I decided to participate in writing for www.MySingleSpace.org because I have a personal and professional interest in men and their issuesI am male, I work with men, and I have spent a considerable portion of my life in ďsingle spaceĒ.Looking at the site, I saw considerable participation by women, and not much by men.Why arenít there more useful articles,providing appropriate support for men in single space?Without content for them, men will probably stay away.And yet, a nagging question remained. What do single men want on the site?Here are my personal musings on this question.
Iím writing this piece in that wasteland of time between the holidays and the beginning of spring.It is about 23 degrees outside, and although the sun is shining, being outside for any length of time is not pleasant without some way of remaining warm.In my own musings, the idea of remaining warm takes me to thinking about relationships, which, metaphorically, can bring warmth.Here it is, in that time of year near Valentineís Day, when being in a romantic relationship is highly esteemed by our culture.So I am sensitized to the lament I often hear from some of my single women friends, ďWhere are all the single men?ĒThe adjective may be replaced with the word good, or heterosexual, or something else.Yet the message is the same:where are the single men who are interested in romantic relationships?
My question in the first paragraph is, in many ways, the same, yet asked in a different context.Where are all the single men? Where are all the single men who might make use of this website?If they are, as some of my women friends suggest, not interested in romantic relationships, what are they doing? What is the nature of menís relationships, or how do men get their relational needs met, or how is it for them being defined as "single", or how do men view the possibility of partnership.These are all valid questions, and answers to them may help to answer the overall question for this website, ďwhere are all the single men?Ē
My own answers come from my own lengthy single male experience.Iím in the garage, working on or polishing my car.Iím watching the NBA or the NFL, and discussing each in depth with my (male) friends.Iím in the kitchen, or in the market or at the chef supply purveyor, pursuing my passion for becoming a great cook.Iím working like the devil to become good (or better) at what I do for a living.As I age, I have become more concerned with my health.And Iím always keeping track of whether or not I am OK financially.Since I am interested in romantic relationship and partnership, add to the list all that goes along with relationships.So, looking at my sample of one, we could say that this single male is really busy.
Consequently, I might want resources that could help me with all that I do, and help me manage successfully all that I do.What areas of my life are not being covered?I can find virtually anything about cars, about sports or about cooking.There are lots of books, articles and web resources about finances, my profession and even about being in relationships.Yet what is there about being in the midst of all this and being single, either as a transitional state or as a permanent choice?
It is no secret that resources for single women are manifold.MySingleSpace.org is full of them, with more being added, generated or linked to all the time.My sense is that finding out what women want is easy, because they know and ask for it.Many men on the other hand, certainly have some sense of what we need.Yet my experience as a male, and from working with men for many years, suggests we fear asking for what we want.
So why are so many of us men, afraid to ask for what we want?My thoughts on this take me to one of my favorite writings on male psychology, the book Under Saturnís Shadow, written by James Hollis.Hollis is a favorite because he builds an accessible framework for understanding our own behavior.He reveals several of the secrets men carry within. Two are having restrictive role expectations and being governed by fear.These two are interrelated and looking at them together addresses some of the questions I have raised here. Men are just as governed by restrictive role expectations as women.One of these is the traditional societal role of father, breadwinner, the protective one in a family, committed to spouse and children for a lifetime.There are troubling difficulties maintaining this role for a lifetime. With the rapidity of change in our society and the consequent changes in this role, a man canít know what he is really signing up for. It makes sense that a man would be afraid to take this on preferring instead to remain single and take care of himself.Yet even admitting the desire to remain single, as reasonable as it may seem, is not well supported by society.
So, in fear, men hide from that too, not even searching for or asking for what they might need or want in order to make single life more successful.Why fear? Put simply, admitting fear is a way of showing weakness.As men, we have been trained from boyhood to stay strong, to hide, repress and deny fear, lest we be rejected or even annihilated when those around us discover it.
For those of you who have read this far, I ask that you consider what you need or find helpful for yourself, or for your mate, your partner or your friend, depending on gender and preference.What might this website do to make itself a better and more useful resource to single men?Any of you reading this might want to respond to this question through the means provided on this site.
Iím wondering how many of you will respond.If there are few of you reading this, how do we reach your fellow singles that are not?Do they even want to be reached?If not, why not?Is it fear? Is it that they donít feel they need such a site? Is there a way to make such a site more useful for single men?
I also ask that you think of this article as the beginning of a conversation.Much of what is here is from my own perception and experience.I have yet to even conceive of a reasonable way to research these questions.So I have decided to begin by asking people, men and women, who may already be looking at this site.All of us here at MySingleSpace.org are interested in what you have to say on this topic.Let us know.
John Cecilia is a Licensed Social Worker, practicing as a psychotherapist in the Chicago area.He has many years experience in menís groups and experiential weekends, and estimates that he has spent 80 percent of his life in single space.