Men have a tougher time enjoying singledom than women do, new study shows
Single ladies are relishing their solo status.
Women are generally happier with being single than men are, according to a new study from UK research firm Mintel. When they didn’t have a partner, 61% of single women in the UK reported feeling content on their own, versus 49% of single men who felt the same. What’s more, 75% of single women have chosen not to actively pursue a relationship in the past year, versus just 65% of single men.
One reason: Single women are “typically better at creating support groups with whom they can discuss their thoughts and feelings, putting less pressure on the need for a relationship,” Mintel’s senior lifestyles analyst Jack Duckett told Moneyish.
Meanwhile, the same can’t necessarily be said for men. “[With] many men still largely finding it difficult to be open about their thoughts and feelings, the absence of a partner could mean that they have no one they can talk with about issues affecting them,” Duckett said, suggesting that an emotional connection to a romantic partner is crucial for making many men feel comfortable about revealing their innermost feelings. “With this in mind it is perhaps unsurprising that unattached males struggle to enjoy their single status.”
Another reason may be the evolution in gender roles in relationships in the past 50 to 70 years, says best-selling author and relationship expert Susan Winter. “In the old models of partnership in the mid-20th century, the woman was completely dependent on her husband… Now you have working women who are empowered to make their own decisions, and they are not waiting for men to create a life for them.”
“This is a massive social shift in consciousness, if [single] women are not feeling inferior or like they’re missing out on life, but they’re blazing ahead in their careers,” Winter concluded.
Still some members of both genders find singledom tough. The major challenges that both single men and women reported facing in the absence of a partner were similar: eating healthily, paying utility bills, paying their rent or mortgage expenses, and doing household choices. Particularly from a financial perspective, having a partner seemed to help those in relationships feel more at ease about managing financial stressors.
“Singles indicate lower levels of confidence across a range of common social activities than those who are cohabitation with a partner, married or in civil partnerships, which could reflect the social stigma that still surrounds being single,” the report concluded.
The good news: No matter your gender, spending some time in the land of singledom can yield benefits, says behavioral psychologist Clarissa Silva. “You’re emotionally ready [for something more serious],” Silva said of those who can manage to become comfortable on their own, because they gain a degree of introspection and “increased self-awareness,” as well as the basic independence that comes with running your life alone. Silva characterized those vital activities, like tending to the home, cooking, or cleaning, as “life-skills building,” noting that many of us could benefit from them even if we later enter a relationship.
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