in Mexico of an American mother and Mexican father and exposed equally to both cultures, I have always noticed that emotional bonds between people in the US are much, much weaker. People don’t have wide social circles. Their nonchalant attitude toward people they should feel close to, and just how they greet them, the lack of interest in their lives, is astounding. (747 upvotes)
I’m a 39 year old single man with no kids. I have no interest in dating anymore because I don’t see the benefit in doing so. I’ve worked so hard to get where I’m at financially. I can’t imagine getting married, then a divorce and seeing half of everything that I worked so hard for go out the window because she’s not happy. I no longer want kids either. I’m just tired of dealing with the lies and games, bad attitude, the manipulation, being a step dad to her kids, being looked at as a wallet and not a person. I’m done! I finally have peace, I’m stress free, no drama, I can save more, invest more, do anything I want to now. I’m much happier single compared to being in a relationship. I’m not sure if this will change for me 3-5 years from now but as of right now, I don’t want to be bothered. (674 upvotes)
The recent rent exploits are putting the final nail in this coffin – how can a young man afford to pay rent, college loans, and everything else, and still have money to go out and socialize. A single short evening at a bar can cost $50 – these days that is basically all the money many people have left in their budget after paying the bills. Even if you meet a girl, that night – you can’t even afford to take her out again…(631 upvotes)
Yep I’m a trucker and I’m 24 and feel so alone sometimes. I cry and I feel better but it never goes away. No one cares. (581 upvotes)
This problem – how social media has affected socializing – will seemingly only continue to get worse and worse. You can’t put social media back in the bottle. As a 27 year old guy, I already noticed this trend when I was a senior in high school, back in 2014. Everyone was on their smartphones and not talking in “social gatherings”. 9 years later, things have only gotten worse regarding this. You don’t see neighbours, people in coffee shops, or those at events socialize. Nobody talks anymore. (572 upvotes)
I’m 49, and I feel very sorry for the younger generations. I think mine was the last that had genuine fun and community. (536 upvotes).
This is not limited to young people, and it’s time to recognize the fact that there is a very large portion of people in this world that fight every day to find reasons to go on living. (515 upvotes)
Spent my entire 20s being depressed and thinking I needed a girl in my life. But once I realized happiness comes from within, I stopped looking for someone else to make me happy. You also become stronger and more attractive and feel a sense of self-worth. Don’t worry about what women want, care about what you want! and let women do what they do. You just might discover how great life can be and people will flock towards that energy 🙂 men, women and everything in between alike. (503 upvotes)
The last time I had a girlfriend was when I was 18, for about 3 months (I don’t know if you count that as a relationship). I’m 30 now and I haven’t been in a relationship since then. I’ve gone on some dates and let me tell you, it’s exhausting. I’m not upset at my situation. I’m just tired. I eventually realized I don’t need someone else to be happy. I also kind of developed a fear of approaching women because I’m afraid I might be labelled a creep or be falsely accused of sexual harassment/assault. I don’t think this is a big deal because there are worse problems I could be dealing with. I still have a roof over my head and food in my belly. I accept my situation and count my blessings every day. I understand deep down most people want love (including myself) but I also understand that life doesn’t always make sense or goes the way you want it to. (491 upvotes).
As a single early 30s guy, I’ve lost almost all hope of having a family. Can’t seem to afford anything more than a room in a house. I can’t find an actual home, and I can see 10 years from now having serious issues mentally, assuming this keeps up. (458 upvotes)
So glad I saw this report. I am sixty and physically disabled with cerebral palsy. I worked my way though college, learned to drive, and held different jobs. All of that was a cakewalk compared to dating. I have found my social outlet via volunteering. It is truly amazing the type of people you meet. I used to read for the visually impaired on the radio and had an absolute blast doing it. I now volunteer at a local hospital three days a week and totally enjoy it. (438 upvotes)
I’m in my mid 30s and have been single for a couple of years now. I’ve had 2 serious long-term relationships and had had my heart broken twice. There was also a lot of baggage and drama brought into my life with those relationships. I’m terrified to date. I don’t want any drama or someone else pointing out how I’m ineffectively meeting their needs (even though I gave everything I had in the last relationship). Every now and then I think that I should put myself back into the dating pool due to societal pressures, but my life is peaceful alone. My peace is everything. (421 upvotes)
Dating apps have pretty much ruined real-life dating. The algorithms they use are broken. Before these apps it was easier to just meet people in a bar or club and strike up a conversation. Now you notice that not many people really talk outside of their social circles when in the real world. Improving income or level of education doesn’t solve the root cause. (397 upvotes)
I’m single, I’m older and I just cannot handle dating anymore. It’s way too stressful. (393 upvotes)
Mid 30s here. Childless, debt free, stress free and living alone. Dateless and really don’t care. I have lived frugally for so long that I have more money in the bank than I know what to do with. I moved to one of the lowest cost-of-living areas in 2016 so I could save even more money. My hobbies and smoking weed is what keeps me going. Disregard what society tells you, live however you see fit. You’ll be dead one day and none of this will even matter. (380 upvotes)
As a guy married for twenty one years, I never cheated, never hung out in the bars with the guys, never once hit her, made good money and provided a beautiful home, and helped produced two beautiful and successful children. But it was never good enough. She chose to cheat on me, divorce me, and to finally marry a city sewer worker, who was an alcoholic and beat her up. She is now divorced from him too. After having another girlfriend for 13 years who could never commit to anything, I give up. I’d rather put my efforts into something that provides benefits. (351 upvotes)
Stay single. That’s my advice. Almost all my friends that married are now divorced, having to start all over again financially. The ones that never seem to manage life on their own chase another partner, calling it “love” every time – but are just whitewashing sleeping around. They are afraid of being alone, and it must be terrible. Even worse is to stay in a bad marriage for economic reasons. That’s a prison sentence. Be free, I say, value your single status and stay true to yourself. (350 upvotes)
Dating is really expensive. Women don’t often appreciate how tough it can be to pay for it all. And I’m saying this as a woman. A cheap date is still around $50 per person. Times two, for just one date a week, and that’s $400 a month. That’s your groceries or your car maintenance. Cost of living is crazy now, so dating can have you living paycheck to paycheck, eat up your savings, or put you in debt for someone who may or may not be all that into you. Women look to men to have their back and secure their future, and that puts so much pressure on men. When they have a hard time with it, women lose interest and act like the dude is a loser. Men don’t want to keep feeling like failures in the eyes of attractive women and all of their judgmental girlfriends. It is depressing to feel like love and starting a family is out of your reach. So, it’s no wonder men would rather work, stay home, save their money and their self-esteem as single men. (311 upvotes)
I gave up on dating in my late 20s because it felt like being like a dog chasing mating opportunities. Ton of work with too little reward. Primitive, stupid, and making you feel stupid for doing it. 10 years later, I still see that as a very wise decision (even though I doubted myself a couple of times, during a few years, and re-tried dating). (303 upvotes)
Today’s American women have a really skewed set of requirements for men. I went on a date with a girl who said she only eats out at fancy restaurants. She makes $42k a year. She then hinted at a $1,500 Gucci purse for her birthday too. Too many looking for sugar daddies, not partners. (234 upvotes)
I’m 27 and haven’t dated or been in a relationship my whole life so far. I have been trying dating apps this past year but they are absolutely useless, I can hardly ever get any likes or matches. As far as trying to meet women in real life, it seems useless too because people are not friendly to strangers. (222 upvotes)
The underlying implication is that you have to be in a relationship to be happy. Many of us have found that we’re perfectly happy being single, and we’re under less social pressure to be in relationships than we were in past generations. (219 upvotes)
The older I’ve gotten (now 45), the happier I’ve become doing my own thing. I got burned out on the dating apps (online dating was a bit easier before it went mobile). I recently bought a small place in a downtown neighbourhood so that has taken up most of my time along with my hobbies. There’s tons of good looking eligible people out there I think but when I go to my favourite spots for a drink or a burger, I see that single people aren’t going to these places. Then there’s the whole notion that if you ask a woman out and she deems you below her standards, you’re a creep and will end up in a TikTok video. (210 upvotes)
I stopped dating at 19, currently 30 and haven’t been in a relationship since. I made a conscious choice back then to stop dating because I wanted to find myself and what I wanted. I realized I was happier alone. Women being hypergamous makes dating a constant game of trying to prove oneself with very little actual payoff. I came to the conclusion that there are four main reasons to be in a relationship: 1. pleasure (can be achieved without a partner); 2. companionship (can be achieved through a pet); 3. help around the house (can be achieved with a roommate, family, or hired help); 4. reproduction (I honestly couldn’t care less). (202 upvotes)
The important thing to note here is that young men aren’t just failing to find romantic relationships, they’re failing at finding any sort of relationship. 1 in 7 young men don’t have any close friends. It was 1 in 33 for the previous generation. Human beings have lost their sense of community, and it’s affecting young men the most because women do have some built-in solidarity through political and social movements. Young men don’t. (201 upvotes)
I’m 26, never been in what I’d call a relationship, and never had sex. It’s definitely not easy, most of the time I feel like I don’t even belong on this planet. People certainly don’t go out of their way to make you feel valued. Being black on top of being a man, it can seem like the whole world hates you. But, I’m too stubborn to just give up at this point, for better or for worse. That feeling of being picked last — or not at all — doesn’t feel good, so I’ve simply decided to ‘improve my draft stock’ so to speak. I’ve decided to just focus on myself, learn as many skills as possible, invest in my body and mind, and draw nearer to God. Essentially I’ll make myself such a valuable human being, that it’ll be hard for anyone to pass on me — be it a woman, job, business opportunities etc. At some point, the right ones will notice. I’m bound to find success at some point, right? (187 upvotes)
I’m 40 and I gave up on dating and relationships because I spent the past 20 years of my life trying to find love and realized that none of those women truly loved me. I kept at it for 20 years because women would say “pick better” or “you haven’t found the right one”. The hard truth is there are no unicorns. The only woman that truly loved me for me was my mother, may her soul rest in peace. Now I’m in a loving relationship with myself. All the love and energy I used to give to women now I give it to myself. (167 upvotes)
I’m 50, single and never been married. Yes, women are picky but I’m imperfect and I do have my many flaws so ìt’s totally understandable. My focus now is being a more loving and kind person, being of assistance to the young and elderly and being more useful to my congregation. We live in imperfect conditions but we can still experience inner peace. (161 upvotes)
As a 19 year old guy about to be 20 living in the centre of this. I guarantee the number of suicides and overdoses are going to increase. I see how bad it is. I live every day in isolation, my only social life is my therapist, and talking to my friends on the phone. I have tried to make friends, and I have tried in the dating world. I am not sure why but this world just loves to kick you when you are already down. (156 upvotes)
I lived in San Francisco 1992-95 when I was in my late 20s and met women through newspaper, magazine and alternative weekly personals. Online personals didn’t exist yet. It was an unpleasant experience. All of my dates were snotty, shallow, materialistic, flaky, deceitful and neurotic. For those reasons, I didn’t even score once. The fact that I am a college graduate and was gainfully employed and financially secure with a personal net worth in seven figures didn’t help me. All my dates had unrealistic expectations. I think San Francisco is a dating cesspool. I later decided that I don’t need a woman to be happy, they actually caused me more problems and heartache. (156 upvotes)
I spent my 20’s trying not to starve to death. I was 30 when I met my daughter’s mom. She divorced me immediately after getting pregnant, fed my kid a narrative resulting in her not talking to me to this day, and has continued to milk me financially for 18+ years (293 days left). I’m nearly 50 now and I think lots of younger men saw guys like me and their own dads live miserable lives and have decided it’s not for them. It’s less painful, and cheaper, to be miserable alone. You’ve been telling us we are useless and not needed for anything other than the check we are forced to send every month for so long, we totally believe it at this point. Put that in your National Birth-rate and smoke it. (135 upvotes)
It’s got nothing to do with age. The point is that the whole dating game has totally changed in about 2019-20 when it started to become nearly impossible for a normal man not being in the top 20% to get into a relationship. Whether you are 20, 30, 40 or 50 – if you are single today, you have a high chance of remaining single. (115 upvotes)
What I find funny is how none of these conversations – in the mainstream press – are focused on why it is important to encourage these young men to become better people to help them. It is always focused on how the growing number of lonely and discarded young men will hurt the society around them. Nobody cares about those young men until it is a problem for everyone else. Hell, they still sneak the talking point that “Men have had a head start for 300,000 years” in there, signalling the idea that patriarchy was a consistent evil until they “corrected” it. Until we change that attitude and start focusing on helping young men because these young men f****** deserve to be helped and encouraged we’re not going to go anywhere. (100 upvotes)
Dating as a man nowadays is pretty tough, unfortunately. Women are so incredibly picky these days due to online dating because it makes women always think that they can find someone better. I have most things that women tend to look for in a man yet I’m still single and okay with that. It isn’t worth trying because dating tends to not go anywhere these days. I only date women that ask me out or make very very clear hints that they want to date because those women are showing that they might not be a waste of time, money, and emotions. It isn’t worth it for men to chase these days. (100 upvotes)
I think most young men have just given up. My single son wants to meet a good woman, settle down and have kids, but cannot see himself taking on the responsibilities of being a husband and father with the current society and financial troubles.
I’m 37, I live alone and haven’t been in a meaningful relationship in 7 years. On a scale of mediocre to very attractive I probably fit between mediocre and slightly handsome. But what I lack in looks I make up for in conversation. I haven’t had sex in two years, and to be honest it was probably pity sex from her, because we were both lonely on New Years. Majority of the women I’ve conversed with aren’t interested in a traditional relationship anymore. They want men who will be fine with their overwhelming social media presence and fluid sexual ambiguity. Finding a woman that isn’t obsessed with Tik Tok, Instagram and snap stories well into her mid 30’s is rare. That is absolutely scary!
I’m 31 and have been single since my ex and I broke up in 2016. I was interested in dating for a few years afterward but it was too much of a hassle and I grew to like being single. The cons of a relationship far outweigh the pros.
I am 33 years old female from Brazil, South America. I participated in an exchange program in the US when I was 18 years old. Already at that time, as a foreigner, I found American women very critical and acidic towards men. I’m not saying that Latin American culture is ideal, our culture is more sexist, but I also don’t think the way most American women treat men is healthy.
I’m 37 and have been married for 12 years, but I would say the thing that helped me as a young man was going to a social gathering every week (church). As a shy and introverted person normally I think it’s important to put yourself out there whether you feel like it or not. Join a social group if you can. I worry about the young ones out there.
As a female who’s never really dated or been in a relationship (i.e., asexual)….I feel for men today, and women as well. It seems relationships are rarely genuine and most of them are transactional. Even myself, who doesn’t want to date or have sex with anyone, still engages in romance/smex through fiction, fan shipping and imaginative pursuits. If I were to put myself out there then I’d want something meaningful, magnetic and passionate: people who’d really give a damn. Most people unfortunately don’t. We live in a selfish era of history. Everything is superficial.
I’m not 6 feet tall, I don’t have 6 pack abs, and I don’t have a 6 figure income. The vast swaths of women in America don’t want me, so I gave up trying when I was 20 years old. That was 16 years ago and I’ve long accepted that things are only going to get worse. Women seem to have no problem all sharing the tall, rich, and attractive dude and complaining about him cheating with 10 other women. This is the world women wanted.
I’m 30 and single and stopped dating. Unlike everyone else though, I did have a girlfriend previously pre-pandemic, and I was seeing someone last year. Nothing worked out because I either fell out of love, or I made mistakes and felt I couldn’t recover from them. I genuinely think it’s better for me to stay single, I’m neither boyfriend nor husband material. I wish society would leave us alone in this choice.
The thing that struck me was the friendlessness. I think we need to promote men making friends with each other in a wider variety of settings (outside of sports and drinking). Maybe what we need are more public spaces and organized social activities? (WC comment: Feminism has systematically, and with deliberate intent, eliminated all male-only spaces. Consequently, men’s lack of same-sex socialising is, in part (not entirely) a result of feminism).
Thank you all for actually taking the time to report on this issue. It’s real and no one thinks it’s “cool” to care about men’s issues. Or even believe that men have any issues. Men are just looked at as the toxic incel patriarchy that are holding women back from being more man-like. It would be kind of funny if it weren’t so real and rampant.
Women are too much hassle. You have to make the first move and get rejected hundreds of times, plan the dates, navigate her emotional labyrinth while meeting her stringent modern female standards. You have to do all the work. Once you get to your 30’s you are stuck with obese single mothers.
Nowadays if you happen to like your coworker, your friend, or even just a random person you met at a social function, and you “make a move” to see if they would be interested in you, it’s now this awkward social environment where the other person doesn’t know how to respond to your advances or automatically thinks you’re a creep or something. People can’t just vibe with each other and test the waters, take a little risk. I say this as a 20 year old man. It sucks, really. It can be so lonely when the expectation of society is that you simply do not interact with anyone. Heaven forbid actually complimenting someone or trying to be interesting and see if they like you too.
(WC comment: There is a large public poster in the main shopping centre in Bristol, UK, which lists the prohibitions which men are expected to respect in regard to their interactions with women, in order not to be guilty of misogyny or “violence against women”. One of these is complimenting a woman. It is indubitably true that feminism has driven a wedge between the sexes very effectively. Young women seem to be unaware of how men have been defined – essentially by women themselves – into a situation where initiating any relationship with the opposite sex is so fraught with risk that it is no longer worth the effort or potential downside. The reason why so many young women are unaware of this is the empathy gap: a radical inability to place themselves in the position of men).
There’s two major reasons (for the decline in interest in relationships). First, a lot of men have determined that it’s not in their interest to be in a relationship considering the way society is. It’s just one giant double standard. You can’t expect your girlfriend to do any housework whether she works or not, you’re expected to pay for everything whether she works or not, but she gets to keep all her money for herself. When she’s done using you, she gets all the advantages in court to your children or your finances. She can also make a false accusation against you whenever she feels like it which will automatically be believed, etc. It’s a mixture of 1950s patriarchy and modern feminism, taking all the features of each one that disadvantages men and leaving behind all the ones that disadvantage women or make them equal. The second reason is that men are not doing well in modern capitalism. Our wages are much lower and society doesn’t care, so we’re just going straight downhill. At the same time, women are completely unwilling to adjust to that new reality. They’re still expecting a guy with a huge income along with all kinds of other prince charming fantasy traits, and they refuse to except anything less, and are encouraged to do so. It’s pretty basic stuff.
I’m 41 and have no kids, no girl, no one. I’m so used to being alone and ignored by women, I’m used to it and now I’ve got that I don’t care when it comes to women because I’ve been single for so long. I’m happy and contented being single and I see no point in getting a woman. Besides they have that cold hearted attitude.
The things that women find attractive in men are also things they can accomplish for themselves without a man. For example: a house, car, career, financial stability, status, etc. All of these can be accomplished by a woman without a man. Men, and the things that make them attractive, are separable from each other in the eyes of women, and many of these women are questioning why they should bother with a man at all when they can essentially fulfil these roles for themselves. I believe that’s the reason we see so much open hatred and misandry towards men these days. Women don’t need men, and female nature has a way of dehumanizing the men they don’t need.
I am 36. I find contentment in living a solitary life as a man. My past experiences have revealed that the presence of women in my life often invites needless drama and complexities. Moreover, the family court system’s shortcomings have left me with a sense of disenfranchisement as a father. In light of these circumstances, I see little incentive to pursue romantic relationships. Instead, I prefer to find solace in my own company, engage in personal hobbies, and avoid the emotional strains and grievances that often accompany relationships.
How many men, beginning in elementary school, have been falsely accused of something by a female? And then faced consequences for something they didn’t do? That is a big reason young and older men will avoid women. It’s a huge gamble to be sociable with women in the office. So many men don’t. Human Resources (HR) will protect women at all costs even if the allegation is “sketchy” at best. Once a man leaves the office, why would he think he was safer or his chances of being treated well and respected were better? In American society they’re not. Ignoring and avoiding women is a self defence mechanism for men who value their reputation and hard-earned assets.
We’ve eliminated men-only spaces, incentivized women to leave relationships, and have told men for years that if you don’t meet a laundry list of requirements/expectations you aren’t worth investing time in a relationship with….and we wonder why men are saying no to relationships all together?
Women view 80% of men ‘unattractive’. Not by character, personality, ethics, morals, demeanor, style… it’s by physical appearance. So right off the bat, without any consideration to a man’s character he is deemed unworthy of attention. That is one of the major causes of this situation. And it will get worse. If society does not address this, there is going to be a horrible impact to all of us as a whole. Everyone will feel the effects and it won’t be pretty.
At 25 I’m starting to accept I just might be single forever and I’m ok with that. My life is peaceful and I focus on my purpose. I will not entertain or give a woman my resources. Every man I know who is married tells me not to get married or all they do is complain about how their wives are causing stress. All in all, I cannot take the risk of welcoming a woman into my life especially in America.
I’m a 56 year old male and never been on a date. There are some people who are always left without a chair when the music stops. God, life, fate, the universe… whatever you call it plays favourites and there is nothing those of us who are cursed can do about it.
I’m a manager in the I.T. world and never in my life seen so many young men single. When I talk to these young men they just don’t want the hassle of dealing with modern women, so they gave up on women. A lot of these young men are six figure earners and hang out with other men that feel the same way they do; going out driving their fast cars, golfing, riding motorcycles, and things like that.
(From a woman): I have heard many men in their thirties and forties say they don’t want to get married because if it does not work out they do not want to have to pay alimony, or lose their house or half of their pensions or 401k. Men will not lose what they work for their entire life if they do not get married.
Since a look, a touch, a word, a thought, is now a prosecutable sexual assault, men are saying to themselves “why bother?” I’d like to have someone at my side, but the financial, legal and emotional costs are far too high. Not only do women earn a lot more money than they used to, they want to get your money, too. Being alone has simply become the way to go.
A couple from mothers…
Any parent of teen or young adult males has seen this coming for years. It’s incredibly sad.
I feel so bad for my son. He’s a toddler now but my worry is that relationships will become more of a thing of the past by the time he’s an adult. Almost like he will be looking for the love of his life and his crush will just be looking to destroy his self-esteem.
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William – sorry but Satanism IS part of this 😉
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William, at least you won’t become a Grandad…
Good article which overlaps with this one I recently read on reverse CBT..
“We are now 11 years into the largest epidemic of adolescent mental illness ever recorded. I know so many families that have been thrown into fear and turmoil by a child’s suicide attempt. You probably do too, given that the recent CDC report tells us that one in ten adolescents now say they have made an attempt to kill themselves. It is hitting all political and demographic groups. The evidence is abundant that social media is a major cause of the epidemic, and perhaps the major cause. It’s time we started treating social media and other apps designed for “engagement” (i.e., addiction) like alcohol, tobacco, and gambling, or, because they can harm society as well as their users, perhaps like automobiles and firearms. Adults should have wide latitude to make their own choices, but legislators and governors who care about mental health, women’s health, or children’s health need to step up. ”
How is it possible to have a healthy relationship if everyone is now mentally ill? Explains the timeline differences. We need to reverse the decline in MH before long term relationships return I suspect.
In a sense the problems of the “Black” community in the USA and the “Afro-Caribbean” in the UK may give strong clues to the future. For in both the collapse of the stable family structure has been much more rapid than in other demographic groups in both countries. Whatever one’s view of the causation this collapse in the USA has been little short of disastrous for black males in particular and their communities in general. Which generally masked in the UK by the tendence to lump “african” and “afro-carribean” together (the generally more recently arrived and more “traditional” African community is a stark contrast to the other main grouping in “black”) which sadly share many similarities with that of the USA. It is also very stark in the “white ” population that though later in commencement it is the higher socio-economic classes which still form fairly stable families unlike the chaos the lower income cohorts.
Consistent with your observations, it is black men in particular who find it hardest to find a partner in the USA (according to that same Pew research). Also, what you say about the crucial distinction between black Caribbeans and black Africans is emphatically true in the UK as regards education, where the black Caribbeans (especially boys) are bottom of the heap, whilst black Africans (especially girls) are not far behind the Asians.
We have seen something like this coming for a while now & what’s worse, it will further degenerate. The UK tends to lag the US by 10 years or so.
The demands of modern women (and worsening due to university attendances) for hypergamy have driven most men ‘underground’. The only chance for men in their thirties is to get a woman who leaves it so long to have a baby that she becomes desperate, having been on the party carousel for 15 years – & that sets a super start to any relationship.
Peter Crouch, the Liverpool striker, was once asked what he would have been if not a footballer and he answered “A virgin”.