I find your article very thought provoking. As a straight single male who has spent years in therapy, not necessarily for anger management, I have found that men definitely do deal with emotional stress differently.
Men typically need a physical release to help them calm down enough to even begin to address their emotions. Sexual release is definitely one that helps the most, because it releases the most endorphins. By no means am I suggesting that men should feel entitled to that as part of their coping mechanism, )but I will say I have a theory that this contributes to why prostitution is the worlds oldest profession, but that’s another topic). If men do not follow up this release with confronting the issues bothering them, then it’s no different than putting a band-aid on a leaky dam.
I used to relieve stress by drinking. I’d go to the bar almost every day after work and bitch to the other guys there about the same three things and then come home feeling better, only to do the same thing the next day. It wasn’t good for my health or my wallet and I realized I was in a rut. I was severely depressed and suffering from frequent anxiety attacks. It took me months to work up the courage to see a therapist. I was single at the time, and I have no doubt that if I was in a relationship, any woman would have pushed me to go see one much sooner than I did.
To be honest, it was a woman who finally pushed me, my mother confronted me at 27 years old and basically nagged me about it until I made an appointment. If she didn’t, it would have taken longer, if I would have gone at all. I’m thankful I did. I learned how to come down from an anxiety attack, I learned how to manage my depression and once I did those things, I was able to do some soul searching and root out the causes.
The counseling I received was free, as part of my employers mental health initiatives. Most folks aren’t even aware that their company or insurance plan might cover seeing a therapist.
The thing that helps me most now is physical activity. I joined an adult amateur sports league. Once or twice a week, I go out after work, meet with friends and get myself some fun exercise to help relieve stress, tension and anger. I wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t a team sport, I couldn’t lift weights or go running, it’s too boring for me personally, but volleyball, softball, dodgeball and basketball add enough fun to make it enjoyable exercise.
It has helped with my mood immensely and is a large part of what has made me a more agreeable person.
I will say that there is definitely still a difference in my daily life routines between when I am single an when I am in a relationship. My apartment is definitely much more messy when I’m single. There’s no one to impress, so it becomes a matter of why put in the extra effort. None of my guy friends care if the place isn’t pristine, but the second I make a date with someone, you can bet that I’ll be keeping the place clean and tidy.
I’m also less likely to skip a meal when I’m dating. When I’m single, I typically skip breakfast during the work week, and often lunch as well. When you’re single, you can go grab something to eat on your way home from work just for yourself, but you when you’ve got dinner plans at 7:30 or 8pm, you need to eat lunch to tide you over.
When I’m dating, I keep food in the house. I won’t cook when I’m single, it doesn’t pay to spend that time for just yourself. But when you cook dinners, you might as well buy breakfast and lunch fixings while you’re at the supermarket.
I’m also much less likely to go see a doctor when I’m single. If it doesn’t need stitches, most guys will rather not deal with doctors. There is a culture there as well, where most doctor’s don’t take younger men too seriously. If you’re a male 20–35 and you’re not bleeding to death, most doctors treat you like you’re wasting their time being in their office.
I don’t really know where I’m going with all of this, just pointing out thoughts related to the discussion.