Why I Don’t Feel Sorry For The Lonely Men
The age I am means I am currently witnessing the women in my cohort get married and have children. On two occasions, I have seen female friends strong-arm their long-term boyfriends into marrying them in almost identical circumstances.
The first occurred when I was living in Washington, D.C., when a couple I was friendly with dramatically broke up after living together for three years only to reconcile and get married. The woman had made an ultimatum: we get married or we split up. He said he wasn’t ready to get married; “why can’t things just stay the same?”, so she moved out of the home they shared.
The man in this relationship slept with several other women before realising that starting a whole new relationship from scratch was too much of a hassle, and he was engaged to his previous longterm girlfriend after only a few months of them being split up.
The second occurred in Dubai, where the woman, in a couple who had been dating for three-four years, made a similar ultimatum. We get married, or we split up. The man chose to move out of their shared apartment, but after a few months and a dispute with his bank over whether rent payments to his Iranian landlord violated sanctions rules, he decided that being single was just too much hassle, and he reconciled with his previous girlfriend. They are now married.
Whilst I would be horrified if a man married me because it was the path of least resistance, both of these women seem relatively happy and now have children with the men they successfully cajoled into marrying them. Forgive me, however, if I don’t believe their glowing social media declarations of love. If those men loved their girlfriends so much, why did they have to be strong-armed into marrying them?
Neither of these men appeared to me to want marriage and children as much as the women they were in a relationship with. They were still willing, however, to give their girlfriends a ‘shut-up ring’ and to go along with marrying them in order to not be alone.
A reluctant recognition that the women they were dating enriched their lives even if they weren’t madly in love with them enough to marry them of their own volition. Despite increasing reports that men are lonelier and lonelier than ever, men appear less interested in marriage and family than ever, too.