Will my Independence Put Men Off?

Feb 23, 2022

Among the most common types of questions I get asked by women over 50 looking to find a man are –

“Am I too independent to attract a man?"

"Are qualities like independence, strength, intelligence a turn-off for men?”

It’s a pretty frustrating thought – you’ve spent your entire adulthood striving to be the best you can be, you’ve had success in your professional life, and you’re great at dealing with the issues life throws at you and looking after yourself.


A man with these qualities would be a great catch, right?

So why then does it seem as if the same things could disqualify we women from finding a relationship?


Well the truth is, the characteristics that make men attractive are not the same as those that give a woman high mate-value.  And women with fierce independence and intelligence will indeed scare a lot of men off.


But the thing is, these men are unlikely to be the ones you want anyway!


Men obviously vary in the qualities they value in a partner and although there are guys that are intimidated by strong independent women there certainly are those that value these attributes highly. Clearly men of the latter variety are those who would make a good partner for you.


Why would you want a man who’s scared of your independence and capability?


The take-home message? You shouldn’t try to pretend you’re something you’re not to be more attractive for men, since you’ll attract the type of men who are into something you’re not…


Another thing to bear in mind is that men tend to look for different qualities depending on whether they’re in the market for casual sex or a long-term partner.

Guys who are just looking for some uncommitted sex or a quick fling are the ones who are more likely to be looking for someone who’s easy to push around or manipulate.

Men who are more interested in a proper relationship – they’ll be looking for a quality woman who’s intelligent and capable. Some men even change from one strategy to another. Just think of George Clooney who ditched the supermodels and went for a supremely intelligent human rights lawyer when it came to getting married.


So yes, if you’re a strong, independent woman – don’t be afraid to show it.


That said…

Just because you’re used to being strong and capable and assertive at work, it’s probably not a good idea to bring that with you when you’re out on a date – especially in the early stages of getting to know someone.


After all, a lot of men have fairly fragile egos compared with women. This is because men’s behaviour has evolved to optimise status among their male peers and their egos help push them to pursue that status. In the context of a date, you don’t want to be part of that status competition!


You don’t have to be strong and independent ALL the time. Accept a little help from time to time, perhaps show your more playful side – you might enjoy it 


Just like us, men need to feel needed, to feel appreciated for what they bring. So you don’t have to go in with all guns blazing. It won’t harm your feminist credentials to have fun in a man’s company and accept a little help when you could do with it. Let him show some investment in you.


Show your appreciation for what he gets right. Compliment him on his choice of venue. There’s nothing wrong with letting him pay the bill – you can reciprocate next time if you like.


But at the same time, you can demonstrate your intelligence, your practicality, your awesomeness – and expect appreciation for that (if you don’t get appreciation for that – move on).


Show who you really are, and the RIGHT guy will love you for it.

Mairi Macleod PhD