Dr. Joiner reports on one such suicide which is typical of many. “A postmortem report on a suicide decedent read, “He did not have friends…He did not feel comfortable with other men…He did not trust doctors and would not seek help even though he was aware that he needed help.”
Unfortunately, this is a common experience for an increasing number of men. Joiner concludes that “Men’s main problem is not self-loathing, stupidity, greed, or any of the legions of other things they’re accused of. The problem, instead, is loneliness; as they age, they gradually lose contact with friends and family, and here’s the important part, they don’t replenish them.”
We might summarize the other trend in the words of a recent research study on suicide prevention: “Women seek help…Men die.”
I see these two trends interweaving and reinforcing each other. As women become more independent and self-sufficient they are not willing to settle for a marriage where their needs are not met. They would rather get their social and emotional support from work associates, friends, and family.
I see men and women longing to connect with each other, but feeling increasingly less hopeful about finding real, lasting love in relationship.
As men feel unable to meet women’s needs for economic, emotional, and social support, they feel more inadequate and distance themselves even more, often escaping into pornography, increased alcohol consumption, and compulsive work habits. I hear from many women that “there just aren’t any good men out there to marry” and they become even more self-sufficient and self-contained. I hear from men who say, “Women just don’t want intimacy anymore.” They become more fearful of reaching out to women and risking rejection.
The result is that like the Republicans and Democrats, men and women increasingly live in different worlds. They distrust each other and are often in conflict. Unlike the Republicans and Democrats (at least for now), I see men and women longing to connect with each other, but feeling increasingly less hopeful about finding real, lasting love in relationship.
The first step in changing things for the better is to acknowledge what is going on. I look forward to your comments and hearing about your own experiences. Share your comments below. I’d love to connect with you. That makes my life less lonely.
Curated by Erbe