If you’ve ever been told by men that you’re intimidating, the following was written for you. I know so many strong, successful, career orientated women but they often tell me that men find them intimidating. This is frequently followed by confusion…about what they’re actually doing to intimidate men because they sure aren’t challenging them to an arm wrestle or a dual of any kind.
Last week, I took out all the notes I’ve ever written down on this matter and identified the many ways women may intimidate men. I also asked our guy panel for some advice. I hope you find it useful.
When age is more than a number
They say age is just a number but a gap in age can be intimidating for men. It’s not so much the numerical difference but the varying levels of experience in life and in the bedroom.
“I once dated a woman who was 15 years old than I was. She had an established career as a TV anchor and lots of nice furniture. Back then I didn’t feel like I was good enough for her, I still had a roommate and Ikea furniture”, Ian, 37.
“I think a 1-5 year age gap is fine but a woman 10 years my senior would have so much more experiences in the bedroom, I constantly would wonder if she’s had better”, Joe, 28.
“When you get to yours 20-30s, you’ll meet women who’ve already been married and have had kids. It’s hard to compete with exs who’ve shared so much history with these women you date”, Dan, 31.
“You can be impressed by a woman with a lot of self confidence who’s respected. A 20 year old is usually less intimidating than an experienced woman especially for someone younger”, Francois, 31.
What to do:
If you’re dating someone younger, experience new things together. Do things you both have never done before. Start a new hobby or routine on a clean slate so it’s irrelevant experience or age.
Your body language and facial expressions
Next time you’re out, notice your body language and facial expressions. Whether you’re on your commute to work, out to drinks with colleagues or you’re out on a Saturday night with girlfriends, be mindful of how approachable you are.
“Most women aren’t aware of their facial expressions and body language but for men, it’s a cue that determines whether or not we should come and chat you up”, Chris, 31.
“It doesn’t matter how hot she is. If she’s not approachable or if she has a resting bitch face, no guy will approach her”, Derek, 35.
“You don’t have to be the hottest woman in the room, just the most friendly looking”, Jesse, 29.
What to do:
Be mindful of your body language in social situations. A tip I love is to think of a funny story or moment, especially if you’re in an uncomfortable or new social situation. This relaxes your whole body. When you’re engaged in a conversation, keep your arms uncrossed, smile and make sure your purse isn’t coming in between you and other people.
Not feeling like an equal
If you’re looking for a man who is masculine, it’s important that he feels he can contribute to a relationship. Many men I speak to say that women are really independent these days and while that’s great, they also feel that they’re not needed anymore. It can be emasculating for a man who doesn’t feel like he can provide and protect.
“I dated a woman who was really intimidating. She had a good career in finance so not only was she well paid, she also had a good grasp of her finances. She could have bench pressed me. In the end I broke up with her because I felt like she didn’t need me”, Max, 32.
“My ex had is all together and I didn’t feel like I was good enough. I could have stepped up but I never felt like I could catch up to her”, Rex, 36.
“I lived with my girlfriend for two years where she was the breadwinner. Because she made most of our income, she paid the rent, our holidays our meals. That would have been fine but it also gave her the power to dictate everything we did because she paid for it. I didn’t have a place in our relationship and eventually I left”, Fred, 32.
What to do:
You can be successful and independent without being intimidating. What intimidates men about successful women is that they don’t feel like they can add anything special in their lives (whether it be financial, physical or emotional). Learn to receive, ask for his opinion. Let him do things for you, not because you need him to but because you’d like the help.
If I were to sum up the conversations I’ve had with both men and women, it’s that for a relationship to work, both parties have to feel like an equal. When a man feels intimidated by a woman, there’s a part of him that feels like he can’t offer an equal contribution to a relationship.