In my many collected hours of talking about men with my friends, I’ve noticed quite the pattern emerge. Not just in my own life, but in the lives of the majority of my female friends, and which is that the men of our generation are deathly afraid of commitment. I’m not saying that young men should be tying themselves down with relationships that they don’t want and not enjoying sexual freedom if that’s what they want – the same as a woman should do what she pleases, be in a relationship or single, whatever.
However, I have noticed that the proportion of guys around my age to girls of my age who actively want a relationship seems to be wildly unbalanced. Most of my female friends (I said most, not all), actively desire to be in a relationship – but it seems that every time they invest their emotions into a guy (myself included), and the guy seems to like them back, after a certain period of time they are faced with the same shattering phrase: ‘I just don’t want to be in a relationship right now.’ Of course, they may have their reasons for this. Maybe they just came out of a particularly shitty relationship. Who knows. But then the question lies – why become emotionally involved in the first place?
Don’t get me wrong, there is a difference between becoming emotionally involved and becoming sexually involved. And this difference is usually made overtly clear at the beginning. I’m sure most of us have had a cheeky bit of sex with someone and not felt any emotions afterwards. There is a sort of unspoken, exclusively sexual connection made. Both parties knows that this is just a routine thing- like filling up your car at the petrol station, or eating a pizza. Everyone has needs to be fulfilled. But in the instances where the famous line is used, the connection has seemingly been beyond sexual. And this is where it gets confusing.
I think, however, I might have scratched the surface on this phenomenon a little bit. The men of my generation have been told over and over again that relationships are bad. In the media, the comedic trope of the annoying demanding girlfriend is used regularly. Men are told that if they get a girlfriend, she’ll stop them from going out and having fun with their friends, she’ll be emotionally manipulative, she’ll withhold sex for the sake of it, she’ll go out and spend all of his money – you get the idea. And then we go the step further into marriage – how many times have you heard of marriage being referred to as the end of a man’s freedom, and according to some, life? I mean even the whole concept of the stag party is to see off a man’s final day of ‘freedom’. And beyond the media and semi-facetious generalisations – what about reality? Divorce rates have steadily increased since our parents’ generation. When men are taught that commitment has more negatives than positives, we really shouldn’t be blaming them for being afraid of it.
What can be done about it? Probably nothing. All I can say is that they have to learn to enjoy commitment from their own experience.
By Sascha Morgan-Evans