UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Rethinking the modern man : a generational analysis of masculine social pressures related to lifelong unions Lymburner, Tyler Alexander


Individuals who choose not to couple live a unique experience. This study examines the evolution of the social pressures and expectations, directed toward men, in regards to choosing a partner and forming a lifelong union. The study gathered the attitudes, opinions, and experiences of adult Canadian males regarding this topic. The participants include men who have avoided lifelong unions, such as marriage and cohabitation, in the 1960s, and men who have avoided lifelong unions from 2005 to the present. The data for this study was created through conducting semi-structured interviews. I interviewed ten men who rejected lifelong unions in the 1960s, and ten men who have done so since 2005. I focused on the male experience because the majority of the existing sociological research pertaining to lifelong unions is centered on the couple, and focuses on the shared experience of marriage. I am interested in questioning marriage as a norm, and the research suggests socially accepted alternatives to coupling and lifelong unions. The study provides insight on how the experiences of single men have changed over the past fifty years. The results from the study suggest that marriage is still the norm, and that it is still difficult to question this norm. When the participants did not conform to the norm, they expressed being subject to stereotyping or discrimination. The study also suggests that the participants who are currently single experience less pressure to form a lifelong union than the participants who were single in the 1960s. However, the pressure to couple remains strong, and the participants who are currently single experience intense age-related pressure that increases the longer they remain single.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada