According to a recent study by the legal website, Avvo, having a partner is more important to men. Specifically, 20% more women than men report that theyd rather be alone, successful, and happy, than in a relationship where theyre not happy. Also, 12% more women agree with the statement, I dont regret my divorce, than men.
Twenty and twelve percent are big differences, statistically speaking. They demonstrate a shockingly acute disparity between the genders. While its likely that there are many factors at play here, my suspicion is that the greatest is hidden not in biology, but in culture.
Have you heard the adage that boys mature slower? Well, Im calling it right now: boys are simply allowed to be immature for longer. While fun at first, this ultimately curbs their ability to take care of themselves and makes them reliant on partners.
The idea that boys mature slower perpetuates that boys are neurologically undeveloped longer than girls and that theres nothing to be done about it. What if, in fact, this is nothing more than self-fulfilling, self-propagating prophecy?
Before continuing, its pertinent to note that there actually are biological differences between the male brain and the female brain- especially among children. Girls have a head start at communication; boys, at spatial relationships. Neural connections and hormonal differences play a part in aggression and judgment but to which degree, really? It seems that the specific nuances of this difference arent agreed upon, or, at the very least, are poorly communicated to the public.
Scientific facts aside, it would seem that our media employs these mystical brain differences to defend bad behavior as purely the fault of testosterone. Indeed — boys will be boys.
The practice of perpetuating perceived biological truths through tangible cultural norms creates unintended consequences. As David Walsh, Ph.D, wisely states, biology does not mean destiny. Experience does play a role in how the brain is wired.
I would hypothesize that men value a partner more because of their learned immaturity. Men struggle more to adult to take care of themselves. In my experience, male peers, even relatives, neglect tasks that are non-negotiable to me. Nesting in a home, preparing nutritious meals, and personal maintenance seem to magically evade them. I would feel mortified to exist in their toilet-paper-less homes.
Why do we let boys be boys to the point that they evolve into grown-ass men with dirty homes and frozen dinners? Where is the shame?
Furthermore, this lack of self-care could severely damage relationships especially marriages. Marriages end for infinite reasons, though, I imagine that being a caretaker for a spouse would not help. Indeed, 120 people secretly search the web for online divorce each day, not to mention the 40-50% of married couples that actually go through with it.
What can we do to teach our children (especially boys) about self-care, thereby helping them to be more successful in life and love? As with so many things, it starts at home; so, consider the following domestic exercises:
- Show boys easy and delicious recipes like teriyaki bowls or flatbread pizzas. Practice throwing together a meal with only whats in the pantry, teaching them how to create nutritionally-balanced meals from scratch.
- Have them create the grocery list using thoughtful and all-purpose ingredients – onions, ground beef, rice, etc.
- Insist that they make their bed each morning. Help them discover the joy of coming home to a tidy room.
- Encourage them to nest in their spaces with posters, rocks, nicknacks and things that make them happy. Help develop their sense of aesthetics by asking for their opinions.
- Insist that they exercise and do meditative activities – jogging, dance, yoga, tennis, etc. – and do it regularly with them.
By teaching these types of activities, youre gifting a future-adult with the knowledge of self-care and self-reliance. Its a gift that will guide them both in times of partnerships and times of solitude.
Please note: The views and opinions expressed herein are the authors alone and do not represent Avvo.