Social Question

wundayatta's avatar

Do women have a greater tolerance for living alone?

Asked by wundayatta (58625points) February 14th, 2012

I’m going to make a bunch of generalizations that I may or may not believe. Feel free to question or tear into any or all of them.

Men are dogs. They like to screw around. If they can get away with it, they will. They’ll deny it to your face, even if caught red-handed. The only way to keep a man in line is to withhold sex or divorce his ass.

Men don’t believe women will follow up on their threat and divorce. But women do, and then the men end up with the woman they were cheating on their wife with.

Women cheat, but not as much. Women are more willing to live alone. They’ll have friends, but they won’t form another lasting relationship with a man because they don’t want to risk that infidelity again.

Men don’t do emotions well. They don’t communicate with women in a very satisfactory way. They are more interested in sex, and a woman can’t hold her husband’s interest when she grows wrinkles. Once you’ve got wrinkles, what do you need a man for, anyway? You’ll be happier without him.

Discuss.

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49 Answers

wilma's avatar

I think, in general women do have a better tolerance for living alone.
I think some of your generalizations are quite true for a lot of men and women. Across the board? no.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Woof. Woof. Arf. Arf.

Blackberry's avatar

I don’t think so. One can just as easily say women have a lower tolerance due to the large amount of women (and people in general) that just want to commit and settle down. Or that men have the higher tolerance for being screwed over at one point and regressing to a single playboy with more freedom instead of commitment.

I would assume the bearing on the tolrance of someone living alone has to do with things like self esteem, confidence in ones self, and amount of independence.

wilma's avatar

@Blackberry I would agree with you about the large amount of women (and people in general) that just want to commit and settle down.
I think that has to do with the biological clock ticking. Women who have already had their children are another story.

nikipedia's avatar

To answer your lead question, I think women are a little better prepared to live alone because we tend to do the majority of household chores anyway. So, when men no longer have someone to do those things, their households fall apart and their lives become more difficult. Whereas for many women, it’s one less person to clean up after.

Then again, I have read that financially, men tend to do better after a divorce and women tend to be in a worse position.

It does appear that men cheat more often, although women do our share too.

I hope you’re wrong about this: a woman can’t hold her husband’s interest when she grows wrinkles

I don’t have any data either way, but I suspect that might be a very uncomfortable truth.

cazzie's avatar

Oh, I don’t think it is a ‘cheaters’ issue. It’s a lazy-ass issue. Men want their bread buttered on both sides, sure, but what they want more than anything is an extra income earner who will also double as their mother. They want to pursue their desires and think they can just come home to someone who consistently ignores their shortcomings, abuse and show continuous apathy. Shit.. I can’t answer this question right now… I’m too pissed off.

cazzie's avatar

Oh, I don’t just ‘live alone’.... my so-called husband is my third child and I can’t get any fucking single parent support for my situation…. but I tell you now.. this year… I am going to try seriously.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@cazzie You may want to try this. I will gladly assist via PMs, too

JLeslie's avatar

It does seem that more women appreciate living alone than men. Especially women who have been married previously, or we could even include long term relationships in general I think. Most divorced women I know, and women over 50 whether married or divorced, are really happy to do whatever the hell they want. Many of them have been slaves to their kids and husbands, and just want to be left alone. Not to be alone all the time, but be able to have control over their life, their things, decorate how they want, turn the heat to the temperature they want, and not have to worry about someone else’s opinion.

A lot of women lose themselves in relationships. It isn’t all negative, not like they gave up themselves, many truly find happiness in supporting their husbands needs and goals. Some women cannot just worry about themselves unless they are the only one to worry about. So being alone let’s them be themselves and feel free.

Also, in many relationships, especially the 50+ people, that generation the women did all the housework, errand running, cooking, and for men they like having someone do all that. Marriage for men means they have less things to do. Marriage for women means more things to do. The men are going to work anyway, but the women, the working woman, might just have a sandwich for dinner and put her feet up the rest of the night. Less laundry, less cooking, less dealing with a man’s ego, less being told they didn’t do something right.

wilma's avatar

@JLeslie I think you are spot on.

Blackberry's avatar

@wilma Oh yeah that makes sense, I was thinking of younger women mostly.

I know a woman that got married in her early twenties and did the whole marriage life with kids. After her divorce 20 years later, she’s like a college freshman, lol. She’s really happy, but I kind of feel bad that she’s just now experiencing real freedom.

JLeslie's avatar

@wilma Thanks. :) Made me think about how my mom on her birthday and Mother’s day always asked for the same gift: to be left alone and no one ask her for anything. She did not want to hear anyone call her name those two days of the year.

cazzie's avatar

If anyone wants to, in the future, answer my posts, if they think I have some truth… answer with… ‘Write a book!’... It might actually inspire me to do something.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Hey @cazzie write a book. I’ll buy it and I’ll buy more for my friends, too!

Aethelflaed's avatar

I was going to come here and say that when moving in is discussed, men think “awesome, I’ll have someone to help me out with the housework!” and women think “awesome… I’ll get to do twice the housework…~”. And maybe something about how women will often lose out in minor household battles – like what temp the thermostat is set to. But then all these other awesome ladies beat me to it. So, good job, everyone!

john65pennington's avatar

I started not to answer this question, since it is mainly focused with women.

Then I said, whoa, not all men fit into this category.

In the beginning of our marriage, we both set ground rules for each other, such as chores, and to have devotion to each other. This has been a pedestial for both of us. We divide the house chores as evenly as possible and have for 46 years.

I have never been a lazy person. I worked two and three extra jobs in order to have the money we needed for us and our children.

I have never cheated on my wife. I have had opportunities like you would not believe, but the temptation never overcame me. I never considered myself to be a dog. Maggie is my dog.

Emotions? Sure, I have emotions just like any other human being. I do try to hold them back, but sometimes they are too strong and the tears flow. Giving death notices has always been a challenge for me.

Now, lets discuss wrinkles. My wife calls them a road map. I once told her they were just a road map to her heart and she has a big one. We both have discussed our wrinkles and have decided that each wrinkle represents a good time in our lives together. And, its true. I look at my wife and I see her when she was 25 years old and the wrinkles just all fade away. Love has a way of making this happen.

In conclusion, please let me state that all men are not dogs. We have feelings, we have senior wrinkles just like the ladies and it is difficult for some of us not to cheat on our wives.

This is why I have a small devil on my right shoulder and a HUGE angel on my left. If I am not a good boy, that big angel will beat the crap out of me and I know it.

Pandora's avatar

I don’t believe men cheat more than women. I think women are just better at not getting caught or not being emotionally involved with the guy they are cheating with.
As for the along factor. Women do better because they are usually the care taker so its not so big of an adjustment for them, except for maybe financially.
Men are first taken care of by their mothers and then their wives, so they feel lost when they are alone. Women are taught to care for others and then themselves. For men its the other way around. Unless he had a mom that wanted him to be extremely self sufficient and taught him to take care of himself so he didn’t have to be dependent. But its nice to be king and no one wants to give it up.
I remember having my mother in law stay with us for 2 weeks. I thought I was going to go crazy with her being around, so I made sure I got as many hours I could at work. I was sad to see her go. She did all the cleaning and laundry and cooking. I would come home to find everything organized and food on the table. I told my husband that now I know what its like to be a guy.
If I’m a guy in my next life, I want to find a woman like that or myself. I too want to be king.

john65pennington's avatar

Pandora, and a king you will be. jp

cazzie's avatar

@Pandora fuck the next life… I’m looking for a woman like that in THIS one!

and you can absolutely bet she will be cared for and told every day that she is a godsend…. etc etc…. and we will have fantastic sex and there will be no straying…...

SpatzieLover's avatar

two mommies sure sounds blissful to me @cazzie.

jca's avatar

I think for myself, I don’t mind living alone. If I’m lonely, I make a phone call, play on the computer, or go out (shopping, movies, dinner with friends, or visiting people).

I think (and this may just be my personal preconception) that the reason why men are often resistant to divorce is that they envision themselves living alone, broke, in an apartment, and miserable. Women that I know of all ages don’t seem to mind being alone. I read once recently that unmarried women who live alone are the second happiest group (of the groups they polled) of people. I think it’s because women that live alone see friends when they want, have sex when they want and can be alone when they want to be. I think for men, it’s harder to find willing sex partners and they are not usually ones to go to lunch or dinner with other men.

Sunny2's avatar

@john65pennington What a lovely valentine you wrote. Cut out a paper heart, copy the message on it and give it to your wife. Happy Valentines day.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca I vaguely remember a study like that. I think happiness went in this order from happiest group to least happiest. Married men, unmarried women, unmarried men, married women. But, I saw it years ago, probably over 15 years ago, so it might have changed.

wundayatta's avatar

Hmmm. This did not go as I thought it would. I was not expecting so much agreement.

Thank you, @john65pennington, for standing up for a more balanced view of men. Like you, I went into marriage expecting that we would share things equally, and while we have specialized in certain tasks each of us does better, we try to keep it equal.

Life events changed that balance. When we had our children, she insisted that I do more of some things than I had been doing. I did them, although I was not happy, since I also felt I was doing all my stuff plus my share of the kid stuff plus some of her stuff, too. That caused problems that led to a huge split between us, which caused a pretty big slow-motion fight that nearly ended in divorce.

Now she’s retired and is a SAHM and things are changing again. This time, she wants to do more work—including a lot of my work—and while that seems like a good idea in theory, it doesn’t actually work out well. She can’t cook. She doesn’t shop the way I shop. This is not a situation where less work is increasing my quality of life.

Every time I’m away, she says she gets a renewed appreciation of what I do for the family. Not just food, I guess, but other things, as well.

Having said that, I have to turn my attention to all the complaints I’ve heard from women over the years. It seems like there are so few men who are very communicative in the way women want. So many do seem to expect to be waited on, hand and foot. Hell, many seem to expect women to be sex slaves.

What I don’t get is why women provide these services. It’s like they feel like they can’t say no. If they are married or a girlfriend, they have to play this role and the only way out of it is to divorce and live on their own.

It seems like such a demeaning and isolating life. Why not say, “no?” Is it because men are stronger? A fear of being beaten up? Is it a fear of losing social approval or a place in society? How do you decide to keep on being the household slave, if that is what you would call it? The longer this goes on, the more bitter you must get. The more cynical about men. The less able to see a guy who might be more inclined to equality. I’ve heard so many say they don’t exist.

So off you go. Live alone. Don’t you miss people? Love? Or is it that you never really had a person you could truly connect to? Did you never really have a partner? A lover? A love? So living alone is just easier. There’s nothing you really miss?

I can’t imagine living alone. I never have. Sometimes I haven’t had a lover, but I’ve always had roommates. I never lived all by myself. Never.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@wundayatta Most women have trouble saying ”No”.
There are dozens of books that teach women to say “No”.
It’s a word I am teaching myself to use.
It is simple but not easy to do.

LezboPirate's avatar

Well, I can’t speak for all women, but I enjoy being alone a lot of the time. I just spend the day blasting Joan Jett and drinking coffee and/or energy drinks. It does have it’s lonely times too..

jca's avatar

The women that I know that have been married for a long time really enjoy when their husbands are away. It seems like it frees them up to not have to cook dinner, and they seem like they get to relax. I know for my mother, for some reason she seems to feel a need to be home for my father when it comes to dinner time. Meanwhile, he was single till he was in his mid 30’s, and he gets along just fine when he has to feed himself. Nevertheless, she wants to be home and cooking for him.

Another good friend of mine, married with three kids, was very traditional with the division of roles in their household. Her husband worked outside the home, and she “kept house,” made bread, sewed clothes, etc. When her kids all grew up and moved away, she was and is very content to have her husband go away for the weekend tending to their second and third homes, and she gets to do what she wants, crafts, etc. without feeling obliged to tend to him. It seems like the married women, at least the ones I know, feel the husbands need to be tended to and fed like children. Whether or not the men would feel that that’s what they need, I don’t know.

JLeslie's avatar

@wundayatta My husband and I have split the jobs to be done pretty well.before we married we agreed neither of us should work more hours than the other. When we both worked full time, we split the housework. Oh, and I also have a philosophy that if one person hates doing something, and the other is fairly indifferent, the one who doesn’t mind should do it. I hate unloadingnthe dishwasher, so when we both worked full time he did it the majority of the time. I don’t mind cleaning the bathrooms, I don’t think he has cleaned a bathroon our entire marriage. Then when I began only working part time, and now not at all, I took over all the household stuff and errands. We adjust as we change, and it works pretty well, but I do not have the added dynamic of children.

But, I am not 50+. I do think expectations of marital roles have changed.

I also, in my answer above, tried to answer for how I understand women. I guess my answer implied how I assume men think, but I really am not sure what they think, I only know how it appears and what women think about how men think.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca I know a lot of women over 50 like that. I don’t remember your age. I love being with my husband, I love when he is home. I don’t look forward to him being away, but I am fine if he needs/wants to.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Yeah, that pretty much describes me to a tee. I’m much happier on my own in general, and I believe much of that has to do with the exhausting burden of trusting a partner completely – sometimes to be let down.

jca's avatar

@JLeslie: My friend that I referred to is not 50+ (nor am I) but her husband is traditional, German, his parents are from Germany. I remember at her bridal shower, his mother told her very loudly that “he likes his hot breakfast in the morning.” Their “thing” was he worked out of the home, and she worked in the home. They felt like they did not want the extra income and have someone else raise their kids. Unfortunately, that meant there was no extra money for camp or anything. They were frugal, with her baking and sewing, and despite only one income, they now own 3 homes. Anyway, back to their division of labor. He worked out of the home, but he felt like any and all stuff with the kids was her issue. She was exhausted, as it can be with sick kids or whatever, and she felt resentful like his job is 8 hours per day and he got lunch hour and her job was 24/7. However, she did it and now she enjoys her free time when there is no hubby and no kids around.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca Well, you make a good point that maybe it has more to do with “traditional roles” and being inflexible in the roles, rather than age or generation.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@wundayatta I think you might be confusing living alone with having contact and relationships with people. I live alone. I go out with people all the time. I talk with them online, sometimes on the phone, often on Skype. I have love, and lovers, and lots of emotional intimacy, but we don’t have to live together to share that. I can be incredibly emotionally close with someone, and still have my own place, and they have their own place. I don’t have to be isolated any more than I want to – but I can choose to be isolated, should that feel right at the moment. When it’s been a long day of no sleep, a headache, and people being jerks, I have the option to be left the hell alone. Living alone means I can have my relationships on my terms.

dappled_leaves's avatar

^ Hear, hear!

SpatzieLover's avatar

F*ck Yeah! Oh how I recall those days <sigh>

Aethelflaed's avatar

@jca Maybe it’s some version of this article that seemed to be making the rounds in 2008?

According to census data, there are more than 11 million women 65 and older who are single. The stereotype holds that as a group they’re a lonely, unhappy, insecure lot.

But the reality for many couldn’t be further from that image. AARP did a study of older women who live alone and found that fully half are happier than they’ve ever been. A whopping 63 percent of single women who live alone say their older years are the time to pursue their dreams, the study found.

The Economic and Social Research Council found that women older than 60 who live alone rate their lives as happier and healthier than if they cohabited.

Another AARP study found that among older single women, one out of 10 have no desire to date at all, and another 14 percent say they would date if Mr. Right came along, but they’re not obsessed about it.

wilma's avatar

Over 50 here.
If I could manage financially, I think I would be happy to live alone. That isn’t to say that I wouldn’t want a man in my life. Just that I don’t think that I need a man to live with me. I enjoy being alone and feel much more at ease and “free” when I am alone.

DaphneT's avatar

I answer for myself only, I am perfectly comfortable living alone, to a point. I don’t have any personal experience with cheaters. What I look for in men is intelligence, courage, honesty, integrity and loyalty. I’ve always thought that if he needed another woman, he should come to me, say so and I’d get to pick her out, make sure she was healthy, etc. That’s how I define honesty, integrity and loyalty.

saint's avatar

Since women generally outlive men, it would make sense that they could better tolerate living alone.
Men are dogs? Dude, speak for yourself.

cookieman's avatar

Not in my life. I love to be alone, and while I certainly adore my wife and daughter, I’m fairly certain I would have been just fine alone.

My wife hates being alone… for even a short time. When she finds herself alone, she’s quickly on the phone with someone. It makes her nervous. She’s perfectly capable, she just really doesn’t like it.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

I think so. I was alone for some years and loved it. But my best man friend hates to be alone.

Paradox25's avatar

Actually I personally know many more single guys who live alone vs women. Whether this is due to choice or not I can’t say but I do know that in some of those cases it is a choice. I would also say that about half of all the women that I know are always in relationships, and many of these women are so dependent upon being with a guy that there aren’t even any real time gaps between breakup and the next boyfriend.

There’s another catch to what is posted in the OP as well dealing with gender stereotypes and emotions. I knew of many women who quickly become bored with the type of guy that tries to understand them. In the end because of gender stereotyping and behaviors/reactions that are typically expected of men, which come from both women and society in general, I think that many men are afraid to be too openly emotional. I do think that guys tend to be more direct about what they want when compared to many women.

wundayatta's avatar

@Aethelflaed “I think you might be confusing living alone with having contact and relationships with people. I live alone. I go out with people all the time. I talk with them online, sometimes on the phone, often on Skype. I have love, and lovers, and lots of emotional intimacy, but we don’t have to live together to share that.

I’m not much of an extrovert, by nature. So if I want contact with people, I need to live with them. Otherwise, I will go on online and establish virtual relationships, which aren’t at all the same, no matter how emotionally intimate they may be.

The intimacy involved in sharing a bathroom with someone is universes away from the intimacy involved in sending love poetry over the internet or even in having phone sex.

I will talk to people I know well on the phone, but otherwise, I hate the phone. I hate asking people to do things with me.

For me, the only intimacy I want is the intimacy of living with someone. But I have to qualify that. Because within the house, I do want my space, at times. I need to focus on things and I can’t do this when people are constantly asking me to do things.

College was great! I had my own spaces, but I got to eat with people at just about every meal I wanted to. The only problem was there wasn’t anyone to share my bed every night (or indeed, any but perhaps a dozen nights until I got my first live-in lover halfway through junior year).

If I lived alone, I would be alone. I would not have contact with people. I would quickly grow depressed, I think. It would become very hard to keep my head above water. I think if I didn’t find a lover to live with soon, things would get very bad. Maybe even bad enough to let my whole life fall apart. I might want to die. I would certainly feel worthless and hopeless and deserving of pain. So, for me, I think life is different.

Maybe that’s emblematic of the difference. Women, perhaps, as another generalization, have better social skills. They can juggle the tasks necessary to stay involved in a social network while living alone. Men, with many exceptions for sure, may have more difficulty managing a social life if they live alone. Certainly many men want to live alone. Many men want nothing to do with the day to day annoyances that come with living with people. But Perhaps more women are adept at living alone. I dunno how it all shakes out.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@wundayatta I don’t know that it’s that we have better social skills. Maybe some do, but I sure as hell don’t. I think it might be that living with people – especially men – is harder for women than men living with women is. Women have the second shift, while men assume that their marriage is doing a pretty good job of embodying the egalitarian ideal. It’s not to say that I don’t get lonely from time to time living alone (though, not as much as most people would assume – I generally do quite well being on my own, with very little contact with people), but rather that the loneliness really isn’t so bad compared to not feeling safe (physically and emotionally, including being able to be comfortable and relaxed in my own home, so things like the thermostat play in here), or not feeling like I have some place where I’m in control, or feeling enmeshed and smothered. When I’m around other people, I always have to be a little bit “on”; the introvert in me needs alone time.

answerjill's avatar

Have you read Eric Klinenberg’s new book, Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone? I haven’t – yet – but I bet it would interest you.

anartist's avatar

Some women cannot bear to live alone. Almost any man would be better than no man.

I do not think men feel this way.

wundayatta's avatar

@anartist I’m pretty sure there are some men who also feel that way—me being one of them.

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