I realize there are many conversations about men being intimidated by successful women but I’ve not talked with too many women about this subject. However, I recently received the following email:
I have what may be a unique question that I really need help with! My problem has to do with online dating and sharing my occupation. I will get a wink or an email from someone and the guy and I will email back and forth several times, it seems comfortable and we’re ready to set our first date. When he asks about what I do for a living, I tell him, “Psychotherapist” and 99.9% of the guys immediately stop writing me.
Any advice on this? I don’t believe in lying but I also want prospective daters to know that I really don’t psychoanalyze my dates! I guess on the other hand, by my telling guys the truth about my profession, I am weeding out the insecure guys perhaps?
And here was my response to her:
For example, I didn’t talk much about video games in my profile even though I enjoy playing them. I didn’t want women to think I was a couch potato even though at that point in my life video games were a pretty big part of how I spent my time. So normally on the first or second date I’d bring it up with the thought that by that point they should have gotten a feel for who I was and wouldn’t be bothered by it. On one hand, it would have been more honest to talk about video games earlier when discussing how I spent my time but on the other hand, I didn’t want people making assumptions about me.
So I’m totally supportive of continuing to tell them early on that you’re a psychotherapist but I’d also support holding back on the details until they get to know you a bit better. I understand not wanting an insecure guy but it might be that the vast majority of men are going to be intimidated by the idea of your profession, even when they are secure in life in general. Maybe start out with telling them you’re a therapist instead of a psychotherapist and then get into the details as you get to know one another? I know it’s not as honest as you’d like to be but I also don’t think anyone would accuse you a being a liar with this approach.
The Problem with My Advice
As I’ve thought about it, I’ve just not been able to become fully comfortable with the advice I gave this woman. It’s not that I think this advice can’t help; I think it might. It’s more that I didn’t spend 8+ years of my life working hard, studying and making sacrifices so I could be a video game player. Something feels wrong about trying to hide an accomplishment. Would a man also need to hide or tone-down this accomplishment to find success?
So I’m not really writing this article to offer advice, but instead I’d like to see if there are successful women out there who can speak to this topic. Is this something you’ve seen when dating online? Or do successful women not have this issue when dating online and could this just be a case where a very particular job scares men off?
If being a successful woman does create issues, is it better to hide that success or is it better to deal with a very low number of dates until you can finally find a man secure enough to move forward? Have any women found an approach that works well that they could share?
Any thoughts would be appreciated!