Opinion: Why Are Women Better at Being Single?


This past weekend, I kept finding myself in conversations with friends who were frustrated by the grey area of their relationships.

You know that kinda relationship where you’ve been seeing each other for a few months and you’ve arrived at the comfortable “let’s stay home and watch a movie” date, you’re not super interested in sleeping with anyone else but you also don’t know where you stand?

Online dating has made this kind of situation pretty common and much easier to achieve, as it’s become quite normal to act like you’re in a relationship with someone pretty early on.

From my experience and witnessing my girlfriends in these scenarios, us girls really hate the ‘grey area’.

When a guy treats you like his girlfriend but doesn’t want to call it a relationship or even want to address the situation, it feels like he wants the freedom of being single but also wants to feel nurtured, both physically and emotionally.

We roll our eyes at guys like these. They’re the Jack Berger’s of the world and we learn pretty early on to expect disappointment.

But I think it’s important that we acknowledge that guys don’t experience an emotional connection like women do in every day friendship, and they’re kind of forced to find it in a relationship.

Let me explain.

Women are really great at being single. I mean, of course there are certain types of people that prefer to be in relationships and aren’t super comfortable with independence, but generally speaking, women are much better at being single than men.

Just think, how many straight men do you know that are single and not “seeing” anyone? I can honestly say that all my straight guy friends are almost always in relationships, or casually dating a few girls.

I think that women are better at being single because we have strong emotional connections with our friends. If I’m having a bad day, I can call any of my close girlfriends, go around to their house, eat takeaway, watch trash TV and cuddle on the couch.

These are the kind of things that men can’t do with their mates, and so they look for it in sexual or intimate relationships.

“Women are taught from a young age that it’s okay to be physically and emotionally affectionate with their friends, whereas men are not,” says Amber Rules, Clinical Psychotherapist and Director of Rough Patch Affordable Counselling.

“All human beings are naturally affectionate and tactile; we just teach boys and men that they shouldn’t be because it’s ‘soft’ or un-masculine.

“You’ll notice that most heterosexual men are fine with affection and touch, as long as it comes from women. Unfortunately, this is where cultural and internalised homophobia really robs men of their natural need for connection, intimacy and touch.”

This begs the question, what are men supposed to do when they get their heart broken? Girls lean on each other, we help each other through it, we make break up playlists, we eat chocolate in bed together, we let ourselves cry in front of each other, we indulge in sad films… and this feels normal for us.

Who do men turn to when their hearts are broken and they just want to cry and have a cuddle?

They can’t confide in their males friends like women do, so they look for an intimate relationship that can give them that physical affection they desire and allow them to feel cared for. Unfortunately, this never ends well, as we all know that relationships aren’t a good idea when you’re freshly heartbroken.

It’s just a whole big mess.

I know that there are some male friendship groups that are able to be open with each other, but I’m yet to witness one that is as emotionally open as the female friendships I’ve experienced.

It really makes me feel for men, that they’re unable to express their need for affection, unless it has sexual connotations for fear of being seen as ‘un-manly’. It also really helps me to understand those confusing half-relationships I’ve experienced with men, where they’ve acted as though they need me and want to spend time with me, but don’t seem to want me to be their girlfriend.

So, did men ever really have a chance for emotionally open friendships?

“Unfortunately, men are culturally conditioned to be generally less vulnerable in all aspects of life,” says Amber.

“Generally speaking, the dominant discourse teaches boys that they’re not supposed to cry, not supposed to express pain or sadness, and that anger is one of the few acceptable emotions they can express.

“Unless men have had parents who eschew these cultural norms, or who grow up and want to be different, these ideas just become an unconscious part of the way many men operate.”

I’ve definitely noticed a difference in men as I get older. I think that at a certain age, men come to understand that showing emotion is a choice they can choose to make and that there are other men out there that are open to platonic emotional connection. However, regardless of their desire to be openly emotional and physically affectionate with their mates, there’s still a lot of unlearning to do.

This has been a massive light bulb moment for me. I spent so much of my early dating life trying to figure out why I kept ending up in these super intimate non-relationships. I always thought that the problem was me, and never thought to look at it from a male perspective.

In hindsight, it’s super easy to complain about boys, but it’s naive to not try and understand the way they experience the world.

For all the guys that have left me without closure, in relationships I thought were going somewhere but seemed to mean nothing to them, I no longer feel confused, hurt or angry.

I really hope that we eradicate these negative ideals around gender, and what makes men ‘masculine’ and women ‘soft’ because in all honesty, there is nothing sexier than a man that feels comfortable to show his emotions.

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