People don’t have to be in romantic relationships to be happy. However, research finds that men are typically happier and healthier when they have a significant other while women are happier without a spouse. After years of being oppressed and controlled, women are raising healthy relationship standards by no longer prioritising marriage over their own happiness and wellbeing. Rather than settling for men who treat them as inferior beings, women are searching for equal partners with whom they share an emotional connection.
A report titled “The Rise of Lonely, Single Men” revealed that dating opportunities for heterosexual men were diminishing as the standards for a healthy relationship improved. With men representing 62 percent of dating app users, they’re battling fierce competition as women have the option to be selective.
So what are these high standards that women are chasing? A man who is emotionally available, a good communicator, and shares similar values.
Women today prefer to date men who check off the first two requirements and share similar interests with them. They no longer date a man for the sake of being in a relationship.
While men swipe “like” 46 percent of the time, women only swipe “like” 14 percent of the time. Thus, men who fail to convey that they will work hard to develop a healthy relationship are left with diminishing dating opportunities.
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Why Are Women Raising Healthy Relationship Standards?
The American Time Use Survey (ATUS) compared levels of pleasure and misery in unmarried, married, divorced, separated, and widowed individuals in a survey. Paul Dolan, a professor of behavioural science at the London School of Economics cited the survey and other studies and said, “If you’re a man, you should probably get married; if you’re a woman, don’t bother.”
Dolan added, “The healthiest and happiest population subgroup are women who never married or had children.”
Considering that research found that divorce rates increase after women are diagnosed with an illness but do not increase when the husband is the one diagnosed, it makes sense that women are no longer willing to put up with men who do not prioritise them or their wellbeing.
Instead of settling for men who might ditch them at the slightest inconvenience, women are now searching for partners who will share the load of emotional baggage that a relationship brings with it through its course.
How Do Healthy Relationship Standards Affect Men?
Since the rise in healthy relationship standards, men are struggling to find a partner and now need to address their skill deficits to meet expectations. While dating apps have also made it easier for people to find partners, men are struggling to compete with the other men on the apps.
Some men might resort to playing the victim card here, but the fact remains that doing bare minimum is not enough now. Men need to see romance, intimacy, and emotional connection as essential aspects of a relationship. They can’t get away with dumping household chores on their partners, or expecting them to dress or behave as per their liking. Finally, the table have turn, and now it is men who must prove they are worthy of a relationship.
One of the way men can do better is by getting rid of the deep-seated preconception of how “strong men” should behave. While media and stereotypes might have informed men that they must be breadwinners who never show their emotions, this does not lead to a healthy relationship. How can men transform themselves? The report says that men need to be taught about emotional connections at a younger age and work on themselves by committing to their mental health and self-improvement.
Having said that, learning knows no age. A man committed to being a better partner can learn to ropes of cultivating a healthy relationship at any age. All it takes is willingness to make it work.
The views expressed are the author’s own.