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. 601
    Jim

    Wow, I have to first commend all the men and women who have posted their opinions. Everyone has shown great respect and consideration of each others views and comments on the subject matter. 
    Julie in number 29 can call me anytime. She wants to stay true to herself and it makes me feel that she would always be honest with me and I would know where I stand at all times. The problem I have with Evan’s response is that the woman who changes herself isn’t herself. It’s dangerous to be different people at different times and in different social circumstances. Why? Because when we have to monitor ourselves and our behavior, we will start to tire and become resentful. We might in fact confuse ourselves and lose track of who we are. 
    I was with a strong woman and she intimidated me. At one point she told me that I sucked on the phone because I was afraid to say anything that would get corrected. She also wanted to change me and I went along with it but I resented that. I learned from Evan’s article and the thread that she had personality issues and I wasn’t able to keep up. The end result?  We were wrong for each other. I was deeply in love with her and that made it difficult for me. Not her problem. I guess somethings were forgotten after 26 years.
     

  2. 602
    hunter

    @Jim #613,
     
    26 years??..you got a good run for your money…
     

  3. 603
    WhatsGoingOn

    It’s always interesting to come back to this post over time and see what else people have to say.  My views on this topic have evolved from the time I was just dating, to dating seriously, to now married.  I have to give kudos to Evan and the other commentators here on both sides of the debate for allowing me to find my own way in this and find a method that was ultimately successful for me.
     
    Obviously, everyone is different and there is no one-size-fits-all solution.  When you have been hurt, it is easy to lash out at the other gender who has hurt you.  But as Evan says, it’s all about what is effective.  If you are doing one thing, and you are not getting results, it is worth trying something else, what do you have to lose?  For me, as a smart strong, successful alpha female who married a smart, strong successful alpha male (the nice guy with edge, NOT the arrogant jerk, ok?), the turning point was realizing that I had to have a lot more compassion for men and their hidden vulnerabilities. 
     
    Men have been socialized as little boys that they have to be strong, tough, leaders, make decisions, not make mistakes, fearless, protectors, not cry, not be sissies, etc, regardless of whether their inner makeup makes them capable of all that.  But they are human and inevitably they will fail, and one of the worst possible things that could happen is they fail or are not good enough in the eyes of a woman whom they love or are trying to court.  She criticizes him (in a sometimes well-meaning effort to improve him), bashes him over the head with it (why can’t you just be a good leader), shames him in front of his friends (so-and-so makes more than you and still has time for his wife), or just plain won’t give him the benefit of the doubt (you did that on purpose, you don’t care enough about me).  Men have a lot harder time dealing with this kind of shaming than you would realize or they would admit to.  So they try to play “The Game.”  They try to find some formula that doesn’t expose them to hurt so much.  I hear so much from my male friends the bewildered, “I have no idea what a woman wants anymore.  Everything I do seems to be wrong.”  That’s really very sad that it has come to this!
     
    A truly smart woman will realize that she needs to give more mulligans (give him the benefit of the doubt), stop criticizing so much (she thinks she’s being opinionated but how does it come off to him?), and be tolerant that sometimes he really does have a hard time making decisions or makes the wrong decision.  When he comes to you and exposes his vulnerabilities, you shelter him, you protect him, you give him a soft place to land.  Being more compassionate towards men does not take away from your strength.  It adds more depth.  I think women today are too focused with the challenges of work and family on how hard it is to be a woman.  They forget how hard it is to be a man.  Focusing on your empowerment alone is fine in the workplace but it doesn’t necessarily get you a better dating life.  A good negotiator is someone who sees the other person’s needs and is able to negotiate a win-win situation.

  4. 604
    Reena

    @Tom#4:
    I am not sure if my comment would make much sense here as our culture is way to different (India- although now they are aping west blindly and has reached up to accept living relations). However, being a woman i can feel inside what i need from my man and how does it feel to be a woman. For me, no matter where i reach (echelon in corporate); i would still need to touched tenderly, fondled with warmth, played with hair and being made to feel important. That is my basic instinct; does not matter where i reach in my professional life. I have the instinct to nurture, care and stand by my kids and husband, cook for them, make sure they are well cared for…My professional success has not correlation with my personal relationship. However, if i am not getting my basic need met (being no. 1 for my husband, being important for him), i may run out of my love stored inside my heart and would feel dried up. Its always mutual (may be the way to show it is different for men and women).

  5. 605
    Reena

    @Cat5 #611
    I am amazed with how human mind has evolved so much somewhere on this earth- Seriously, sighting out meaning of every passing thoughts and emotions are so difficult for many people (specially in India- here wife and husband fight and if you ask them what is the issue of fight, they will be like speechless not even knowing what exactly bothered them about their partners- in many cases its obvious like reacting on something which may be a tangible error but most of the time no clue as to how deep the resentment is sitting and what they are angry about). Its great for me to know that some human brain can decipher these emotional upheavals and sight such wonderful e.g. I would love to hear the counter argument your hubby can make on both your e.g. to know if it is just an emotional outrage to which is negative or there is a fact in this. But kudos to understand it in the first place. I have seen my mom and dad fighting till my dad passed away…but they could never figure out what is it that making them fight all the time, even when my dad corrected many of his behavioral aspect. Now i am witnessing fight between my sis and her hubby…i intervened to resolve it, to understand it and somewhere they are little clear about the agenda (so still there is a hope). Well, sometimes i feel so unsure about relations (specially man-woman) that i just do not want to get into it…I see that the same traits which attract a man towards me (may b my style, intelligence, independence, attitude, girlie behavior) later on start creating issues between us. He might not like me to have opinion about everything which is happening in the world, he wont let me be sensitive about matters which may matter to me (may be not to him), he wont be very happy if sometimes i want to flaunt my sexy look in a night club (it may make him feel i am trying to get attention while my simple reason could be to look great and dance till the dawn breaks)…Its so complicated that sometimes i feel trapped in the same loops which brought us together…I am yet to see a man who transcends these behaviors. Please correct me if i am being critic or need to correct my behaviors (however i have clearly outlined my intentions of behaviors).

  6. 606
    Karl R

    Cat5 said: (#611)
    “I kind of got off on a rant about it…not at him (in this case my ex-boyfriend), but at the t.v.  He was like why do you have to be so passionate about everything?  [...]  It seems controlling that he wants to decide when I’m passionate and when I’m not, and about what.”
     
    He wasn’t trying to control what you were passionate about. He was trying to find a polite way to tell you to shut up, because he was tired of hearing you rant at the TV. (Or rant at him about the show on TV.)
     
    Obviously, he didn’t find a good enough way to express that, since you twisted his comment into him being a control freak.
     
    Cat5 said: (#611)
    “As you will note, neither example has anything to do with my being a difficult, busy, critical, selfish bitch”
     
    In your first example, you were ranting at the TV. Are you saying that your rant contained no criticisms?
     
    Sure, listening to you criticize the talking head on TV wouldn’t be as unpleasant as listening to you criticize him. But that’s like saying a nosebleed isn’t as unpleasant as a migraine. It’s not a ringing endorsement of nosebleeds.
     
    Cat5 said: (#611)
    “or wanting to get my way and win when making a joint decision in a a relationship.”
     
    In your second example, you said you had a serious decision to make. Was it a joint decision? When you expressed your perspective, did your perspective happen to support him getting his way? You don’t provide enough detail for me to tell.
     
    Would you like to try again with two more examples? I can give you a mulligan on these two.

  7. 607
    josavant

    618 Karl, to try to explain Cat5′s side on one of these, I’ll share something about women which you may not know. It’s not supposed to excuse women. It’s something I’ve done myself and something I’ve also seen other women do that we think is OK, but evidently isn’t OK with men. (Cat5, if I get this all wrong where you’re concerned, sorry.)
     
    Women don’t think it’s a criticism against you or against their men if they are criticizing something or someone else. Sometimes we need to share our opinions on things, and those opinions can be critical of something or someone else. That is why we find it strange when men don’t like it, or act as though it is something against them, which it is not. I’m guilty of that. I have criticized to men in the past about something else, and then been surprised when they take it negatively, almost personally, when it’s about me and my experiences and nothing to do with them.
     
    We can do something about that, complain and criticize less. But it might also be helpful to men to understand this about women. Our complaints about other things and people are not about you or about men as a whole.
     
    And I don’t think the boyfriend sounded like a control freak either- if anything, he was a little passive.

  8. 608
    Cat5

    @ Reena #617 – thanks for understanding what I was trying to say.  :)
     
    @ Karl R # 618 – Karl R. why must you rachet up your rhetoric when you reply?  I never said he was, “a control freak.”  I said, “It seems controlling.”  Please take it down a notch or two will you. 
     
    Josavant @ #619 actually hit the nail on the head.  He is passive-agressive — big time.  I factored that into a lot of situations with him, but for some reason, never applied it to this situation.  Thanks.  :)  (Karl R. – if I’m not mistaken, being passive-agressive is a controlling behavior.)
     
    About the second scenario Karl R. you don’t get it — there was no “get his way” or “get my way” in this situation.  It was a decision that had to be made and we were basically choosing between the lesser of evils.  Basically, neither of us were happy with any of our options.  I just happened to be the one who researched those options, and remembered more details that played into each option.  It could be that he was just overwhelmed by the situation itself, and by the sheer amount of information I had obtained and how quickly I was able to analyze and apply that information to our specific situation.
     
    I find it telling that you seem to look at decision-making in a marriage as “winning” or one of you “getting your way.”  FWIW – I found in during 15-years of marriage…that most things were just decisions that had to be made — it was never a question of winning/losing or getting one’s way.  That type of attitude is best saved for competitions such as sports, games, etc., but has no place in a marriage.

  9. 609
    Sparkling Emerald

    Karl said “He wasn’t trying to control what you were passionate about. He was trying to find a polite way to tell you to shut up, because he was tired of hearing you rant at the TV. (Or rant at him about the show on TV.)”
    She was having an emotional response to a piece about CHILD ABUSE, something that is GUT WRENCHING to many people.(I couldn’t help but notice that you left out WHAT she was ranting about)  Of course, men do not like to see THESE types of emotions being expressed by their women.  Apparently, the only LEGITIMATE rants about what’s on TV, are male rants on SuperBowl Sunday when their team is losing or they don’t like a call that was made.  (perfectly OK with me, I’m more than willing to let guys be guys when it comes to sports) But for a woman to have an emotional response to a heart wrenching story on the news – -  that is something men feel requires a “Shut-Up” (perhaps a “polite” shut-up, perhaps not.   ) THIS is the reason I stated on another thread, that I will never ASK a man for emotional support, I’ll see what he VOLUNARILY gives me, and if it’s acceptable to me, I’ll continue on.  I’ll never ask for emotional support beyond killing bugs, hold me tight during a really scary part of a movie,  or please be my “plus one” to an event.  (and only after a relationship has been well established)   Not saying this to be snooty, but men just aren’t built for a whole lot in the sympathy/empathy hand holding department. If it can’t be fixed with a hammer, they don’t want to hear it.  A purely emotional response to a story about child abuse, doesn’t help abused children, so a man’s reaction to seeing a woman get mad or sad over such news will be an angry or polite “shut up” or an angry, “Well then, why don’t you DO SOMETHING about it instead of whining (or ranting or crying etc )”.  I get it, that’s just how men ARE.

    The other day, there was story in the paper about a man who left his 3 month old baby in the car in 100+ degree weather, “lost track of time”, and the baby died.  The women in the office were hissing about “WHAT KIND OF PARENT LEAVES A BABY IN THE CAR FOR ANY LENGTH OF TIME, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT’S OVER 100 DEGREES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
    The men in the office were fairly non-chalant and if they did comment, it was something along the lines of “Oh, yeah, that guy who lost track of time and left his baby in the car” in the same tone of voice one might report about a man who left M&M’s in the car and they melted. I’m sure the men think we we’re just a bunch of crazy females who need to SHUT UP, ‘cuz all of our ranting didn’t bring the baby back to life.  Men just don’t understand, or their brains are wired differently or something, and I DO GET THAT.
    That is why in an earlier post, I said that in my next relationship I will NOT be asking for emotional support from a man.  I have TONS of girlfriends for that, and they do a great job of non-judgemental listening, not trying to “fix” anything, but of just UNDERSTANDING.  Something I would NEVER ask for nor expect from a man ever again.
    Thank you Karl, I believe you contributed to my posts about why I turn to women for emotional support, but rarely to a man.  I do appreciate your contribution in that thread, but I REALLY love this EXAMPLE you gave, that ILLUSTRATED why I don’t consider a boyfriend/husband to be a good  “go to ” person for purely emotional support.  You made my point for me, and made it FAR BETTER than I have been able to explain.

  10. 610
    Peter 61

    In the glory days of Maoism being “criticized” was the highest form of punishment, even higher than being reducated.

  11. 612
    Rose

    Cat post 607.
    That feels an interesting scenario re where a couple will live and how it is decided.
    This is the way I see it. If it has got to the point where we are going to be life partners/married etc. I am only going to choice a life partner for my leader who has prooven to me with his actions that he is capable of being a great leader before I accept and follow. And those small descions, where we eat, what we watch on tv, where we go on holiday etc, where we go out for fun will all let me know if he is capable.
    It will be shown by does he listen to my feelings wants and desires and all these little things, take them into consideration and proove with his actions that he wants to lead me where I want to go. Showing me he understands what I like want and makes me happy. Or does he dismiss what i say, what I want and how I feel about all these little things wanting to dictate and decide everything expecting me just to fit in and do everything he wants.
    If a man dictates and acts controlling on all the little stuff, he will dictate and act controlling on the big stuff too.
    So to me it feels best to take it slow and see if a man is able and wants to be a leader or if he is only capable and wants to be a contolling dictator and then choose the best man for the job and only choose a great leader.
    Also emotional support, if a life partner is not able to give emotional support to their partner they are going to be in a relationship with someone who is emotionally unavailable to them with no real emotional intimacy. This is what healthy adult happy fullfilling marraiges that thrive and where deep love grows deeper and deeeper are all about. If a couple doesn’t have that they are then either left being in a relationship where they are like room mates, or worse a dysfuctional one based on co/dependency and power and control rather that love.
    What do you think?
     
     

  12. 613
    Rose

    Karl R, the boyfriend in question was trying to covertly control Cat in a passive/aggressive way. Telling someone to shut up in agressive. Trying to get someone to shut up in a nice way is passive/agressive.
    If he didn’t want to hear her rant and rave and it felt nausiating. nausiating or tiring, or whatever uncomfortable emoion he was feeling then the authentic and emotionally matue thing to do would be to express his real emotion in the moment and then take care of his own emotions by going to take care of his own discomfort. Leave the room, make a cup of tea. Go and read the paper or anthing else that made him feel better and tak care of his emotions around it.
    Cat would either then decide she wants to shut up all by herself or carry on ranting and raving by herself. Or of he wanted to engage he would have commented on the abuse rather than Cats ranting and raving/passion.
     
     

  13. 614
    josavant

    620 Cat5, you’re welcome. I agree, decision-making in any long-term relationship or marriage shouldn’t be about who wins and who loses. But to be fair, in 610 Karl R made the same point, that no one wins when there is a disagreement in a marriage. Unless they can’t stand each other or are indifferent to each other, like the couple in the other story about the salsa dancing and flirting. Then it does become about who wins and who loses, but we all agree they shouldn’t be together anyway.
     
    Anyway. I keep wondering about the point of the original essay, and think it is a good one, but misnamed in the title. Neither men nor women want someone at home who challenges them all the time. So I get that men don’t want challenging women at home, but not only smart, strong, successful women do that. Dumb women can challenge. So can dumb men. So can smart men. The bottom line is that we should go easy on our partners.

  14. 615
    Peter 61

    @Henriette 623.  Studies were needed?  Straight men want women to protect not ersatz men. 

  15. 616
    Sparkling Emerald

    Henriette #623
    Well those articles are very depressing.  I am already in a low income, low level job, but now I have to fail, or at least not be very successful socially either ? I would like to think that this article isn’t true, but looking back on my relationships, the ONLY people who have ever congratulated me on any social or professional success have been friends or family members, never an SO.  In fact, when I got cast in my first community theater play, my soon-2-B-X hubby, not only offered NO congratulations, showed NO SIGN of being happy for me,  he was downright hostile. Seriously, after taking acting classes, and going out on a few auditions, I got a seven line cameo role, (which I was thrilled to get BTW) and THAT teeny tiny bit of success made his self esteem plummet ?!!!! He is not a fellow actor, this in NO WAY competes with anything he does.  If his fragile male ego can’t be happy for me, couldn’t he at least NOT BE hostile ?  I think that is when “marriage with a lump in my throat” began.
    ++++++++++++++++
    Same thing when I got promotions at work.  Except for the first part of our marriage, he has always made more money than me.  So I never got promoted “above him”.  In fact, I have been promoted 3 times at my current job, and he still makes more than me.  He never said a thing like “good job” or “way to go” when I got promotions, good performance evaluations, got my professional designation, etc.  I must admit, that stung a bit. What does that tell you about my so called career ?  3 promotions, and I still made less than my hubby, and he’s no high powered CEO, or anything like that.  So even with my low income, clerical assistant, no-big-deal job, any tiny success or recognition is something I can’t share with any future SO, because their fragile little male egos can’t take it ???!!!  One of the male posters here, lectured us ladies about “peacocking” our accomplishments.  Ahem, I think by “peacocking” he meant, “Don’t EVER mention any success at all, weather it is a social success or professional”  In fact, bury those little accomplishments, hide them from your SO, because if you win a blue ribbon at a 4-H chili cook-off, OMG, his self esteem will go straight down the drain.
    I always gave the X hugs, high fives, enthusiastic support for all of his success.  In fact, his success made me feel BETTER about myself.  I don’t know, perhaps happiness by association ?  Now this study says that ANY success a woman might achieve will be resented by her man ?  Maybe I don’t want one after all, if I’m going to have NEVER SHINE, and actively hide any success from my man, no matter how small, even if it in no way competes with him.
    ++++++++++++++++++
     

  16. 617
    Henriette

    @ Sparkling Emerald628.  I know.  I totally agree with you; they ARE depressing.  And I realise that I keep coming on this blog, sharing stories that are kind of bummers for bright, accomplished, nice women like you, me and many others here.   It might SEEM as though my goal in voicing these things is to discourage the women here but honestly, it’s not.  
     
    Sometimes the disappointments I face in the dating world can feel terribly personal and hurtful.  I actually find that stories that show me the Bigger Picture help me understand that the large social trends might be partly responsible for what happens.  This is not to say that I can’t “up my game” or improve myself in a myriad ways: sometimes these stories give me ideas on how I can do so.  But as I look around here (the EMK blog) and IRL at all the attractive, educated, interesting single women I know, it gives me perspective to consider things in ways I hadn’t, before… food for thought and comprehending it’s not all necessarily all “our fault.”

  17. 618
    hunter

    @Sparkling emerald#628
     
    …Any man(S.O.) that treats you in that manner, makes those comments/doesn’t make positive comments, wants out of the relationship, I would say……..

  18. 619
    Aisling

    @ Sparkling Emerald #628:  I agree.  I am extremely independent, self-sufficient, etc.  But I also recognize what others, be they men or women, can do well that I cannot.  I believe that in a civilized society, every one of us is dependent upon the skills and labors of others. I make six figures in a profession that is very gratifying.  I am also well-read, and  I am very cognizant of what is going on in the world. Many men have told me that they admire me, etc.  Yet, when I look at their wives/SOs, they are the *polar* opposite of me, including both of my sisters. In everyday life, I find that Evan is quite right that men do not really concern themselves with the accomplishments of women.  However, looking at people in the public eye, i.e., actors, politicians, CEOs, I note that most of these couples are very evenly yoked. I have come to the conclusion it is just not in the cards for me to be with someone that I love and respect, as I am neither la crème de la crème of society, nor am I like my cousin that barely graduated high school, and works at Subway, yet has a totally devoted husband who is not bad looking and has a good job.  And, oh, he saw her through breast cancer, alcoholism, and anorexia bulimia, extraction of all of her teeth, and she is not what most people consider remotely attractive.

  19. 620
    josavant

    Henriette, Sparking Emerald, and Aisling, I agree, it is discouraging, but I like to try to look at it a different way. The story that Henriette shared made a difference between implicit and explicit self-esteem in men. I don’t know exactly what that means, but the score went down for men’s implicit self-esteem when they heard that their women partners scored in the top 12% for something, but the explicit score didn’t change. Maybe the implicit self-esteem doesn’t matter for much? Maybe all it shows is that deep inside, men feel competition with their partners, but they’ve been socialized enough that they suppress those feelings. Anyway, the study doesn’t take it to the next step, which is to ask what this means in terms of choosing romantic partners. Who knows – maybe men LIKE competing a little with their partners, so it’s better to choose a woman who scores in the top 12% of something. Maybe it raises their own level. Also, the study didn’t show how long those implicit feelings of low self-esteem lasted. Maybe it only lasted long enough for the man to want to make a positive change in his life. That can only be good, right?
     
    Trying to think how I would react if I heard my partner scored in the top 12% of something… I think I would be happy and proud for a while, and then go back to normal and forget about it.
     

  20. 621
    Sparkling Emerald

    hunter 630
    Well DUH ! He left me after 23 years of marriage.  Tell me something I don’t know.
    +++++++++++++
    Henriette – I know you didn’t post the story to discourage anyone, but it IS discouraging.  I honestly think I might have to take a break from this blog. And dating advice forums in general. The message seems to be “Accept him EXACTLY as he is (just no cheating, beating, or uncommittedness), but TWIST yourself into some other worldly model of perfection, NEVER criticize him,(while allowing him to freely criticize you)  but expect a polite “shut up” if you slip up and show your “unacceptable” emotions.  (which are almost all of them)
    Oh yes, and DON’T come to this board looking for HOPE, because apparently women don’t deserve any HOPE, they need to face the reality that if you are old and past your child bearing years, you are useless to men, and you should accept any crumbs of affection from anyone, even if you aren’t attracted to them.   And, followed up by a TOTALLY false accusation that I am holding out for millionaire, super star, drop dead gorgeous athlete, when I have NEVER said anything remotely like that.  All I ever have said was that I wanted some one who treated me well, that I am reasonably attracted to. (But apparently an old, barren, broad like me doesn’t EVEN deserve THAT)
    EMK is pretty reasonable with his advice and observations, but honestly, some of the men who come to this board “to help us” are really just clobbering us with “It’s ALL your fault, it’s ALWAYS the woman’s fault”   We’re either to picky, to “unattractive” (as if anyone can tell what we look like on this blog) or to big for our britches. (‘cuz don’t ya know, men want to wear the britches in the relationship, and if you go around “peacocking” your accomplishments, by even  mentioning them, then you deserve to die alone)

    Try to be positive and hopeful and say, I just haven’t found my match, and some douche will come along and LAUGH at that.
    Every human fault or personality quirk is something that MUST be eradicated, and any virtues like being hard working, having good credit, any social success must be squashed too, so to avoid smashing some fragile male ego.
    I have already decided that I won’t let my next relationship partner see my sad emotions (and will try to do damage control if I slip up)  Now, I’m not supposed to share even my happy emotions , unless I’m having “The Big O” with him.  What does that leave to share with my man, besides SEX ??????????????
    Perhaps when my divorce is final, I’ll get a dog.  They love you unconditionally, don’t care if you gain 2 pounds, and their self esteem won’t circle the drain if you win $5 at Bingo.

  21. 622
    hunter

    Sparkling Emerald#633
    you stuck around for 23 years?….you are a strong woman…

  22. 623
    Sparkling Emerald

    Hunter #634 “you stuck around for 23 years?….you are a strong woman…

        Well thanks, but I kinda think if I had REALLY been strong, I would have left him at about the 15 year mark. I feel weak & foolish for allowing what I allowed & I wonder how much damage I did to my son & if he thinks it’s acceptable to treat a wife like an insignificant other.    Well the first 10-12 years were GREAT !  I foolishly married him less than a year after I met him, but it did make for a very wonderful honeymoon period of the marriage.  Then we had our son, we were both head-over-heels in love with him, and he really was a very cute EASY baby. After about 10-12 years, our marriage gradually deteriorated.  It took me a long while to realize my marriage was in REAL trouble.  We went through peaks and valleys, and I just chalked it up to the ups and downs of life. We experienced some life hardships (some illnesses, rebellious teen, etc)  and they took their toll on us.  There were times when I felt like calling it quits but I took a vow & I took it seriously.   It’s like the analogy of putting a frog in boiling water, he’ll jump out, put a frog in cold water, and gradually turn up the heat, he’ll boil to death.  Believe me, if he had been that mean to me from the beginning I NEVER would have married him.  Anyway, after I got over being FURIOUS when he finally admitted that he had fallen out of love with me years ago, I was actually relieved.  I thought that I was crazy and imagining things or being “overly sensitive” for the prior ten or so years.  I’m over the upcoming divorce, but I do wonder if I’ll ever get over the marriage (the last half of it)

  23. 624
    Henriette

    @Peter 61 622:  How does a woman scoring high on a test make her an “ersatz man?”

  24. 625
    josavant

    633 Sparkling Emerald, if you really think this is what happens in a relationship between men and women, then isn’t the simple solution not to be in a relationship? If you really believe you have to change so much about yourself and give up so much, then isn’t the answer that it isn’t worth it?  No matter what, you have a choice. You can either choose to be the way you think you’ll attract men, or you can choose to be single. Personally I don’t think all men want those things, but everyone’s experience is different.
     
    Actually the power is in your hands, it’s the power to choose. No one will twist your arm saying you have to make all these changes to have a man. You decide that yourself.

  25. 626
    starthrower68

    I would be willing to be that Sparkling Emerald is venting and is well aware that men probably don’t want *everything* that she mentions.  We have to bear in mind that EMK must appeal to a broad readership, so a great deal of generalizing must occur in order to reach a wide range of people, so it can seem at times that reality in dating is just as Sparkling Emerald says.  Of course everyone’s experience is different.  I know for me, I have been divorced for 10 years and I still don’t know what I want.  I get lonely or bored and think I want to find someone, then I get discouraged and have to go off the grid again.  I can never be all the things that someone wants.  I can do my best to be a meek, gracious, gentle, docile, attractive woman, but as I’ve said before, at the end of the day I am who I am. I have to be happy with me.  If love comes, that’s great.  But there are no guarantees it will so I must learn to be at peace and content with growing old without a significant other.  And if I decided to seek a romantic relationship, I’m not doing so out of need but because it’s what I really want.  Where I’m at today is, I want to be on my own.  That might change but I don’t know when.  

  26. 627
    Sparkling Emerald

    josavant – Yes, I am seriously considering bowing out of relationships.  I am really sick of constantly hearing that it is woman who must change because men won’t.  I am sick of the men who come to this blog, not to learn about women, but to gloat, that they have the upper hand, that we hate being single more than they do, so we better shut-up and put out if we want to have any chance of being in a relationship.  I am beginning to wonder WHY I would want to be in a relationship, if I’m going to have to walk on egg-shells and try to be perfect, for some arrogant guy who isn’t interested in connecting heart to heart, but only in having the relationship “upper hand” and winning “the game” at my expense. 
    My room mate has a dog, and that dog acts happier to see me when I come home than any man ever did (past the “honeymoon” stage) And I don’t do a THING for that dog except pet him and talk baby talk to him.  My room mate does all the feeding, bathing and training for that little guy, and that little puppers still loves to see me come home. 
    So yes, if I can’t share my sad emotions that’s fine because I have more happy ones, but since I have to guard those too, lest a man’s widdle biddy feelings get hurt, then yes, I think I’ll just say my last relationship was that 2nd failed marriage of mine. The “to don’t list” for finding love is just getting to long for me.  And it seems to me new things are being added every day.
    I have my job, and low level as it is, I get way more compliments and appreciation from my co-workers in a week, then I did from the x in the past 10 years.  And I have my girl tribe who I have more fun with and who make me feel better & happier than the x has done in the past 10 years.  And I have my hobbies to keep me happy & busy.  So, as much as I would have liked to have thought that I had at least one last relationship in me, truth is, I HIGHLY DOUBT IT ! 

  27. 628
    Joe

    Sparkling Emerald, Evan isn’t saying that women must change.  He’s saying that in order to get different results, you should change [your perspective and behavior].  Simply expecting men to change isn’t an effective strategy.  Understanding how men think, and how to use that to your advantage is a more effective strategy.

  28. 629
    Julia

    @Sparkling Emerald
    I am sick of the men who come to this blog, not to learn about women, but to gloat, that they have the upper hand, that we hate being single more than they do, so we better shut-up and put out if we want to have any chance of being in a relationship.
     
    Well, if it makes you feel any better I can tell you these men speak for themselves and not every man out there. I am lucky enough to have lots of men in my life and very few of them share the attitudes of many of the men who show up here. I agree that there is a level of “all women are the problem” its a very black and white way to look at the world. Sometimes I’m annoyed by some of the guys on here then I think to myself “I don’t want a man who behaves or thinks this way so its no skin off my back if they don’t want a woman like me.” There is a lid to every pot and I think there are some pretty ill fitting lids (male and female) who show up here.

  29. 630
    J

    See Starthrower- sparking emerald wasn’t just venting, she means it!
    For what it’s worth, I think there is danger in taking every comment from every man in the blogosphere to heart. Folks are way more likely to take to the internet to complain/talk about bad relationships than they are to wax poetic about happy ones. Always consider your source.

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