Why Men Think They Want Smart Women But Really Don’t

Jenna Birch interviewed me again for Shape Magazine and Yahoo Health in 2015, and I was delighted to learn that she wrote a book called “The Love Gap: A Radical Way to Win in Life and Love.” I can’t vouch for the book itself but I really love this excerpt I read on Psychology Today and wanted to share it with you.

“After looking into  the mating preferences of more  than 5,000 men and women  by way of survey, researcher and biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, Ph.D., writes that we are seeing a “Clooney Effect” in this country – a nod to the recent marriage of America’s favorite bachelor, actor George Clooney, to human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin. According to Fisher’s numbers, men desire smart, strong, successful women; 87 percent of men said they would date a woman who was more  intellectual than they were, who was better educated, and who made  considerably more money than they  did, while  86  percent said they  were in search of a woman who was confident and self-assured.”

Sounds all well and good. Except, as you know, there’s a gap between what men say they want in theory and what they actually want in practice.

“Men only  think  they know what they want – or they know what they want in theory, not what they’d choose when put to the test IRL. “Men seem to be influenced less by their ideal partner preferences and more by their emotions or feelings at the moment,” she says. “Specifically, when men were outperformed by a woman in a domain that they cared about – intelligence – they felt threatened,  assessed by diminished self-ratings of masculinity, which then led them to act in a way counter to what their expressed ideal preferences were.” In other words, these guys felt way inferior in the smarter woman’s presence, and so they went rogue; they ditched their self-described dream gal for  someone who  didn’t best their intelligence.”

Ready for Lasting Love?
Ready for Lasting Love?

I found this paragraph particularly validating because it acknowledges the central thesis of my book “Why He Disappeared – the Smart, Strong, Successful Woman’s Guide to Understanding Men and Keeping the Right One Hooked Forever.”

Men are about FEELINGS. Being hot will get you in the door. Brains will turn him on. But being “a catch” on paper is not nearly as important as how he feels in your presence.

What does this mean for you, the reader?

Well, it would be easy to spin this as men are so fragile and insecure that they can’t deal with an equal – because, to some degree, there’s an element of truth to it.

“The flip side is that you can be as smart, strong, and successful as you want but not at the expense of making your partner feel bad.”

The flip side is that you can be as smart, strong, and successful as you want but not at the expense of making your partner feel bad. If you have a fundamentally secure boyfriend but he doesn’t feel smart, sexy, trusted, needed, and respected by you, he is not going to be a happy camper – no matter how impressive you are.


Long story short:

There are plenty of men who are too insecure for smart, strong, successful women. We’re not talking about them.

But when you have a guy who is NOT intimidated by you, the best way to ensure a happy relationship is to make him FEEL good around you. Unlike your age or your personality, this is something very powerful that is fully within your control.

Your thoughts, below, are greatly appreciated.