Dating is daunting these days. Between commitment issues, emotionally unavailable people, high rates of divorce, and the world of online dating, it comes with a high level of stress. But when you finally swipe enough times or get lucky meeting someone in real life that you like enough to want to pursue, you enter a whole other world of struggles.
Now you have to figure out how compatible you are if they're as committed as you, if they're a good person, and if they're even ready for a relationship. Unfortunately, a new study shows that this is harder for men than women because 63% of men use dating for a very wrong reason...
We don't blame you for being frustrated with dating and wanting to stick with what's comfortable, but if you're struggling to find and keep a quality relationship, click here to find out how to break the cycle.
More Rewarding For Men
Now imagine this. You actually meet someone you like, you go on a date, and it actually goes well. Now you're seeing each other and you really like them. If you're the woman in this scenario, you can't help but feel a little drained at this point. If you're a man, chances are you're finding the experience very rewarding. So what gives?
Well according to a report that surveyed more than 5,000 singles between ages 18 and 98, more than half of the men, 63% to be exact, said that they use dates to become: "a better version of themselves."
It gets worse...
Dating For Growth?
Basically, men, whether consciously or subconsciously are using dates like a therapy session, thinking that this will help them "grow." What they're actually doing is placing women in a caretaking role to do the work that they should be doing by themselves before trying to enter a relationship.
The result is that women walk away, feel drained from being a non-paid therapist, and men feel better. In comparison only 46% of women found dating to be "rewarding."
Dating Isn't Free Therapy
The study was done through match.com, a website that is clearly for dating. Somewhere along the line, it became a therapy helpline for men instead. In fact, 44% of men said dating over the last year helped them grow and improve as a person. Just 35% of women had that same sentiment.
The problem is that this automatically creates an unequal power dynamic and keeps conditioning women into stereotypical, and frankly outdated, gender roles. It's not women's job to "fix" men and help them feel better, especially when they're not returning the favor. Men are walking away from these dates self-actualized, while women feel more broken.
Now women are noticing.
It Takes Away From Noticing The Other Person
Have you ever sat on a date trying to get a word in except your date couldn't take a break from talking about themselves? That's usually a good sign that they have the wrong intentions. While benefiting from the dating experience itself to learn and grow isn't a bad thing, mis-using the dates themselves as therapy is only setting them up for failure.
Pamela Larkin, a therapist who specializes in relationships, explains: "Sometimes we engage in social activities to practice a new or different way of being," she says. “Wanting to grow, and being open and curious about yourself is attractive and shows a great deal of humility.”
The problem is that by only talking about yourself, you miss out on getting to know the other person too. You might think you like them cause they make you feel better about yourself without actually even knowing who they are.
Women Also Deserve To "Take Up Space"
We still live in a society that was built on a structure that didn't give men and women equal space. While women have fought for their equal rights, they had to do it within a system that was still built by men, for men. That's why men don't struggle with 'taking up space’ while women do. Women feel like they have to prove that they deserve to earn their space. This ends up creating a discrepancy in everything they do, including the way they approach dates.
"Many men do not struggle with taking up space in a conversation," she says. “They may not be wrestling with thoughts of ‘do I belong here, does my voice matter, will I be heard’ in the same way that women’s narrative historically shows, explains Pamela.
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Yet Men Are More Lonely
We're not saying dating is easier for men, they just aren't conditioned to be as self-conscious about dominating a conversation as women are. The benefit that women have over men is that they're encouraged to be vulnerable, while men aren't. Women usually have stronger friendships bonded by vulnerable moments, while men have less intimate friendships.
Only 30% of men reported having a private conversation with a friend during which they shared a personal feeling in the last week, according to a 2021 survey by the Survey Center on American Life. For women this number was 48%.
As a result, men usually feel lonelier than women. They don't feel like they're understood and feel the need to hide what they truly feel and deal with it on their own.
Leave It Therapy To The Professionals
The other contributing factor is this "men using dating as therapy" dilemma is that men don't often seek actual therapy, according to data from Statista. , fewer men have sought professional help than women. In comparison, in 2020, more than one-fifth, 22%, of women in the United States reported receiving mental health treatment or counseling in the past. Only 11% of men said the same.
Without vulnerable friendships. or professional help, men don't have healthy outlets that they can confide in and grow. Instead, they use a date with a woman as their chance to finally open themselves up.
We All Just Want To Be Accepted
At the end of the day, whether men or women, we're all just wanting to feel accepted. Men using dates as therapy is harmful, but understanding why it's happening is the first step to rectifying it. Men are trying to get understanding, so they feel less lonely. A woman's empathy on a date gives them a glimpse of that.
″[Men] are trying to get that understanding not by having you speak to them but by them speaking to you," explains Manuela Barreto, a professor of social and organizational psychology a.Usually, women respond by:
"Nodding and smiling are things women do a lot and are received as signs of acceptance and approval," she says. Instead, women need to be able to take up their own space, and men need to be taught how to connect with those around them and remove the stigma of seeking professional health. There are ways to fill the void of empathetic understanding that aren't romantic dates.
Don't Date For Therapy
Women shouldn't feel like they should be paid for the dates they go on. They have their own needs that require them to be able to take up equal space in any relationship.
As for men, Pamela adds: “I think it’s important to share that you are interested in getting to know the person and that you also want to learn or grow as a person.” Show the women you go on that it's them you want to get to know, not yourself.
In any relationship, always look at how you feel and ask yourself: does this person make you love yourself more? Do you want to grow old with them?
Love is more than just kisses and butterflies. It's much more than that. If you want to know more on what your birth chart reveals about how you love and what you need out of a partner, check out this personalized report based on your date of birth.
For more great relationship advice and tips on how to attain the kind of love you deserve, watch this video from expert, Amy North: Click Here To Watch The Full Video.