The always interesting and entirely lovable Demetria Lucas wrote a very nice article on TheRoot.com asking whether or not men avoid successful women. I had to chime in on this one. For the busy and successful women who are reading this, I will try to save your valuable time and cut to the chase. Your success may be standing in the way of you finding a meaningful relationship, but not for the reasons you might think. The success itself is not your primary impediment to reaching your goals, but rather, it is the way success may affect your personality that could be the problem.
Here are the reasons why some men might choose to avoid some (not all) successful women:
If you think that your job, shape and beauty automatically make you a great catch: Looking good goes a long way toward getting a man's attention. But that's like saying that newspaper starts a big bonfire. The paper might get the fire going, but it doesn't keep the fire going (a sustainable fire can only be built with wood). I don't care if you look like Beyonce, the fact of the matter is that it is your inner beauty that keeps a man coming back. Men who have lots of options see pretty girls every day. What is rare is a woman who works to be a consistently beautiful, giving and attentive human-being. Unfortunately, inner beauty is not promoted among black women, the same way that men are taught to live empty lives in search of material possessions as false validations of their self-worth.
If you fail to see the value of elevating your man: I once had a friend who didn't feel that it was her job to validate her man to make him feel good about himself. "I ain't got time to be stroking his ego," she would say. I then asked her if it mattered if her man took the time to tell her that she was beautiful, to make her feel sexy or to remind her that she is a remarkable woman. The point is that all of us look to our partners to make us feel better, whether it is physically or emotionally. Oddly enough, many people unwilling to stroke a man's ego are all too willing to stroke his sex organs. Making a man feel better about who he is can go a long way toward capturing his heart, so yes, it's OK to give your man daily reminders that he's a king, that you respect him and that you love him more than anything. Affection and affirmation are not a crime or sign of weakness; they actually open the door for you to receive the same thing in return. If you give love, you will receive it. The same thing is true for war. So be careful about coping attitudes when you don't get what you want.
If you work too damn much and never make your mate a priority: Many of the successful doctors, lawyers and Indian chiefs of the world don't seem to realize that your relationship will never run on auto-pilot. There is a big difference between someone agreeing to be with you vs. your actually earning that person's loyalty by being a solid, loving and reliable mate. A man does not want to feel that he is some kind of accessory that you have to have in order to complete your collection, like a Coach Purse or a pair of Gucci shoes. But when men see women high-fiving each other after sealing a wedding date, you sometimes wonder if the ceremony is more important than the person.
- If you are emotionally selfish: Busy people can sometimes have a habit of always believing that they are the most important person in the room. The issues on their mind are always more meaningful than your own, and how they feel tends to matter a lot more than what you're going through. Have you ever tried to have a conversation with a person who will talk all day about her problems and then suddenly have to hang up when you start talking about yours? Well, that's what it's like to date the self-important professional who has never learned to reflect or take responsibility for their dating challenges. In some cases, she was always the special girl in her family, the one who could bathe in the awesome power of perpetual narcissism. Daddies brag about spoiling their daughters, but the sad truth is that there is nothing good about something being spoiled, whether it be a piece of fruit or a human being.
Treating your man as a pet that you claim, constrain and neglect is a great recipe for disaster. So, after you finish your 80 hour work weeks, canceling one date after another and turning down his requests for affection, don't be surprised if you come home from work one day and see that he's packed up his sh*t.
If you make him feel bad for not being a baller like you: One thing that scares the heck out of men is a high-maintenance woman. In a world where black men are more likely to be unemployed than any other group in the United States, the last thing you want is a woman who thinks that a diamond necklace on her birthday is simply par for the course. Presenting yourself as a good teammate and opening the door for him to be somewhat vulnerable can make it easier for you to get the loyalty that you deserve. No man wants to get his butt kicked by both the white man and his wife.
I am not an expert on what all men want, but if Steve Harvey can give relationship advice, then I can too. I've also been a man for quite a while, and I've talked to a lot of brothers when women aren't around. My precise conclusion is that when it comes to the opposite sex, most of us just don't get it.
But one thing that's true is that whether you are making a financial investment or an investment of the heart, you usually get what you give. What's also true is that investing the wrong assets into the wrong places is a great way to end up broke (or broken). So, as you try to reach your relationship goals, you may want to read books about the opposite sex, find out what they are seeking and learn how to deliver the things that will help you to reach your goals. This is a lot more effective than wasting your life on simple trial and error.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and founder of the Financial Lovemaking. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.