Men, Women, and Ambition

28 10 2013

Not sure if you saw it, but a recent study came out noting that a majority of men are not happy when their female counterparts succeed. Specifically, the article mentions that “men experience a blow to their self-esteem when their female partners experience success, even when they aren’t in direct competition… [and] women’s success also negatively impacts how men view the future of the relationship.”

Ummm, what in all the fucks?

This study flies directly in the face of the ideal of so many women when it comes to relationships, and disappointing doesn’t even begin to describe my thoughts when I initially read the article. Also, just so we’re clear – that ideal is for you and your love to grow and succeed together, encouraging and pushing each other into the best versions of yourselves (or something like that lol). <– Talk about exactly opposite of what the study says, right?

But the article wasn’t the only thing that shook me. Over and over, I saw women sharing, reposting the link, and confirming the analysis with their own stories — the gist being that they’d experienced the disappointing discovery firsthand. So between the study and the firsthand accounts, I gotta admit, I was a bit deflated. Especially considering I’m still out here in this dating game and hoping to one day have my own little ambitious family. Now, obviously there are exceptions to everything, but it was causing me to wonder about how ambitious women really go about carrying on successful relationships.

So I looked around to see if I could find some really good examples. One option I found was to do what some of the women in Cosmo’s recent special report, “The Ambition Gap” did — which was to date/marry less ambitious men. They claimed this worked; I didn’t really see how. The problem with going that route for me is that I’ve always (always!) had issues when dating non-ambitious men. Usually what happens is that I start looking at dude like — “okay, ummm what are your goals here? What is your passion? What drives you? And how are you going to push me to excel as my partner when all you want to do is make a decent living, come home, and play video games?”

No shade, by the way.

That works for some people. Just not this person. You see, I find it so ridiculously sexy when a man has a vision and works toward that vision. And so by comparison, the guy who doesn’t tends to lose his sex appeal quicker than Tevin Campbell did post the I’m Ready album. And y’all know that was quick! That man went from being the guy who every girl wanted to hear Happy Birthday from to the guy that just, well, didn’t do it for anyone. at. all.

According to the study, though, ambitious men are turned off by women like me. So I still needed to look at other options. I looked to my friends who (at least from the outside) had men in their lives who supported them and were happy for them when they succeeded. But then I remembered the line in the article that mentioned that even when  men didn’t report feeling insecure to the researchers, negative feelings and low self-esteem still “registered on word association and other tests used to gauge unspoken attitudes and feelings.”

So then I thought, well hell, I guess the best you can do is hope that you luck up and fall in love with the guy who’s the exception. And while I know some of those exceptions personally and believe that they’re great guys, I also know that the thing about exceptions is that you can’t bank on them happening to you. Besides that, who wants to bank on luck as an option? Sigh.

After thinking far too much about the options and this damn study, I finally just decided to stop looking around for hope and spend more time thinking about going out with this cute guy who’s been putting the most ridiculous smile on my face lately. And that’s when it hit me — well, I was reminded really — that you can’t base your dating/marrying decisions off of a study. All you can do is hope that the person you end up with complements you in the best way possible. Suddenly, I wasn’t so concerned anymore.

What do you all think though? Ambitious ladies, have you experienced problems in your relationships because of your goals and desires and successes? And fellas, what’s up yo? How do you feel about the results of this study? Talk to me.

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2 responses

29 10 2013
brenda

I had this same exact convo with a family member recently about these highly successful men and their avoidance of highly successful women. And its a shame that so many successful women are being rejected because of their success?!? I mean its 2013, house-husbands are a thing now! lol.
I married into a family (and to a man) who value ambition despite the gender. Not sure if this is a cultural thing (they are Nigerian) but they actually look down on you if you aren’t doing something worthy of bragging. lol.

30 10 2013
dbaham

Isn’t it crazy, Brenda?! I mean, I thought like-minded folks were drawn to each other. But from what I’ve been told by men, it’s that whole not feeling like the woman needs you thing that (some) men get caught up on when dealing with successful/ambitious women. My response is always, sure she doesn’t need you in the traditional sense to provide for her monetarily… but she still needs you! To love her and encourage her and push her and be there for her… I don’t get it.

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