Dating is hard for everyone, but it seems to be especially difficult for guys.
Is dating harder for men?
Yes, dating is harder for men. Guys usually do more work in order to get a date. They approach, make contact, risk rejection, schedule, plan, and pay for a date. Guys are also typically less socially adept and have fewer options than women.
Guys struggle with dating for many reasons. I should know—I struggled with dating for ages. And it’s still not easy.
Why is it so hard for men in general to date? What makes online dating so much more challenging than offline dating? What about younger men, older men, gay men, or short men?
I’m going to answer all of these questions and more.
This article explores the challenges that men face when trying to date—from the pressure to come up with witty opening lines to finding a high quality partner.
Why Is It So Hard for Guys To Date? (7 Great Reasons)
Some of the reasons why dating is hard for men are rooted in what society teaches young boys. Other reasons involve the logistics and relational dance of dating.
There are at least 7 great reasons guys find it hard to date:
1) Men have fewer dating options than women
Women generally have many more options than men when it comes to potential partners. Most of the time women choose someone to date from among several suitors.
Unless a guy is a supermodel, a six-foot-giant, filthy rich, or famous, most guys do not deal with the issue of an overabundance of choices.
Yes, it’s true that high-quality men with emotional maturity, drive, social mastery, and confidence attract more women. But these men are still rare.
That’s why I created this website.
2) Men are typically less socially adept
Another reason dating is hard for men is that they are typically less socially adept.
This is not to say that all men struggle with social skills, but it’s true for a majority of them.
Just as women are typically more emotional and empathetic than us guys, we also find ourselves in the unfortunate position of being unable to express feelings or empathy like they can.
It’s ironic that the less socially inclined gender is tasked with initiating and managing the social dance of dating.
This is one reason men with communication skills and charisma attract more partners than men who struggle with these skills.
It’s why they are more likely to be approached by women. It’s also the reason men who lack charisma often struggle with loneliness. Most of our dating problems stem from our own beliefs, experiences, and skills (or lack thereof).
3) Men must make the first move
Most of the time, guys make the first contact. They send the first online message or approach a girl or another guy at a grocery store, park, or bar.
Approach anxiety (the fear of getting personally and publically rejected) is a huge burden on guys. Women experience it too, but guys typically are the initiators.
This makes dating harder for men because they must take more risks and put themselves out there in order to meet someone.
When a man is brave enough to go through with the approach and starts pursuing a woman, it can crush him if she turns him down. He put himself out there only to get rejected.
Rejection is inevitable, but it still feels terrible.
4) Men deal with more rejection
Men, on average, get rejected way more than most women.
While there are many reasons for rejection (a lot of them come from the men themselves, not women), the fact is that men deal with a lot of rejection.
- “I have a boyfriend.”
- “I’m out of your league”
Actually, most of time guys don’t hear anything at all because the women simply ignore them completely.
Now, to be sure, there is a bigger conversation about safety, male response to rejection, and learned social aggression. However, let’s reserve those topics for another article.
Sometimes, a guy wants to approach a woman but he gets scared and chickens out at the last minute—this is often worse than being rejected because now his self-esteem is damaged.
He suffers alone because, if he tells his guy friends, they might roast him.
5) Pressure on guys to make all the right moves
When a guy finally connects with a date, there’s pressure for the guy to make all of the right moves—which usually ends up being exhausting.
Guys initiate conversations, plan dates and make all of the decisions.
If they’re interested in a girl but she’s not responding well, it can seem like an impossible task—or that he is doing something wrong.
Many guys I talked to feel that they’re on a tight rope and that any misstep could chase the girl away.
“I always double-check myself before making plans, or initiating conversations,” said one guy friend who is looking for someone but not having much luck finding her.
I help run a private Facebook Group for men with 1.4K members from around the world. Every week (if not every day), guys post their ongoing struggles with dating.
6) Men must be clever comedians with sparkling wit
Saying hello is no longer acceptable, especially online. A man must say something clever, witty, or hilarious to stand out from the dozens (or hundreds) of other messages.
During conversations, the man is tasked with driving the conversation, being as funny as a professional comedian, and bantering like the male lead in a rom-com. That’s a lot of pressure and a hefty skillset.
Not all women and men expect perfection.
But, there is still a sense of significance in everything a guys says. Say too little and you are labeled socially awkward. Say too much and you have narccistic tendancies with a huge ego.
Stay platonic and you risk the friend zone. Flirt too hard and you come across as a creep.
7) Dating is expensive for men
Dating is not cheap. In fact, it’s very expensive. The average cost of a first date is $100 on the low end and can be as much as $500 for an extravagant experience.
When you consider that a guy might go out more than once a week, the costs quickly add up.
This is why many guys start with casual drinks or something free like a walk through a public park. Once they gauge chemistry and compatibility, they might move the date to dinner or another activity.
Here’s a video from a professional dating coach on why dating is harder for men:
Is Dating Harder for Younger Guys?
You might think dating is easier for younger guys.
There are certainly advantages of dating as a young man. However, I would argue that young men still find it hard to date.
Advantages of dating for younger guys:
- You usually have less responsibility and more freedom.
- The majority of people your age still live at home with their parents (or with roommates) so you might not have as many expenses.
- You can date around as much as you want (it’s often expected and encouraged).
- You might be in college where you are likely to meet many single people close to your age.
- Youth often comes with physical attractiveness. You might be in your prime.
- You may not have kids so you don’t need to worry as much about impacting someone else’s life.
On the other hand, dating is still hard for younger guys. Why? Certainly for all of the reasons we’ve already mentioned, but there are also extra challenges that young men face.
Why is dating harder for younger guys?
- Younger guys tend to make less money.
- Younger guys might live with their parents (this is a plus and minus in dating).
- Younger guys usually don’t have good, stable jobs.
- Younger guys don’t have the age and experience that can often help older men when dating.
- Younger guys tend to be less mature (and, therefore, less attractive).
- Younger guys are usually still trying to fully understand and accept themselves.
- Younger guys don’t always know what they want.
- Younger guys don’t always know the type of partner they prefer.
For these reasons, many younger women prefer to date older guys.
Is Dating Harder for Older Guys?
Wait, is dating easier for older guys, then?
In some ways, yes, dating is easier for older guys. Age, maturity, financial stability, success—most women (and men) find these qualities attractive.
However, dating is still hard for older guys.
Some older women don’t want to date guys their age and some younger women don’t want to date older guys. Older men also sometimes have a tougher time meeting new people in general.
Other reasons dating is harder for older guys:
- Past your physical peak—You’re probably not as good looking as you were in your prime.
- Past your sexual peak—You may face challenges with energy, libido, and sexual performance.
- Younger competition—You’re competing with guys half your age who are still in their prime.
- Energy depletion—You may get fatigued easier and struggle with late-night dating.
- Time constraints—As an older man, you probably have work responsibilities. You may have children from a previous marriage or relationship. Your time is more limited so you have less time to date.
- Health—Age often comes with declining health. You may suffer from any number of health issues that make dating more difficult.
- Out of practice—If you were married or in a long-term relationship that lasted for many years, you may be out of practice with dating.
- Relationship baggage—Since you’ve lived longer, you’ve experienced more things (both good and bad). That generally means that you have more relationship failures and more baggage than younger men.
- Fewer options—Depending on your specific age, you might have fewer options of dating partners around your age. Many older people are married or in relationships.
- Time Pressure —When you date as an older man, there is sometimes the pressure to move the relationship along faster instead of letting it evolve organically.
Is Dating Harder for Short Guys?
Many guys feel that being short is a curse.
Is dating harder for men who are short?
Yes, dating is harder for short guys. Many women refuse to date men shorter than six foot. Other women will not date men shorter than them. Height is often an instant dealbreaker in many potential dating relationships.
There are a few reasons for this reality.
First, women have been socially (and biologically) conditioned to be attracted to “tall dark and handsome” types—even if those relationships seldom work out in the long run.
This means that it is hard for short guys who aren’t tall to get noticed by many women.
Second, height is often connected to dominance, testosterone, and masculinity—at least, in the minds of many women. A preference for tall men is so common that many women write “no guys under 6 foot” or “no short guys, sorry” on their dating profiles.
This preference for height is biologically programmed into females, so there is not much we can do about it.
Some women prefer tall men because they don’t want to feel more masculine or bigger than their partner. Some althetic women want bigger, stronger guys who make them feel more feminine.
All of this adds up to shorter men getting the short end of the stick when it comes to dating.
That said, height is only part of the equation.
Confidence, maturity, drive, intelligence, humor—these traits make any man more attractive. If you embrace your height, grow into the best version of yourself, and focus on people already attracted to you, then you will do just fine.
Is Dating Harder for LGBTQ+ Guys?
Dating is hard for everyone.
Dating can be a nerve-wracking experience, but it can also provide the opportunity to find someone with whom you really click and enjoy spending time.
Is dating harder for men who identify as LGBTQ+?
Some people think that dating as an LGBTQ+ person is more difficult than being straight because there are fewer potential partners available in the community or because they may not feel comfortable in the dating environment.
Other people don’t think there is a big difference between dating as an LGBTQ+ person or as a heterosexual person.
Here are a few reasons dating is harder for those who identify as LGBTQ+:
- Men often find sex with other men easy to find. However, deeper, more meaningful relationships can sometimes be more difficult.
- Many LGBTQ+ men admit to having very high (perhaps, unrealistic) standards when it comes to choosing a dating partner.
- Some LGBTQ+ men go through a “second adolescence” since they did not fully embrace their sexuality and identity during their physical adolescence.
- Growing up as LGBTQ+ can be difficult so some men carry the emotional repercussions of shaming, bullying, and rejection by peers and family members.
Is Online Dating Harder for Men?
Yes, online dating is harder for guys. Guys receive far fewer matches than women and only a percentage of matches respond to initial messages. Of those who respond to messages, a smaller percentage agree to go on a date.
Besides the extreme competition, online apps cater to appearance more than personality.
Good looking guys have a better chance, especially if they are tall and successful (duh), but even these men get much fewer matches and messages than most women.
That’s just the nature of dating apps.
Then there is the need for men to stand out with creative, witty, humorous, relevant, and personalized first messages. Women have the upper hand here because they can send generic messages to their top 1% of choices.
All of these clever messages are time consuming and require more investment in the entire dating process.
Final Thoughts on “Is Dating Harder for Men?”
What’s my final answer to the question, “Is dating harder for men?”
My final answer is “yes.” Dating is harder for men, but that doesn’t mean dating is easy for women or anyone else. Dating is hard for everyone, but I hope this article helps make it at least a little bit easier.
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