I’ve recently run into issues in growing my social circle as part of the process of becoming a better, more well-rounded person with the hopes of finding a significant other, getting married, having a family, and ultimately ending up living a life that I can feel good about living.
One of the things that’s come up in a lot of reading and interactions is to be around similar people. And it makes sense logically. But in a lot of the social things I do and activities I’m part of, the vast majority of the other single men are just kind of unpleasant. Like, at the local gaming events and fitness classes I go to, I always hang around the guys with long-term girlfriends or spouses because more of them tend to be emotionally even-keel, not throwing tantrums when they lose, mess up, or miss their goals, just good people to be around. Where the guys who are single tend to be the ones who smell bad, lack emotional control, and make misogynist comments. Basically, the people who are fun to hang out with (men and women) are the ones in committed relationships. The single men are, on average and anecdotally, kind of awful, and there aren’t single women at the places I go, likely because of the aforementioned single men.
In and of itself, I don’t mind befriending all these people who are in relationships. But on the flipside, these people spend a lot of time doing things in groups of couples or groups of families, and I never really fit in there because I’m not in a couple/my own family. I don’t fit in with the single people because, as fate would have it, they don’t take kindly to being called out on sexist behavior.
And I feel horrible for painting in such broad strokes here, but barring a few rare exceptions, most guys I’ve met who ended up being single past the age of like 25 never left me thinking “yeah, they would make a great husband.” There are just huge problems with masculinity that I alone am not capable of fixing in other people. It’s difficult enough to fix myself into the kind of person I can accept being. And as much as it’s important to deny toxic masculinity, it’s still something we have to interact with every day. Even if stigmas are bullcrap, they’re still bullcrap we have to see and face. Knowing that toxic masculinity is bullcrap doesn’t just make it disappear.
It seems like the solution in dating for me is to set up online dating, but I’m still working with my therapist on trying to get my appearance/self-image to a point where I can tolerate taking pictures of myself, let alone posting them online for others to peruse and evaluate. So that’s a work in progress, but a slow moving one.
In the meantime, though, I don’t know how I’m supposed to grow a social circle at this point. I feel like I’m mentally “settled down,” but I don’t belong with those people because I’m single and not building a family. I don’t belong with the other single men because most of them simply aren’t great to be around… and I just don’t encounter single women anywhere.
Settled Down With Nothing