Did you catch this NYT article by Dominique Browning on why women like being alone? And men don’t, especially after a break-up? It’s interesting…

image via weheartit.com

Browning describes the time she fell over at home and couldn’t move. She lived alone. She had that thought I’ve had often: I could die here and no one would know. It got her thinking about a whole heap of generalities to do with choosing to live alone (which women love and men don’t, she claims). Here’s a few:

Most men seem unable to live alone for longer than, say, at the outside … three months.

Most single women I know really love their lives.

And this, which I really do agree with:

Sometimes we suffer pangs of loneliness, sometimes we ache for the companionship of that mythic soul mate, but mostly we cherish our independence. We love doing whatever we want to do, when we want to do it.

Women alone eat breakfast at 11 if we feel like it, lunch at 3 and dinner never if that’s the way the day is winding down. Single women do not worry about cooking unless we want to. And we don’t want to unless we like to.

We love not being judged, not being criticized, not being hemmed in. We love the give and take of making our own decisions….

Single men could not care less about any of the above lifestyle features.

I love all those things and I’m aware that most single men I know don’t. They might be OK about living alone, but they don’t cherish these things – they don’t get all hygge about curling up on a couch with no distractions or having eggs for dinner in front of Offspring. Browning points out that men like shacking up and seek it out. Then asks, but why, and rambles thus:

After I hit my tailbone and joggled my brain, I lay there, thinking …This is, indeed, dangerous.

…Men are hard-wired to feel danger all the time… that’s what makes a man a man. A man is on guard because that is his job.He hunts and tangles with wild beasts. He does not nest….He avoids danger, aware that only so many arrows are granted to him in a lifetime, so he should husband his resources.

Being alone feels dangerous to a man. No one has your back. No one feeds you. No one nurses you in your sickbed. No one takes up a watch if you vanish or sends out a search party if you wander off the trail.

The world is dangerous enough without adding the dangers that come of being alone.

And women?

Women do not walk around alert for danger. Nor do we feel that being alone is dangerous. Women are hard-wired to read the signals that keep us from danger, and, when confronted by trouble, we escape, fleeing into our homes.

To a woman, being home feels safe.

We love our nests. We tend them, and in exchange we expect them to keep us snug and warm and serene and safe. Which, generally, they do. Because nests are reliable.

I agree with a lot of this, although it’s a little too essentialist for my liking. But I add these two (essentialising) thoughts:

Men often have a need to go to their “cave”. A cave is like “being alone”, but is temporary and – and this is the important distinction – can be experienced while a woman is sitting right next to him on the couch. Women can’t do this. We can’t “escape” to our alone spot when people are around. We’re too aware, too conscious of others’ needs and feelings. We have to physically get away.

Men uni-task happily and well. Women don’t/can’t. Men can remain absorbed in an activity they love. The washing up can beckon, dinner time can loom, a partner might be hovering – and men can continue to do the things they love (watch telly, fix a bike, read a book) without being distracted. I find I can’t. I juggle lots of things at once…

The point of these two points is that men (mostly) can satisfy their need to be alone (to get away and to do things they love) while being with a woman. In fact, they feel safer when they do them with a woman.

What do you think? I know I – and Browning – have made some sweeping generalisations. But can you see the thread?

Have your say, leave a comment.

  • Benjamin

    I was surprised when It said “Single men could not care less about the above lifestyle features” I guess I’m weird (Complicated) because I cherish those things that allegedly single men don’t but still crave a meaningful relationship…

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  • Smiler

    100% agree – great article, spot on! 🙂

  • kevin reilly

    I agree Chris. It certainly seems the other way around in my opinion…certainly from the women I have met in my life. The media, and particularly the internet, is full of women trying to convince themselves that men need them much more than they need men. As in this article implies that men can’t stand being alone whereas women can…which is complete hokem to be honest.

  • kevin reilly

    well said. Usual feminist propaganda.

  • kevin reilly

    pretty sexist comments their al. Of all the couples I know, its the men who do all the cooking, cleaning, child rearing etc. You really need to get yourself into the 21st century.

  • kevin reilly

    typical feminist shaming comment…which actually doesn’t work.

  • kevin reilly

    as opposed to the ‘princess syndrome’? Also, why is it that it is almost always the man that is being pressured into a marriage by the woman, especially considering the risk involved for the man.

  • kevin reilly

    how do men benefit materially from marriage? Last time I checked it was the man who brings most of the assets to the marriage…house, salary etc? Also, regards your psychological comment, how about the high number of men who lose out on these assets along with children when it comes to marriage breakdown which is currently running at 50% in the US? It seems men have a lot more to lose when it comes to marriage materially and mentally.

    • Scott Sheldon

      Currently in America women are making more money then men. Men are 3.5 times more likely to commit suicide and they work most of the most dangerous jobs and most who go to war are men. Our society is now turning into and majority service sector society for the first time in history and thus exactly why at the same moment women are making more than men in almost all the metro areas across the Nation. Women generally work service sector and men labor most often thus the economic shift. Women dont need men anymore because of this. Most only wanted men originally anyway because they needed security and their nest and now they can get it alone. Men generally need purpose and now they have less and they are even more disposible then they instinctually were already in the past. Women can get artificially inseminated now buy a dream man as well and robots are doing ever more of the labor and dangerous jobs that men did before so another reason women and sociaty don’t need men. 65 to 70 % of University students now are women and growing. More of them gradiate with degrees as well. If they get pregnant without a man or marriage it is irrelevant anymore as the government will take care of their needs for a nest and security. I just don’t see any need for men in America anymore. Women are doing just great without men, good for them and as we progress into the future they will need men progressively less and will demand even more out of their lives or they will not be happy. They will do even better on their own and there is getting to by enough women physically capable to build the bridges, skyscrapers, pipelines, houses, cut the timber etc. so another reason women don’t need men anymore. They will always keep a few around for toys and novelties though. Men, just forget living in American society anymore! Don’t be a sucker and a fool. Go to the mountains or under a bridge or another country. Just get away, as far awy as you can.

  • kevin reilly

    and men have a shorter life span than women full stop…by a full 7 years? I wonder why that is?

  • kevin reilly

    and yet men will lose most of their assets and custody of their children in 90% of divorce cases. 40% of DV is thought to be female on male yet due to lack of funding and media attention, nothing is being done about it. There are similar statistics for female on male rape. Male suicide rapes are far higher than female, yet all we ever hear about is female suicide, similarly with homelessness. But I guess that is all ‘good news’ as you call it.

  • kevin reilly

    I have experienced the exact opposite. Having travelled the world twice, I rarely came across single female travellers. They tended to hang around more in groups while single male travellers were much more common.

  • kevin reilly

    I completely agree. I think this it just another female article trying to convince themselves that they are somehow superior to men and that men crave their company.

  • kevin reilly

    of course it is AGP. This is just another attempt by a female writer trying to convince us all that men need them more than they need us….which is complete BS to be honest.

  • kevin reilly

    also, men risk so much in hooking up with a woman, especially marriage. With divorce rates running at 50%, and men losing the house, assets and custody of kids in 94% of the cases, it really has become too risky for men.

    • Steve

      Your Right.

  • kevin reilly

    that’s in 50% of marriages Jayt. In the other 50%, men lose out financially and mentally through divorce.

  • Brian Cheliotman

    Complete rubbish? I’m guessing this is the UK? In the US we have something called the latchkey kid. That’s a kid that came home from school to an empty house because the mother worked. American boys have grown up w/out mothers. They don’t need women for anything.

    That’s why you have the 40 year old man playing XBox rather than getting married.

    It’s funny all of your comments seem to be more accurate for men. You think a man wants some nagging person around him telling him what’s wrong with him? The reason a man has a man cave is to be alone, not have the wife there.

    Women seem to need other people more than men. It’s in their social nature. Naturally women are more reliant on other people than men. Men are more self-reliant.

    I think this concept is out-dated that men need women. It may have been true in the past when women were homemakers and men looked to marry their mothers. But thanks to women’s lib and feminism, most men seen no use for women other than sex. Women on the other hand still need someone to mow the lawn, change their oil, move furniture, etc. I know more men that are good at cooking than women.

  • Ricky

    The very idea, the teeniest notion that I would have to live…with ANYONE terrifies me the way it terrifies people who can’t fathom the idea of living alone. I am very moody and have periods of time that I don’t want to see another human being for weeks. company is not something I crave in the least. when I have to I can chat and banter up with the best of em. but I hate my ‘space’ invaded. I cook healthy meals for myself, clean my apt. shop when I have to. errands ect. But I prefer my meals alone and heaven forbid! prefer watching movies on TV alone.I have done the sharing my life thing and it seemed to cause me anxiety more than anything, I have always been a real loner and now I just love it! and i’m not a woman.

  • Marc Dogg

    None of this is based on actual facts, just generalities and biased experience

  • DNA(splicer)

    lol women are the ones who cant be alone, have u ever seen a crazy cat man no u only see the crazy cat woman lol, nice try though

  • Tale Spinner

    BS. Men just want to be taken care of. They want someone to keep their home running smoothly (cooking, cleaning) and readily available for physical companionship. A bunch of immature children who need a mommy.

  • LBD

    This is true for most I would agree. However I find that my husband is the one guy I can be around and not “feel”. As an introvert most people suck away at my limited energy just by existing in the same room as me. I have to give myself pep talks to deal with my coworkers – let alone the general public for hours at a time. But my husband is the only person I have ever met that didn’t take any energy from me. We can both sit in a room, reading our own books for hours at a time and not say two words and not steal each others energy. I can completely forget he is even there. That is why my marriage is the one thing I don’t mind not being alone in. I think that makes life better. But I understand how it is for most women- but to an extreme for me with every other person- and relationship.

  • MakingRealSense

    Why should us men be alone when so many others are married with a good wife and family?

  • Tir

    It is ok to keep trying. No one should be lonely. I think we are individuals with differing needs. Gender isn’t the deciding factor for who that is, but some men and women seem happier with constant companionship.

  • uumm

    hikikomoris though

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  • San

    It is important to notice that we tend to compare our insides with other people’s outsides.

  • Heidi Hodder

    This makes sense . .and makes me wish I was single.

    Interested in the unitasking argument as well because I gave birth to my 2nd child alone in my bath (not intentionally! Husband was in kitchen & midwives were on their way). I didn’t realise until I put my hands between my legs and felt a head what had happened – it was pain free and a totally blissful mystical experience. The births of my first and third babies were both excruciatingly painful. I’m sure it was the being alone – not feeling responsible for or distracted by anyone else – that made such a dramatic difference

  • AbsolutelyTrue

    With so much freedom that women have today that are very independent with their Careers certainly speaks for itself especially the ones that are married to their job.

  • michael

    I’ve been going through this myself with a gal who, although she loved me and we had a great time together for over a year decided she wanted to be alone. I was pretty stunned as to how someone could just walk away from someone they professed to love so deeply. At this point I’ve come to believe that all of these choices are really dependent upon where we come from in our life experiences. For some, being involved means a loss of independence, a loss of a sense of self, a surrender of their own decision making to include another person. Does this come from a childhood of being dominated by a less then loving father. Being a daughter of parents of loved their son more and a sense of being devalued. I tend to thing so.

  • Comebackkid13

    Typical solipsistic woman’s world view. “But men don’t” – Ridiculous. After reading this rambling, directionless garbage, I would recommend that the author stay in the kitchen.

    “Men often have a need to go to their “cave”. A cave is like “being alone”, but is temporary and – and this is the important distinction – can be experienced while a woman is sitting right next to him on the couch. Women can’t do this. We can’t “escape” to our alone spot when people are around. We’re too aware, too conscious of others’ needs and feelings. We have to physically get away.”

    So you are able to understand their psyche in this situations? Maybe men much prefer being alone but we don’t ride sopping, self-pitying tirades about it like this.

  • Sabre Heinemann

    i’m a man and i tend to not stay around anyone because i dislike other people. Conversations and really anything to do with people i feel that i don’t even go to church because i know people will be there i avoid everyone and really everything because i feel it is a waste of time communicating with others because it will always be shit talk or look at that guy he is a bum people seem to think i give a damn about others well i don’t i really just want to be alone and never see another human being but is that possible no and the only reason i am on this site is because im trying to find a place with no inhabitants in the world but i guess google is full of people that love being around others and forces you to be around others because they wont tell you how to be alone sigh

  • Sebastian Thaw

    a complete load of narcisistic polly waffle feminism. and a healthy dose of misandry. Yup ladies look it up misandry I bet you haven’t heard of that. The truth is we all get lonely in relationships and also outside of them. The difference between men and women is far less then we presume in my opinion its all the media, advertising and white noise in our culture that drives us apart. Anyway men handle being alone just the about the same as women do. Best stick to food Ms. Wilson !

  • Houston Davis

    This is ridiculous, the things put forward in these excerpts are simply, as a matter of objective FACT, not true. 100% sexist assertions with 0 referent in reality. Again this is not simply “my opinion” they are just wrong, full stop. I mean honestly come on:

    “Single men could not care less about any of the above lifestyle features.”

    Really? Men don’t care about being able to do what they want, when they want, with out being judged, criticized, or corralled? That is so baffling untrue that I’m honestly flabbergasted that anyone wrote it.

    And your closing points in this article are equally crazy-town and equally sexist. The idea that by dent of having a penis it’s more likely that a man can satisfy his desire to be alone while distinctly NOT being alone?! No. Just no. And this idea that women are some how more aware and more conscious?? Pure silliness.

    The fact of the matter is that PEOPLE are different and desire different things to different degrees.

  • Houston Davis

    It’s absolutely in our best interest. It forces a defense or abandonment of the idea/s. At which point one person is forced to modify their view (to hopefully be more in line with reality). It’s called the progression of human discourse.

  • AW

    Many of us men that are single really hate being alone which i certainly will admit, and then there are many others that really enjoy it. Looking for love for many of us men has become rather difficult today since many women could care less.

  • Leon

    Not true for a lot of men

  • AGoodReason

    A very excellent reason why women are really to Blame why many of us Good men are still Single today and Not by choice.

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    Lmfao

    Stopped reading after the title.

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  • Mollie007

    In the past several years, after being married/divorced twice, and my last divorce was 13 years ago, I adore living on my on. I’m extremely selfish of my time and can’t stand to be infringed upon. I date many men and I like them, when I visit them or when they leave. I am pleased I have the best of both worlds. I remember talking to older women, when I was younger, and they were divorced or widowed and ultimately the question would come up, would you marry again? Always, the answer way, no honey, I did that once before, I’m not doing it again. Men drain me. Just too demanding.

  • Mollie007

    Every guy I’ve ever lived with (2 husbands and a long-time boyfriend) constantly hemmed me in. I couldn’t stand it. I felt like a box was coming down around me. Didn’t like my friends, why don’t I this, why don’t I that, how come, can my brother stay, blah blah blah blah blah. I love to see you, hug you, talk to you, play with you, but then it’s time to say goodbye and goodnight. Really.

  • John

    Ummm, no. This goes against everything I’ve observed in my life. Most women have to be in a relationship or they are a wreck. Many men are fine, even better off, when they’re single.

  • AS

    There’s a reason Freud, Adler, Nietzsche are well known psychologists and not Wilson. The only Wilson I’ll take advice from is Mr. Wilson from the Home Improvement show.

  • Scott

    that is the most ignorant sexes thing I have ever read

  • musty ala

    Men are usually depressed by being alone more then women. The main reason of this is women betrays men and keep their power all the time. Actually mothers are the betrayers to their sons. Men are mentally slaves.

    Women hold a monopoly when it comes to love, intimacy, sex… etc. This start with mothers’ behaviour to their sons. Those sons not only being mostly abused by their mothers and also are being ejected from home in order to be a man, which forces men to be alone, hold all the responsiblity for himself, also feel holding responsibility for all of women like ”you should take care of women, dont hit them, be nice to them, respect women… etc. but girls never being told these.

    So… boys are being forced to be ‘strong’ by their mothers at first, then by the whole society and girls portrayed as weak which removes their ageny and responsibility. you know… being forced to work in a certain job is not good, but being volunterely work in a job is mostly fun. That’s why ”feeling responsible” is so important, and girls are not being hold responsible, mostly. They have the rights over men and government all the time. (like women need to feel safe. men and government must do this)..

    So men become alone with responsiblities while girls attached more to family and become more social while holding no responsibilities and denied agency. This creates the monopoly of love, intimacy and sex and make men mentally slaves so they have to achieve these to validate their existence, which mean they have to serve women’s need, who holds the monopoly.

    So men being forced to validate themselves through a woman’s approval. If they dont, they start to think themselves as failure and depressed. And unlike women, men are being ashamed by society as well, single women worshipped and celebrated while single men ashamed and demeaned. And since women hold the social monopoly, women can have fun being single but men dont.

    I wont even start with many men pays their exwifes so she can have fun while he suffers both economically and both social wise and also being ejected by his family, just like his mother did to him.

    But…. mothers will always betray their sons and raise them as disposal mental slaves in order to feel other women safe, have fun and live happily.

    sorry for my bad english.

  • Davve

    that is total BS I am a male and all ways lived on my own I like it that way at least I`ve still got a roof over my head women are just trouble to me from day one I gave up women in my 30`s do not get lonely or regret it I was meant to be alone happier this way done with females!

  • Davve

    spot on

  • gharach

    I only hear from women that men unable to live alone, aloe of men that I know living alone and happy men love being alone too much, women say these things to point that men need women or men related to women or something yo put theirs up . ridiculous

  • Aaron David

    What??? Women can’t be alone everyone knows this. They need ppl and have less esteem. They rather be busy and are not philosophers. Fact

  • Scott Sheldon

    Would it be because most married women also have children and many single women do not. Child bearing does have a toll on the body? Might be better to compare childless women living the majority of their life without living with a man and those who are childless and spent most of their life living with a man. Oxitocyn coming from a mate has shown to increase well being, health and life expectancy. Same reason as single people with no maye or children for affection, those with pets for obtaining affection also live longer then those without pets.

  • Scott Sheldon

    Currently in America women are making more money than men. Men are 3.5 times more likely to commit suicide and they work most of the most dangerous jobs and most who go to war are men. Our society is now turning into and majority service sector society for the first time in history and thus exactly why at the same moment women are making more than men in almost all the metro areas across the Nation. Women generally work service sector and men labor most often thus the economic shift. Women don’t need men anymore because of this. Most only wanted men originally anyway because they needed security and their nest and now they can get it alone. Men generally need purpose and now they have less and they are even more disposable then they instinctually were already in the past. Women can get artificially inseminated now buy a dream man as well and robots are doing ever more of the labor and dangerous jobs that men did before so another reason women and society don’t need men. 65 to 70 % of University students now are women and growing. Also women can select the sex of their babies before they are born so it would be much more sensible to have girls instead of boys as they are easier to raise. More girls graduate now with degrees as well. If they get pregnant without a man or marriage it is irrelevant anymore as the government will take care of their needs for a nest and security. I just don’t see any need for men in America anymore. Women are doing just great without men, good for them and as we progress into the future they will need men progressively less and will demand even more out of their lives or they will not be happy. They will do even better on their own and there is getting to be enough women physically capable to build the bridges, skyscrapers, pipelines, houses, cut the timber etc. so another reason women don’t need men anymore. They will always keep a few around for toys and novelties though. Men, just forget living in American society anymore! Don’t do it.. Go to the mountains or under a bridge or another country. Just get away, as far away as you can.

  • Predator2104

    Should I believe myself: living alone for more than 32 years and listening to all the girls nagging about relationships and marriage and my neighbor who cries once a week saying how lonely she feels, or believe your feministish article
    MGTOW

  • Screw_Globalism

    Bit late to the ” party ” , but men are more OK being alone in general than women , as we are less social by nature. Men evolved to hunt , so we talk far less , are more detached & are quite happy being alone.

    Women do have 2 key advantages over men in living alone. Very close , very tactile , inter female friendships , there is a strong inter female gender solidarity , whereas men do not have these close friendships. Most Western women do seem to view men as lesser beings to themselves & are contemptuous towards men , unless he is of some use or value to her , she will never care for him , the person , but cares deeply for her female friends.

    Women also lack sexual desires ,any idiot knows that , the vast majority of women could very happily be celibate their entire lives , women do not & never have experienced sexual frustration & ruthlessly use this male weakness against men to extract services & resources from the sucker man. I think the solution for a happier world is develop a safe , effective , libido remover for men that does not affect the ” male drive ” to go get things done , so this can then really be the age of ” I don’t need no man ” , plus no more ” rapey pervert ” men even glancing at you women , men will then treat you with the same cold indifference as you have towards men , & , as most women want , stay well away from you & stay out of your lives forever.

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  • Carly

    Will, I have to say that your comment about woman and multitasking is a huge generalization. Basing said assumption off of personal experience with your girlfriend is not a very accurate test sampling for the rest of the female population. As a female who grew up as an “A.D.D.” child I have worked very hard to develop personal systems to better remain focused on tasks on hand and a huge one is not splitting my focus. In fact I have begged my husband not to interrupt me while I am trying to organize myself for going out, as I am going through my mental lists. He claims interrupting me during the process is not his fault if I forget something despite the fact that I have begged him time and time again to wait until after I get through organizing myself. I actually function in the exact oposite method from what you describe above, and while I could be labeled as an anomaly, I believe there’s probably another couple million of women like me in the world.

  • Julianna Wang

    Perfect article, very well!

  • Eoin Brennan

    Just reading this article now…………Im not so sure what you say is accurate. I have noticed that its actually women who cant stand to be alone. They always need a friend to go to the bathroom or to do anything really. I knew a girl who wanted to take a yoga class but everyone she asked to do it with her said no. So in the end she never went. Even though she really wanted to try yoga she denied herself that opportunity because she wouldve had have gone alone. I know no men who would do the same thing. I used to work in this place that had sunbeds. The women who came in were never alone, they always had a companion with them. The men who used the beds were always alone. Girls are attached to their phones way more than men also. I have witnessed girls walking across streets, head down looking at the screen and almost being killed by a car or bus. This is because women feel the need to always be connected, to always be talking to someone or texting someone for fear of being alone. Anytime I play golf with my buddy his girlfriend will call him several times while we’re out on the course, asking him when he’ll be finished etc. To my knowledge, my mate never calls her while shes out with her friends. I have yet to meet a girl whos truly independent and who is comfortable being alone, while I know many men who are relaxed, easy going and go off by themselves on various adventures.