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Are You Struggling From Tender Suburban Dad Syndrome?

With our archives now 3,500+ articles deep, we’ve determined to republish a basic piece every Sunday to assist our newer readers uncover a few of the finest, evergreen gems from the previous. This text was initially revealed in August 2021.

Years in the past, I discovered myself at Kate’s ten-year highschool reunion. As I surveyed the room of her former classmates, I observed a dichotomy within the trajectories that the men and women had taken. By and huge, the ladies had saved themselves up; they nonetheless appeared vibrant, engaged, and in form, even when that they had had a number of youngsters by that point. The years had not been as type to nearly all of dudes, nonetheless. Many have been already obese, out-of-shape, and searching fairly schlubby and lifeless behind the eyes. 

It was then {that a} moniker for the situation that appeared to be besetting these males got here to my thoughts: Tender Suburban Dad Syndrome.

Within the years since, I’ve observed SSDS present itself in loads of my friends, and infrequently, sadly, in myself as properly. Tender Suburban Dad Syndrome develops within the many years after a person graduates from faculty, will get married, has youngsters, establishes his profession, and, whether or not or not he actually settles down within the suburbs, strikes additional and additional into the outskirts of a dynamic and adventurous life. With the passage of time, and the eroding of youth, the plenty of males pretty hand over on life and lose their edge. 

Marriage, household, white collar work, suburbia, and maturity on the whole don’t invariably result in a degradation in virility, vitality, and manliness. However until an intentional, lively effort is made to domesticate a countervailing drive, such tasks and routines are likely to result in a busyness, inertia, stagnation, and malaise that may enervate one’s pursuits, mollify one’s penchant for problem and development, and extinguish the hearth within the stomach.

The parts of that countervailing drive have been completely defined in AoM’s most basic and epic article: Semper Virilis: A Roadmap to Manhood within the twenty first Century. However a useful first step to following that roadmap is diagnosing whether or not you’re affected by Tender Suburban Dad Syndrome your self, and which signs you most want to handle. So beneath we provide 50 questions for self-examination, organized into the completely different areas of life the place SSDS can crop up. Learn; replicate; work out the place you need to push again on the domesticating defaults many guys sink into as they transition from younger buck to mature man; and resolve the way you may change with a purpose to keep your energy — bodily, psychological, and social — into outdated age.


Literal softness constitutes the very tangible epicenter of Tender Suburban Dad Syndrome. Because the post-college years go by, males typically turn out to be increasingly sedentary. Testosterone, muscle, and power go down, whereas physique fats goes up. This will flip right into a adverse cycle, the place the extra overweight you turn out to be, the much less you need to transfer, and the much less you progress, the extra weight you achieve.

Sustaining your bodily prowess is greater than a matter of well being; energy and toughness (two qualities that are each very important, and never equivalent) impacts each different side of your life as properly, out of your confidence and the way you present up at work and in relationships, to what actions and pursuits you’re able to pursuing, to the upkeep of your psychological well-being. As such, getting and staying in good bodily situation represents the very basis of preventing SSDS and main a significant, fulfilling life.

1. Do you do at the least 60 minutes of bodily exercise day by day?

2. Have you ever gotten your testosterone examined — and is it at a wholesome degree?

3. Is your waist larger than 40 inches?

4. Are you able to maintain a squat for 30 seconds?

5. Are you able to dangle from a bar for 30 seconds?

6. Are you able to do at the least 5 pull-ups?

7. Are you able to choose up your physique weight and carry it for distance?

8. Are you able to standing lengthy leap your personal peak?

9. Are you able to bench press your body weight?

10. Are you able to deadlift 150% of your body weight?

11. Are you able to get off the bottom with out utilizing your fingers?

12. What’s the ratio between the time you spend watching different males play sports activities and the time you spend taking part in sports activities your self?

13. When was the final time you pushed your self so exhausting you couldn’t assist however put your fingers in your knees?

14. When was the final time you probably did a flat-out dash?

15. When was the final time you crawled on the bottom?

16. When was the final time you jumped as much as one thing? Down from one thing?

17. When was the final time you climbed one thing aside from a ladder?

18. When was the final time you probably did an explosive motion — kettlebell swing, plyometrics, and many others? 

19. When was the final time you felt you couldn’t do yet another repetition of a weightlifting train, however dug deep and floor out one other rep anyway?

20. Do you spend at the least an hour of time outdoors every day, or do you spend extra time inside than the typical jail inmate?

21. When was the final time you probably did a exercise outdoors a climate-controlled constructing?

22. When was the final time you swam in a pure physique of water?

23. What number of miles did you stroll over non-man-made surfaces final week?

24. What number of miles do you suppose you could possibly stroll in a day — might you make it fifty?

25. When was the final time you probably did one thing that really made you bodily uncomfortable?


The ironic factor about Tender Suburban Dad Syndrome, is that issues soften up . . . as a result of they harden up. With age, a form of sluggish, progressive technique of petrification takes place; not solely do our bodily actions turn out to be constricted and calcified, however so does our pondering. 

If you have been younger, you in all probability had deep discussions with your folks, journaled your reflections, learn, studied, contemplated — and altered and refined your concepts consequently. Sadly, most individuals really feel that after they get their faculty diploma, their life’s schooling is finished. They cease studying; they begin passively accepting ready-made solutions from the media; they outsource their pondering to others. As a result of they reject new psychological inputs, their concepts turn out to be stagnant and ultimately set like cement.

Studying shouldn’t be a one-and-done factor that ends together with your formal education, however a lifelong pursuit. Preserving your thoughts sharp means committing to being an ever-curious autodidact, irrespective of your age.

26. How typically do you are feeling bored?

27. When was the final time you modified your opinion about one thing?

28. When was the final time you learn a whole guide?

29. When was the final time you learn a piece of philosophy?

30. When was the final time you learn, and completed, a guide you actually discovered difficult?

31. When was the final time you spent greater than 5 minutes, with out distraction, merely fascinated about an concept?

32. When was the final time you wrote one thing, simply since you wished to — a poem, an essay, a journal entry?

33. When was the final time you discovered a brand new talent?

34. Do you might have a interest?

35. Do you have interaction in any pursuits you possibly can sincerely name “inventive”?


In highschool and faculty, it’s simple to have a strong social circle; you’re surrounded by friends on a regular basis, and don’t must put in a lot effort to keep up friendships. In some ways, this expertise “spoils” males; having by no means discovered to be intentional with relationships whereas rising up, they battle in maturity to make and hold mates

When work, partner, and children fill your life, it takes actually deliberate effort to keep up relationships outdoors the household unit. Absent this effort, males are likely to let friendships fall by the wayside, relying completely on their wives for social interplay and emotional assist. Such a dynamic is fragile, unsatisfying, and opposite to the male make-up, which advanced to spend ample time in a “gang” of different males. 

36. You continue to depend your buddies from highschool and faculty as your finest mates — however have you ever really saved in common contact with them?

37. When was the final time you referred to as or texted an outdated buddy simply to catch up?

38. Do you might have a number of shut, native mates who you are able to do issues with on a day-to-day foundation?

39. When you had an issue, do you might have a buddy you could possibly name as much as speak about it?

40. Are you part of, or have tried to start out, a barely extra formal group of males organized round some exercise or curiosity?


Not all of the areas through which a person can fall sufferer to Tender Suburban Dad Syndrome and through which he’ll need to keep his edge fall neatly into the above classes. However these questions are equally price reflection:

41. When was the final time you took a real danger, whether or not social, monetary, skilled, bodily, or in any other case?

42. When was the final time you probably did one thing that really made you nervous?

43. When was the final time you undertook an outing/journey you could possibly legitimately describe as an journey?

44. Do you might have future plans for endeavor one thing that might legitimately be described as an journey?

45. What number of hours a day are you on some sort of display screen?

46. When you made a listing of all of the tactical, survival, and DIY expertise you’re adept at, how lengthy would that checklist be?

47. Do you search to dwell merely and minimally, or have you ever collected a variety of stuff that weighs you down?

48. When was the final time you entered a contest — athletic or in any other case? 

49. Do you presently have any objectives you’re working in the direction of?

50. Do you might have a robust sense of your life’s objective?

Combating Tender Suburban Dad Syndrome doesn’t imply making an attempt to strategy each stage of life precisely as you probably did as a younger man. A person’s life cycle has distinct seasons, and it’s unwise to disregard the adjustments in temper, wishes, quantity/extent of tasks, and easy physiological realities that every season brings. As you age, you’ll discover sure actions kind of rewarding than you as soon as did; you’ll have much less to realize and extra to lose in taking dangers; you’ll perceive extra about what you really love to do, need to do, and may do. Nonetheless, attaining actual success throughout each season is premised on discovering new horizons befitting the stage you’re in, not letting change result in stagnation, and staying bodily and mentally sharp, socially related, and ever engaged within the grand recreation of life.


Among the requirements talked about within the Bodily part above have been gleaned from energy coach Dan John; you possibly can take heed to our podcast with him in regards to the bodily benchmarks you need to be assembly at all ages right here. Remember to additionally take heed to our podcast with coach Vic Verdier for extra inspiration on maintaining your edge as you age



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