Where Have All the Good Men Gone? The Dating Reality for Women Seeking The One.

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Overwhelmingly, this question is posed by women, discussed by women, and answered by women. But I can tell you where all the good men have gone.

Search the words, “Where have all the good men gone?” and dozens of anecdotes, articles, blogs, and books will appear on your screen.

Overwhelmingly, this question is posed by women, discussed by women, and answered by women.

This, ironically, is an essential reason for these so called man-deserts—men are simply not being asked to contribute their opinions and perspectives. And the good men themselves are increasingly less likely to offer their point of view, for many reasons.

I do not seek to apportion blame here, on either side, but simply to address this question from the seldom-heard voice that is the object of the question itself: good men.

The last 100 years of suffragettes, feminists, and political correctness have challenged and continue to challenge thousands of years of patriarchy—and rightly so. Consequently, the roles of both men and women have been transformed and redefined.

While we struggle to adjust to the new and still evolving status quo, the war of the sexes has taken millions of casualties. In Western culture, divorce rates for first marriages range from 42 percent in the U.K. to 53 percent in the U.S. to a staggering 71 percent in Belgium. Subsequent marriages fare even worse. 

The spectre of divorce is another contributing factor in the conspicuously expanding man-deserts. Many men, having seen their fathers broken by divorce, fear the loss of their assets, their homes, and their children and are simply stacking their chips, choosing not to gamble, and checking out of the marriage casino.

Family courts invariably award primary custody to the mother, while the father is restricted to weekend access, supervised visits, or left to literally climb the walls of Buckingham Palace in a superhero costume to protest rights for dads. Men—will they ever grow up?

The ridicule and debasement of men in the media and mainstream culture is now pervasive. Watch a commercial, sitcom, or movie, and invariably an immature man-child or dumb dad is the butt of the joke—the hapless buffoon. Fortunately, these silly men are always saved from themselves by a smart, witty woman or a conscripted, eye-rolling child.

The emasculation of men has become normalised.

Sensibly, rather than have their balls cut off (sometimes literally, and that often gets a good laugh), men are running for cover in their droves, leaving women mystified and asking, “Where have all the good men gone?”

When I was in secondary school, perhaps 14 years old, there was a girl who patrolled the playground, egged on by her gang of girlfriends, kicking the boys between the legs. Clearly, she had been informed by someone this was the quickest, easiest, and funniest way to bring those stupid boys down to earth.

One day it was my turn. Caught by surprise, I crumpled to the ground after a swift kick to the balls, in too much agony even to cry out. Oh, how the girls laughed! Even then, I abhorred a bully.

The following day, I found my attacker in the playground and, contrary to my upbringing, without warning I kicked her swiftly between the legs. To everyone’s surprise she also crumpled to the ground, in too much agony to cry out. A crowd of cheering boys slapped me on the back—their new avenger.

The girls stared at me wide-eyed in shock—a boy who fought back? No one had told them that was allowed, surely it was against the rules! Equality: it’s a son of a gun.

I remember feeling no satisfaction or honour in defeating a weaker adversary but sometimes, especially in the case of a bully, personal satisfaction and honour is not the point—standing up to their aggression is. As I grew into a man—a good man—I learned to walk away from provocation, as most good men do.

“Boys are stupid, throw rocks at them!” Remember the T-shirts launched in 2003? Followed by coffee mugs, posters, even a book.“Boys tell lies, poke them in the eyes!” Another favourite for young girls at the time. It took a fathers’ rights activist to have this merchandise removed from thousands of retail stores. Inevitably, he was ridiculed by a myopic majority.

Presently, in some areas of the U.K., 80 percent of primary schools have three male teachers or less, one quarter of primary schools have no male teachers at all, and some towns have 65 percent single mother families.

Man-deserts indeed.

A young boy can go to school and have no adult male role model, and then return home and have no adult male role models.

Young girls are achieving significantly higher academic standards than young boys. This feminisation of schools spills over into university, then the workplace, and eventually the home, completing the insipid cycle and the marginalisation of both boys and men.

I was born in 1968. I grew up with a strong mother, four stronger sisters, and no father. I was taught, not only by my family but also by wider society, to regard women as my equal, and I always have. Yet, unknown to me, a generation of women were being indoctrinated and trained with a sharp-edged tool kit designed to emasculate men.

Men have been subjugating women for centuries; now, they’re getting payback. It seems only fair. The fox has turned on the hounds and she’s packing a punch, or a kick to the balls. But the nature of men when faced with a fight is to fight back, either psychologically or physically.

Clearly there are no winners in this scenario.

The relentless competitive struggle to determine who wears the trousers is simply a turnoff for many men. Many are just opting out of the kind of psychological warfare that is common in relationships today, unwilling to engage in the minefield of mind games, which are usually executed in three ways.

The first is the habitual belittling and denigration of men, in private or in front of friends, family or colleagues, for what is supposed to pass as humour. The second is letting a man know, casually of course, that other men are sexy, have better looks, more money, talent, or fame. The third, and perhaps the most destructive is being told over and over, “We don’t need no man. Men are obsolete.”

I’ve lost count of how often I’ve heard this since adolescence.

If you tell a man often enough that he is surplus to requirements, eventually he will stop expending his energy to convince you and himself otherwise. Men are rapidly waking up to this phenomenon of man-bashing, so much so that a disillusioned social movement has arisen with its own freshly-minted acronym: MGTOW, Men Going Their Own Way.

Supported by websites and online forums, men are regrouping with a common cause, a sense of brotherhood, and finding their voices again.

The essential precepts of MGTOW are financial independence, rejection of chivalry, social preconceptions of what a man should be, and consumer culture which defines masculinity by a man’s house, car, clothes, watch, or cologne. It is the refusal to be shamed into conventional compliance by being told to “man up.”

Many aggrieved MGTOW refuse to marry or even date Western women, the more ardent among them consciously choosing non-committal relationships, strippers, pornography, or celibacy. Above all, goes the MGTOW mantra, maintain sovereignty of self.

I have been dating for more than 35 years, and back in the 1980s, a man was expected to pay for the movie tickets, dinner, flowers, chocolate, the diamond ring, the house. In each subsequent decade these social conventions have slowly eroded, yet to a greater or lesser extent still remain. Long-held social biases, like the wage gap for example, take time to bring to full equality.

It is important to recognise, however, that equality is a two-way street. It is abundantly clear that many men and women are struggling to walk along that street in close proximity, let alone hand in hand. Why? Because for a century we have been digging up and bulldozing said street. Now, it’s full of potholes, power struggles, and barely fit to travel. Yet travel it we must.

The original message of equality has been somewhat skewed. Women often recycle the poorly thought-out doctrine that they are the same as men. Equality is not always sameness, and sameness is not always equality.

For example, women have equal opportunity to go to war and fight side by side with men, but the physical standards to allow them to do so are not the same. And this can be seen across a whole spectrum of professions, from firefighters to ballet dancers.

Equality is not always sameness. Difference is diversity, and should be a cause for celebration, not dogmatic elimination.

Men are often told (but, again, not asked) they are afraid of strong independent women. Many men, tired of such futile debates and wary of being branded a misogynist if they dare to disagree, are simply shutting down and becoming emotionally unavailable to women, taking permanent residence in their man-caves.

The truth is, men love strong and independent women—it turns them on, in every way. What men don’t love are the predominantly masculine traits that often go along with the package. The relentless competitiveness (necessary in the workplace no doubt, but hardly necessary at home in a loving relationship), the verbal aggression, the emotional manipulation, and the psychological controlling are huge turn-offs.

Increasingly, men are just not interested in competing at work and then having to come home and compete with their partners. In the sphere of heterosexual relationships, most women are not attracted to emasculated feminine men, which is fair enough. By the same token, most men are not attracted to masculine, domineering women.

So, these are some of the general and specific issues creating man-deserts, from the perspective of good men.

But what solutions are there? Waking up to our social conditioning is a good place to start.

Many women are beginning to reject the modern brand of feminism, the so called third-wave that is tantamount to thinly veiled misandry. Equally many men, for two or three generations now, are rejecting the attitude that a woman is some kind of second class citizen.

We clearly have work to do on both sides.

Letting go of these destructive modes of thought, communication, and behaviour is an essential process for healthier and happier relationships between men and women.

However, denying these issues will in no way change the interpersonal landscape for the better, and women will continue to ask, “Where have all the good men gone?” while wandering an ever-expanding and barren man-desert.

So, where have all the good men gone?

For now they have gone their own way. But they are out there, in the same desert, contentedly swimming in the oases they have found for themselves, no doubt waiting for the fourth-wave of feminism to wash over them so we can all truly embrace equality, just like the first-wave promised.


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Author: Arun Eden-Lewis

Image: Diego Sullivan/ Unsplash

Editor: Khara-Jade Warren

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Arun Eden-Lewis

Arun Eden-Lewis, known as Arunji to his friends has been teaching Yoga, Qigong and Tai Chi since 2001. His particular passion is bringing the authentic philosophies of these ancient practices into modern everyday life by helping his students develop accessible self practices that can be explored with integrity in their own time, even if it’s just five minutes.

Arun is also a qualified swimming coach, personal trainer and Natural Therapist. He hosts Yoga & Qigong retreats as well as Fit & Fat retreats, classes, workshops and seminars all over the world. His mission is to take the mystery out of the mystical, allowing anyone with the passion and commitment to find freedom, in body, mind, and spirit.

Tiffany Borges Nov 12, 2018 1:48am

Rich Avery My gosh, I had no idea I was going to create controversy here. I was certainly not trying to make anyone angry. After looking back to what I said I can understand why some women may be offended but I can't help but stand by what I said. Men are just far more simple. They can also take a joke ;)

Rich Avery Nov 11, 2018 6:55pm

Tiffany The fact you said that and triggered these other women says a lot really. Yes you're going to have other women get upset at you simply because you stated a truth but it goes both ways.... smh thank you for sticking to the topic at hand and not trying to make this a victim session. A hit dog will hollar!

Rich Avery Nov 11, 2018 6:52pm

Just reading and it's amazing however this piece is NOT about women but giving insight to a question the majority of women already know. Clearly just from reading the comments tells me that many women made it about them and didn't read to understand but read to reply. To deflect and say it goes both ways smh again not reading to gain understanding. Third wave feminist will find some way to turn this on its head so far by reading the comments it didn't take long.

Alan Waterman Sep 29, 2018 6:25pm

Erin Kalabsa no man aint ever gonna marry you...can see why you clicked on this article...nothing's gonna change.

Johann Schlichtweg Sep 16, 2018 5:13am

Great article, To any Western man who has chosen to "retreat" to thier man cave and is reading this i strongly suggest a mid European wife. My wife and i have been together for 3 years now and we are both amazed at how men are treated in western cultures. Funny enough in middle Europe everything is opposite. Women work and are expected to hold up the household and a career. These super women are readily available and in abundance. They appreciate men and love them how they are. And more than likely they want to buy you dinner :) Youtube it. Check out how to date a german woman for example. Enjoy

Cathrine Levan Sep 13, 2018 5:41pm

This article doesn't offer a balanced view of both sides. Women's faults are magnified, and the consequences of men's actions are minimized. It sounds like you believe that it's the men who are being victimized. Why not write a fair and honet article, instead of one that makes women look like they are all abusing men? The demands on women are changing and we're trying to keep up, but the ground is shifting so fast and it seems like it's turning to quicksand. There are awful women who tear down men and take advantage of them. There are awful men who demand perfection in their women but don't hold themselves to the same standard (fat men, fit women- ugly men, beautiful women - old men, young women). In the past, men would exchange their money for beauty on their arm and that was an accepted exchange. Now those very men you talk about demand their women still be perfect (maintaining a youthful, slim look is very time consuming and expensive, and yet women are paid far less for the same work so we have to work longer and harder), and now we are also expected to supply the money too, because the men don't think it's fair to share in their abundance? And even if we make more money than they do or are smarter than them, we are still expected to be submissive and passive so he doesn't feel emasculated? Oh right, and all this with no commitment from the men..... That sounds an awful lot like they are taking unfair advantage of women by taking everything but not being willing to give back. Let's face it...Men use women....Women use men...For a lot of people, it's a simple exchange of you bring one thing (money etc.) I bring the other (beauty, support etc.) and as long as the two parties think the exchange is fair, then no one can complain about being used. It won't however, change the fact that there will always be jerks on both sides.

Tboz Dantice Sep 13, 2018 5:27pm

Amen, Replied all the sister wives- 😂🤣 You have got to be kidding🤨

Michael Winans Sep 13, 2018 3:03pm

Very true indeed! If you find the woman that you are dating owns a copy of Maureen Downd's book "Are Men Necessary", I suggets you, my dear Fellow, find the exit yourself, rather quickly, before you get burned. And when you hear your "Lady-friend" make the comment that she'd rather have a dog than a man, skip out the back door to salvation, skipping down the lane to a return to sanity while your Lady-friend is left holding the poop scoop, and wondering...where have all the good men gone?

Christine Dee Sep 13, 2018 7:16am

I love this. I often see people responding to others reactions and reacting to others responses. It creates this vicious cycle of react and respond and only pushes us further apart from the love that we can share and the life we can create. I am guilty of a lot of these points and will not actively work to stop the cycle of respond and react. I appreciate your words and perspective. Thank you.

Shelli Dawn Stewart Sep 8, 2018 4:56pm

I absolutely LOVE this article. You have done an amazing job of perfectly describing what runs through my mind when I hear women on television and surrounding me in my daily life talking negatively about men, as if we can lump them into one category of “wrongdoers.” I consider myself a strong, independent woman (which i realize is becoming somewhat of a cliche these days...but really I am able navigate this world alone without question) and am appalled at what other women who fit this description are doing and saying about men to prove their own worth. I am so proud of you for speaking out for the men who deserve to take back the voice that has been slowly taken from them by a society that, from what I can tell, has come to fear the truth and instead has been programmed to say what everyone else wants to hear. Sadly, that dialogue has become geared toward taking down the men....good, bad, or indifferent. Thank you for speaking up and saying what is really on your mind. Proud of you and this article for so many reasons - Shelli S.

Irene Chávez Sep 8, 2018 8:39am

I totally agree!!! thank you for this amazing article.

David Starlyte Sep 4, 2018 7:40am

Every word is genius, Arun Eden-Lewis. I guess I have never been an alpha-male (I am the feminine man mentioned in your article). It is interesting that the "alpha-male" female in your stereotype rejects non-alpha males more than alpha males (I think this is because we are like the sad competition you just want to not have to think about, as it reminds you of who you used to be - a feminine female)...thanks for sharing!

Arun Eden-Lewis Aug 26, 2018 5:29pm

Thank you for your comments Jennifer. The article clearly expresses the "negotiation" between men and women, and the failure in many cases, often over a period of years, the divorce rates can testify to that. It is disinegnous to suggest no negotiations have taken place and men have just given up and walked away at the first sign of trouble. The article doesn't say that or even suggest that. You also suggest that I say "men wont tolerate masculine women," and conflate that with independent women. Actually I say that, "most men are attracted to strong, independent women." It is exactly this misrepresentation of what men say and think that causes so much strife between the sexes. The vast majority of women on this thread seem to concur with the article. Clearly this is not an exclusively male perspective, and most women are tired of the man bashing as well. Don't take my word for it, read the comments for yourself. Blessings Arun

Arun Eden-Lewis Aug 26, 2018 5:17pm

Thank you for your comments Rhonda, in the beginning, middle and end of the article I clearly state that "both" men and women have got ourselves into this mess and both will have to work together to ourselves out. Demonstrating that women have made mistakes does not make them "villians" it just makes them human. It's a pity the reconciliatory tone of the article passed you by. Blessings Arun

Jen Baker Aug 10, 2018 12:44pm

Enjoyed the read.... but I have to say it is difficult finding these two like minded people. It is like an needle in a haystack due to the majority being the bulk of this article....

Sophie Nelson Aug 9, 2018 7:06pm

Wow... this is a fantastic read and sadly true! Having been on the dating sites and hearing this exact take on things was really quite upsetting. I was married for 12 years, NEVER did I belittle my ex husband in front of friends or family, but witnessed others doing that which was horrifying, NEVER did I make comments of other men in front of him or to him and NEVER Did I make him Feel that I didn’t need him. I’m old school and have old values...I have taught my son to have respect and show Integrity when it comes to women and he will be an incredible partner in years to come embracing old values also...I know there are good men out there and it’s just a matter of timing now...thank you for this fantastic article that explains it perfectly. 😊

Jennifer Carter Aug 9, 2018 4:12pm

I find it fascinating that on the one hand there is some recognition of what females have dealt with for centuries as inappropriate, yet in this article it is done so only in the context of how unfair it is that men have relatively recently been exposed to the same treatment...& unsurprisingly don’t like it, because such treatment is in fact inappropriate. In this article, have ‘good men’ sought to negotiate? No, they’re off swimming in their desert/oases waiting for another wave of feminism to ‘get it right for them’.. Of course ‘power struggle’ between the genders benefits no one. To assert though that ‘good men’ can’t/won’t tolerate ‘masculine’ (ie independent) women is a nonsense. Good people connect with each other. If you’re a ‘good man’ waiting for women to honour you appropriately, I’m thinking not a lot has been learned at all.

Lucy Martin Aug 9, 2018 3:46pm

Ai-Ling Logan thank you! And love the Wonder Woman headband!

Lucy Martin Aug 9, 2018 3:36pm

Em'magical Love I think they are Russian fembots. Ha ha.

Dörthe Dolata Aug 9, 2018 10:14am

Thanks a mill for this beautifully written article! We truly need a Balance between Men and Women. To learn to Respect one another for who we are...the way we come!

Daniel McCullar Aug 7, 2018 2:33am

I have learnt that as a man, if I disagree with anything a woman says about men, then I am a sexist, mysoginist, mansplaining, exectuting my white male privilege and so on and so forth. I am tired of being told what I think, feel, do and am instead of being asked and what I say being respected let alone listened to. So, why care at all anymore. You gotta rock my soul to get to my mind now a days.

RC Flanagan Aug 6, 2018 3:15pm

This is dead wrong, and shamefully sexist. As a lawyer, I guarantee you that courts do not favor mothers. Courts favor the primary caregiver. I’m ashamed of the women who agree with this shameful post.

Rhonda Laffey Aug 3, 2018 12:18pm

The big takeaway from your article is, “Poor, poor men.” In defense of men, you’re trying to turn women into villains.

James A. Boylan Jul 6, 2018 2:00pm

Shouldn’t you be working in your office?

Susan Reed Jun 26, 2018 5:46pm

I am dismayed that women haven't evolved from feminism to humanism.