When kids enter the picture, there are a couple things that happen. You tend to fade on your friends' radar. As domestication of your guy friends takes hold, less of your own life is relatable to them. They may, in theory, live vicariously through you ("Tell me about that girl you were hooking up with…"), but the truth is that their entire raison d'etre is wrapped up in a reality you can only imagine. They live in a world of selflessness and sacrifice, of challenge and compromise. Their allegiance is to their wives and kids, whereas I have pledged my allegiance to the United State of Me.
And there it is: bachelor-dom and its inherent selfishness. In the absence of a wife, partner, and soul mate, there have been random hookups, a series of shoulda-coulda-wouldas, booty calls—everything you'd expect from a bachelor. These aren't always as fun and carefree as one might expect. It is possible for a man to feel empty inside. Why Am I Still Single?
The obvious question now is, Why no marriage for me yet? Had I remained in my hometown of Chicago, it's possible I'd be a married man by now. When I was in high school, I imagined that I would be off the market by age 27. After college, my priorities shifted, and forging a successful career became my sole purpose. While there have been a series of girlfriends, a few of them serious, and maybe two of whom I could have seen myself marrying, the idea of marriage wasn't something that was top-of-mind for me. In pursuit of a career, I had forsaken the fundamental male necessity of long-term female companionship. A relationship would end, and I'd pour myself into work; in retrospect, this hasn't been as rewarding and fulfilling as I once believed. I was spending entirely too much effort trying to define myself by my work, and as I sit here at the tail end of 30something—embarking on mid-career and middle age—I'm finding that a fruitful life is about so much more.