An Open Letter To Guys Who Feel 'Intimidated' By Successful Women

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Here's how you overcome the instinct to run!

Dear Men, 

You say you're attracted to smart, successful women, but that is most likely not true. Not to insult you, but research shows men are actually intimidated by successful women.

This is not a comment on your character, it seems this is just your instinctual reaction. Here's an example: When sitting next to women while taking a math test, men are more likely to sit closer to, express attraction to, and make advances towards a woman who scored lower than them, rather than higher, on the test.

What?! No way!

Alas, yes that was the case. It seems that when it comes to romantic partnerships, men tend to compare themselves to their potential or current partner and want to one-up her. So, in the minds of most men: She is successful becomes I am unsuccessful. Or, she is smart becomes I am not as smart. You make things a competition.


Now, I (like most strong, successful women) don't intend to dumb myself down or downplay my accomplishments. And, I'm assuming (hoping) that you wouldn't want any woman in your life to do so either.

Thankfully, there is a way for men to overcome this instinctual reaction. And interestingly, it's the instinctual reaction of women.

Stop thinking of “I” or “me” ... and start thinking of “we.”

“I” or “me” sets up comparison and competition. It triggers your ego. Whereas “we” sets up a teamwork dynamic. It shifts the focus to partnership, working together, and each of your successes benefiting both of you.

So, here are three tips to shift your thinking so you can finally stand equal with the successful women you claim to find so attractive:

1. Focus on being happy about your partner’s successes:


Be empathic. Feel genuine joy for her accomplishments.

2. Focus on what strengths you each bring to the relationship:


She might outperform you by making financial investments, yet you might outshine talking about world events. How you balance each other’s strengths and weaknesses makes you stronger together.

3. Focus on how your partner’s successes benefit you both:


Did she get a higher paying job? Great, that means more financial security for your relationship and maybe extra perks such as being able to afford more travel.

See, there is good news.

Now you know how to walk the walk and not just talk the talk when you say you're attracted to smart, successful women.


Feel yourself getting stuck in your instinctual patterns? Paulette Janus, LCSW is a therapist who can help you shift from “me” to “we.” Contact her here.




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