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?

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  1. Anonymous

    (Please, excuse my english, it's not my native language)
    This question is a little shocker for me. Recently I had a conversation with a men who told me that his best friend had refused a second date with a girl because she was "too tall, had a boob job, was hot and frequented the coolest bars from town, where most girls go to pick up football players".
    I told him that it sounded stupid and he said he agreed with him, because most men are intimidated by this kind of "men-eating bimbos" (he didn't say it that way, but he basically described a person like that).

    So, I was confused. I have a good career, a lot of accomplishments and I've been told I'm cute (not just by my girlfriends) but I guess as I'm short and haven't had boob surgery, apparently I'm more approachable and a good "third price" for men?

    It was really weird, because this guy has a lot of accomplishments too, so I would have thought he would refuse a girl like that only because she wasn't as well read as him, not because he felt inferior to her due to her silicone. So, what do men want in the end?
    One girl is dumped because of her hotness, the other can't get a man because of her cuteness and brains…

  2. Mrs. Grievous

    Try OKCupid. The internet is swarming with smart men, and the site will help match you up with men who have the same values and expectations that you have. My boyfriend and I met on OKCupid, and we've just celebrated our one year anniversary. Turns out we also had a lot of friends in common, so it has been very easy to be together!

  3. Patricia

    Holla Accomplished Lady! I think we may be kindred spirits. Okay, here is the million dollar question: what are you looking for in a dude? I'm serious, this matters. I noticed you said in your letter that there aren't equally put together dudes in your hood. So, does the dude you date need to have a graduate degree? Hit up every continent? etc etc Because until you know what are deal breakers for you, you might dismiss really awesome guys for wearing the wrong shoes or only have a bachelor's degree. A deal breaker for you would be some dude who is intimidated by your success but if he doesn't look like Djimon Hounsou (my personal fav), is that really worth passing up on someone, who is, in all other respects, awesome? I'm not saying lower your standards, just figure out what they are.

  4. Haddock

    8 gajillion women?
    How much is that?
    (just checking if that is above or below my record) 🙂

  5. iris

    I'm with Patricia on this one. Is it possible you're missing out on some awesome dudes because your "expectations" are blindly cutting off perfectly good dudes?

    An example: "I want a boyfriend who has traveled a lot" versus "I want a boyfriend who enjoys traveling." Both of these are looking for men who like traveling, but one of these has a rather financial/cultural cut off.

    This is especially tricky for online dating, where it's easy to discount people for artificial standards, since you don't even know them yet. That being said, I met my boyfriend of 2 years on OkC. He's broke, but he works hard. I'm pursuing my PhD and he's going back to get a Bachelor's degree.

    Having a good job versus being ambitious. Well-educated versus placing education as a high priority. These are all things that could be manipulated from different perspectives. Be careful how you phrase your 'deal breakers'.

  6. Brie

    I went on a psuedo-date with a guyfriend once. He was single and decided we would "hang out at a book reading" and I could tell he found me attractive so figured "Why not?".

    We were in our early 20s when this happened with explains my use of the "psuedo-date" identifier.

    After I started a discussion on the book the author had written and the questions people asked. He said to me:

    "I could never date you, you require people to think."

    So yes, I think there are men out their intimidated by intelligent women because this was the first of many times that I encountered one.

  7. SP

    I agree with Dude. Don't settle. For a long-term relationship you may not both have to have PhDs and 30 stamps in your passports, but it's important to have similar interests, values, and goals. It took me a long time, but I realized I intimidate men. I'm smart, funny, good-looking, and I don't put up with bullshit. I was in a long relationship with a guy who was kind and talented but not-so-smart. His insecurities about my smarts made him feel inferior and jealous. I'm now with a smart, funny, motivated man with whom I can share both intelligent and asinine conversations. Since you are accomplished and awesome, you need someone who can not only keep up but also push you to be even more awesome.

  8. Monika

    It's true! Men are intimidated by smart,well read,well traveled, put together women. I was in a long term relationship with a man who started off being ok with it. As time went by, I continued to grow while he chose to make excuses not to,which then led to him saying stuff like " you're just lucky; people want to be with you and give you what you ask for…." thereby totally undermining the fact that I worked hard to be where I had exactly visioned myself to be. That is when I realised that by being with a man who is insecure enough to make excuses for his failings and brush off my life as neatly planned Disney movie, I was losing myself to fit him in . I took matters into my own hands and called off the relationship 2 days before our formal engagement . This then led to his nasty meltdown….to cut a long story short. That is when I realised, my breaking point wasn't whether a man was accomplished or not, but whether a man was secure enough to let me be who I was .Also, whether we could share the same values; interests & life goals, irrespective of how we got there as long as we got there together without unnecessary stone throwing & bickering over who was smarter, who got paid better, who hung out with whom and the childishness that comes from not having trust & clarity in the relationship on what each person wants from it.

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