Do Men Avoid Dating Successful Women?

SUCCESS-WOMAN

Do Men Avoid Dating Successful Women?

For the first time in American history, women are surpassing men in bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Single, professional women are one of the fastest growing demographics in the country. Though they still do not make what a man does for the same job in many places, in some urban areas professional women’s salaries are outpacing men. What’s more, over half of all households will see a female breadwinner by 2025. That is amazing progress in a very short period of time, though the feminist movement has its roots a long way back in American history. Some women however say their success in the scholarly and economic realms is having negative consequences on their dating life. There are professional women who say the men they date are intimidated. They either pull away or blow them off due to a discomfort with the woman’s success. Perhaps these men find it emasculating, it is thought. Lots of these women’s girlfriends today console them by saying so, at least. There is even a school of thought that says a woman should dumb herself down in a man’s presence in order to make him feel comfortable and allow the relationship room to grow. But is it true? Do men avoid dating successful women?

Sure there is a segment in the male domain that pine for the 1950s. They believe in traditional values and are put off by women who are independent. But is this the majority of men? Certainly not. Nor is it right to generalize, which in addition to being inaccurate is in a way sexist since it paints all men as antiquated, chauvinists. There are lots of men who appreciate the success, knowledge, skills and other aspects of an accomplished woman. They also want a partner to share interesting times and conversations with, someone with many facets and dimensions, just as women do.  In fact, there are a lot of men who brag about the accomplishments of their wives and girlfriends. There is too a growing segment of stay-at-home dads and lots who enjoy it. So what’s really going on here? Their selection process could be an issue. What kind of men is this person seeking? What qualities do they all hold in common? Are they chauvinists, traditional or perhaps they fear commitment? The woman herself may also be subconsciously sabotaging her chances at love due to some deep-seeded trauma. Another aspect, it might be the woman’s personality itself. Pushiness, vanity, decisiveness, being opinionated and other aggressive behaviors propel some forward in their career. But on the dating scene these qualities are a huge turnoff.

In terms of selection process, lots of women say they want a man who is just as accomplished or more. But then are they selecting someone who is also decisive, aggressive and opinionated? When two people share such personalities the relationship quickly becomes an arena of locking horns rather than a relaxing atmosphere where love and romance can flourish. Only selecting this type, a person who fits a checklist of certain career accomplishments also shows underlying issues. This person worries of what others think or has a need to project their value. One’s relationship can be seen as a reflection of one’s self. But why don’t they explore other sides of their personality? We don’t have to date someone we view as a colleague. Looking for someone to love is not the same as a job interview. So someone who is opinionated may enjoy hanging out with someone who is open-minded, shy, artistic and free spirited. This may nourish other aspects that are suppressed in their normal, workaday environment. A professional woman may be interested in someone who is accomplished but in a totally different field or way. Lastly, sometimes this attitude that no men are good is an armor to protect from the fear that they themselves are at fault, or doing something wrong. Each person brings problems into a relationship, big and small. No one is perfect. We are all human. But it is in examining our mistakes and our own flaws that we can grow and develop and become better. There’s an old Buddhist saying; when the disciple is ready the master will appear. When the heart is ready, love will be there. For more savvy ways to navigate your love life read, Love Smart: Find the One You Want–Fix the One You Got by Dr. Phil McGraw.

Marriage in America Today

marriage

Marriage in America Today

The number of people getting married is declining. Experts say the marriage rate today is lower than it was in 1880, another time when extreme differences in income affected the social landscape. Though marriage is touted in America and many societies as helping to preserve the social order, the atmosphere with which we operate is far from conducive in promoting it. In the original Gilded Age as Mark Twain called it, a new class of industrialists slashed wages and with it the prospects of workers of marrying age, mostly male factory workers. Sociologist Andrew J. Cherlin at John Hopkins University wrote that one difference today is many are choosing to cohabitate and have children without a marriage license filed away in the family home. That would never do in the 19th century. But today it’s quite common.

One problem is the gatekeepers to pop culture, the TV and movie writers, musical artists and others have failed to keep up and give us an image we can hang onto for this new state of affairs in how long-term love should be.  Zoë Heller at the New York Review of Books says films today and other cultural milieu are filled with simplistic plots and clichés about love, without delving into the complicated minutia of modern relationships and how best to navigate them. They don’t reflect what people are actually experiencing, nor do they give a strategy for which to encounter the prickly paradigm of modern love. Supporters of traditional values decry the end of marriage as it once was. But couples staying together longer show greater stability, know each other better and perhaps can best negotiate differences. The expense of a wedding, weakening norms and lack of financial benefit may result in a further decline in marriage, experts believe. On the upshot for advocates, statistics show that those who are getting married stay together longer. Also, the divorce rate has dropped dramatically. In fact, since the 1980’s, divorce has been in deep decline. 70% of those who married in the 1990s celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary today. That’s 5% higher than those who married in the 70’s and 80’s. Those who tied the knot in the new millennium have an even lower divorce rate.

According to economist Justin Wolfer at the University of Michigan, two-thirds of married couples today stay together. For those cases where divorce does occur, two-thirds of the time it’s the wife who wants it. The reason is women’s expectations for marriage have vastly changed. Gender roles in America saw a dramatic paradigm shift over the past two decades due to the Feminist movement. This in turn affected how both sexes interact with one another. Today, marriage isn’t only about raising a family or having financial support. It’s about love and partnership. People also want someone who will help lead them into personal growth. They want to grow and better themselves and they look to their partner to help them complete their metamorphosis. A lot of times, when we feel as though we are in a stale relationship and the well has gone dry, we feel it’s time to move on. The baby boomer generation remains the one with the highest rate of divorce. People are living older nowadays, and so when the children have moved out and they still have decades of life left, they want to make the most of it. That sometimes means leaving someone they no longer connect with in order to enjoy those years with someone they do. For more on this topic read, The Marriage-Go-Round: The State of Marriage and the Family in America Today by Andrew J. Cherlin.

Engaging your Erotic Capital

erotic

Engaging your Erotic Capital

Most people have a celebrity that they go ga-ga over, someone dripping with sex appeal. Catherine Hakim, a sociologist in England, has a new phrase to quantify that special libido stoking quality that some people have, calling it ‘erotic capital.’ Well we have social capital—people who have a lot of friends and acquaintances and are good at networking, economic capital and cultural capital meaning a great artist for instance, or a very knowledgeable person. Why not erotic capital? This is what we used to call sex appeal. Of course in terms of capital this doesn’t just mean getting a lot of dates or finding your perfect match but it’s also an asset in climbing the ladder to success. Any type of advantage you can use for gain is referred to as capital. Sociologists have long studied the other three types mentioned above. But erotic capital helps people get ahead in a lot of ways, yet has been ignored by sociologists by and large. There are six main characteristics to erotic capital according to Hakim which are: sexual attractiveness, beauty, sexual competence, likeability-social skills, liveliness and style. According to Hakim sexual capital is learned. You don’t necessarily have it from birth. It’s also something that works on one group, not just a particular person or persons.

Some people have erotic capital but fail to use it to their advantage. So how can you engage your erotic capital? First realize that it depends on your gender. Women have far more erotic capital than men. They should be using it more to their advantage according to Hakim. Since men have a far more developed sex drive, women’s erotic capital is worth more. Hakim writes on this saying, “Men’s demand for sexual activity and erotic entertainment of all kinds greatly exceeds women’s interest in sex.” Experiments have shown that more attractive people are regarded as smarter, given more breaks and get ahead easier than those not so easy on the eyes. What she may be ignoring however is that there is a social and societal standard against women using erotic capital to their advantage. In fact, they may be labelled negatively by society for using their erotic capital to get ahead. What’s more women today feel that they often have to work harder, competing with online porn and the internet for male attention. With technologies like this in place, is erotic capital as powerful or useful as it once was? Certainly both sexes are aware that smiling, eye contact, flirting and other such similar moves can open doors where other forms of capital can’t. For more on this topic, read Erotic Capital: The Power of Attraction in the Boardroom and the Bedroom by Catherine Hakim.

Ammo for Answering Why Aren’t You Married?

happy-single-woman

Ammo for Answering Why Aren’t You Married?

Some people don’t know how to mind their own business. And it can be pretty embarrassing when they question your single status in front of everyone. The nerve of some people. But because they’re related to you they feel like they have the right to be a callous, ignorant, pushy pain. How are you legitimately supposed to answer that question? What are they expecting? What does it even mean? Instead, here is some ammo for answering, “Why aren’t you married yet?” First, let them know that people are living longer now, so why rush it? There’s no hurry. And with the divorce rate the way it is, wouldn’t they want you to be sure? Point out to them that just because people are married does not make them happier. Elucidate all of the things in your single life that make you happy such as your education, career, hobbies and interests and so on. Remind them that there were plenty of dictators and tyrants throughout history that were married. So being hitched does not automatically make you a better person. In fact, lots of plotting wives helped audacious husbands succeed and become tyrants throughout history. If you are a comic book fan let them know that virtually all the superheroes are single. And why is that?

Let them know that you don’t want to limit yourself to merely one disappointing relationship. Now there are all kinds of ways for you to be disappointed. And isn’t variety the spice of life? If you want to make a more serious effort, let them know that you just haven’t found the right person yet. Tell them you want to be knocked off your feet by the gusty gales of love, not settle for some little gust of happiness that blows through and is ordinary and so quickly over. The divorce rate is about half. So you want to make sure you do it once and do it right. If you are a free spirit and never planning on getting married, remind them that you do not live a conventional life. Why limit yourself to one experience while there is a multitude of experiences to be had, in love just as in any other category? If you are female let them know that the U.S. Census Bureau states that single women are happier than men, so you are in the right statistic. Also point out that married men are the happiest, so you are looking for the right guy to make happy. Lastly, question the reasoning behind this person’s question. Are they trying to pressure you? Are they just trying to tease you or be funny? Or do they want to make you feel uncomfortable? Perhaps a shallow barb will put them back in their place if they are being malevolent. But a small joke will put them back on track should they be teasing. For more advice on how to respond to annoying questions, read The Snark Handbook: A Reference Guide to Verbal Sparring by Lawrence Dorfman.

Relationship Make or Break Moments

Pop-art cartoon of Man And Woman Kissing

Relationship Make or Break Moments

Every relationship has its benchmarks. These are make or break moments which will tell whether a relationship carries on or disintegrates. Many people present themselves in the very best light on the first date. You only get a peak below the surface to what is really going on with someone. Their negative qualities are generally hidden or mitigated and they accentuate their positive strengths. The first date is the first benchmark. The second is the first kiss. Relationships blossom or whither upon it. Scientific research has shown that people, on a biological level evaluate a person on their kiss, to see if they are genetically compatible or not. Those who are much different genetically are considered good mates. But there is much more going on here too, the amount of pressure, the feel, technique and so on that each party is evaluating the other by. The first car ride, how a person drives, how aggressively, how cautiously is another benchmark. How prepared is your date? Are they using GPS or know everything by heart?

The first meal prepared in someone’s home is the next step. Is it good or bad? What is the reaction to a burnt meal? Does the cook curse and cry or have a follow up plan such as takeout? Does the guest cry, curse and lament or offer solace?

The first sexual encounter is the next test. Sexual compatibility is of course very important in a relationship. Sleeping in the same bed is another chance to evaluate a relationship’s chance at success. Does she hog the bed? Does he snore? Meeting each other’s old friends is the next step. You will see a whole different side to a person than usual. Going to a wedding brings a couple to another level. Ever feel like telling the person a little white lie? If you do so and how it is received or revealed can make or break a relationship. The last phase is talking and being open about one’s sexual desires. One thing that undermines relationships is if a person’s needs, wants and desires in the bedroom aren’t being met. If the two people trust one another, feel comfortable and are open they can pass this last benchmark successfully. But if they struggle or hide something that they want, need or desire problems can occur. If you have safely maneuvered all of these phases, congratulations. But don’t worry if you haven’t just yet. Just keep them in the back of your mind and have an idea on how to best address each. For advice on how to have a successful relationship, read How to be an Adult in Relationships: The Five Keys to Mindful Loving by David Richo.