The Pathology of Male Loneliness
I write frequently about social isolation. It’s a huge problem for middle age men who retreat into their homes to stare at the television and computer monitors. Homo sapiens is a social animal. We need each other for so many reasons. Time Magazine (still relevant?!) recently reported on a study from Brigham Young University where researchers are sounding the alarm on what could be the next big public-health issue, on par with obesity and substance abuse.
The article is not real great on depth but does actually manage to understand the subjective, self-reporting nature of “feeling” lonely versus the objective observation of a person actually living alone. Also, I’m suspicious about the motives/funding of the study. This is a Mormon university so I can’t help but wonder if there is an ulterior motive behind that study.
“The researchers emphasized the difference between the subjective, self-reported feeling of loneliness and the objective state of being socially isolated. Both are potentially damaging, the study found. People who say they are alone but feel happy are at increased risk of death, as are those who have many social connections but say they are lonely. People who are both objectively isolated and subjectively lonely may be at the greatest risk of death, says Holt-Lunstad, though she notes that more data would be needed to know with certainty.”
This study is a harbinger of further research on the social pathologies that can cause real problems with public health. I see the problems with social isolation in the context of attraction and dating. Regular guys won’t leave the house except for work. Women tend to be more social and can’t find decent guys out in the real world. The players are happy to be social and approach women. Those guys also create soft harems of women that they date.
A regular guy can improve his chances by getting out of the house. Meetup.com singles groups are an excellent way to start.
Aside from the player aspect, there is certainly a public health issue to loneliness. Suicide rates for men are alarmingly high yet are given short-shrift in the media. The feminine imperative pushes back the emotional and physical needs of men. Divorce and men’s mental health is a major issue. Post-divorce men retreat emotionally and physically. When they emerge, if they do, the dating scene is one of confusion and frustration. Online dating is a minefield – more mines than field. I empathize, I really do.
For post-divorce guys, there is no magic cure. The young men have PUA. Us older guys can only gird our loins, leave behind as much emotional baggage as possible, and soldier on with all that makes us men, despite the complications of ex-wives, children, and the like. Yes, there are concrete things a man can do to increase his attractiveness. Those things take time, motivation, and effort.