If you care about any man, you should be aware of this 139



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There is a terrible thing that is happening in society but so few of us notice it happening. Ladies, how many of your catch up with your school friends, your uni friends, your work friends and your mother’s group friends on a regular basis even though you are out of that phase of your life? Men, how many of you can say the same?

As our history goes, men are the patriarchs of a family unit or relationship. They are the ones that work and invest in their careers and while this typical view is not typical today, it comes at a cost. Men have spent so long working hard at the thing they believe makes them successful – their job – only to find that they’ve lost connection with their friends.

While they are working and have something occupying their time, are going to a regular place of work and interacting with others, this doesn’t seem to be an issue. But as soon as men begin to slow down and retire, this is when the serious problem rears its head.

According to Beyond Blue, almost three quarters of men lose contact with their friends when they reach middle age. 25 per cent of men between the ages of 30 and 65 have no one outside of their immediate family to rely on and 50 per cent claim they rarely talk about deeper personal issues with others. What the survey also found was that one in three men aren’t satisfied with their relationships.

This loneliness and isolation is creating a cycle. As men lose contact with friends they begin to experience loneliness, especially when it comes time for them to slow down and retire. But if this loneliness turns into more serious problems like depression, anxiety or other mental illness, there is no one around to look at the symptoms, for them to talk to or for them to rely on for support. So the illness worsens.

Right now, one in eight men are living with depression, but so many are suffering in silence. The solution is likely to be as simple as social connection, but after so many years without it, it’s a difficult thing to find.

So as a community of over 60s, what can we do to help the problem and make a contribution towards a happier, more connected and healthier life for men over 60?

For starters, we are a community, so let’s continue to communicate with each other. Say hello on the wall, discuss article topics with other people – men or women. Men, don’t be afraid to comment and share your thoughts! Attend our Coffee Meetups and make some real connections – not just virtual. You can write for us, send in your articles and wait to hear what people think of your stories. Some community members have similar stories and will be able to relate to your experiences!

Loneliness and isolation are some of the worst things someone can experience be it men or women. So today let’s all make a conscious effort to reach out and strengthen our connections with both men and women.

Have you seen or been caught in this cycle of loneliness after you finished working? What helped you? Tell us your stories below.

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. For many men an introduction (where available) to a men’s shed is a good first step in alleviating this hidden problem

    2 REPLY
    • My husband went along to the men’s shed but they just sat in their little groups and weren’t welcoming to him. He didn’t feel comfortable going back.

    • Sorry to hear this, must admit some like many groups male & female are very clique ridden but not all. If in a smaller community see if the local neighbourhood house runs any men’s interest groups and in a (polite) letter inform the men’s shed of his lack of acceptance and remind them of the reason they were founded, to provide a social and welcoming environment for all men who needed it.

  2. I have my male friends, but like connecting with females. Anyway, I make friends easily so its no problem.

  3. This is a must read for everyone. It’s so true, the men work hard and do lose friends where as women keep theirs. I never thought about this so thanks for bringing this to our attention.

  4. That’s a great idea commenting on men remembering 2 catch up on their mates.. but it happens 2 women also, they work, they make friends with co workers, the kids keep them occupied @ home, then one by one the kids move out 2 make their own lives, then retirement. For the woman whose marriage is no longer. That’s a huge change of pace. Home alone. Fortunately for me in my married days I had to think for myself, become independent n not rely on any person, Incl husband. Being ‘single’ again was fearsome, but now I’m enjoying my life, I’m free 2 be what I want to be and I’m finding who I am, getting a driver’s license/car/studying/working has assisted me in my retirement, now I can use all those assets to explore plus w the help of my $2.50 pass. Life is wonderful being a solo retiree. ‘Be what u want a be’.’do what u want a do’. Yeah

  5. A very good article. It made me realise that I was not the only one.

  6. How does one help men to start expressing themselves?

    1 REPLY
    • This is so true. I find I am the one pushing to catch up with friends, even family, mostly friends my husband made many years ago, to be continually put off, too hard, not today, etc. I recall a conversation with his mother her saying she had to keep contact with her husbands family and friends otherwise it wouldn’t happen. Definitely a pattern here! Difficult to help those who don’t believe they need help

  7. One would not lose friends if they were friends in the first place. True friendship lasts.

    5 REPLY
    • Only if you work at it. If one puts all the effort into providing for wife and family, friendships fall apart. No contact, no friends.

      1 REPLY
      • I agree with Ian but some men are so regimented by their wives and the wives so dominated by their men that both of them lose out. I adored my husband but we both needed time out, he had worked all his life, mostly two jobs and I worked full time for a while. He only had his shed and some interests but didn’t have a lot of male friends. By the time he had time to call his own he’d been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Get out and mix while you can please, even if it’s only a couple of hours a fortnight. As for these people who claim ‘Oh we do everything together’ I would say there is a very henpecked spouse too scared to even move without consent.

    • No need to work at it, one can provide for ones life and if a true friendship is in place one can get in touch again after many years and carry on as if there was no years apart, that is true friendship.

      1 REPLY
      • I have to say this has been the experience with the men in my life – contact a good mate or two from the past. Chances are they will be happy to hear from you and you will pick up right where you left off.
        My partner has been contacted by old mates, and made contact with old mates. Always resulted in happy reunions.

    • That is correct for true friendship Bernie, however the run of the mill friendships need motr work than that. Ti have a friend you also have to be one.

    • Yes some friendships do lose contact as some of mine did after moving to the UK from Australia, then Facebook was a great place to find them again, and after many years apart I have made contact with them again and visiting them the friendship went on as if there were no years gone. I was in Queensland Babs in April staying with friends that I had not seen for 34 years, ok we got older but we had the same friendship from all those years ago, one has more to talk about as our children had grown up and have grandchildren . There are many ways that people can find new friends also and yes there is some work is needed but one has to get out there and find them, but don’t forget your old friends.

  8. My husband belongs to Lions. It’s a great way for him to stay connected to other men (his club is a men only club). He also intends to join the local Men’s Shed when he retires.

  9. The local libraries in the area where we live hold monthly “Men’s Talk Groups” very well attended. Guest speakers on various topics.

  10. I have 3 sons and a husband so very aware of this problem it is hard to get them to make the effort with friends. Keep trying!

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