Why Are Men Afraid to Get into Relationships?
Exploring the biological tendencies and thought patterns that cause the male species to have commitment phobia.
A common saying you might have heard from an ex is, "It was getting too serious and more than I was ready for." Ready for "what" exactly?
Men and women often see exclusivity differently. And of course, the first obvious reason can be blamed on biology.
Men are destined to spread their seed (as much of it as possible) and luckily have one million options
I mean dating apps to help them build a village. Women, on the other hand, are completely different creatures. Hard-wired to be more monogamous, or at least oxytocin cons us in to thinking so.
In case you didn't know, Oxytocin is referred to as the "cuddle hormone" and is released by women in two scenarios: when we give birth to a child (making us attach to our young) AND when we have SEX. Men, on the other hand, do not emit strong attachment chemicals during intercourse...or much less of it. In fact, men receive a surge of dopamine upon orgasm, otherwise known as the "pleasure hormone"...also known to be addictive.
Does this explain the evolutionary desire for men to not settle? I'm not arguing that men are less monogamous in nature, but they might be more biologically susceptible to it. I mean C'MON...who wouldn't want to ride the pleasure train without emotional consequences?
For women, we get more and more attached. And the hard
I mean SHITTY part is our bodies can't differentiate if we're having sex with a one-night stand, friends with benefits, or the love of our life. Sure, I get the whole sapien theory that social bonding increases odds for survival, but C'MON.
In my opinion, the right relationship adds value to your life. It should never feel suffocating, scary, or like a negative cloud over your head. Life shouldn't be less fun. You shouldn't have to change. Aren't these obvious? So, if none of these factors are present, where's the disconnect between men and women wanting to get into relationships?
In this post, men rationalize with me why settling isn't on their agenda. Read on...
How women see relationships.
When I talk to other women, we're always perplexed why men are afraid of commitment. Don't they enjoy a lot of things that come with having a girlfriend?
What does being in a relationship look like
in my opinion to us?
Someone to have sex with, whenever you both want. Monday night, Tuesday morning, hungover Saturdays. Blowjobs and visa versa. The sex actually gets better over time because you're more comfortable and confident. You don't have to deal with rushing a stranger out the door on Sunday mornings. Or stuck hoping they get dressed fast so you're not stuck going to brunch.
In fact, you can order breakfast in bed from uber eats (à la McD's breakfast - it's my real MO) and hang out as long as you please.
There's not a Monet or beer goggle effect. You know exactly what they look like in the morning without make-up, and kind of love it.
You have a friend to always do stuff with, hoping you have lots in common. Go to art galleries, concerts, hikes - whatever you both fancy. Have fun getting drunk either together or with your friends. They make sure you remember to call your mom. They're there to try that new restaurant spontaneously on a weeknight. Lazily watch Netflix shows. Make sure the food in the fridge doesn't go to waste (because shopping and cooking for one feels impossible to perfect).
Someone to be vulnerable with when you're having a bad day. Plan weekend trips to places you've always wanted to go to. Or plan bigger trips to countries you've always wanted to go to. Have someone kiss and hug you the moment you wake up, and kiss and hold you before you go to bed.
The alternative is going on dates with 23-year-old "influencers" in the city with little substance or life experience...only to get drunk and spend $150 on dinner and drinks just to have sex with them. Then after a few dates, you have to worry how on earth you're going to get rid of her bc she's starting to get "too clingy" and you inherently aren't into it. Because she's a 23-year-old influencer. AND SO, the easiest options is to politely ghost.
The fact that so many f*ckboy's in major cities often choose the later is mind-blowing to many of us women.
Why would men choose unattached life with minimal advantages over the first? They're about to tell me why...
How men see relationships.
I asked several men the qualities that come from a healthy relationship. Ironically, it was the same story I described above.
They also want the Monday night sex, best friend to adventure with, etc. One guy friend tells me, "Men are more emotional than we get credit for and relationships are confusing for us too."
They share our similar fantasies of finding their perfect match. One guy literally texted me verbatim, "I just haven't found someone that makes me feel like I'm living out of a rom-com."
Thus, I'll digress and admit that it's not that men despise relationships. They aren't afraid of the good qualities that come with them. There are just different factors keeping them at bay. What are they?
Grass Is Always Greener
The ideology that the "grass is always greener" came up each and every time. In my last post I argued that if someone isn't ready to be exclusive, then it means they're seeking something better. They're just not that into you. I think both men and women are very guilty of this. I'm guilty of this. Is our perfect person really just a swipe away?
As a single guy in my 30's I feel that a relationship isn't worth my time unless I see true potential to end up with them. I think I put a lot of pressure on it and if she's not 'perfect' it's not happening. All of that kind of goes back to FOMO because I constantly worry I'm missing something more."
- Good looking single guy in East Village
There are over one million people in New York City on dating apps (educated guess). Our chances of love just went from 1:10, to literally, one in a million. Why do men think there's something else out there? Logically speaking?
Because we're in the land of opportunity. Why go back to Soviet Russia?
-My best guy friend who's funny but ridiculous
Heartbreak from the past.
Maybe seeking perfection stems from a previous relationship or person that meant a lot to them.
Do men date faster after a breakup but heal slower over time?
Perhaps it's just a matter of them being protective of their hearts. In other words, a defense mechanism or cautionary prevention. One guy straight up admitted that:
"Living in NYC is fun being single, a relationship can lead to marriage/heartbreak if it doesn't work out.
-Newly Single Guy ( of 9 months) living in New York
Another tells me his choice of singledom solely derives from fear and heartbreak from the past:
"That’s why I’m afraid. I barely survived [my first love]. I’m more hardened and now have this ideal person that no girl has been able to live up to."
-Heartbroken but hopeful guy in Seattle
Chemically, men might have more of a thrill (ahem, Dopamine) when it comes to having sex with multiple people. Technology has made that even easier.
As millennials, instant gratification is assumed and demanded in almost every aspect of our lives. Thus, dating apps increase our odds of connecting with more people, expanding the pool for
sex instant dates. Another guy explains:
There’s a general mentality in modern culture where we under value long term investments, and over value short term consumption. We’re addicted to the idea that there may be something better, and the world we have designed is set up to feed that.
-Tech Guy living in LA with a high EQ
And while this might be the most obvious answer you expected in this article, I think it's the most complicated. The fear of losing independence contradicts my explanation of how a lot of women (or atleast myself) view relationships. Why can't the fun START with someone and not STOP? Sure, there's a level of compromise when building a life with someone, but if it's the right person that part should evolve naturally and in a way that both people are happy. Also, as smart adults we should always nurture our own space and social lives. However, some men are still stuck on celebrating the 4th:
"I love being single and I love the freedom that comes along with it. Whether that means the freedom to hook up with other people or just go on a random trip without consulting anyone, or just being able to get drunk with your friends and not worry about it."
- Good looking single guy in East Village
Maybe a guy has been in a suffocating relationship before. Or perhaps independence is only lost when it's the wrong person. I think it's probably a mix of both. Timing and where a person is at differs for everyone.
"I don't think I'm afraid of getting into a relationship. I'm probably more afraid of getting into a relationship with someone who isn't right person for me. I think generally you just know if it is right or not pretty quickly. Believe it or not my friend (notorious f*ckboy in the city) has just landed into a relationship and you can just tell that it's right for both of them."
-Sweet VC Guy who lives in the West Village
Different Biological Clocks
Perhaps some men Peter Pan because they actually can.
In terms of reproduction, women are operating on a more narrow time horizon that men, to a degree, do not have to worry about.
"I want to be single/f*ck around for a little bit more time. I have this timeline in my head that I'll be open to a relationship after I'm 35.”
- 33 year old single guy who just moved to New York
One guy nailed all theories into one explanation. He blames the perfect mix of all things 2018 on why men delay the need of investing in a partner. Biology, timing, dating apps, creates behavioral incentives to avoid relationships:
If you're a man, you can basically do nothing for your whole life, and still decide to have a family someday. There isn't a biological forcing function. I think this creates an incentive that causes a really bad attitude (one I've seen in beautiful, smart, talented women too in terms of settling), that lets them think "well, I've got an infinite supply [of people] in my pocket. I can just wait for the best one to come that has no measurable flaws. "It's the mentality of a drug user. Just waiting for that next fix that might explode into the fireworks you've imagined in your mind. We're just chasing the dragon."
-Tech Guy living in LA with a high EQ
Physiologically speaking, men really are from Mars and women from Venus. We operate on different biological clocks. Different hormones rush through us
clouding our judgment effecting our behavior. Timing and biology is out of our control.
But when it comes to finding love, both species also overlap with similar commitment issues. Blame the realities of modern dating and 2018. We're both seeking perfection, getting overhelmed by the vast number of potential partners, and dealing with emotions around an ex.
To answer the original question more directly:
It's not that men are afraid to be in relationships, it's that the world has changed, and we're being sold a narrative that makes us think that waiting forever is a sensible way to get what we want.
-Tech Guy living in LA with a high EQ
So what do we do if this is the case? I've repeated this point throughout my entire blog, but if your gut is telling you a guy doesn't want to commit (like this one time), do not take more than two weeks of emotional purgatory of wondering and analyzing whether or not he likes you. Or at least, date other people with an open mind and heart until something evolves in the relationship.
👆🏽This is literally MY MOST IMPORTANT dating motto👆🏽
We're all unique creatures, but dating scenarios and excuses are not. As one of the men from above put it bluntly:
"A women’s intuition is an amazing thing, go with your gut, but make your decision fast cause these guys are a cunning, charming and know every trick to get in your pants."
-Sensitive and honest guy from Seattle
Oh, and again, every single guy blamed the culture of dating apps (next post I'll delve into this). Stay tuned!