This article by Psychology Today has been trending on social media for stating that, “dating opportunities for heterosexual men are diminishing as relationship standards rise.” It’s an interesting article that explains why men are lonelier and single these days because they are not “addressing skills deficits to meet healthier relationship expectations.” The writer advises men to level up their mental health game so that they can emotionally connect and communicate with women.
A couple of years ago women went into relationships with men because they were dependent on them financially but in today’s society, women can support themselves. They now want more out of relationships with men than just finances; they want important things like shared values, communication, and emotional intelligence. It’s not enough for a man to have a good job - are they kind, present, attentive, loyal? The bar for healthy dating standards keeps rising.
Going back to the writer’s advice for men to level up their mental health game. What exactly does that mean? He says that if men don’t meet or address the relationship skills gap, they will have fewer dating opportunities and longer periods of being single. Most men were brought up to be out of tune with their emotions because it wasn’t manly so their emotional regulation as adults is also difficult. Men who struggle with their mental health don’t speak about it because it may make them appear less manly.
How can men grow from harmful mindsets about mental health so they can connect better with themselves and others?
Take stock of family and relationship patterns, past hurt, and trauma. Before you begin healing, you must understand where you’re coming from because it informs who you currently are. - What picture of relationships did you see from your parents or caregivers? - Is a painful, life-changing experience like divorce shaping your beliefs about relationships? - What kind of partner or boyfriend have you been in past relationships? - Who advised you about relationships and did their advice build or break your relationships?
Be accountable for your healing and learning process. Take accountability for your mistakes and grow from them. Be honest about the kind of person you are; your strengths and weaknesses. The past is your reference point on what you should currently be working on so that you can be a better partner, friend, son, relative, or colleague. Unlearn harmful belief systems that have led you to toxic or unfulfilling relationships. Consume information that helps you grow - there are so many books you could read and I recommend ‘How to do the work’ by Dr. Nicole Lepera if you don’t know where to start.
Go to therapy. Healing work is difficult but therapy can help you recognize your patterns, heal from your past and create a better version of yourself. You don’t need to have a troubled past to go to therapy. You don’t even need to have anxiety, depression, or a mental illness to go to therapy. Therapy is not for weak men but for men who want to do and become better. You grow in therapy so much that you become better at dating and life in general. We can explore those feelings of loneliness and other uncomfortable emotions in therapy. If the first two pointers of taking stock and accountability are daunting to explore - try therapy.
Healthy dating standards are not changing any time soon but you can change to meet them. By change I mean, you can have a better mindset, approach, and belief system when it comes to relationships which I believe is the best option for everyone. You are deserving of healthy relationships that are secure and long-lasting but they don’t build themselves. A healthy relationship requires you to do the inner healing and growth work so that you can find a partner on the same wavelength as you are. Schedule your consultation call today if you need a guiding light on creating fulfilling relationships.