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Dear Dude: Are Guys Intimidated By My Awesome?

men intimidated by women

We’ve got a new Dear Dude on board! This Dude has traveled the world, worked in international development and dated 8 gajillion women. These days, he enjoys living with his awesome girlfriend, puttering around the house and terrorizing his adopted homeland with his loud, loud American accent.

Dear Dude,
At the risk of sounding cocky, I’m a fairly accomplished lady. I have a good job, an advanced degree, I’m well-traveled and well-read and I think (and I’ve been told) that I’m pretty cute. I’ve had serious relationships before but lately I just can’t seem to get lucky. My girlfriends tell me that I’m such a catch, men are intimidated, but I feel like that’s just something girlfriends say to each other. Is that an actual possibility? Could I really be intimidating men with all the things that I’ve accomplished and the fact that I have my life together? And if so, then what? Just wait around for a guy who’s equally put-together (they’re pretty thin around here). Lower my standards? Downplay my accomplishments? What should I do?

Dear Accomplished Lady,
A good job? Intelligent? Well-traveled? And CUTE?! Yeah, I’d say you’re a catch. Honestly, I’ve never understood the whole “I’m intimidated by smart and successful women” complex that, apparently, affects a large portion of the male population.

First piece of advice – don’t settle. I have no idea how dire your situation is, but if you are half the catch you describe yourself to be, consider adjusting your tactics. Settling doesn’t equate to happiness in the long game. If you’re smart, chances are you’ll want someone interested in the big wide world around them.

That said, kindness, capability and honesty go a long way in a partner. I do think plenty of men are intimidated by smart women. I have no idea why. Men have been led around by intelligent and smartly-dressed leading ladies since time began. Eve. Cleopatra. Hell, Lucille Ball ran circles around Ricky Ricardo! You think we’d be used to it by now. Apparently not.

So here we go, Accomplished. I am going to list some of the traits that I (and most of my buddies) find attractive in a woman.

I like to be with a woman who is fun and easy to be around. I like someone who enjoys sex and takes care of herself. I like someone who won’t try to change me and reinforces the positive aspects of me that I think are great. As mentioned, kindness and capability are always attractive human traits. If the guy is over 30, he might be eyeing up your “motherhood potential” as well. And you know that old saying “a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”? DING! Your grandma nailed it! But doesn’t everybody like dating a good cook?

I don’t know you so I don’t know if you’re intimidating men or you don’t happen to possess traits that these particular men are after. Does that sound horrible? Really, I imagine that the traits most guys are looking for in a girlfriend – fun, easy-going, sexy, supportive, kind – are pretty similar to what you’re looking for in a boyfriend.

Where are you going to find these guys, Accomplished? Believe me, they are asking the same question regarding women. Try internet dating and honestly promote yourself. When you are out and about, be the one who strikes up the casual conversation, with a smile and an off-the-cuff joke. Don’t be shy because you’ve got nothing to lose by putting yourself out there. Truth is, you probably won’t meet him where and when you plan anyway!

One thing I can guarantee (and this is simultaneously depressing and reassuring): as with many things in life, dating is a numbers game. The more men you talk to, have drinks with, interact with, the more likely you are to find someone. As long as you keep at it without compromising your integrity, that good catch will eventually come along and value you and all your accomplishments.

Oh, do your girlfriends tell you half truths to make you feel better? Of course they do.

Good luck and let us know how it goes!

Do you ever find that men are intimidated by your accomplishments or smarts? What advice would you give to our accomplished lady?

How To Find A Partner Who Meets Your Needs

Yes, you CAN find a partner who meets your needs! You don't have to feel unappreciated, ignored, or disrespected. Click through for a script that will help! //

I’m bringing back the Dear Dude column! Your questions, answered by a real, live dude. This dude happens to be my very own divorced, Phd-having manslice.

Dear Dude:

I am totally ready to get more from dating and to have a long-term meaningful relationship. I have my act together and I know my standards: he must be cute, funny, smart and interesting. But I can’t seem to get more than six months in before one of us becomes unhappy and the whole thing falls apart. Can you help a lady out?


Dear Lady,

Cute. Funny. Smart. Interesting. Why does that sound so familiar? Hmmm.

Oh wait, I know why! Because I was married to that, and my ex-wife may have thought she was married to that too. And do you know what? We were terrible for each other! Super common.

Good looks, intelligence, a sense of humor, and being interesting are dime-a-dozen traits. Click To Tweet

I note you don’t seem to have had any problem finding them yourself. But something hasn’t worked. So what is it? Aside from timing, circumstances, and the billion other things not in our control, I’d guess it’s that while those four traits may be enough to get you started, there are other things you need that you have not been getting.

Permit a personal example, just to get you started. Sure, my ex-wife probably thought I was cute, smart, funny and interesting. But those traits were not enough to make her feel appreciated, or validated, and did not stop me from somehow escalating her anxieties. And all the things that had attracted me to her did nothing to help me when I felt sad about something she said. Her cuteness, interesting-ness, funny-ness never forgave me and they never apologized.

We both spent a lot of time feeling crappy around each other, because what we really needed were all those things I just named (and others–many, many others!). It turns out that without them, all the cute, smart, funny, and interesting in the world didn’t matter. The best thing I got from our separation and divorce was a firm understanding of what else I needed.

So I say, keep your bedrock standards, but improve upon them, and add to them. Think about what else you need. Maybe start with something that hasn’t worked for you, and then what would have worked better.

When could you have used some reassurance but didn’t get it? Are there situations that heightened your insecurities? When have you felt lonely in a relationship, and what would its opposite have been like?

Here is a template that links your feelings in a given situation to what you wished would have happened, and what you will be requiring in the future.

I felt [negative adjective(s)]______when [Name] ______ [verb phrase]___________. It would have felt so much better if______ and/or______. So therefore I am looking for someone who _____ and_____.

Assuming the basic parts are all there, make whatever modifications you need to, and do it over and over as many times as you wish. Here’s an example:

I felt unimportant and isolated when Stanley ignored me in social settings. It would have felt so much better if he could have shown even the smallest amount of affection. Therefore, I am looking for someone who will be excited to have me around his friends and is proud to be with me.

Whatever you come up with, add your new need(s) to your list of must-haves, and start looking for signals that potential partners will or will not be able to meet your newly improved standards!

I think this will get you closer to what you want, and will also prevent you from investing six months with another cute, funny, smart, and interesting guy who will never offer you what you need.

Well, those are my thoughts, but I’d love to know what you guys think about finding the right person!

P.S. If you have a habit of dating people who DON’T meet your needs, this might help. And it’s free!

Photo by Matt McK on Unsplash