Independence is generally viewed positively however may impede relationship success.
As smart, strong and successful women, we think we have everything figured out. Or if we don’t, we’ll figure it out by doing it our way – the “right” way. This may be true in your career but in your relationship, these traits may work against you.
Being smart, strong and successful or in other words, independent, is not mutually exclusive to wanting a fulfilling and committed relationship. Stop apologizing for wanting love and be open about it. How else will your friends be on the look out for you?
If you’re single and looking for someone to share your life with, you’re not alone. Everyone wants to feel loved and to belong. Everyone wants to be loved and to love. There is nothing wrong with wanting to experience real, authentic love. At its purest, love is the most beautiful state.
In itself, being smart, strong and successful does not make you a great catch. Similarly, traits like success, height, athletic ability and a high income does not make a man a great partner. These qualities of a charismatic alpha male initially may draw your attention but these traits have NOTHING to do with relationship success.
In fact, what we don’t often see is that these traits may come with a negative side to them - the yin and the yang.
For example, a successful, driven and accomplished man may only like to do things his way and chances are you are not keen to be in a relationship where you are constantly butting heads with your partner, trying to figure out whose way is better. This power struggle does not make a relationship a success.
Strong, successful, smart women may also like to do things their way and be in control. They may micromanage or are very opinionated. Maybe these traits work in the boardroom but they won’t make your partner feel valued, loved and accepted. In fact, a woman’s controlling and opinionated ways will often make a man feel criticized, disempowered and devalued. This is a set up for resentment.
In order to avoid this possibility, one solution may be to opt for the agreeable, gentle man who is wonderful in many ways but perhaps is not as driven as you would like. The other possibility is having a man who folds under the controlling ways of a strong-headed woman. In this scenario, you may get your way but you are not building connection. You can’t have the good without accepting the bad.
Men and women value different traits in their partner.
Men want to feel needed and appreciated. Despite the bad rap that they get for not being tuned in to their emotions, their feelings are a big part of why a man will commit to one partner and not to another.
Some women value those alpha male qualities, such as success, strength, education, job title, but the traits women value are not the same as those that men value in a partner.
It’s not that men don’t value these qualities – smart, successful, driven – but rather that they don’t like the accompanying negative traits. Smart, successful and driven does not necessarily translate into nurturing, caring and loving on a practical level.
No real man wants to be bossed around, told what to do, and made to feel inadequate. Men want to feel good around women. They want to feel that they are enough, that they can provide security, emotional and otherwise and that they make their partner’s life better in some ways.
This has very little to do with being smart, successful or strong.
As one independent woman to another, I want to be clear. I value intelligence, success and strength in both men and women. My work as a relationship expert and dating coach is to show you potential blind spots and to help shift your focus to what works.
This isn’t about what’s right or wrong or good vs. bad. It is about being effective or ineffective.
Ask yourself: Is what I’m doing working well? Have my relationships been successful? Have I been with a partner who makes me want to be a better person? Have I experienced pure fulfillment and unconditional love? Have I been unselfish or selfless? Do we operate as a team or are we in a scenario of “I” vs. “him”?
How does this translate into real life?
Know thy self. If you like to micromanage and control, one way to make a relationship work is to find an easygoing, agreeable mate. The flip side, generally speaking, is that agreeable, easygoing men are not known to be the most driven. So, you have to accept there may be trade off.
Do you want to do what works or are you set on doing it your way?
Here are some suggestions for making your man feel good about him and your relationship:
ü Ask questions that show you are interested in him, not just his day or his job
ü Listen attentively; you have two ears and one mouth for a reason
ü Give compliments generously
ü Show appreciation
ü Put your phone down and give him your undivided attention when together
ü Smile – it shows that you’re happy and men want to be with someone whose lives they can better
ü Laugh often and have fun together; building a deeper bond
ü Show your authentic self; being vulnerable and expressing your needs instead of criticism shows that you feel safe around him
ü Make time for him; are you too busy and he has to chase you?
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