The cost of loneliness
Having a friend to whom you can disclose your feelings a major determinant of well-being. People with friends are healthier. They’re less likely to get common colds, to develop the fatal coronary disease, to develop physical impairments or reductions in brain functioning as they age. People with friends are more likely to survive the death of a spouse without any permanent loss of vitality. Medical doctor Dean Ornish explains:
I am not aware of any other factor — not diet, not smoking, not exercise, not stress, not genetics, not drugs, not surgery — that has a greater impact on our incidence of illness, and [chance of] premature death.
Depending on which research you consult, people with good friends have a 22-60% lower chance of dying over a 10-year period.
People with friends are happier, too. Friendship is correlated with a more joyful life. If a person is depressed, having a friend interact with them regularly is as effective at treating depression as antidepressants or therapy. In old age, friends are more important than grandchildren for maintaining morale. According to sociologist Rebecca Adams, friendship is more strongly correlated with happiness than relationships with a spouse, children, parents or siblings.
The linked article is a simple synopsis of why and how men are socialized to avoid real connections with other men. How a sports-oriented culture further humiliates into silence those who long for such and how the costs are literally measured in the numbers of dead bodies of men.
If you add in the reality that men, in general, are a denigrated lot in our society and that divorce is radically biased in favour of maternal parenting by the courts, you have a culture of men growing up fatherless, disconnected from other men and unable to process emotion effectively — much less share it with another.
And that’s not a very good recipe for an up and coming father either…