Why Don’t Men Like Smart, Strong, Successful Women?

Hi, Evan.

I’m 41, happy with my rounded self, smart, direct, and articulate.

I’ve been told that my lack of dates is due to:

1) Men don’t like smart, direct women, and

2) I’m centered, which sends the message that I don’t need anyone.

Are men really that insecure? I’m certainly not going to be less than I am just for someone else’s insecurities.

Tell me honestly, Evan – are there any good men out there who appreciate a woman who knows herself?

Michelle

Hi, Evan:

I don’t know what is going on and why I’m lacking luck in finding Mr. Right. I am educated, refined, and a self made millionaire by age 34. I am good looking. Many men, women, elderly, and children of all ages have told me so. People also told me that I am one of nicest and sweetest people they have ever met. Even though I am 36, most of the people I meet would think that I am only 26. Unfortunately, I have been through all kinds of online dates in the last two and a half years. CEOs, doctors, lawyers, hedge fund mangers, business owners, professional athletes, actors, etc… When I am not interested in them, they work for the relationship day and night. When I am committed to them and act nice and devoted, they start to look elsewhere.  Anyway, in short, I need some serious help and hope to hear back from you soon.  Thank you.

Sincerely,

Catherine

Great letters. Important question. But first I want to start off with a hypothetical email from a man.

Dear Evan,

I’m what you’d call a “nice guy.” I make a good living, I’m pretty attractive, and I treat women well. In fact, all of my female friends comment on what a great catch I am. But then I see those same women dating jerks. Yet they would never consider going out with me! So what do you think? Am I cursed to be alone just because I know how to be kind to women? Isn’t being nice a good quality? What’s wrong with women these days? Please let me know.

Jason

It’s not BECAUSE a guy is “nice” that he’s not attracting women.

Men reading this might empathize with Jason. Women reading this may feel bad for him, yet also want to him to know that it’s not BECAUSE he’s nice that he’s not attracting women. It’s because he’s doesn’t have masculine energy. It’s because he constantly seeks the approval of others. It’s because he’s not sexually aggressive. It’s because he sacrifices his personal power to be conciliatory. These are common attributes of nice guys, yet nice guys think that women don’t like nice guys BECAUSE they’re nice.

Not true. Women want nice guys – nice guys with opinions who stand up for themselves and know how to take control.

Smart women are very much like nice guys.

“I’m intelligent, I’m direct, I’m successful, yet I can’t seem to find a quality guy who appreciates me.”

Men like smart women. I do. My male coaching clients do as well. So how is it that all these successful men are not connecting with all these successful women?…

Because there’s much more going on than merely a meeting of the minds.

What never occurs to some women is that:

They’re being evaluated on far more than their most “impressive” traits.

These traits sometimes come with a significant downside that is painful to acknowledge.

Take me, for example. I’m a reasonably bright guy. I make a fair living. I can write a decent joke. These are my good traits. But right behind my good traits are a series of bad traits. Anyone reading this blog can see that:

…Despite her impressive credentials – attractive, successful, intelligent – she might not be giving men what THEY WANT.

The flip side of being bright is being opinionated.

The flip side of being analytical is being difficult.

The flip side of being funny is being sarcastic.

The flip side of having moral clarity is being arrogant.

The flip side of being entrepreneurial is being a workaholic.

The flip side of being charismatic is being self-centered.

Again, not EVERY person who is bright is opinionated, and not EVERY person who is funny is sarcastic. But there’s enough anecdotal evidence to suggest a strong correlation. And I’m just talking about MYSELF here. And if my good qualities come with bad qualities, have you considered that yours might as well?

So when I hear a woman talk about how “direct” she is, the first thing I think is: “She’s tactless.” I wrote about this in an article for Match.com entitled “Are You Honest… Or Overboard?” Self-proclaimed “direct” people often tell their dates what they think about them even if the date didn’t ask. They often try to change partners who have no desire to be changed. When the partner pulls away because he doesn’t want to be with someone so critical, the “direct” person concludes that he couldn’t appreciate her “honesty.”

If this makes you feel personally indicted, welcome to the club. I’m a “direct” person as well. I write things that are, to say the least, provocative…and yet I always get surprised when I receive angry emails from readers. Hey, I’m just being honest over here! What are you getting so upset about? ;-)

See, there’s a price to pay for “being ourselves.” And if you’re going to express your opinion, you can’t be surprised if other people disagree with you. And if you’re trying to win each argument, you can’t be too shocked if he wants a woman who can be a little more acquiescent.

I don’t know Catherine and Michelle. But I do know that they are not alone. Maureen Dowd, the Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for the New York Times, wrote an entire book about this, called “Are Men Necessary?”. One of her main observations is that if an amazing woman like her could be single, there must be something wrong with men. What she doesn’t acknowledge is that despite her impressive credentials – attractive, successful, intelligent – she might not be giving men what THEY WANT.

Why don't men like smart strong successful womenWhen a man goes out with a woman, he’s not as concerned with whether she’s articulate and on track to make partner at the law firm. That’s what women want in men and they assume it’s of equal importance to them. It’s generally not. Men DO value intelligence, but they also want from their girlfriend what they CAN’T get from their business associates. Warmth, affection, nurturing, thoughtfulness. If he finds himself constantly hearing all the things he needs to change, he may just determine that he wants a bright woman who is less challenging. Not a Stepford Wife. Not a bimbo. Not a maid. Just someone who makes his life EASIER and more pleasant.

Listen, I’ve spent my life chasing after women I’ve intellectually admired. Invariably, all of them had major issues with me. They’re not wrong for seeing things I could change. But a huge reason I’m with my wife is because she spends her time loving and supporting me, not challenging me on everything from movie tickets, to travel plans, to wake up times. She’s easy, in the best sense of the word.

Men want from their girlfriend what they CAN’T get from their business associates: warmth, affection, nurturing…

This is a real dilemma. You’re undoubtedly a great catch. You can teach us a thing or two. You are a go-getter and worthy of everyone’s respect. But if that go-getter side ends up emasculating your man, or makes him feel insignificant, or second-guessed, he’s not really getting what he wants out of a partner. Men want to feel masculine. We want to feel needed. And with a generation of women who pose questions like “Are Men Necessary?” it’s pretty difficult for us to enjoy our role as men. This doesn’t mean you should play dumb, or be weak and needy, no more than the nice guy should start acting like a jackass. It might mean, however, turning off some of the things that make you “successful” at work. This is a bitter pill to swallow, perhaps even a double standard. Still, it doesn’t change the fact that “hard-driving, opinionated, and meticulous” are not on most men’s lists of ideal feminine traits.

As someone who considers himself smart and direct, take it from me – there’s nothing wrong with these qualities. But if it also coincides with being difficult, dating might be a long, tough road for you.

It certainly was for me.

P.S. Want better results in your love life? For a deeper understanding of what qualities you should be looking for in a man, I invite you to check out “Why He Disappeared – the Smart, Strong, Successful Woman’s Guide to Understanding Men and Keeping the Right One Hooked Forever”.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Shari

    Hi Evan!

    I discovered what you’ve written through taking a self evaluation test. I got these lists of great traits for myself: persuasive, risk taker, competitive, pursues change, confident, socially skilled, inspiring, open & direct. Then on the next page were what you label downfalls, or what the test said was the way people who don’t think exactly like me may see me: pushy, intimidating, overbearing, restless, impatient, manipulative, abrasive, reactive & dominating. Those were some hard words to swallow. It was hard too facing the fact that though I didn’t see myself that way, some others did.

    I think it’s not that these smart, successful women are exactly those things either, but they are perceived that way by some – not all – of the men they come in contact with. The trick to that is knowing how the man you’re with is perceiving you, and being able to tone down or turn off the traits he might find as reason to dump you for someone more agreeable.

    I used to think this was dumbing myself down, or playing to the masses, being fake, or not true to myself. But what I realized is there’s a reason they call this the dating “game” and if you want to play, you have to learn the rules.

    This doesn’t mean I’m not who I am around men, it just means that I use the same skills in my personal life I learned to use in my professional. There are some meetings I can go into and run the show, and others where I have to be subordinate. So I knew if I could learn how to do that professionally and make a success of myself, that I could learn that personally too.

    1. 1.1
      Michelle

      You have managed to put this in a clear easy to understand manner. It’s not playing dumb. It is being tactful. If l can practise this at work, l sure can practise it with my man. May be difficult at first but with nurturing it should become a habit.

  2. 2
    BeenThruTheWars

    In Washington, where testosterone is found in the air in greater parts per billion than oxygen, the word “bitch” is an acronym. It stands for, “Boys, I’m Taking Charge Here.” And that’s what happens when women try to “take charge” in a romantic relationship in the same way that they take charge in the workplace. They can’t seem to find any worthwhile men who will stick around long enough to appreciate their many stellar qualities… because they are behaving in a man’s eyes like one of the other dudes he has to spend all day doing battle with. How tiresome. Like it or not, a different approach is called for in the romantic arena. (“Men are different than women” — repeat as necessary.)

    Ladies, it’s not a matter of giving anything up, or altering who you are in any fundamental way. It’s a matter of accepting that “He wants to be the boy” on dates, and letting him, for the sake of nurturing that spark that’s so critical to success in romantic relationships. We female go-getters work alongside men all day long — taking tons of initiative, being aggressive and competitive, putting out fires and ruling our little corner of the world with unswerving confidence and aplomb. But when the 5 o’clock whistle blows, it’s time to switch roles… if you want to be in a happy, peaceful, compatible, long-term relationship with a masculine energy man. Find your own feminine energy reserve and embrace it. Learn to compartmentalize! Try it. What do you have to lose? Remember that famous quote about “the definition of insanity… ”

    If you want to go on “being the man” regardless, hey — more power to ya. Date guys who are dreamers and have no drive, who like to nest and pick out wallpaper (or sit home and drink all day and watch sports on T.V. instead of working for a living). They will savor be taken care of while you go out and slay those dragons to put meat on the table. If you truly are a masculine energy woman, things should work out great. If not… at some point you will burn out, feel drained and start resenting your man for not slaying a few damn dragons himself once in a while. Yes, you can kill your own spiders in the bathroom at 3 a.m., you’ve done it forever, but doggone it, wouldn’t it be nice if someone ELSE took over sometimes? Unfortunately, that’s the point at which conflict starts… it’s not what either of you signed up for, so you both wind up miserable.

    I found your remarks so telling, Michelle: “When I am not interested in them, they work for the relationship day and night. When I am committed to them and act nice and devoted, they start to look elsewhere.”

    I know Evan is not a fan of “The Rules,” but… what you are describing is the classic push-pull male/female dynamic that is so aptly described in that series of books. When you make the man do most of the work to capture you, he pulls out all the stops. He feels challenged and alive. You’ve given him a job to do! And by golly, he’s gonna do it. He’s going to win over the fair maiden. When we pursue men or present ourselves on dates as their equivalents, and advertise our many accomplishments instead of looking, smelling and sounding pretty and graciously accepting what THEY have to offer US, the opposite happens. We take their jobs away from them. They don’t feel that spark, they feel like they’re out with one of the boys, so they go off in search of someone who will make them feel strong and noble and good about what they have to offer a woman.

    If you want to really understand why your successful career strategies don’t carry over into the romantic realm, study Patricia Allen’s “Getting to ‘I Do.’” I think you’ll recognize yourself (painfully so) from the very first chapter. There’s a lot of food for thought in her approach, which is all about the masculine vs. feminine energies Evan so aptly described, presented with ways to identify which you truly are, deep down, and adjust your dating strategies accordingly.

    I was in your shoes. Completely and totally. Over-the-top bright, successful, financially set, my career life an embarrassment of riches. All those things are still true of me… but it wasn’t until I completely overhauled my dating approach that I found the love of my life and true happiness in a wonderful marriage. I still have to work at it every day; I find myself trying to be the leader, telling my husband what to do and how to do it. I have to bite my tongue and let him at least have a turn sometimes. ;-) I don’t view it as being submissive or giving away pieces of myself; instead, I am giving him a wonderful gift: letting him be HIS truest self with me. (And not nagging him. That, too, is a gift!)

    1. 2.1
      WithLove

      Been Thru Wars….I am so glad I read your blog comment. I went and purchased Patricia Allens book Getting To I Do. I can’t thank you enough for mentioning the book! Did it open my eyes!!!!!!!!!!!! Not mention my brain like a pinata! Amazing. The big light bulb went on and then the tears came…realizing the damage I had done to a very special relationship I wish so much I could fix especially with what I know and realize now about MYSELF. I know there will be
      arguments against this and the Rules…but for me it makes sense. Again, thank you so very much….it was just what I needed to go on knowing that next time I will be much more equipped to be a great woman for myself and and fantastic woman (hopefully wife) for a great man!
      :) Thank you!

    2. 2.2
      Jess

      what about if your man turned out to be useless and careless in whatever he does? what about when he brings the shopping half full with what you asked him to bring for dinner? what if your man is very clumsy and doesn’t pay attention to what he does around the house? what if your man is  very forgetful and can’t remember appointments and schedules as you already agreed?
      do you still let him take the lead and make a complete mess of your relationship and marriage?

      1. 2.2.1
        Luis

        Those who are as you described may not realize what they are doing, or it’s possible that they may not care at all who they effect. It’s up to you to find out. Are they simply a struggling person, or just have no regard because they are self absorbed? If you say nothing then the person will assume you are okay with it (or perhaps not assume anything at all). Bring your concerns to that person’s attention (a reality check) and if you don’t see a change then you need to figure out what it is you value and also how you value yourself, then find the person you want. Some people put up with adult children and some don’t. At the same time don’t assume that you are being mistreated because no one may have expected any better from them. Some people are more “with it” than others. Bottom line is that if you desire a person who has a clue then that is who you need to seek.

    3. 2.3
      Karl R

      Jess,
      I have two questions:
       
      1. Why on earth would you date or stay with someone like that?
       
      2. Won’t someone that useless and careless make a complete mess of your relationship/marriage even if you’re in charge?

    4. 2.4
      Amanda

      Honestly, I rather be alone that living a fake life.

      1. 2.4.1
        fer

        Honestly, You would. Is not being fake, is being equals like every women think they need to be. The problem isn’t women being equal… the problem is now a lot of girls thinks no men matches her needs cuz she thinks she is the top smart best girl of everyone. Love isn’t about who is the best catch, is who will stay with you forever. So yeah, if you think that way you’ll be alone forever

  3. 3
    Paul

    I think in this context women are reaping a little of what they have been sowing. You really hit the nail on the head when you said it is pretty difficult to be a man these days when there are a whole generation of women asking “why do we need men”. It’s a shame. This isn’t exactly the age of the man, it’s the age of the woman if anything. Excuse me if I sound a little resentful, I admittidly am. Over the last 50 years or so our roles have gotten reversed and our society is suffering for it, and so are these women. We’ve got a whole bunch of men who are afraid to be real men, and women who are afraid to be real women. It could be said that they are getting exactly what they wanted; independance, careers, etc and these are the by-products of that movement. Much of what women have acheived are what WE are supposed to be out there acheiving! We are the ones who are supposed to be out there slaying the dragons for you ladies! For every woman making $50K +,there is a man who is not, and trying to support his family. Do women really want Mr Mom? Deep down they don’t. Not really. It’s not natural. But being a strong leader type is not exactly politically correct or honored in todays culture is it? Either is being in charge, yet that is what we as men are wired for, that is why we would rather have a woman who agrees with our opinions rather than have a bunch of her own. In the end, woman want and need to be loved unconditionally, and men want and need to be respected unconditionally. If we could get back to that, we’d all be a lot happier in our relationships.

    1. 3.1
      Brianna

      Do we want weak men? No. But do we want to be weak ourselves? NO!!! When I was a little girl, I certainly fantasized about slaying my fair share of dragons. 
      What we want is for men like you to acknowledge the fact that women are also human beings with goals and aspirations. We want careers, and we deserve careers just as much as you do. I like strong, successful men, as do most other women I know. The problem therefore lies with people like you, who for some reason can’t accept that women have brains just as complex as yours. You may not like the fact that we also have opinions, but not liking it doesn’t make it any less true. 

      1. 3.1.1
        Frederick

        Hi Brianna

        You need to look at what you are saying. You want to be smart and driven and have a career, which is fine. You want a man who is smart and driven and has a career. This is fine too.

        The problem is you want both of these things. Putting two smart successful driven people together is like putting two alpha dogs in a cage. They are not going to get along.

        If one of the people in a relationship is a rock, the other has to be softer, or the relationship wont work.

        Women always write off men who are gentle and nurturing. Always. I don’t want to be the kind of man you want. I am smart (I am a chemical engineer), but I don’t want to be an aggressive guy. I find being aggressive draining.

        I like smart, driven aggressive women, but I have no intention of being that way myself. I prefer reading in the park to climbing the corporate ladder.

        Good luck finding someone to fight against for the rest of your life.

  4. 4
    tom

    Count me against the men who ADORE strong, independent, intellligent women. But also count me as someone who finds many of them can’t get out of their professional shells when dating. From my own experience a reasonable number of professional women have a tough time letting their hair down and when with them seem to feel as if I were attending a 24 hour Martha Stewart festival. Now, the professional women who are genuine, authentic, intelligent, DOWN TO EARTH, affectionate, caring, nurturing, supportive and fun to be with…that’s an irresistible combination in my view! Heck, ANY woman with those qualities is worth keeping!

    I’m every bit as successful as Michelle and so am very comfortable around money and success. But in the final analysis the size of the pocketbook, the position in the boardroom, the model of the car does absolutely nothing to make a woman appealing. Is she fun? Does she let her hair down? Is she open to actually getting her jeans dirty during a vigorous, picturesque hike? Does she relish it when I play with her hair, or moan it’s no longer perfect? Does she set aside some time to actually listen to me, or is she answering her email, texts and cell phone calls constantly? Is she affectionate, or is she always in professional form even when away from the office? Is she secure enough in herself to date men who may not fit her “ideal” as far as their own professional stature, weight, height, etc., is concerned, or does she limit her choices to men with very narrow external preferences? Is she open to more than the missionary position and mind blowing oral sex and great fun in bed, or mechanical and routine?
    Will she at least pretend she loves giving oral sex and moan every once in awhile, or is she real quiet and making it obvious it’s a chore?
    Can she handle it when I am being just a guy, or judgmental on every small detail? Is she incessantly reminding me about my flaws, or actually gets a kick out of them? Does she realize sex is a great way to get intimate with a man, even through we know intimacy is a great way for a man to have sex with a woman, but will indulge me nevertheless since sex is on our minds 23.99 hours of the day? Is she on a constant search for clothes and material improvement, or will she actually attend an event with me she may not like?

    I empathize with these two women. Yes, there are men who are very insecure around successful women, but there are hordes of quality guys who are very secure around successful women and I suspect Catherine and Michelle have been too narrow in their search for the right guy. Most of the “right guys” have a flaw or two or more (maybe an extra 10/15 pounds, maybe they are short, maybe they work in jeans instead of a suit and tie) and it is because of these “flaws” they are often written off, for some successful, professional women, in my experience, deceive themselves, as Ev rightfully hit the nail on, that because those attributes are traits making a man appealing, it makes them appealing as well. It doesn’t. Men want to spend time with women who still have a little girl in them, occasional mothering (we love our mothers and still need a little TLC from time to time and that’s not being insecure, it’s just being a guy), and who admire them for the men they are regardless of the professional status of either party in the relationship. And like Ev said, and maybe most importantly, we don’t want to be judged, that’s the quickest ticket for a lady to be out the door, whether we are successful ourselves or not. The ladies who are successful with men are usually those who are the least bit judgmental (I realize my own hypocrisy when making this statement for we are all making judgmental statements whenh making a comment on this excellent forum).

    Speaking from personal experience, I suggest both of these ladies should enroll with Evan. It’s helped me immensely.

    1. 4.1
      will

      Dude, if sex is on your mind “23.99″ hours of the day, you are much less effective than you should be.   

  5. 5
    Kitty

    Evan,

    Well said and congrats on being able to use yourself as an example. I have def put myself into the “I’m such a catch, what’s wrong with all the men who are intimidated by my superior intelligence” catagory. Recently I’ve begun leaving my professional self behind and thinking about being more feminine and nurturing and not having to be such a smarty pants…and it seems to be working.

    Keep up the honest work Evan.

    Kitty

  6. 6
    Jules

    Evan, I think that you offer some really good insights and really hit the nail on the head with this post. I could see a lot of myself in Michelle and have a tendency to really enjoy talking business with men. I have been told by a girl friend that this sometimes puts men off, especially when I can contribute intelligently to a conversation we are having about their job/career. After reading your post, I could see how my ‘intelligent, direct and successful’ demeanor can come across as something different to guys. I think this happened with one guy I dated last year where eventually our conversations about work became a turn off to him.

    Anyway, while keeping myself from being a shrinking violet, I have been learning to let my guy be the man or let him feel like he is in charge. I am certainly not acting submissive, but I’ve been learning how to let him take the reins and steer. I don’t always have to be the one driving. So far it’s working a lot better for me.

    1. 6.1
      Jess

      Well, I often let my man to be in charge or at least taking the bins out, they were left there for nearly a week. How do you explain this?
      And the other one I left in charge of booking tickets and hotel away for the weekend, he let the time pass and the prices went up and we ended up ging anywhere?
      And the most recent disaster was when I left my ex in charge of deciding on the wedding cards, he forgot to order them and started panicking our wedding was approaching and no one was still not invited. So, guess what he did, he cancelled the wedding. Yes he did without agreeing with me. And that was the 3rd time he cancelled our wedding for very stupid reasons just because  I left him in charge and take the lead.
      I am proud to be a successful business woman, but I hate it when I have to end up doing most of the things at home. So I don’t see how letting a man in charge could work. Thanks

      1. 6.1.1
        tayokarate

        Seriously Jess, do you actually think he forgot the wedding cards? Men have short memories when they don’t want to do something like marrying someone.Yea they forget not once but thrice.He probably has cold feet about having his life controlled

      2. 6.1.2
        tayokarate

        Bins? C’mon sounds like a guy who’s out of job and ur paying all the bills.Of course men have short memories when they have a controlling partner, and when they don’t actually want to do something like marrying a controlling woman.They don’t forget the cards once they forget (oh yeah) three times..

  7. 7
    Naomi

    Evan,

    Your response to Michelle and Catherine may be empirically true to some extent — that is, that strong, successful women are not as attractive to some men because these women display traits that are turn offs to guys and lack traits that some guys are looking for. However, your proposed solution — that women should tone down undesirable traits and work on developing more desirable ones — is what I take issue with. Instead, why not propose that men should work on being okay with a woman who is his equal in terms of power, opinions, intelligence, and status, and, indeed, that we all should work towards bringing more gender equality to our personal relationships? This approach has been taken over the last several decades with success in education, employment, and other public arenas, and we continue to work on making more progress in these areas. Why should women have to change to accommodate outmoded male preferences born out of stereotypical, traditional gender roles?

    And of course I would make the same suggestion regarding your advice to “nice guys” who feel as though they have trouble dating. Instead of men like Jason working on beefing up their masculine traits, perhaps the women who reject them should work on accepting men who are conciliatory and don’t feel the need to dominate them.

    The personal is political; as long as sex-role stereotyping plays a role in personal life, it will continue to limit options in public life.

    Naomi

    1. 7.1
      Anne

      Naomi,

      You ask, “Why should women have to change to accommodate outmoded male preferences?”.  I can respond with, “Why should men have to change to accommodate modern women’s behavior?”.   It’s easier to change your behavior than it is to change someone else’s preferences, so women are more likely to get results with changing their behavior than they are to persuade men to be attracted to someone they’re not attracted to. 

      That said, I would NOT advocating changing who you are, unless who you are is not a person you are happy with.  I myself am a strong, successful, independent women who does not need a man, and I have had trouble dating in the past.  I just celebrated my one year dating anniversary with a fine man, but that year has not been an easy ride.  I have had to make changes to how I express myself for the sake of my relationship with him. 

      I would still describe myself as a strong, successful, independent woman who does not strictly need a man, and he likes my strength, my success, and my independence- to a point.  What my man needs from me, and what I think every man needs from an independent woman, is to be needed, and to feel like a man.  I love that I don’t have to ‘be a man’ around him.  I can check most of my masculine energy at the door, and let him be the stronger of us.  I don’t feel that this is sacrificing any of who I am, just exploring new sides of my personality.  It was uncomfortable at first, but I am a happier woman for it, and I don’t think I could have had a successful relationship with my man without it. 

  8. 8
    krzysztof

    Naomi,

    I agree with you that its unfortunate that some men are turned off by strong and successful women. But your advice, and the comparison to public life it is drawn from, are both misguided.

    You suggest that we handle the issue of men being turned off by successful women by convincing men to be turned on by successful women. Sure, but if that were feasible we likely wouldnt be having this discussion. And how exactly should men go about working on changing what they want in a partner?

    The personal in this case is not political; it iswell, personal. That is why the analogy to reforms in the public arena is off: the public arena, being public, must weigh everyones preferences equally. It is not surprising, moreover, that such reforms are achieved through legislation. I am not sure that the equivalent means of approaching mens sexual preferences would be all that desirable… In other words, standards in public life are driven by considerations (fairness, equality, justice) that are absent from sexual preferences. The reason why sexual preferences remain personal (and why they should) is because they dont affect the collectivity in the way that say, education opportunities do.

    One thing that I do think (and hope) will happen is that the very reforms you mention in education and employment (and one might add politics), will slowly drive a change in sexual norms and mens preferences.

    Until then, women who find that their success drives men away are left with two choices: tone down those traits, as Evan suggests, or keep looking for someone who will appreciate them. The latter may be healthier. And men attracted by strong, successful women exist (Im one of them).

    krzysztof

  9. 9
    Moxie

    I’ve received similar advice letters like this and always have one standard response.

    “Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?”

    Any time I hear a female client say that she thinks that she “intimidates” men due to her education, career, demeanor or looks I can immediately pick out at least 5 other, more tangible, reasons for why she has a hard time connecting with men.

    Hear this: Men are NOT intimidated by a strong, independent, successful and/or outspoken. They are, however, completely turned off by a ball buster. Many women failt to see that line between being outgoing and aggressive, confident and arrogant, outspoken and opinionated.

    ” However, your proposed solution that women should tone down undesirable traits and work on developing more desirable ones is what I take issue with.”

    Stop right there. See what you’re doing? You’re debating. You’re arguing. In your first sentence you agree with what Evan said, then you turn around and pick apart his argument and turn it into “but why should I compromise who I am?” Nobody is suggesting you lower your standards. What we’re suggesting is that you should try to increase your options. Do you want to be right? Okay, then don’t complain when every guy who comes within a foot of you quickly tires of your 24/7 dominant personality. The key to any good relationship is a willingness to be vulnerable and to submit. It’s the key to flirting. Somebody has to lead or else you’ll both be stepping on each other’s toes throughout the whole song. As an alpha female myself, I can tell you that even my female to female relationships require that oen of us be willing to bend and acquiece at times. We do that because we care about each other and prefer to avoid conflict. I’ll bet you do that with your female friends, no? So then why is it compromising if you do it with a man?

    There’s a reason why two magnets, when positioned the same way directly at each other, repel and why, if you turn one of the magnets 180 degrees, they click.

    Women with a distinctive male energy often confuse men. Sure, they can visually see she’s a female, but all of her non-verbal cues (posture, facial expressions, tone of voice) are distinctly male. That confuses the male brain and can trick the brain into treating you and “seeing” you as a male. The sam ecan be said for women when dealing with a “nice guy.” They’re “seeing” his female energy – the submissive, demure, vulnerable part of him. That’s why we’re not attracted to them usually.

    At least that’s what I think.

  10. 10
    Evan Marc Katz

    The primary reason, Naomi, that I advise individuals to tone down their individual traits, is because that’s a realistic solution. Change starts on a personal level, yet most people are always screaming for everyone else to change. That’s not how it works. If a man asks me for advice, I’m going to tell him what HE should do differently – not what WOMEN should do differently, and vice versa. Would the world be a better place if men and women truly embraced equality in all of its forms? Sure. But I’m not going to make that happen. Let’s work on taking care of what we can do as individuals instead of screaming for tens of millions of people to change years of societally ingrained behavior.

    1. 10.1
      Amanda

      Another realistic solution is to remain faithful to yourself and stop diving against the current, enjoy a happy and plenty life by your own instead of trying to fit in obsolete social patterns that tell us what roles should we adopt. If being alone (as if this was somehow negative) is the only solution, I think is still worth it.

      1. 10.1.1
        Kyle

        Being happy alone is one thing, but being happy while lonely is altogether another. Human beings are highly social creatures, and it is definitely unrealistic to suggest that people (as a society and as a species) should just “enjoy and happy and plenty life by [sic] your own” when the pressure to build satisfying relationships is literally in our DNA.

        1. terry

          Personally, I am perfectly content with simply having friends and family, travelling, and learning (I’m studying Spanish, programming, chemistry, and physics). I don’t want to date or have sex so I do, well, whatever I want. When a woman or man approaches me, and I find out that either is looking for more than friendship I politely turn them down and let them know I would still like to be friends. Then again I’m only twenty so who knows if that will even last.

  11. 11
    NML

    Evan, I read your blog every day but I must say that this has been my favourite post so far. One of the particular reasons why I like your posts is because coming from a male perspective, you’re refreshingly honest.
    Every day I explain to women that much of the issues that we have going with men are our own projections. Yes there are men out there that do feel threatened by some of the qualities that these women mentioned, but these women are focusing on these qualities as if it’s all that encompasses them, and that their looks and these qualities make up for any perceived ‘negatives’. I always ask “What could you be doing differently?” It doesn’t remove what someone has done but it lets you have the responsibility of change because we’re the only people that we can control.
    The issue of ‘needing’ men is a fundamental, hardwired requirement that is unlikely to change. Needing or wanting a man and even leaning on him a little doesn’t make you less of a woman, or less independent. It’s called life and relationships.
    It takes the ability to look past the surface, resume type stuff and take a deeper look at ourselves to know what we’re really putting out there. I used to think I was unlucky in love with the same qualities that those women spoke about but on further reflection discovered that I was commitment-phobic, aloof, and I had sh*t taste in men!
    Men and women have ideas about what they think are the perceived qualities and characteristics for being an optimum partner but we are often wide of the mark. We need to get back to basics and be real.
    Thanks for a great read this morning!

  12. 12
    Bev

    I see the true problem here. Not that I’m smart at all but thru life, I have realized that women are being stronger in more masculine ways simply because men have not done their part and we have HAD to take over. We didn’t want to, honest to God. In my last relationship, the guy was at my house 90% of the time. Would he ever notice that the pool needed cleaned or even keep his bathroom clean? NO!! It caused great resentment because I had added pressure from this and the good stuff was too minut to overcome it. Result: better off without him.

    1. 12.1
      Jess

      Yes well said here. I have at least 3 light bulbs that need replacing in my flat together with some frames to put up. Did my man  do that? NO. did I ask him for his help? YES, million times. what were his answers? I forgot, I don’t have time, you didn’t remind me, I can dot hem tomorrow, …. and the list is long.
      I felt, I’ve been supervising my employees at work all the time and making sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing.

  13. pingback
  14. 13
    Andrea

    Moxie: Your comment “Women with a distinctive male energy often confuse men. Sure, they can visually see shes a female, but all of her non-verbal cues (posture, facial expressions, tone of voice) are distinctly male. That confuses the male brain and can trick the brain into treating you and seeing you as a male.” resonated with me. Something clicked. I get it.

    After the last guy I dated told me “it” wasn’t there for him I wondered if I wasn’t “girlie” enough, if the fact that I like ‘guy’ movies, sometimes drink beer, act like one of the guys and got along well with his guy friends were turn offs in a sense even though I’m very girlie in a visual/physical way. This experience framed how I interpreted your comment. This is good. Sometimes I forget to “tone down” certain characteristics even though I know that I need to.

  15. 14
    mrs. vee

    If I may offer up one alternative perspective from my personal experience…

    It seems people are drawing a strong correlation here between women who are strongly critical of the men they date and those Type As who turn off men with their success and masculine energy. So, before anyone goes any further conflating the two issues, lets separate them.

    1) Its an issue for a woman to constantly berate the man in her life and make him feel hes a disappointment to her. This type of behavior is NOT limited to professionally successful, masculine energy type of women. I know plenty of girlish mothers, aunts & girlfriends of all tax brackets, who suffer from this issue. In fact, I suspect its more a problem with the female communication style in general than with relative degrees of gender-specific success.

    2) Its a different (but occasionally related) issue for a woman to expect her suitors to be captivated by her Curriculum Vitae and then explain away a failed date with: He was just intimidated by me.

    To preface my story, I too, once fancied myself as a bit of a prize – cute and well-educated. I set high goals for myself and reached them. My professional life came surprisingly easy to me, and thus I generally walked around very impressed with myself.

    So anyway, in my late twenties, I found myself seriously involved with a man who wanted to marry me. He was charismatic and funny, intense and intelligent. There was only one small problem, though: I couldnt stop finding things wrong with him that I wanted to change. He was tactless. A mamas boy. He had obnoxious friends. He was poor. He was vain. He was afraid of being misunderstood, so he talked incessantly. His constant anxiety had an effeminate energy to it, and so conversely, his bawdy tendencies (i.e. flirting with/ogling other women) seemed incongruous and compoundingly off-putting.

    We spent the last months of our relationship in battle. Im sure I was driving him nuts because to his credit he was trying to improve himself for me and consequently walking on eggshells all the time. And I was driving myself crazy because, instead of focusing on the poor guys positives, it was like I was forever meditating on his faults.

    When it ended, I was a complete mess. I didnt like the nagging shrew Id become in the relationship. Id totally lost sight of why we were together in the first place. And because Im the self-reflective type, I took perhaps more than my share of the blame for the demise of our relationship. I concluded Id been too Type A, and needed to tone it down for the next guy. For all the reasons people are talking about here, I decided I should have spent my time loving and supporting him, and not challenging his shortcomings. Id felt that perhaps my personal accomplishments had only amplified his insecurities and vowed to keep them tucked away next time.

    My point is that it turned out I was making the same error in thinking that I see running through this discussion thread. People are unnecessarily connecting the dots between a woman being proud of her success and being overbearing/critical. Theyre conflating Issue #1 and Issue #2.

    Heres what I learned: My conclusions were wrong. After I broke up with the man in my story, I had about two other boyfriends before meeting the one I married. Since Story Man, I found I didnt have to conceal my (*eyeroll*) personal power from the men I dated. Not one of them elicited from me the desire to nag or correct them. It wasnt my high income or forwardness that led to problems. Today, my lovely husband earns a little less than me, but he wins about every other argument. He never felt threatened by my tax bracket or the property I owned. He tears down and rebuilds the deck, mends fences, assembles bikes for me, dominates us athletically, provides valuable input for all decisions we make as a family, but he still encourages my successes (because theyre OUR successes, really). He was right for me. He was easy. And just like Evan deserves an easy girlfriend, so do we all, no matter how gender-bendingly successful we may be.

    Looking back, with Story Man, I dont say to myself I wish Id toned it down and hadnt nagged him for the sake of the relationship. I just shouldnt have nagged him PERIOD, and gotten out of the relationship as soon as I realized I couldnt accept his flaws unconditionally. We could have saved months of heartache. With no disrespect to him, Im glad I broke up with Story Man, because I believe hes happily involved with someone else now, and it ultimately paved the way for me to meet the dreamboat love of my life.

    Its not that I disagree with the advice given in this discussion thread. If you are a forceful, accomplished woman who attributes her relationship failures to male insecurity, then please do sit up and take notice of the valuable advice dispensed here today.

    If however, you are a successful woman, currently with a partner you often find yourself frequently fighting with and wishing were somehow different if your relationship is characterized by a struggle to suppress your critical thinking faculties well, yes perhaps youre letting your Type A tendencies rule your perspective on the relationship and you could choose to try toning it down a bit. But consider also that some men are close, but quite right for you (and some genuinely do need to change ;) ), and you could choose to simply move on. The solution isn’t always to suck it up and persevere 100% of the time. From my experience, having faith, an open mind, the courage to let go of a bird in hand, and a LOT of patience will lead you to a loving man whom you wont want to change a thing about.

  16. 15
    Susan

    Evan,

    What a great blog! And, as always, it’s interesting reading everyone’s comments. When I first read the two letters that opened this post, I definitely felt a jolt of recognition. But as I read further, and then all these comments, that feeling has faded.

    You see, that whole “men are intimidated by your intelligence” thing is something I’ve been told by well-meaning friends my whole life. But I don’t buy it. Honestly, I’m probably reasonably up there on the intelligence scale, but mostly I’m just a very curious person. I read constantly. I go to physics lectures for fun. I’m very cultured. I persue very “intellectual” pastimes because I’m interested and curious. But I’m not well-educated, particurally successful, wealthy, or aggressive in relationships.

    I don’t nag. I don’t criticize. (I’m far too insecure to be a difficult woman.) Also, I’m very, very feminine, i.e. long hair, dresses and skirts every day, loves to cook, and extremely affectionate. So, yes, some folks might think I’m a brainiac, but I still read the occasional Dean Koontz novel. I’m hardly an intimidating person. My point is, not all intelligent women are Type A individuals. We’re not all any one thing. I think Evan’s advice is good, but he still hasn’t told me that secret advice that fixes my whole life. I’d better keep reading the blog.

  17. 16
    Moxie

    ” (Im far too insecure to be a difficult woman.) ”

    And therein lies your challenge. If you can see and identify your insecurity, then you can bet that your non-verbal communication and non-verbal cues reveal that to whomever you’re talking to. Lack of eye contact, posture, soft voice, rapid rate of speech (inquisitive is great, just don’t fire off questions.)

  18. 17
    MollyB

    “Just someone who makes his life EASIER and more pleasant.”

    Are women allowed to want this as well? Mis-match on this front seems to be the real problem.

    Most of the men I know value strong, successful women. Complaints to the contrary sound legit, but IMNSHO mask the woman’s own fear of commitment.

  19. 18
    Camilla

    In my relationship, I desire nothing more badly than to be able to turn off the type-A switch at night. Running a company, being my own sole source of support, paying a mortgage, and staying up on home repairs by myself is *exhausting.* I really miss feeling protected and loved, and would adore a man that wants to lead much/most of the time. To surrender and let go a bit would really balance me out. I *crave* that.

    That said, I find that many of the men I meet aren’t as strong at leading as I need. I find that they either want me to lead (turn-off for me) or they want a woman who is weaker than they are.

    So while I agree that strong women sometimes need to turn the leadership off, that alone seems like half the solution. For me, I’m also looking for someone who is naturally strong. I can tone down my own alpha-tendencies, but not to a level that is even weaker than some of the passive men I’ve been meeting.

    I’m a strong woman that is silently begging to be led.

  20. 19
    JimmyE

    Camilla. the kind of men who want to lead are by definition ones who want a woman who is weaker then they are.

  21. 20
    Camilla

    JimmyE: Gotcha. I think I just need to find a man can be stronger than me. Then we’ll both be happy!

  22. 21
    Ruth

    After reading this thread, there is more confusion than ever. The successful men you know who are partnered, do they have partners who fit the descriptions mentioned in the article and responses?

    Area they all in easy relationships? Are all, or even most, of their partners lacking in the traits listed above as undesirable? Do their partners make them feel superior, allow them to always lead and protect their egos? Not in my experience. That means there may be something else at work that is not being addressed.

    I am 50 and ,like Camilla, would cherish a fella who appreciates who I am, and who recognizes that I appreciate who he is, too.

    All successful single women are not bulldozers outside the workplace. Isn’t it interesting that is the automaic assumption, but a successful single man is not attached with any such prejudice?

    Another question, Why does leading involve a weakest link? In most personal relationships, leaders change with the circumstances, depending on what one is good at. Some are better at driving, others better navigating. Why/how is it emasculating to share leadership based on who has is the most capable in a particular area?

    I am involved in several male dominated groups, and the one consistent factor is, the ones who are married or in committed relationships are not partnered with their equals, typically ‘marrying down’. Yes, there are a few equally partnered, but the percentage is in the single digits.

    The thing they privately (meaning not in the company of the partner)complain about is also consistent, the women spend too much money, don’t understand the man, and there isn’t much they can talk about once they exhaust the kids/house/checkbook issues. When asked why they stay in what sounds like mostly unfulfilling relationships, the reaction is either astonishment at the thought, or they can’t answer and give a blank look. Some of my male friends have actually asked me why their partners can’t be more like the women in our group!!

    The flip side of that is, most professional women I know are also not partnered with their equals, also ‘marrying down’, with similar complaints as the men above. However, when asked why they stay in the relationship, the answer most often given is, there isn’t a better choice, they would love a more fullfilling relationship but it’s better than being alone.

    This is not intended to sound arrogant or self grandizing and is difficult to write with the tone intended. Certainly none of us are without faults and weak spots, but I have had relationships with men who admit that I am what they thought they wanted. They have many compliments, and no big complaints. But, in moments of honesty, they admit they need someone who needs more fixing (an actual quote).

    I don’t know if this is a generational issue, but most of the successful men I know are partnered with women who’s issues are much more intrusive than what has been described in this blog as undesirable. I have even been told, “You are great catch, I am just not ready yet.” And then they married someone whom they could complain about. I have considered that was said as just an excuse, but enough time has passed and subsequent conversations that doesn’t seem to be the case.

    Just like men, sucessfull women mostly want to the appreciated for who they are. The message running through this blog subject seems to be that is the perogative of men, but women have to adjust to the man’s perception of what a relationship looks like or be alone.

    Since there are so many more choices for a partner for men then for women, it seems the women are ones who will have choose between playing the game of changing or hiding who they really are, or being without a partner.

    1. 21.1
      Gemma

      Your response is very interesting.  A very good guy friend once told me that he likes women who need fixing, or who need his help. He found just such a girl. During the dating phase, she did all the things guys seem to gravitate toward – she admired him, worked on maintaining a good physical appearance, listened intently, made him feel strong and important, and was sensual. 

      I saw them soon after their honeymoon, and my guy friend actually said to me, “Finally, someone I can talk to! I’ve been totally lacking good conversation.” And launched into a description of a sci-fi book he’d read recently. His new wife reacted in exactly the way expected of women – she pouted.

      These days, he still feels “needed” by her, because she’s still unable to function on her own. But their life appears to consist primarily of the following: they both get up early, work all day, come home, make supper, eat while watching a movie, and then the woman goes to bed early and my guy friend stays up till midnight playing computer games. As far as I can tell, they don’t have any conversational topics in common other than the day-to-day drudgery of taxes, bills, etc.

      So the “feminine” may be what guys are mostly attracted to, but is it as satisfying in the long run as they hoped it would be? I definitely don’t think that guys like the friend described above would change and decide they’d rather a girl with interests similar to their own. I don’t know why, but most people of either gender seem to be attracted to people with whom they’d never be friends if those friends were of the same gender. 

      Most guys I know marry women who could be described as “feminine” or “needy,” but I don’t know of a single relationship in which the same knight-in-shining-armour and damsel-in-distress scenario continued after the marriage took place. Men and women are both multifaceted people, and they all have flaws. The type of woman who tends toward being affirming and nurturing seems to me to be the type more likely to eventually express dissatisfaction with the man because he doesn’t live up to the strong, supportive, masculine expectations she has as a “feminine” woman. There’s no way he could live up to them, because he’s not perfect.

      The blog entry above suggests that the problem with strong women is that they are not actually strong, they are domineering, just as “nice guys” are not actually nice, they’re weak. I don’t think this is necessarily the case.  I think the majority of both genders have idealized expectations of the opposite gender, but no one is capable of living up to an ideal. There are plenty of “feminine” women and “masculine” men who haven’t found a permanent partner. It probably isn’t the result of one trait that they could change and suddenly be inundated with offers of marriage. It’s more likely a combination of factors: appearance, the proportion of people who would complement certain rarer personality types, social circles, standards, etc. 

      And not everyone wants a partner who is “easy” (ie. unchallenging, acquiescent, consistently confirming). Though I’m most likely in the minority, I actually like debating issues – I don’t find it exhausting or threatening. People who are uninterested in discussing ideas are boring to me. I think the problem is that most people of either gender find “challenging” people to be exhausting or arrogant, and those qualities in a female are considered especially contrary to societal expectations.

      I think eventually people with rarer personality types have to decide between altering who they are to better fit the majority’s expectations, or being who they are and accepting that it won’t appeal to many. Most people seem to naturally hide who they are during the dating phase, but after the marriage, it all comes out. 

  23. 22
    Hadley Paige

    Why don’t men like smart strong successful women?

    Speaking only for me >> smart I find attractive, strong I’ve got a problem with if strong means challenging me on everything. I get plenty of “challenging” at work from my male coworkers. What I seek in a woman for an LTR is kind, nurturing, feminine, fun, thoughtful, sexy, etc. I don’t need or want strong.

    I believe that there is an inverse correlation ( to what degree is debatable) between women & their degree of “success” and the likelihood of finding the qualities I most value in a woman. Of course I am willing to take every woman as the individual they are but over time I have found the above observation to be largely true. I suppose its unfortunate for successful women if I represent the majority male view.

    There are many mutually exclusive choices that we must make in our lives. I believe that this is one of them for women who wish to be in successful LTRs. (of course there may be a significant minority of experiences to the contrary.)

    Bottom line for me is I want to be supported emotionally not “challenged”. It exhausting.

  24. 23
    HS

    Just so I understand:

    Strong Man – admirable as a leader, someone to respect
    Strong Woman – a challenger who makes men uncomfortable and is less feminine, nurturing, sexy etc because she has a bunch of her own opinions and is independent

    Men – to be attractive to women can be kind, nurturing, masculine, fun, thoughtful, sexy, etc, strong and have opinions
    Women – to be attractive to men must be kind, nurturing, feminine, fun, thoughtful, sexy, etc . . . but NOT strong, independent or have opinions

    Men – Can be nurtured and emotionally supported and still be successful in their careers
    Women – Must choose between career or to be nurturing and emotionally supportive to a man – but not both – also cannot be nurtured or emotionally supported if it doesn’t fit the man’s definition of masculine support/nurture.

    Men – Get to have partners who agree with their opinions and not have “a bunch of their own”
    Women – Get to be partnered only if they agree with their partners opinions without having “a bunch of their own”

    Men -Don’t have to choose between being themselves and having a loving, commited relationship
    Women – Have to choose between being themselves and having mutually loving, commited relationship

    Guess that about sums it up!

    1. 23.1
      Jeff

      TO HS in #23,
      Not to be a smart ass, but thats exactly correct. I am constantly challenged by other men in every area of life (work, clubs, sports). The last thing i want is to be challenged by the woman i am seeing (and perhaps marry). If you want to be an alpha woman then you need to date beta men… thats what some women dont get, they want to be an alpha dating an alpha, men want to be an alpha dating a beta. Its how its met to be (or atleast its how 99% of men are conditioned and will continue to be conditioned until the end of time). You cant have your cake and eat it too

  25. 24
    Camilla

    HS: You’re smart as a whip! *lmao*

  26. 25
    Hadley Paige

    To HS:

    Having your own opinions is fine. Expressing repeatedly every preference that you can identify or “point you need to make” regardless of how small, stupid or inconsequential they are is not fine.

    Women don’t have to choose between a career and a man, they have to choose between being opinionated, argumentative and independent (vs appreciating the qualities that men are about & being a woman who complements these qualities rather than mirroring them) and a man.

  27. 26
    Freya

    In my opinion, I don’t think women should have to “hide” or “tone down” traits. I can see it would make life “easier”, but only if you are looking for a return to times when the search for fulfillment of an idealised relationship was a social expectation.These days I think we can be more honest with ourselves and not have to feel pressured to try to fit in with expectations … though that honesty is a social learning curve, as is this forum … and one consequence of living in such times being that it should not be an issue of a comparison of traits between men and women per se, so much as an honest look at what each of us really finds attractive in a partner. In other words, a comparison of traits you have, and traits you crave in another, regardless of whether you are a man or a woman.

    This may make it hard to find a perfect fit, but then if you are busy “hiding” traits you certainly won’t get off to a great start to find someone that truly suits you! The trick is to use your intuition as a guide rather than be critical of the potential partner … accept that no one is perfect anyway, but do not compromise to the degree that you are hiding traits hard won. There are many shades of grey, and I myself am an example of a woman who both embraces very feminine qualities, but also is proud of the fact that I have a great survival instinct, and have developed more “male” skills that have enabled me to get through life to date. In fact, not just get through … but thrive on my own terms!

    As a consequence, I am not looking for a man I can project those hard earned traits onto, pretending they are not mine (I don’t like to play games) but am actually attracted more to sweeter, gentler, quieter guys. After reading all the posts above, I realise I’m looking for the same traits men apparently are in a woman, yet I’m heterosexual. I actually have had a long term relationship with a guy like this, and was very happy! Pity he ended up falling for an even more aggressive female!

    My point is, this issue is not black and white, and so the solution is not one thing or the other, but simply an honest questioning of what traits, traditional or otherwise, you are looking for in a partner of either sex, and being open to finding that.

  28. 27
    gsh

    I keep seeing the word “nuturing” crop up in terms of what men want out of women. If I understand the implication correctly, men are looking for a non-judgmental support system, a cheerleader, if you will.

    Here’s the thing, however: lots of women have spent their entire lives fighting expectations for and opinions on their ability to do. . .well, pretty much everything. Women have learned to succeed because they believe they can–they have formed strong, internal support systems.

    As you might imagine, this takes up an enormous amount of energy. So is it at all surprising that being expected to dole out further energy to support and nuture men might make us the tiniest bit frustrated?

    I mean, my god, if we can support and nuture ourselves, then so can men. My ideal would be to find someone who can deal with his own issues, who is able to see that he can do whatever he wants and does not need external approval and coaching. I don’t want to be a coach, a mother or a cheerleader–I want to be a peer, a partner.

    1. 27.1
      Kyle

      Here’s the thing, however: lots of men have spent every moment of every day competing with each other over…well, pretty much everything. Men have learned to succeed  because we are taught immediately and constantly by patriarchy that we are utterly worthless unless we are both competitive and successful.

      As you might imagine, this also takes up an enormous amount of energy. So is it at all surprising that being expected to compete with our romantic partners might make us the tiniest bit frustrated too?

      Is it unreasonable to expect a partner to be supportive? I mean, my god, if women can be there for their friends and family, then why not for their partners? My ideal would be to find someone who can handle themself and does not need external approval, but who also wants to be a part of a team. I don’t need a coach, a mother, or a cheerleader–I want a peer, a partner.

      1. 27.1.1
        RustyLH

        Kyle, you hit it on the head.  I would say that this is a clue as to why so many men are avoiding marriage.  He can leave, if a woman stops being supportive, kind, patient, understanding, soft, sweet, etc…etc…etc…
        Only thing I would disagree is that most like a woman to be a cheerleader.
        I also think this keys into the major fight  between men and women and the misunderstanding by women when he says he wants “traditional.”
        Do most men want to be the leader?  Yes.  Why?  They saw this work for their parents and grandparents.  But what about it worked?  Why do they seem to have such a different opinion than women on this?
        First, my father and grandfathers were not tyrants.  It was not their way or the highway.  They did not even reserve the position of calling the shots in every situation.
        A good example.  I was dating a girl who was more than willing to allow me to lead in most situations.  I like to go to garage sales, but rarely do it.  However, she was a pro at it.  So when she said she wanted to do it, we made plans and early that morning, I cooked breakfast while she made a list of places to go and mapped it out on google maps.  When we walked out to my truck, i handed her the keys and said, “Lead the way.”  It was early in the relationship and so I am sure she was not totally sure what to expect from me, so she was a bit surprised, and i could see that that one little thing made her happy.  It’s called respect.  She felt respected and appreciated for what she brought to the table.  Do you think a man won’t react the same way?  Nobody says you have to stay with a tyrant, and in fact, me, Evan and every sane man on this site would tell you to get away from a tyrant.  I won’t live with a woman who is.
        But Kyle shed some light on a major problem men experience in their relationships.  They want one part of their life where they don’t have to compete.  Men are sick and tired of relationships being power struggles.  Every woman I was in a relationship with who said they wanted it to be an equal partnership, it always felt like a power struggle.  In every case, it was her way or the highway.  If she ever relented and allowed me to have my way, I was made to pay dearly for it.  And it was also held over my head constantly.  No thank you.  Do not want.
        It simply works better when one person is the default leader,but is also kind and loving in doing so, and is also wise enough to understand when it is better to temporarily relinquish that position.
        My experience is that some women simply don’t respect men, or they had one or two men who were tyrants in their lives so they never give men a chance to be a good leader.   They might pay lip service to it but if you asked the man, he would likely tell you a completely different story.  he would likely tell a tale of power struggles, passive aggressive behavior when she didn’t get what she wanted, etc..
        The point is, just because you give up that responsibility and put it on the man, and he turns out to be abusive in that role, you do not have to stay with him.  If men were consistently being given that opportunity, they would rise to the challenge.  When they fail and a woman leaves them for it, he will learn and modify his behavior….or be alone for the rest of his life.

    2. 27.2
      RustyLH

      When I think of a woman being a cheerleader, I think of her simply being a supportive.  I also believe a good man who has a woman doing this for him, would by default return the favor.  Can men and women nurture themselves  Of course.  Does that mean you don’t want your partner to also do that for you?  Of course not.  Why does it have to be one or the other?  It doesn’t.
      I think Kyle was more on target when he said men are tired of having to compete all day and then go home and compete.  Who wants that?  Nobody.
      But you did say something that was right.  If you are wore out, will it make you frustrated to have to nurture?  Sure.  Welcome to a man’s world.  He goes to wrok all day comes home stressed and then has to play Psychiatrist, just sitting their listening while his wife unloads all of her daily frustrations on him, and even when he, using his more logical abilities, can clearly see what she should do to end one of her frustrations, he is to allowed to say so.  No…see this isn’t about problem solving, this is about nurturing.  How much frustration do you think the man feels when he comes home and hers the same frustration day in and day out, but he’s not allowed to fix the problem?
      You know, we men are people too.  We have feelings, frustrations, emotions, desires, wants, etc…  It’s not all about us to be sure, but neither is it all about you.

  29. 28
    Julie

    I’m an incredibly smart, strong, successful and attractive 27 year old woman. At first I was distraught at the lack of long term relationships, and thought there may be something wrong with me.

    However, I have come to realize that while yes, it is true that most men cannot and/or don’t want to date me, this does not mean that I actually have any desire to ever change, adapt, or be “nurturing”, “gentle”, or “let him be the man”, for any man. I never want to be the lesser sex in any relationship. This does not mean that I won’t make sacrifices or compromises for the relationship, but I can’t ever sacrifice my most treasured personality traits for anyone. I cannot have a boyfriend if it means he will shadow my brilliance.

    I accept myself completely for who I am, and will not change just so I can be in a relationship where I am not completely myself. I wish more women like me would also keep up their self respect and not become some “little girl” just so that they can find a boyfriend.

    I will gladly live alone on my own means. My multi-millionaire and hopefully before I’m 40 – billionaire – means.

    1. 28.2
      jkh

       
      I’m an incredibly smart arrogant, strong insecure, successful failure in love and attractive repulsive 27 year old woman. At first I was distraught at the lack of long term relationships, and thought knew there may be something wrong with me.
      However, I have come to realize resent that while yes, it is true that most men cannot and/or don’t want to date me, this does not mean that I actually have any desire to ever change improve, adapt compromise, or be “nurturing” (I thought “nurturing” is meant to be a good quality in a human), “gentle” (I thought “gentle” is also meant to be a good quality in a human), or “let him be the man”, for any man. I never want to be the lesser sex woman in any relationship.
      This does not mean that I won’t make sacrifices or compromises for the relationship, but I can’t ever sacrifice my most treasured repulsive personality traits for anyone. I cannot have a boyfriend if it means he will shadow my brilliance arrogance.
      I accept delude myself completely for who I am, and will not change improve just so I can be in a relationship where I am not completely myself. I wish more women like me would also keep up their self respect ego and not become some “little girl” “grown woman” just so that they can find a boyfriend loving relationship and family. I will gladly live alone on my own means. My multi-millionaire and hopefully before I’m 40 – billionaire – means.
      It’s nice to see she found the answer to the meaning of life… Don’t be “nurturing” or “gentle” and die alone in a big house with a tight grip on your money, because you can’t can take it with you!!!
       

      1. 28.2.1
        hunter

        Ms. Jkh,
        Enjoy your monastery…..

      2. 28.2.2
        ac

        Right on JKH

  30. 29
    Ryan H

    What kind of man wants to date a Hillary Clinton? Not me!

    Who wants to date Donald Trumps daughter? I do

    Success is relative are you the corporate kiss ass who climbed the ladder or are you the successful business owner?

    How many 0000′s are in your bank account?

    If you want that entitlement then you will be perceived that way. SHOW THE LIGHTER SIDE OF YOU. If your not going to show that side then your obviously still too focused in a career not a relationship.

    Have you reached the peak of your career and looking for man to come into your life? All these complaints is because these men are in it for short term not the long haul which is what your probably looking for.

    BOTTOM LINE: Don’t search for it because it will be like a numbers game but just go with the flow and the right guy will come. It bothers me that women whine, complain, over analyze about why this guy is that way towards them.

    Have you noticed how many men sold their porsches for a minivan the roles have changed quite a bit

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