Last week, the post “The Rise of Lonely, Single Men” by Greg Matos, PsyD, started trending, and I was thrilled.
As a single person in her 30s, a therapist, and an author whose work centers around dating and healthy relationships, I am grateful for the culture shift toward healthier relationship standards that Matos describes in his article.
Until recently, modern dating (in the cis-hetero world, at least) has been imbalanced. Women have been socially programmed to believe that their value and worth are conditional and reflected by their relationship status. Media, including dating self-help literature, has played a big part in this, encouraging women to change various aspects of themselves—personality, physical appearance, communication style—to be more desirable to men.
In my work, I've seen this social programming impact women in their pursuit of dating and relationships, time and time again, leading many to feel like they must “play the game” to be “successful” and find a mate. And of course, this outdated approach often leaves single women feeling hopeless and disempowered.
But there is a shift occurring, and it is palpable—and this is not strictly an outcome of the surge in dating app usage. As women have gained more rights and are recognized as (mostly) equal to men, traditional gender roles and constructs are becoming obsolete.
In the past, most women needed men for resources—they needed a provider. Now, with more opportunities, women have more independence and recognize that they do not need men in the same way women did in previous generations. Without such high stakes, women are raising the bar. We are no longer looking for a provider but a partner and an equitable relationship. We want more.
10 Things Women Want
- We want to be treated as equals.
- We want to feel seen and heard.
- We want our feelings to be respected and validated.
- We want to feel safe and supported.
- We want to share core values with our partners.
- We want to have the flexibility of having multiple identities instead of being confined to one box (i.e., "wife," "mom," "caregiver").
- We want to be part of the conversation regarding negotiating roles and expectations within the relationship.
- We want to have productive and honest conversations and healthy disagreements.
- We want to establish mutual trust.
- We want to feel emotionally connected to our partners.
Now, more than ever, women are becoming aware of their inherent worth and are not willing to settle. The expectations are simple and straightforward. Hopefully, the single, lonely men can step up.