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

1K Shares

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.

When 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”.

Join our conversation (1,306 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.

Comments:

  1. 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.  

      1. 21.1.1
        Jeff

        Want to know what I got out of your post .. don’t get married! I am man in his late 20s who is totally confident and happy to life my life childfree so marriage is out of the question. No need to go through that drudgery. Marriage turns people into new creatures I have no desire to become.  

      2. 21.1.2
        Joy

        My husband complained to me that I didn’t ‘need’ him. And no I didn’t – he made sure he would never be there when needed so I naturally took care of everything myself. After I while I just stop even asking for his help or input – I just got yelled at anyway, so I went my own way.   I was also puzzled because I asked ‘Doesn’t that make this better ,that means I am with you because I want to be, not because I need you?”.   He wanted me to need him because when I didn’t he didn’t have any power over me and therefore he couldn’t disregard me – he had to step up because I was not trapped with him. Men are far more secure when you have no back up plans. The minute they think they have power, they use it. My mother did the same thing to me but has learned over the years that she should try to engage with me on an equal footing and not as someone who needs to wield power and our relationship is now the best it’s ever been. My ex husband could not cope with me not being trapped – he acted out terribly to try and get responses. I left. I would have stayed had he treated me the way I deserved but he just didn’t want to treat a woman as an equal.

    2. 21.2
      Alexis

      You hit the nail on the head. My ex-fiancé didn’t like that I had opinions of my own. We would be discussing simple topics like politics or movies. I would say how I felt about a movie or political topic and if I didn’t agree with him then I was being argumentative. It was stressful because I never raised my voice or anything I only said what I thought about the movie or topic. Eventually I stopped talking. I felt like he misinterpreted anything that was opposite of his thoughts. When I agreed with him, he was happy. Eventually I stopped wanting to sharing anything with him because I felt like he didn’t like me for me. I called off the engagement because I felt like the relationship needed to revolve around him and his needs and opinions in order for it to last. I felt like I was meant to be invisible and never speak back like a child. I was there to sleep with him and agree with him. Once we broke up he got into another serious relationship with a woman who was my complete opposite. I had a masters degree and she only had a high school diploma. I worked at a big law firm while she was a sales associate at a mall. He told me years later that he liked her but it was boring because he could never talk to her about anything. He said that all she did was agree with him and after awhile it drove him crazy. He said he wished that she was as smart and ambitious as I was because she didn’t understand his career and lifestyle and wanted him to be home all of the time. He ended up marrying that girl and to this day, he still complains about her and is filing for a divorce. I will never understand the rationale of men like this. Their egos are so delicate and fragile that they don’t even realize that spending the rest of your life with someone you think is safe will also be boring and dull in the long run.  

      1. 21.2.1
        Tiffany

        That’s so funny you mentioned this because I recently spoke with my ex regarding the very same thing.  He’s now with someone who is the complete opposite of me. She’s needy, dependent, not well-spoken, passive. He said he was starved for an intelligent conversation, and that what attracted him to me initially was the fact that I was intelligent and feisty. “Isn’t it ironic you two never fight, when you and I used to fight all the time?” I told him. “There’s nothing for us to fight about,” he said. “Her expectations are very low. Yours were much higher.”

        And there you have it in a nutshell.

      2. 21.2.2
        Watergirl

        There is nothing confusing about this. The goal is to find someone who has the same beliefs as you, not to find someone with no beliefs at all.

        The man you wrote about never found a woman with his beliefs and had to settle for one with no beliefs. However, being with somebody who’s beliefs in things are the opposite of your own is horrible, and so it was right that you both went your separate ways.

        You too need to find someone that shares your same beliefs about films and such. Nobody should get married if they don’t hold the same beliefs. Two people who hold extremely passionate identical beliefs in things have great conversations, filled with support and validation. Two people that hold opposing beliefs will drive each other into the grave.

  2. 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.

    1. 22.1
      TooSmart

      Breaking news: in a relationship women also want to be supported emotionally and not challenged. We also want to wind down when we come home from a busy day at work.  
      Seems to me the key to a happy relationship is one where there is mutual emotional support and nurturing.   
      I think that the problem is that men still expect to be pampered by a mother figure at home. But a partner is not your mother because let’s be serious: you won’t feel any sexual attraction to your mother.
      The solution: men need to accept that if they want an interesting sexy life with an independent, dynamic woman they will not be pampered as often as the little boy inside them would like to be. That does not mean that they won’t have a women who is kind, caring and affectionate. She will only also have needs of her own and expect him to give her what she needs on a regular basis.  
      I don’t see why that could not work out.   

      1. 22.1.1
        hunter

        TooSmart,

        ..”she  will also have needs of her own”….most men can’t read minds, have you tried making men aware of your needs..??..”all” women are different….    

        1. TooSmart

          Your reply does not really have anything to do with what I wrote. How men know what women need is food for another topic. I am talking about the general principle: in a relationship both partners have needs, not just the man. If both partners work, they both will feel the need to relax when they come home. The need of the man to unwind is not more important than the the need of the woman to unwind. Men are stressed out from working in a competitive environment but women might be even more stressed out because they are confronted at work with some men who are envious of their professional success.  
          When I come home from work I want to relax and that is not possible if I find a man there who wants to take out his work stress on me. And I can perfectly understand that he does not want me to take out my work stress on him. Not that there is a big risk: the moment I close the door of my office I have forgotten about work.  
          I wonder if men mean by a “supportive woman” a woman who accepts that she gets snapped at because Mister had a bad day at work. I have encountered that situation and it killed the relationship. If my partner gets nasty with me, I show him the door. I’m noone’s therapist.  
            

      2. 22.1.2
        Christy

        I agree with you entirely and yes…it should work out perfectly if you are dealing with a mature male except you are talking about selfish, immature individuals who feel it’s all about them and what they want. Your wants and needs matter little to none…especially if it’s a anything like a mutual exchange. It’s a simple case of selfishness dressed as masculinity.

        1. John

          Christy,

          Every woman’s post here has started (predictably) with, “I am a smart, strong, independent woman.”   If that is all you have to say to men, we’ve heard it before.   Men know that  truly smart, strong, independent adults don’t have to go on and on about how “smart, strong and independent” they are.  

          When you meet a man in a social setting, are the first words out of his mouth, “I’m a smart, strong, independent man?”   If they were, what would you think of that person?   Guys would think, “What is wrong with this flake?”

          All  the women posting here  have posted about is what  is wrong with men and how they want men to change.   None of the  men have posted about what is wrong with women and how they want them to change.   I’m thinking you ladies  finger’s  are pointing back at you.  

          Men get buried every minute of every day with what women want.   Frankly, we don’t give a damn – you’re certainly not concerned with what we want.   

          If only women could grow up long enough to take a long hard look at their selfishness.    

      3. 22.1.3
        Watergirl

        Well, if both of you need comfort when you get home then neither can provide it. Sounds like a sad marriage to me. Have you considered resigning from work? This will remove your need for that kind of comfort and therefore free you up to provide comfort for your husband. If he resigns, you will end up resenting him as a deadbeat and divorcing him so it is best if you are the one to resign.

        In a partnership, everyone needs to do a part. Sounds like both of you are doing the masculine “breadwinner” part and nobody is doing the feminine support role. By your comment it seems to be causing you a lot of rage.

        1. Sharkathotep

          Please don’t impose your own kinks down to everyone’s throat.

  3. 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

      1. 23.1.1
        hunter

        jeff,

        ……”if you want to be an alpha woman, then you need to date  beta men,”….a  she can keep  both if she wants to…alpha and beta…whatever she does with her life is no ones business….    

      2. 23.1.2
        Fran

        But interestingly highly successful men very often marry women who are successful and accomplished in their own right.

        I live in DC, a city of workaholic career types. Generally men from old money families marry women from old money  families, doctors marry other  doctors and professionals and not their secretaries, college educated men marry college educated women. Perhaps it’s different elsewhere but this is what I see.

        I’d be interested to hear from the more traditional leaning men what part of the country they live in, assuming they are American.

        1. hunter

          ..movie stars marry other movie stars, they do stay in their own little circles….

           

      3. 23.1.3
        tmtic868

        Clearly, YOU CAN HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT TOO … you just have to be a man to do it. The fact that you would even admit that gross double standard outn your mouth IS the ACTUAL PROBLEM with men!

    2. 23.2
      Christy

      Lol…basically based on this article and narrow minded selfish men or desperate women.

      I know bc Ive been there all those definitions in order to try and “accommodate” things all in one single relationship …i mean dictatorship and the lessons I learned was this:

      1. A man who truly loves you and deserves you would not want you to be any less than who you actually are.

      2. A man who is confident in who he is as a man does not feel threatened by another person’s opinions or ideas the a woman or a man.

      3. A man who truly respects you will value your opinions and your ideas even if he doesn’t agree with them.

      4. A mature man will grow with you and will not see himself as the end all be all.

      5. Value who you are at all costs because when everything is said and done what you will have lost if you don’t will be much greater then what you think you’ve lost in in the guy who’s not even close to being worth it.

    3. 23.3
      Watergirl

      Not sure if you are intentionally missing the point.

      Choose to marry a man who has the same beliefs as you. Or as you put it “opinions”. Find a man who shares your opinions on everything and marry him. That is how you are supposed to do it. Why do you think it is the woman that choose from many suitors? It isn’t the man that is making the choice between many women. It is the woman that gets to choose. So what you do is you choose the man who has your same beliefs (ie “opinions”). Then you submit to him.

      Since he already has the same beliefs as you, submitting to him is simple. Following his lead puts you right where you want to go. You can fully support his efforts with every fiber of your being because he is doing what you would do.

      Or is your problem that you are simply contrary for the sake of being contrary? If a man has an idea you must do the opposite? Ask yourself if you truly have beliefs (ie opinions) set in your heart or if you are just being argumentative. If you have these opinions, write them down so that you can ask your suitors if they have the same ones and when you find the one that does, marry him and submit to him!

      1. 23.3.1
        tmitc868

        Why is she submitting again? If they already agree on everything, what is the need for a lead?

  4. 24
    Camilla

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

        1. Watergirl

          I think this is something a lot of women on this thread are missing, that submitting to somebody (ie giving up your power) is an act of strength, not an act of weakness.

          It takes strength to give up your power to another. It also requires absolute trust in the person you submit to. The real problem of most of the women posting here is that they simply do not and cannot bring themselves to trust a man. They do not respect men at all. These “strong” woman are in reality weak.

        2. Not Jerry

          Great post, Watergirl.

          From another blog.

          A man creates a relationship, if he doesn’t, there’s not going to be a relationship.

          A MAN LEADS A RELATIONSHIPIs it even possible for a woman to lead a relationship?  Sure there are weak men, but a woman can’t create it on her own and she can’t make a man love her and do the right thing for them both.  
          Sure she can encourage, support and be his cheerleader… but in the final outcome… it is a man who creates a relationship for the good or not.
          As a man leads and a woman follows-   that’s the basic nature and natural order and when we go against it it just doesn’t work out as well. Women control a relationship and where it goes- men lead.
          Women don’t have to follow.

    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.

      1. 27.2.1
        Watergirl

        I think this post highlights why men are more suited to career than women. A man has superior logical abilities and so can solve many of the problems at work that cause stress.

        A woman by contrast, isn’t even interested in solving the problems, only in relishing in the chance to constantly talk about drama. Men, however, do not like to talk about drama as a woman does, yet she chooses to talk about it with her husband instead of a girlfriend of hers. This stresses out the man as he is already stressed from work.

        His woman is not supporting and comforting him but is using him as an outlet to enjoy talking about drama. She is using him, plain and simple, with absolutely no respect for his feelings or needs, and she does so totally without shame. The man quickly becomes the “non listening type” this kind of woman hates (as who would put up with being used?), which leads directly into her justification for destroying her family with divorce.

        A solution to all this would have been if the woman did not work and simply used her energy to comfort her husband when he came home from work. If she wants to talk drama, she goes next door during the day to talk to the neighbor’s wife.

        1. tmitc868

          I’m convinced you’re just not a woman. This must be a man typing behind the front of a woman because no woman would promote this type of thinking against other women. Submit! Do not make your own money! Cater to him; he doesn’t cater to you! Men had their time to rule and they abused it. Why dot hey deserve this still?

        2. Joy

          Women can’t think logically?   lol. Of course not – that 60% leading university admissions must be all about emotions and drama 101. Watergirl – you are either the dumbest woman I’ve ever ‘seen’ or you are indeed a man as tmitc purports. The amount of drama I’ve had to listen to out of mens mouths is insane. They gossip just as much as women but they don’t call it gossip – they call it talking but in essence it’s the same shit and usually nastier.

  8. 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

      3. 28.2.3
        Jessica

        Wow. It never dawned on me how insecure men really are until now. All hear from this is “Hey woman, I’m an insecure man who can’t hold my own around most of the men I know and I’ll be damned if I let a woman show me out so let me ridicule you and belittle you for being confident and for setting goals and reaching them. Because I need to date a woman who reminds me of a 16 year old child with no thoughts and no goals in order to feel relevant and important.”  

      4. 28.2.4
        Robert

        ….I’m gonna have to call bs on your post here… There was absolutely no reason to post your “salary”. …Are you thinking that’s going to get you some sausage? PLEASE lady…spare us the brunt of the bs. That was a turnoff… “im a billionaire…”   And you knew there was no way for any of us to find out…so the hell with honesty… By the way, you have no tact…I suggest you work on it.

        1. tmtic868

          She never said she was a billionaire. she said she hoped to be by 40. You’ve just embarrassed yourself.

    2. 28.3
      Bell

      No. You won’t. You’ll live lonely on your means.   Unless you are a hermit, of course.

       

      Holy crap.. You actually think it’s about   being a “… lesser sex in any relationship.”

      The world is changing. Money isn’t enough anymore. Men have learned this. Why haven’t you, Ms. Incredibly Smart, Strong, Successful and Attractive?

      Monumental self-image issues.

      1. 28.3.1
        tmtic868

        The world is changing? Yet men are doing nothing but trying to keep it in the dark ages with their, “women better change because we never will. It’s our nature” talk. And the writer clearly satted she will live alone and successful happily, like many men have in the past. If that is no longer a threat to women, then what will you men have to hold over our heads to submit? I say women, let’s get comfortable supporting each other and being alone. The world is over populated. Stop having these men’s children. They use it against us. If we don’t want families, then we really don’t need them. Then what? We just enjoy our lives.

    3. 28.4
      Noemi

      “…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.”

      Are you equating being nurturing and gentle as being the lesser sex? On the contrary, there is so much strength in being nurturing and gentle. I encourage you to try it. Men love a kind, sweet woman. It melts them like butter. Oh, how my man’s eyes light up when I give him a long hug at the end of the day, and when i tell him he’s my #1.

      1. 28.4.1
        tmitc868

        So question? If being nurturing and gentle is so great and strength, why aren’t men desiring this role? Surely, if it’s so attractive they shouldn’t be complaining of taking on the role while women happily keep some charge over their lives as individuals in a relationship.

    4. 28.5
      Watergirl

      You only want to be the boss in a marriage because you think it is a better job than being the supporter. You think being the supporter and submitting to someone is “lesser”.

      The truth is, being the supporter is the best role ever. You get to concentrate on love while your husband handles the mundane affairs of life.

      I think the real problem for you is that you are unable to love, and so depend on mundane things like money for self worth and fulfillment. I’m rich too, and so I know the secret that haunts you: money can’t love you. That’s why you are here on this site, and that’s why you are so bitter. You can’t love and your wealth can’t help you.

      You really want to be happy? Learn how to love. That is, assuming you don’t have one of those disorders that prevents the ability to love. How do you learn it? Just do the exact opposite of what you are doing now.

  9. 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

    1. 29.1
      Mimi

      The old fashioned definition of a relationship requires that two rather naive people come together and stay that way.

      1. 29.1.1
        Jane

        Excellent.

  10. 30
    Ryan H

    1) Men don’t like smart, direct women, and
    there are men out there that like to be told what to do.

    2) I’m centered, which sends the message that I don’t need anyone.
    stability? your sitting on thousand feet of concrete?

    if you knew what you wanted you wouldn’t worry about the ‘lack of dates’

    i don’t believe the first letter too general and conclusive. There is no objective. I beleive there are more deep issues with the one who wrote that letter.

    To the 2nd letter: It’s a dating game you have to play it to win it. People want to work for something. It’s like segments of negotiations before getting to an actual commitment. It’s full of cat and mouse games and take aways with a trap like tom and jerry 😉 it’s an art form that is mastered through experience.

    3rd letter: Nice guy is the worst positive insult I’ve ever heard in my life. It’s the total opposite of what a real woman wants except for the personality traits that she would want from you. Women thinks about a brad bit exterior with a sensitive trustworthy nice guy(which he is) too bad he’s got one of the hottest chicks on the planet!

  11. 31
    verbosity

    Here is my hypothesis – the smart, strong, uber-successful woman wants a man who is smarter, stronger, and more successful than she. Remember, this woman is still raised (by family media, etc.) with the belief that a man should be there to take care of the woman’s needs (look at other posts elsewhere). These smart, highly motivated women will not be happy with a man who earns less than her, who is not assertive, and who is more traditionally feminine, for lack of a better term. These women will therefore look for men who are more ‘man’ than her.

    The sad thing is this hypothesis has a negative result for women. I say this because the vast majority of very successful men do not want women to challenge them in every little facet of their personal lives. Very successful people of both sexes often spend long days in high conflict, high pressure situations. The successful men I know and have as clients desire partners that help to temper that aspect of their lives. So, with an ever-shrinking pool of men who are willing to date these uber-motivated women, you find that women are frustrated.

    It would therefore seem that some of these women could benefit from a paradigm shift.

    As an attorney, I will not date other attorneys, doctors, or other ‘hard-charging’ occupations. Why? having dated the whole gamut, I have found that almost universally, conversations are only about work, getting ahead, and competitive. I seek warmer traits in women I date. That is my preference.

    Every time this subject comes up I am reminded of an argument I got into with an ex-girlfriend of several years, another lawyer. We were in Costco (where I didn’t like going) when she said to me, “I hate the way you push the cart.” WTF?

    One man’s opinion….

  12. 32
    Jacky

    to Verbosity…

    more ‘man’ than her… very interesting!

  13. 33
    Megan

    Oddly enough I feel like I am the opposite of what is described here. At work I am aggressive, I stand up for myself, I don’t sugarcoat my opinions and I’m very focused. However when it comes to men I am very nurturing, I give them EVERY bit of myself, my time, my heart, my affection you name it. Of course i’m not a total doormat but more often than not looking back I see opportunities in the relationship that I should have been more like my work self and stood up for my opinion or position in a situation. Then eventually the guy gets sick of me giving giving giving and its over. Who is to say whether standing up for myself along the way would have changed the outcome but my point with regard to this article is that its about balance. Don’t leave your witty, articulate, powerful and determined self at work just to please a man because ultimately he probably won’t please you and most importantly you won’t please yourself. I pride myself on being outspoken and aggressive in life (I am 4’9″, 105lbs I have to be aggressive) so when I look back on instances when I let things go that normally would have got me going it makes me dissapointed and always wondering “what if”. What if I were a better balance of standing up for myself and my opinion and a little less appeasing to his manly ways? What if I were a bit less nurturing all the time, would he have wanted/appreciated me more? etc.

  14. 34
    J NYC

    wouldn’t life be wonderful if men and women could get to know each other as friends? wouldn’t it be great if relationships could be about intellectual companionship as opposed to a battle of egos, agendas, and superiority? wouldn’t life be interesting if women were real people with complex personalities, instead of being predictable collections of stereotypes? what if men sought women with the qualities they seek in their male buddies and had relationships with women of comparable closeness? what if “making life easier” meant finding fulfillment in the honest exchange of ideas as opposed to unconditional approbation? wouldn’t this then be the best of all possible worlds?

  15. 35
    Christine

    I totally agree with what Evan has to say. And i’ve been trying to “minimize” talking of my successes when I go on a date with someone new. But how much do I have to hide?

    I’ve had too many men focus on asking me about work, or something of the sort and it’s becoming tiresome to keep changing the subject. If they don’t want to hear it, then they need to stop asking me about it.

    So what do men ask women that are not a “catch” about? I’m curious.

  16. 36
    LS

    I believe where ever possible when dating we should (both men & women) try and leave work behind. It seems (well for me anyway) to generate a better connection where possible.

    My last date shook my hand and said I will let you know.
    Well that’s what the interviewer said to me at my last job interview.
    I would prefer a date where the man behind the desk stays there and real man steps forward. It’s a date not a job interview.

  17. 37
    Phillygirl

    I love this blog. Each comment written here makes sense to me. I have one question for the group though! How does a successful, bright, articulate attractive woman have the ability to show the men that are intimidated by these strengths that she is indeed warm, nurturing, loving, kind, jeans and the no-makeup type over weekends type of gal?
    I have that exact problem and I am not prepared to underplay my achievements. However, I have a very soft edge, very loving, caring nurturing side and will even share that in words on a first date. I am STILL a “turn off” to most men due to my energy and positive attitude when they meet me…HELPPPPPP

  18. 38
    Greg

    Evan- right on man! I am glad that SOMEONE finally intelligently articulated this concept. This is the same reason why many business deals take place on the golf course, or in the strip club, or at the upscale bar….because strong, successfull, intelligent men do not want to do business with people who can never turn the sales “schtick” off. These places allow guys to connect as people, away from the business environment where everyone is trying to impress, stroke their egos, compete, and blow smoke at everyone else. We want to know the real person we are going to be doing business with, which may result in a long-term business relationship. Same thing goes for women. Who wants to date a woman who doesn’t know when to turn it off? Leave the schmoozing, manipulating, ego stroking, best-foot-foward tactics at the office and try to connect as a real person. This is a skill that many successful, strong, intelligent women have not mastered. For this reason I have dated many economically disadvataged and sometimes uneducated women, many of them immigrants. Why?.. becuase what’s important to me are the values and principles concerning relationships they bring to the table. Most people who do not know me well, when they observe this they think that it is because I prefer subservient women whom I can control and manipulate easily. Not so! I just realized they if what is most important to me in a relationship is warmth, caring, sensitivity, well defined roles, etc., that I need to look at the real person, not their financial achievments and professional skills. Here’s a thought: Could it be that many highly educated, intelligent, successful people be emotionally ignorant?

  19. 39
    Hadley Paige

    to Phillygirl

    You wrote “How does a successful, bright, articulate attractive woman have the ability to show the men that are intimidated by these strengths that she is indeed warm, nurturing, loving, kind, jeans and the no-makeup type over weekends type of gal”

    Sucessful women keep saying men are intimidated by sucessful women. I guess thats a way of consoling yourselves with you accomplishments. Its not that that sucessful women are intimidating, its that the traits linked to sucess are not, broadly speaking, the traits that most men want.

    As for me when you say you can be a “weekend” type of girl. I think if I was in a relationship with a person such as yourself I would be waiting for the other shoe to drop.

  20. 40
    Steve

    Wow, this was an insightful article and I am impressed with the authors tact.

    I was also impressed with the first comment. I too had the thought that it is best to be yourself, even if that turns people off, since that will happen eventually anyway. Better to see it on a first date rather than after you become attached to someone.

    However, I don’t think acting differently isn’t being yourself.

    I think it comes down to treating your romantic interest as nicely as you would treat a good friend or an acquaintance.

    The article gave the example of how men might not like “direct and honest” women if that translates to blunt uninivted criticism. Yet how many people would be blunt, harsh in telling a good friend or a business associate something they need to hear? They would be themselves, they would just adjust the way they talk to fit the situation.

    It comes down to your romantic interests being deserving of the same kind of gear shifting.

    1. 40.1
      ac

      nice summary steve

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *