Straight From His Mouth: Can Men Really Be Alone?

December 10, 2012  |  


Source: Shutterstock

A couple nights ago, I had finished speaking on a panel about Black Men and their presumed “Wishlist.” After the panel discussion ended people in attendance were encouraged to mingle with one another for networking or potential future dates. As me and one of the other panelists worked the room to thank people for coming out and answer any follow-up questions, we came across a young man who opted out of the networking part because he said, “I’m taking time to focus on myself.” It’s a surprising answer and position to be in because many times women are under the impression that men cannot be alone. However, men do spend periods of time alone and they are fully capable of doing so without necessarily having a warm woman to tide them over.

A few years ago, I had just broken up — or had a situation fizzle — and I embarked on a very unhealthy few months of life. I had experienced so much drama that I began to project some of that frustration onto other women because of my inner pain. I went out too much, I drank too much, I lied too much (and didn’t care when I got caught in those lies), and overall I made a lot of bad decisions. At some point when I realized exactly how unhealthy my behavior was becoming I decided to take 90 days for myself. I wouldn’t talk to any women, I wouldn’t date any women, and most importantly I didn’t sleep with any women. It was a very personal time for me, I stayed to myself and kept myself out of temptation’s way. Prior to the 90 days ending, I decided that I would extend it to 120 days, and then 180 days, and eventually it ended around 210 days, but I had succeeded in emotional rehabilitation.

I think that the presumption that men can’t be alone for any period of time is not one that has no basis or reasoning. I know several men and women who are incapable of being alone because they aren’t really big fans of themselves. Yes, that’s the real reason. It’s not about being lonely and taking lesser options, it’s about being with yourself. I knew that the anger that I was projecting was coming from a place of hurt or frustration with myself. I started writing more, I went to the gym frequently, I picked up new hobbies and I began to rebuild and repair myself, not many men are willing to do that.

It’s that lack of self-examination that causes a lot of men to continue to bang their head against the wall in their love lives. Men tend to tell themselves that they can engage in sex with women and have no attachment to them, or not really want the long term commitment. While a man may be able to do that in the short term, he must understand that while women may establish emotional connections that sometimes prevent them from having meaningless sex, men have ownership issues. Spike Lee’s movie, She’s Gotta Have It, should always serve as an example of why men can’t exist in situations in which they don’t have any ownership. Therefore, I don’t think men can just keep the company of women with no real expectations or while recharging their emotional availability before the next relationship, it simply doesn’t make sense.

To bring this home, can men be alone? Yes, they are fully capable of being alone. I think that women afford men the excuse that they can’t be alone and men capitalize on that allowance. My advice for women is to not allow that to be the case. Just as much as men recommend women be alone for a while to figure out what they really want in life and who they want to be, women should challenge men to do the same. In addition, be ready to hear and understand men who are truly alone and not looking. Don’t be quick to tell him that he’s a liar or that it’s impossible, that’s surely not going to help the situation. I would advise that women be supportive and encouraging. Above all else, I would recommend being a friend because the type of man who can shutdown his love life for personal development is one who is maturing in the way that you want to see more men become in the future.

Dr. J is a writer for the men’s blog Single Black Male. Dr. J’s inspiration and motivation for writing comes from a desire to provide real and honest advice to all. His approach is no nonsense and rarely sugarcoated.  Follow him on twitter @DrJayJack.

*Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

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  • tee

    I thought this article was really good, the depressing part was the comments I read. It seems like no one believes in the possibility of love. First, man or woman, we all should love God first. A person who is faithful, obediant, loyal, trustworthy, resiliant, and consistent with God, will certainly be the same with their significant other. Knowing yourself and selfworth is also important. If you are unhappy with yourself, you certainly won’t be happy with anyone else as the author suggest in his article. I just hope that the readers have a little more optimisim. Matthew 6:33 “But see first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things wil be given to you as well” We as people shoud not trust our own judgement all the time, have faith in our Creator. Just Sayin

  • heyheynow

    here we go again with this challenge some man to do something BS if fathers would teach their sons how to be men we wouldn’t have to deal with this crap…I think this 120 day hiatus is a great idea however like someone else said men still will have bed warmers they aren’t just gonna be totally by themselves…but whatever

  • Anthony Logan

    yes we can be alone but we need to have some type of vice that can sustain us outside of drugs, sex and alcohol. whether you exercise daily, meditate, read/write intensively, have conversations with different types of people … something. and it has to be in preparation for not being alone.

  • I’ve been alone almost all my life. I haven’t had a girlfriend since elementary school. I don’t even see it as a big deal. I mean it would be great to have a woman as I women are the greatest but I’m content with being alone. There’s so many other things going on that I rarely even think about it.

  • Yes men can be alone. I mean it is nice to have some to grow old with, but it is not required. Woman always think that men sit around worrying that we will grow old alone, but this is not true. Other then sex what do you really need with a person. Not saying everything is about sex, but what are men really getting out of this relationships now a days??

    • Alexa

      L-O-V-E, a family, another source of income, a life-long partner. Doesn’t that mean something anymore?

      • TRUTH IS

        Cant reason with the unreasonable… can offer diddle squat these days either. Sad world for women!! Everything boils down to money with them when they are supposed to be providers and protectors…..bunch of sissies!!

  • Dawnn

    Most men don’t want to be alone. They go on the “rebound” after a breakup. They hit any and everything in sight until the ex or baby momma decides to get herself together.

  • Bonita

    NO! But, they should!!

  • Meyaka

    I don’t care if men can or cannot be alone,but they will not use me as a crutch to figure it out.

    • Drew Smith

      Point: Meyaka (that’s not fighting, by the way)

  • Kaori

    “Yes, they are fully capable of being alone. I think that women afford men the excuse that they can’t be alone and men capitalize on that allowance.”

    I mean, really. Is there ever an article from this site (SBM) that doesn’t some how make women responsible for what men do?

  • I can be a life time bachelor if I want to. I’m seriously considering it.

    • Alexa

      Serious question? Have you thought about how it would be for you in your old age?

      • Alexa

        *Serious question,

      • TRUTH IS

        Naw, he has nursing home as an option. Oh, and not forgetting his boys who will wipe his @$$ tehe

        • Alexa

          LOL! You’re too much.

      • Just because you get married don’t mean you will grow old together. My grandfather out lived my Grandmother by 12 years. So he still dies alone.

        • Alexa

          Yeah but from your Grandmother came children and grandchildren. I’m sure your Grandfather is grateful for that.

      • Yes I have.

        It’s actually the reason why this option is so attractive. Let face it, getting married now will not change the fact that I will die along. Marriage is not the only source for support and love.

        • Alexa

          I’m not necessarily just talking about marriage, what about children and grandchildren? This is assuming of course that you don’t have any children.

    • Sherry

      Wow! You are going to be hitting everything that comes your way or it gets thrown to you.


    Yes and No. They want to be alone interms of no commitment but def wants a bed warmer at nights!!