In my work with men, I have found that if I should ask “Are you lonely?” I often get an affirmative reply and frequently that response is tearful. At first this reaction surprised me; not so much the loneliness itself, but rather the depth and pain that the men were experiencing.
When I ask the men with whom I am working, if they have a connection with someone they would consider a confidant, the answer is often “no.” They may have had close friends when they were younger, but significant life changes such as work, marriage, and children seem to make it difficult to expend the time and energy required to establish and maintain close relationships outside the home and work.
Sometimes the men will respond that their wives or partners are their sole source of emotional support. This situation puts a lot of weight and responsibility on the “marital” partner - sometimes to the detriment of the relationship.
It is common to hear men say that when they are feeling discouraged, down, worried, lonely, or otherwise out-of-sorts, they reach out to no one - even when they have a sense that asking for a caring ear would be helpful.
In my work with men over the years, it has been my experience that when we do share our struggles, worries, and feelings - especially with other men - we feel accepted and less alone. We often discover that other men experience many of the same feelings, struggles, and worries. In this sharing and acceptance we are strengthened to overcome and carry on with the many challenges of life.