As an older woman I cannot imagine how awful dating and relationships with men are now. Some of the stories I read about are chilling and horribly, horribly sad. I believe that the "relationship between the sexes" has become more fraught in recent years.
I attribute much of this to women waking up to just how deeply misogynist our culture truly is, and also to just how far women have come.
When I was in my thirties, feminist focus was on women working outside the home, the outrage of unequal pay based on gender discrimination, the sheer freedom of contraception that worked. Power struggles in the form of sexual predation and domestic violence were just part of the fabric of our lives. Of course you would never walk home alone at night, you knew you would "pay" for a nice dinner out with sex afterwards, and yes you got raped by a male "friend" when drunk, you felt ashamed but if you were physically uninjured you shrugged it off and went on with things and hid it well. It was intrinsic to being female.
Now, women have made incredible strides in the workplace and the issues that I faced, while not solved, are known. Now, "woke" men get angered by her loss of pay, "woke" men promote the women working for them, "woke" men allow themselves to be good fathers and even cry. And yes, we made as much as them, and bested them in the workplace and schools and business. And it gave us space; gave women space.
That space has allowed us to realize that after we made as much money as men, after we're able to experience sex without threat of pregnancy, after we're able to buy a house with our own money, raise a child on our own without a man, there's still something terribly wrong. We've realized that sexual violence isn't normal, that the transactional nature of sex (think Harvey Weinstein and the casting couch) is not normal, that porn isn't normal, that a relationship unbalanced in age or power isn't normal. We realized that it's not normal being catcalled, stalked, punched, and yes, being raped. And now we're saying "No more!"
Men's right to us, our bodies and our attention, from emotional care to housework to sex is being threatened seriously for the first time. Women are better educated, have control over their own finances, and are frequently the boss. Men's superior strength doesn't count anymore - we've got a machine to do that. Truthfully, women don't need men in a fundamental way that's never been true before.
The backlash to this change is savage. Men, as a class, have realized the so-called jig is up and men, as a class, are enraged. One explanation for the overturn of the right to women's bodily autonomy is the patriarchy re-asserting it's ownership of women (which, I predict, will fail miserably). One explanation for the deterioration of dating and relationships is that men can't expect women to fall in line and be grateful for their attention and willing to put up with utter crap. Men have realized that they no longer own women and they are pissed about it. The response of the unenlightened man is violence - emotional violence and physical violence, individually on a day to day basis. Culturally in the form of porn saturation and ever younger sexual ideals. Culturally in electing a president that boasts of sexual predation. Culturally in a swing towards ever bizarre right wing politics that are based in fear. Culturally in keeping pay low and warehouse work being the most prevalent. Culturally in making wealth building ever more difficult. The patriarchy has realized that keeping women scared, poor, and pregnant or with children is how to reclaim their ownership. It's why Thomas said that the Supreme Court would go after contraception and gay marriage next.
So looking for a healthy, satisfying relationship with a man in this context? Sad to say, at best it will be a struggle. I wish I could say just keep looking, there's a good man out there. I know there must be.