The post here talked about guys and girls and breakups, while Browning’s piece was about men and women and divorce (which certainly changes the tenor), and essentially argued that nesting single women really truly love the independence of single life, while men are “loath to remain alone.” One needn’t fear unreliability in the sorts of claims Browning makes, because she backs it up with compelling evidence like, “I know there must be science around somewhere to back up this assertion, but seriously, that’s what makes a man a man.”
It’s not necessary to go through the entire canon of English literature to show that both sexes have competing cravings of intimacy and independence, and it certainly isn’t necessary to list all the reasons men — even men who have been in long-term relationships — absolutely love being single, because I make it a habit not to insult my readers. But when Browning lists all the reasons women supposedly love it — things like being able to eat whenever you want, and having the bed to yourself — and then adds “Single men could not care less about any of the above lifestyle features,” one almost clicks out of her article and dismisses it full stop. Sorry, I guess I’m too busy enjoying sex with various partners, setting my schedule however I want it, and keeping my apartment exactly to my preferences, to realize that I don’t actually want those things! You’re right, I’m f-cking terrified.
The far better, far more interesting distinction to me is between the sort of people who return to independent single life after a significant relationship, and those who instantly leap to the next one out the kind of fear Browning describes. And that seems to me far less related to gender than it does other predispositions, like values, religious identity, and family history.
And I totally know there must be science around there somewhere to back up this assertion, but seriously, it’s true.