Let’s continue the conversation about smart women and dating. Today’s post is the final in my series with my take on the article “Why Do the Smartest Women Have the Toughest Time Dating?,” published in the Huffington Post by Dr. Alex Benzer. (If you haven’t read my previous posts, you can find Part One here; and Part Two here.)
As I said previously, I think Dr. Benzer’s work on this is spot on. I also completely understand why so many women were angered – even enraged – by it. I know from my own experience how hard it is to let go and open up…just a little…to hearing that “it’s not all their fault.”
My colleague Michelle Vasquez commented: “Bobbi, I appreciate you having the courage to stand up and say you agree with Dr. Benzer.” To me, this isn’t about courage. This is about getting the message to as many women as possible: there is a life filled with love and intimacy waiting for you. Do whatever you have to do to find that life. That might just include taking some personal responsibility and being willing to shift how you think and act.
So, on I march. Next are my takes of Dr. Benzer’s points 4 – 7. I value your opinion. Please take a moment after reading to leave a comment. Agree or disagree; you should become part of this discussion.
4. Smart women mistake a person for real fulfillment.
Dr. B.: “Smart women can sometimes get really excited over a guy’s resume, especially when he’s gone to the right schools and held the right jobs…There’s minimal correlation between a guy’s resume and how good he can make you feel. Fulfillment is not a person; it’s a feeling.”
MT: Let me tweak this a little and see if it’s easier to digest. It could sound like an accusation that women are gold diggers. He may have meant that; but I don’t think that’s the point. So let’s exchange “right schools and right jobs” for “nice family and compatible religious beliefs.” Or whatever is on your list. (Come on…you know you have a list! And, btw, when is that last time you updated it?)
Okay…I did this when I was dating, along with every woman I know: we fall for a guy who “looks good on paper.” You see his profile online or meet him casually at the grocery store, you go on a date, and you decide that he’s a very definite possibility. And then off you go looking for evidence that he is, indeed, The One. You look for positives, often creating ones that don’t exist, ignoring the contrary evidence. And, voila! A relationship ensues…and you do everything you can to hang on to it. Because you decided he was perfect for you.
I call this “shoehorning.” You know: trying to cram something into a very small space.
What Dr. Benzer is saying is that you need to widen this space if you are going to find fulfilling relationships. It’s more than that stuff on a checklist. That’s the easy part. What really counts is how a man makes you feel. Do you feel valued and happy when you’re with him? Do you like and respect yourself when you’re with him? Do you feel beautiful, and do you feel safe being the complete and complex woman that you are?
5. Smart women overthink it.
Dr. B.: “All women are master overthinkers; smart women just have extra brainpower to burn on it. So they’re experts at twisting themselves into knots of doubt, indecision and self-sabotage.”
MT: Seriously, can you deny this? Overthinking should be an Olympic sport for women. For some of us it’s about feeling in control. Others think that if we can anticipate, we can prevent rejection or disappointment. The rest of us do it because that’s just our nature and what our big bad brains do.
Regardless, the fact is that we tend to take every movement and every word out of his mouth and analyze it. And then we often turn it into a negative: we either judge him harshly or, as Dr. Benzer says, feel self-doubt and indecision.
I don’t know your batting average, but mine and the women I coach is low; we are just about always wrong. My advice? Dr. B said it best: Stop. Simplify. Did you enjoy his company? Then see him again and see what happens. Otherwise, don’t.
6. Smart women underplay their feminine charms.
Dr. B. “Newsflash from the cosmos: masculine things gravitate towards feminine things. So if you want more masculine things (e.g. guys) in your life, then cultivate your feminine energy…Receptivity is a quintessential feminine quality, so if you want more good men in your life, be receptive to their offerings.”
MT: Just like you want a man who is strong, confident, and decisive; he wants a woman who is nurturing, kind, and receptive. It’s nature. I never used to believe this, but the facts are clear. Let’s admit it and go with it, shall we?
Here’s my newsflash: Being feminine doesn’t mean you can’t also be brilliant, opinionated, and self-sufficient. It’s all part of an amazing package. (Which you already have, if you just let it all out.)
Unless you embrace your femininity – and this is probably the hardest thing for smart and accomplished women to do – you won’t attract a (grown-up) masculine man. Have fun being a girl. Be flirty, ask him to carry your bags, even ask for his advice. (I can’t tell you enough times how important it is to let a man do things for you!) And then, go off and kick ass at work, debate him about politics, and insist that you pick the next place to vacation. You can do it all.
If you haven’t read Marianne Williamson‘s book A Woman’s Worth, put it on your list. You may not agree with all she says, but I promise it will open up your heart and make you happier with men. I believe in what she says: “In intimate relations with men, I want to major in feminine and minor in masculine.” Notice she didn’t say give up the masculine. Just soften it. Consider also that Ms. Williamson is an incredibly powerful and successful woman. This seems to have worked pretty well for her.
7. Smart women are waiting for love to show up versus showing up as love.
Dr. B.: “If you’re embodying joy, compassion and sensuality, telling him how great he is, making him feel like a billion bucks and the conqueror of worlds, you have no competition. Anywhere. Good men will come out of the woodwork to find a goddess like you.”
MT: What if you found that man: the one that thinks you are delightful, and beautiful, and brilliant? The one that boasts to his friends about your successes and supports you in all you do? The one that makes you feel safe, gives you permission to soften, and to be the complex woman that you are? What if you found that man? Wouldn’t you want him to feel like a billion bucks and the conqueror of worlds?
So I ask you: if you are in love with this magnificent man, if he makes you feel that good, then what the begeezes is so infuriating and ugly about being an open, loving, giving woman for him?
And yes, there is a catch, and an important one: you’re not going to come close to finding this man unless you show yourself to be the woman worthy of him.
So be the best and most complete woman you can be. BE the woman worthy of this amazing man. And and as Dr. Benzer says: “lead with love.”