"Sexy, Successful...and Single?"

Is it possible that women can be insecure about being successful? That is the topic of an article I came across this week.

I have to admit that as a relatively successful single woman myself, I took special note of the headline, “Sexy, Successful…and Single?”

I enjoy articles like this. People trying to make sense of the social phenomenon we’re witnessing among older (30+), successful, good-looking single women. As a woman who has spoken to women’s groups and at churches throughout the nation, I have seen women in small towns and in major metropolitan cities, tall and short, of all backgrounds and careers facing the same issues.

Men are generally intimidated by successful women. I have sometimes joked that I don’t want to choose between either a gifted, successful man OR a man of character. I realize that I am definitely generalizing the situation. However, my little joke comes from my own experience and holds some truth in it. It often appears that men are either “gifted” and “successful” (and, therefore, not intimidated) but lack key character traits OR they are men of character, integrity and humility who don’t seem as “successful” and are, therefore, often intimidated.

No woman, regardless of her title, position or salary wants to be with a man who is intimidated by her. Neither does she want to settle for a man who is in love with his own success!

Every woman wants to be loved and to feel like there is a man who desires to make sacrifices in order to love and protect her. Some of you, I’m sure, have read John Eldredge. He does well for presenting the case for those desires in the heart and soul of every man in Wild At Heart. He and his wife, Staci, discuss the longing in the heart and soul of every woman in Captivating.

Most every woman, regardless of education, career path or family background longs for relationship and family. Perhaps guys need that as a reminder. Maybe women in that station and path in life ought to avoid titles and just be women.

These are just a few thoughts from Just A Woman. What do you think?


At 10/21/2005 09:39:00 AM, Blogger Dakotaranger said...

I don't agree that a man is intimindated by successful women as such. I think there are a few other things that look like intimidation. First of all,ALL women settle. I have two women that think that I am there back-up plan if they can't find anything better, doesn't help. My second point is ALL women at one point or another think they DESERVE Prince Charming, or some guy that treats them like dirt becaue they don't feel worthy.

I know those two are very cynical. The last girlfriend I had, well most of it was my fault, very intellegent but because of her family history she didn't like arguement, which I can't blame her, but when something is wrong sometimes you have to. The bad thing since I'm a guy I may have known something was wrong I was to ignorant to figure out what. That would be thirdly I suppose.

Then you add the converse to that where the man can NEVER do right. Where the guy takes such a beating he just gives up. Since men's egos are about the most fragile things that God created.

Now if you mean intimidated by saying the man does about anything that a woman asks, like go to the ballet (which what ever guy does that needs his examined). Women kinda tend to think that mean that particular man is weak. Not that the guy enjoys the ladies company enough to try new things that is beyond their comfort area.

Personally, if I get roped into marrige I want someone at least as intelligent as I am, if she is as smart as I think I am that's even better. I don't care about money. I don't want someone who's going to control me or follow. I want someone who will side me. There is a reason the old timers call a wedding getting hitched. The majority of women I have met don't want to side a men they want to lead, drag, or follow.

Finally, some of it may be men are just disinchanted with idea of love, least wise Romantic love. Speaking personally I like the freedom of singleness. I like being able to buy a pistol without permision.

I figure I'm going to be ripped apart for this, but hey just throwing my buck fifty out there for concideration

At 10/21/2005 12:19:00 PM, Anonymous aj4runner said...

I am personally awe-inspired and attracted to 'successful' women. And that success doesn't have to be measured in $$$. In fact that is probably the least of my considerations.

I know someone not married, but in a relationship for the comfort of knowing their spouse is set for life financially. My friend has told me on mnay occasions that it's like he's a lion that has his 'meat' hand delivered to him each and every day. Not a way to live one's life in my humble opinion.

When it comes to the proposition of a long term relationship I do not want to be followed (the center of someone's universe) nor be in the position to be following my significant other. I view a worthwhile relationship as a partnership of a man and a woman who live together in a life that revolves around God, family and country in that order.

Another key to a wonderful relationship based on observation over time is allowing your spouse to have their own space where they branch out and grow while pursuing their own endeavour/interest. You can still be supportive and curious, but give them space.

Finally, seek out someone who is willing to share your interests, hobbies and joys in life. Part of a great relationship is meeting someone half way. For instance, I love the outdoors and can see myself in a relationship with someone who may not have experienced the joys of nature as much as I have. If they are open to joining me once in a while things will work out great. The same goes for me and their interests, hobbies and etc.

'Just my thoughts' from 'Just a Man' here in America.

At 10/21/2005 01:10:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great thoughts as usual. I can tell you that my experience with men before I got married, was that the men were generally weak and insecure. And I think there is a real problem in our society with the demasculinaztion of men (I know that demas...isn't a word ...)

Anyway, John and Staci make some good points, but I also think their material is too touchy feely also.

However, a great book that ALL men should read is No More Christian Nice Guy by Paul Coughlin, because it discusses what women really do want.

A woman wants a man to protect her, to stand up for her, to have his own opinion and not not back down from his beliefs.. A woman wants a man who is financially stable and not intimidated by more education or "success" - in that manner I am totally blessed having earned a Masters degree and my husband only has a Bachelors.

A woman wants a man to fear God and be a person of integrity (christian woman anyway) and they want to be seen as a partner on the side of him, and not another part standing behind him.

Stacy L. Harp

At 10/21/2005 06:40:00 PM, Anonymous sleep-deprived said...

I think women who are insecure about being successful are insecure period. It doesn't have anything to do with success. I think the same goes for men.

Based on your statement "No woman, regardless of her title, position or salary wants to be with a man who is intimidated by her" I am assuming the relationship sphere we are talking about is friendship/dating/courtship(as opposed to a working or business relationship).

One element of the equation that has been overlooked here is age. There are two different phenomena at work with single women over 30 and single men over 30. More women remain single to pursue their "success" than men. It has never been an issue for men to be married and successful. If anything, quite the opposite has proven true. On the other hand, as women have redefined "success" to mean in the business world, it has lead to women foregoing or at least postponing marriage and raising children to focus on pursuing careers.

I cannot speak at length to the reason for the over 30 single man, but the majority of the men I know who are now 30 and single are divorced. And that brings with it its own difficulties like the reason for the previous breakup, children from the previous marriage etc.

There is nothing wrong with women postponing marriage, but women who wait for whatever reason, to marry until they are in their 30s have a much more reduced “field” of men to choose from when they get there. The men who have character and are gifted (and are family minded) have most likely already married and are in the process of achieving their success with their wives already at their sides.

As someone who THOUGHT I would marry the “already successful” man, I am GRATEFUL instead to have married my family-minded, gifted man of character prior to his success. Because it has meant we have built our life together – side by side. I couldn’t “pick” him based on his success in the marketplace, it was based on his character and the life he planned to pursue. His “success” has come with seasoning, and has made him all the more appealing to me. And by the way, I was the one who already had a successful career when we met…he was still finishing up his undergraduate degree. My success did not intimidate him, and ultimately did not “attract” him either, inasmuch as his character attracted me, so did mine attract him. And at the core of our relationship has always been the very solid foundation of Christ.

At 10/21/2005 06:54:00 PM, Blogger Lores Rizkalla said...

dakotaranger and aj4runner: interesting and encouraging to hear that success and intelligence is not intimidating. however, i would argue that is because you are intelligent and secure men. good thoughts.

stacy: i agree that Eldredge stuff can absolutely be touchy-feely. While I recommend his stuff, I do so with some reservation. Nothing bad. Just in the same vein you've brought up.

sleep-deprived: it's true. i didn't address that aspect. that the men who are 30-something and not married, by and large, have been divorced. this presents an entirely new factor to the relationship issue. They may be hurt. Rejected. Gun-shy. Done with the whole idea of marriage working. Or, they may continue to walk in the dysfunction that contributed to the divorce.

It may very well be that talking about religion and politics is much safer and easier than taking on the mystery of relationships! ;)

At 10/21/2005 07:08:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"ALL women settle".
Not true. I didn't

"ALL women at one point or another think they DESERVE Prince Charming"
Yes, and your point being?! :o)

"...where the man can NEVER do right"
Again, yes, please get to the point.

Just rippin' on your two bucks.

S. in Atlanta

At 10/21/2005 09:07:00 PM, Anonymous KO said...

"ALL women settle".
- good for you, anon. I didn't either!

Sleep-deprived: I know you (Lores spilled the beans!) and your man, and you're right- marrying for character should always be the motivation for pursuing/building a relationship. You too definitely nailed it :)

Too many women fall into that famous Jerry Macguire line: "..and I love him for the man he almost is." Those are the ones that "settle". It may take longer for men and women to find someone who has the character worth marrying and spending your life with, so wait for it. Otherwise, you'll end up in the divorce statistics.

I've heard it said that the best gift you can give your future spouse is a whole, healthy you, (thus negating the other famous JM line "You complete me.")Not that we enter relationships fully perfected or "arrived," but we should look for the one who is not compatible with us, but rather complementary.

At 10/22/2005 03:38:00 AM, Blogger Mark said...

Lores, I want to tell you that I am not intimidated by sucessful women. My last girlfriend was a millionaire president of a construction company. But she had no character which is as important for a woman as it is for a man. She wanted me to take advantage of taspayer funded government grant programs to start the business I had in mind. It would have required me to misrepresent myself and compromise my integrity in order to accomplish that. I wouldn't do that. I would rather go homeless than exploit looholes in the system for gain.

I have character, so when she left, I had no problem saying, "Next!"

At 10/22/2005 04:17:00 AM, Blogger Goat said...

Lores,Type A women have been my best friends for years,they offer insight and depth I don't have as a typical male. We are parts of a whole that the Lord laid out. It is not the woman or the success we are intimidated by, it is the lawsuits.Today Paul Harvey spoke of a couple so in synch they died together of natural causes within seconds of each other,so devoted to each other the Lord had to take them as a tandem. Where is that today? I don't know but as a society we need to find out!

At 10/22/2005 04:20:00 AM, Blogger The Floating Dome said...

I had a mentor that used to say "Money makes you more of what you already are."
I would have to add "Success and..." to the head of that statement. Don't you think so? I mean, if you're a jerk and gain wild success and money, you've just become "Mega-Jerk"!!!
Success and money are temporary and resources to be stewarded with wisdom. God often grants us either (or takes away both) to test our character and/or dependence on Him (q.v., uh, anywhere in the book of Job). Our worship of "stuff" (including women, as we have historically objectified them) clouds our judgement.

Is it possible that God is waiting to bestow material success on us until our character is a sturdy enough base on which to stack it?

That being said, Lores, you intimidated me when I first met you. That is, I allowed my sense of "my character's still in the oven, baking..." to tell my mind - "Are you nuts?! Why would you even think she'd give you the time of day?!"

Which forced me to put my mind in time-out.

(Let me preface my next statement by saying that I am and will until further notice be intentionally single. Let me also say it with all arrogance aside.)
I am not impressed by good looks, but confidence, character, charisma, and a soy milk latte drinking lover of God, which I can smell a mile away, not because of my own nose, but by the power of my Holy Spirit GPS [Godly Personality Sensorysytem]. (okay, maybe not the soy milk thing but the rest of it...) On some people, you can very easily see the thumbprint of God, true?

While I don't understand chiropractors, massage therapists, and accupressurists, I do know that certain people can place pressure on certain spots of other people and create amazing relief and change. There are a handful of men out there that have been socially, mentally, relationally pressed in the right spots, relieving tension from their character and preparing them to be used by God in unique ways. These men are envigorated by a woman who challenges them and who are not intimidated by the fact that she loves God more than she could ever love him. I pray that I may someday be one of them, and in humilty, too. So yes, guilty of intimidation at first sight. But, I'm a bit nuts and you're easy to warm up to.

All that said, if my analogy holds up, isn't it easier to create tension than to relieve it? Could this explain the dearth of men who appreciate a successful woman?

Yeah, Eldredge is a little off in his theology, but does make some salient points. I'll pick up that book, Stacy, though I'd also recommend "The Barbarian Way" and "The Power of Uncompromised Living".
Thanks for the opportunity to rant.

At 10/22/2005 04:31:00 AM, Blogger Goat said...

To add to that last comment. We want some one to walk next to us, not behind or in front but as a partner in the greater pursuit of a happy dynamic life, a partner in fulfilling the wishes of our Creator, willing to dig deep to realize dreams that only teamwork can provide and the most blessed team work is man and wife in the traditional sense.

At 10/22/2005 06:04:00 AM, Blogger Mary said...

There are a lot of interesting perspectives here.

Something to consider:

People are far too complicated to generalize that "women want this" and "men want that."

There are just too many variables-- unique personalities, differing definitions of successfulness, etc.-- to be able to find any predictable patterns in behavior.

That said, I think being comfortable in one's own skin is probably the most significant factor in determining whether or not one will be intimidated by another's success.

Insecurity about one's worth is sure to bleed into one's relationships. Not good.

I think being in control is a big problem for some, too. Power struggles can really screw up relationships.

I like the Dylan line:

"I wanna be your lover, baby,
I don't wanna be your boss."

Personally, I find confidence to be a very sexy quality. A confident person isn't afraid to be vulnerable and admit to short-comings, nor does he or she feel the need to constantly be competing.

Feeling threatened and being in love don't mix well.

Can one be in love if one feels threatened?

At 10/22/2005 08:44:00 AM, Blogger Lores Rizkalla said...

mark and goat: it's always refreshing to hear from men who like being around established women. it's telling of the security you walk in.

mission command/aarron: welcome, my new blogging friend! i can't believe that you were intimidated by me. you sure didn't act like it! you make some very good points. feel free to come "rant" here whenever you'd like! :)

mary: it's been a while. good to see you around here. you're so right about confidence--very attractive. the flip side, though, insecurity and pride, is of the most unattractive and repulsive.

i've seen the confident and humble combination...that's the ultimate. may we all be that way in all we do. stand confidently without wavering in our sense of worth, while never forgetting that we are not more valuable or more important than any other of God's children!

At 10/24/2005 04:13:00 AM, Blogger Travis Fell said...

Lores sez:
"Maybe women in that station and path in life ought to avoid titles and just be women."

I've heard Chuck Swindoll say that it's less important to find the right person than BE the right person.

In that vein, I recommend you (and other young Christian women) memorize Proverbs 31:10-31 and ask God to enable you to put it into action in every applicable aspect of your life. The kind of guy you're looking for will eventually notice and, if he has half a brain and half an ounce of testosterone in his system, will initiate with you.

The Blogging Texan

At 10/25/2005 07:02:00 PM, Anonymous Jess from Reno said...

Lores, I'm so glad you recommended Captivating by John and Stasi Eldridge. I read it in a day and boy did I need it. I would clarify your reservations in recommending it by saying to would be readers: if you know your not whole and healthy even if you can't name what's wrong, this book will do you good. On the other hand if you are secure in the understanding of who God says you are then you probably don't need it. My own experience is that there are many who've been hurt and/or warped by the fallen world in which we live and this book filled in some of the gaps in my own foundation.


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