There are good reasons to remain single, if you’re not the codependent type. You’ll have more time for whatever makes you feel alive — advancing your career, exploring your artistic streak, satisfying your wanderlust, or fighting for your political ideals. You won’t feel like there’s a choice between abandoning your soul mate and pursuing your dreams. Oh yeah, the sex with as many women as you want isn’t bad either.
It all comes down to your (fifty percent inherited) level of oxytocin, a hormone that affects bonding. If you’re born with more, you’ll probably show affection and trust; if you’re born with less, well, a ball and chain might not be your thing.
But there are non-romantic interpersonal relationships that can make your life meaningful.
Single men “may have closer friendships” than their committed counterparts, according to psychologist Bella DePaulo, author of Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After. “When some men get married, their friends get placed on the back burner — the grooms have found a new confidante — but when it doesn’t work out, they’ve lost all the people in their lives and have to go crawling back.”
There’s a catch, of course: You’re a man, but more importantly you’re a human — and humans eventually need companionship that goes beyond sharing pitchers of beer with your buddies. You’re going to advance in years, your body is going to fall apart, and going through it alone is no fun.
Harry K. Wexler, director of the Center for Aging, Sexuality and Meaning and blogger for Psychology Today, has been married twice. He now celebrates the single life, and believes that “one of the great underrated emotions in life is loneliness,” but it’s far from easy as your sunset years approach.
“One of the biggest challenges of being single long-term is the inevitability of death,” Wexler says. “You won’t grow old and die with someone, and you must have the courage to face that.”
So perhaps the ideal, as men have practiced it for millennia, is to experience single life to the fullest in our youths and settle down when the time feels right. Because you don’t want to be that guy who shows up to keggers with gray hair and wrinkles, trying to pick up women half your age.
As Wexler puts it:
“The real problem with being an older single guy is that women my age look like my mother — and I don’t want to have sex with my mother — but I look like younger women’s grandfather, and they don’t want to do that either!”