Are you successful in your dating life, but unsuccessful in your love life? While it’s easy to say that men are intimidated by your success, the odds are that the reality of the situation is much different. What is more likely is that you are bringing the masculine skills that you use at work into your dating relationships, and it is a major turn off for the men you are dating. I’m not knocking successful working women—it’s great that you have figured out a way to support yourself by being direct, aggressive, competitive and goal-oriented at work. I am instead knocking women who have not figured out that you cannot carry over your aggressiveness and competitiveness into your dating life and expect men to fall in love with you. Men fantasize about Sofia Vergara’s curves and softness, not Hillary Clinton’s crisp grey pantsuit.
I learned this first-hand from an experience I had with an ex-boyfriend. We were once sharing stories about ex-spouses, and he mentioned that he dated a successful financial manager. He told me that he had to break up with her because she was too controlling. She would decide everything, from where they would go to eat or watch a movie, and by the end of their relationship, she was even giving him orders when they were at home like he was her employee. I remember him saying “If I have to deal with orders all day at work, why would I want to come home to someone causing problems too?”
In this case, the woman did not understand that she has to be nurturing with her spouse, not cold, combative and domineering. Most women do not know that they are behaving this way with men unfortunately, and it shows in research. In the book “Why He Didn’t Call You Back: 1,000 Guys Reveal What They Really Thought About You After Your Date,” 1,000 men surveyed say that they are turned off the most by masculine, argumentative and controlling women. In fact, a large percentage of men surveyed for that book say that they are more likely to dismiss women for bossy behavior than any other kind of behavior. The men classified bossy women in six ways: controlling, argumentative, competitive, unfeminine, excessively independent, and unnurturing.
Since heterosexual men are attracted to women, it makes sense that they are not attracted to masculine women. They want feminine, caring women. In fact, many men surveyed say that the preferred jobs for their future wife are schoolteachers, nurses or chefs. How can you tell if you are a bossy, unfeminine woman? Here are a few questions for you, adapted from “Why He Didn’t Call You Back”:
- Have you ever said “I want a man, but I don’t need one!”
- Has anyone ever told you “You’d make a great lawyer”?
- Do you usually organize events and outings?
- Have you ever went on a date wearing your work clothes?
- Do you think you can be defensive?
- Do you think your career defines you?
How You Can Be Less of a Bossy Lady
Let the man take the lead: Try to manage your controlling side by relaxing and letting the man decide the date location. Or, if you’re already in a relationship, always ask for your spouse’s input on all couple decisions, no matter how small. The man needs to take the lead, or at least feel like he is taking the lead and making decisions. That is the way the world works, and you need to accept that the man needs to feel like a man.
Leave work at work: Don’t spend more than a few minutes talking about work with a date, if you are dating, otherwise, your date will feel like a business dinner.
Dress like a lady: Don’t go on a date wearing your work clothes. Your date clothes should reveal some, but not a lot, of skin. You should be wearing a feminine dress or fitting skirt on a date, not a suit or baggy shift dress.
Find ways to be kind: You job as a woman is to make your man feel as though your existence makes life easier for him than if he lived without you. Figure out a way to be kind and give gifts to your spouse or date. In the book, the author discussed the way one woman would have a bowl of peanuts ready for her husband when he returned home every night from work. Find ways to be kind on a regular basis to your spouse.
Seek therapy: It can be difficult to be a modern woman because we have to find ways to juggle one aggressive personality at work, and another personality at home with our spouses, friends and family. If you have a hard time turning off your workplace behavior, consider going to a therapist or counselor to learn how to better control your masculine impulses (because it’s interfering with your love life!).