“In your twenties, you think you are just going to live forever,” said 35-year-old Jonathan Yevin, owner of the Brooklyn-based landscape company M. Call it ‘mangst” or “manxiety.” Either one describes the bouts of anxiety single guys in their thirties feel about their marital status. “But then you get to a point where you see an old dad and you think, ‘I’m going to be that guy.’ That’s what a lot of my angst stems from,” said Yevin, who is not married but has a girlfriend.He is desperately looking for someone to love, a girlfriend.He is so fearful of being alone,” said Lerer, who tied the knot at 28.He no longer has the luxury, he says, to date someone for five years before tying the knot.In fact, a few dates is usually all he will stomach with someone he’s not really into. Crane, for one, says he was surprised that more young men didn’t reach out to him after his story ran on the cover of the Sunday Styles section. At least for now, Crane seems to be a bit of an outlier, even though one fertility doctor told Crane that he’s seen an uptick of men freezing their sperm in places like San Francisco.And something seems to shift at 35 for men—only 29 percent of men in the 18-to-34 group say a successful marriage is one of the most important things, which has dropped off from 35 percent since 1997, also according to Pew.As people get married later these days, perhaps 35 for men is what 30 is for women, a personal reckoning that puts their desire to have a family on the front-burner?
Also, sperm quality declines with age, making conception more difficult.Men are becoming more self-conscious about it [their age],” Mike told me. “Men are delaying marriage and settling down because they want to be set in their careers,” said Sonya Rhodes, author of The Alpha Woman: How Today’s Strong Women can find Love and Happiness Without Settling.“Young men probably can’t see their career path as clearly as their father who worked with the same law firm for his whole life.”In the interim, as many of these educated young men lead a peripatetic lifestyle and switch careers, sometimes into their thirties, they find themselves unmoored to a city, job, or spouse.Men, too, are concerned about the lack of options as they get older, falling behind their peer group and, now, their biological clock, brought on by a rash of new research and attention to the health risks of older fatherhood.“I see the vast majority of my single guy friends wishing they weren’t,” said Ben Lerer, 32, founder of Thrillist Media Group, an e-commerce site focused on young men.“I think it’s just as acute as the female angst about being single,” he said.
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Mike says his manxiety flares up most acutely when he is thinking that he is the last single guy at the party, a worry that’s allayed when he looks at friends who are 40-something and single. Mike believes one of the causes of the ambient anxiety men in their thirties feel about being a single guy is exacerbated by online dating tools, such as Tinder and Hinge, which make age a constant part of your profile.