Woman Sitting in JacketI’m glad you made it back. This is definitely one of the top three, most frequently brought-up topics when I’m speaking to large audiences of single women, or coaching them one-on-one.  So I really want to you get this issue (and what to do about it) locked down tight.

Hear me well…

Even though you may not be the cause of his intimidated misperception (that you are too strong and too successful to want him) there are some ways you can HELP him get a more accurate picture of the kind of woman you really are—BEFORE his assumptions cost you both.

After twenty years of research, observation and counseling thousands, I’ve discovered the following smart strategies to help you disarm the risk of a potential mate getting a bad case of “Intimidated Men Syndrome.”

Make a habit of the following:

Tip #1: Clarify Your Preferences

Make a list of up to 10 of your Got-to-Haves, the non-negotiable qualities you seek in a potential mate.  As you make your list, ask yourself: Does his income level need to match or exceed mine, or not?  Do potential partners have to share my educational or social level, or not?

Sure, without thinking it through you might say that his earnings don’t really matter to you.  Or, you’ll say his income and career status must be comparable to yours.  It’s fine either way; but you’ve got to know your real truth.  Otherwise, in dating, you’ll waste precious time—yours and his.

Tip #2: Point out the Difference He Makes

Some men ARE intimidated by successful women, but NOT all men.  Many guys are simply turned off by how impossible it is to impress you.  You see, men have to see opportunities to bring something unique and valuable into your life, something you wouldn’t have as much of, were he not in your life (e.g. romance, laughter, affection, or supportiveness?

Never assume he already knows, tell him. For example:

I want you to know that, when I’m stressing about work, or whatever, and my brain won’t shut off, you have a beautiful way of clowning with me that reminds me that none of this is all that serious.  I need that alot, and you are so good at it.”

Tip #3: Let Him Set the Financial Pace

Men place great importance on their ability to finance their romance.  Even the most confident one might need a minute to get his self-worth anchored when dating a woman with more money and status than he.

Until the relationship is well-developed:

  • DON’T propose pricey dates, then offer to pick up the tab.
  • DO suggest low/no-cost dates (stress how romantic, not how cheap)
  • DON’T give him expensive gifts or reject a gift from him by raising concerns about his budget.
  • DO avoid updating him on your latest purchases, raises or financial gains.
  • DO make it clear that the pleasure of his company is what you treasure most.

Tip #4: Make the Time Anyway

Building a serious relationship should NOT require you to blow off your career and other important priorities.  But, as much as possible, leave work totally out of your time together.

  • Silence your cell phone—while he’s watching.  Even better, leave it on, so when it rings he can see you ignore it.
  • Set definite date times. With busy people, leaving it up in the air means it won’t happen much.  When the time comes, shift your mind and body fully to your date.
  • Be real about your limits.  If you are available, but not free to give him your undivided attention, make this offer:  “I’d love for us to get together, but I do HAVE to take calls/work on this project/run these errands, etc.  But if you want to join me, I’ll be glad to multi-task between working and enjoying you.

Finally, be sure to check yourself for any traces of a “Boss Lady” tone or attitude.  It’s exactly what you may need on the job, but not with the man in your life. Switch from your 9-5 self and choose to look and sound like an equal partner—his girl.

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–Laura B. Randolph, Do Successful Sisters Intimidate Black Men? Ebony, Sept. 1997

–Christian Carter, Are Men Initimdated by Successful Women? Catch Him and Keep Him

–Jam Donaldson, “He’s Not Intimidated, He Just  Doesn’t Like You” Blog: conversateisnotaword.com

–eHarmony Staff, The Successful Woman’s Guide to Dating

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