Independence Can Be Isolating: Find Ways to Show Your Man You Need Him

Independence Can Be Isolating: Find Ways to Show Your Man You Need Him March 10, 2014

beautiful 35 year old woman stands in front of the windowDear Shaunti,

I’m 31 and single, with a successful career, lots of friends, and an outgoing personality. I tend to be a “go getter” but not in the area of men. In fact, I have never been asked on a date! EVER! Several men have told me I’m intimidating. I make more money than they do, have had to learn to fix things around the house and I’m pretty confident – but I don’t want to scare men off! What do I do?

– Successful but still single

Dear Successful but still single,

Oh man, I feel your pain! Does being a strong, successful woman mean you have a choice between being lonely or suppressing what you like most about yourself in order to attract a man? Thankfully, no! One of my friends recently asked a very similar question since she knew I had done so much research on how men think. See if what I told her (given what I knew of her personality and situation) might apply to you.

In her case, I asked several men – single and married – what specifically it was that they viewed as intimidating. And when I boiled down the answers, it clearly wasn’t her sense of confidence or her competence that was the issue. One single man said, “Some men – like me – are attracted to accomplished women!” Instead, she was giving off a vibe that said, “I don’t need you.”

Although it is important to be confident and complete in who we are without a man, the reality is that men want to feel needed. Yes, I know that is not very politically correct, but that doesn’t change the truth of it. The men on my surveys (and I’ve surveyed more than 5,000 of them over the last ten years), truly want to feel like they not only have something to offer, but that it is admired and appreciated. Other than visual attraction, what most appeals to a man is the sense that this woman admires him.

Men have a lot of secret self-doubt and wonder “do I measure up?” So suppose you’re in a group of singles doing a service project and helping to restore houses after a flood. If you practically take the hammer out of a guy’s hands to show him how to do it better, he’s going to feel very inadequate. Since that is a guy’s most painful feeling, he’s likely to avoid the source of that feeling – in other words: you. But if you work right alongside him, let him figure something out for himself (a high value for guys), ask for his help when you need it, and call someone over to show them what a great job he did on his moldings, he’s going to be intrigued rather than intimidated.

So don’t suppress your strength, but learn how to appreciate his competence in addition to your own; that is a skill that will not only attract the right man but help you keep him for life.

Do you want Shaunti to share these life-changing truths at your church or event? Inquire about Shaunti speaking, here.

Shaunti Feldhahn is the best-selling author of eye-opening, research-based books about men, women and relationships, including For Women Only, For Men Only, The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages and her newest, The Good News About Marriage. A Harvard-trained social researcher and popular speaker, her findings are regularly featured in media as diverse as The Today Show, Focus on the Family, and the New York Times. Visit www.shaunti.com for more.

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  • thunder250

    Good answer. I, for one, find intelligence, competence and strength very attractive in a woman. (And I don’t want her to “dumb down” – as your answer may imply to some). The problem I often see is that woman like this sometimes do not express their interest. Guys want to know that you think they are attractive (not just physically, but that’s important too). The more you have on the ball, the more they are likely to assume you are off-limits, so the more intentional you must be in letting them know that you like them as a man.
    In addition, I would make sure that you are “fishing in the right pond.” That is, where do competent, strong men hang out? So often, I find that women want to find a man but are just not around enough prospects.

  • Larry Ebaugh

    I’m sorry, but I’m not buying this “I’m intimidating to men because I’m accomplished” claim. There are many accomplished women who get asked out all the time. Without knowing the tone of voice she uses around men, it’s difficult to say why she’s not asked out. Possibly there are hidden anger issues or maybe it’s a case of covert misandry that men pick up on.
    I just get a little tired of hearing some women complain that it’s the guys’ fault that they’re not attracted to these women rather than something about themselves, other than being successful and accomplished that is. True, men like to feel admired, but they also love affection, and I don’t necessarily mean sex. Is sincere affection coming across to them? I really have to wonder.

  • Mary Smithson

    I totally agree, Larry. I don’t think it would be a woman’s accomplishments that a real man would find intimidating. It is about her attitude when she communicates with him. If she’s coming across as overbearing or arrogant or holier-than-thou or brusk that would be a turn off that some men might tactfully refer to as ‘intimidating’. And that is a whole different issue than what she does for a living.