Why Some Men Go Their Own Way

Duane Gundrum
6 min readJan 11, 2022

I’ve read tons of articles and commentary on the whole “men going their own way” movement, and while I’ve always written on the periphery of this movement, I don’t think I’ve ever really taken the time to just sit down and analyze what it might actually mean to me. So, here it is.

Some background: I’m one of those guys that hasn’t been through a lot of relationships. I was never part of the hook-up culture, and even though I’ve had a few long-term relationships, part of me has always felt that I was more of an observant than an actual participant in most of those relationships.

I fit that demographic of that young man that was always interested in finding the “right” girl, but never did. Most women over the years treated me as the friend of someone they were interested in, or a conversational partner but rarely someone worthy of actual pursuit. And in the few times that I did attempt to be the pursuer, it was more a comedy of tragedies than an actual successful relationship.

I kind of became the quintessential friend in every potential romantic relationship, which as you may suspect, means that every relationship was always doomed to end up as a friendship, or as we like to say around here, a trip to the “friend zone.” I was always perfect to be the guy who helps someone move, listens to a woman complain about bad relationships, or someone who would help out in a crunch situation. But I was never the guy who became the hero in the romance because there were always so many other better known actors willing to show up to the casting call.

And for years, I was sort of accepting of this role, convinced because of the many rom-coms that Hollywood makes that eventually the right girl was going to see through the bad actors and realize that I was there all along.

But that doesn’t actually happen in the real world. Instead, most guys spend their entire lives on the edge of hoping to achieve something better but never do. For most of us, we end up with a front-row seat to a series of romantic comedies that happen around us, but rarely to us.

For most of us, it was just never meant to be.

And when I started to analyze this deeper (something guys tend to avoid doing like the plague), I accept that the problem is me. And strangely…

Duane Gundrum

Author of Innocent Until Proven Guilty and 15 other novels. Writer, college professor and computer game designer.