In the Greek myths, Athena, Hera, and Aphrodite enter a contest of beauty and select the young handsome mortal man Paris to judge which of them is the most beautiful. To sway him, each goddess offers him a gift. Hera offers to make him a king of Europe and Asia, Athena offers wisdom and skill in war, and Aphrodite offers him the most beautiful woman in the world. Paris choses Aphrodite, the goddess of love to be the most beautiful of them all. This simple man, who really is a metaphor for all men out there, wants love not power or even wisdom from his companion.
Many of my clients are highly accomplished women in all other areas of their lives but when it comes to love, they seem to come up against a wall. Living in New York City, I see many women state the odds stacked against them in finding love, but in truth the real reason behind her challenges in love lies in the fact that the very qualities that made her so successful at work is what is causing trouble in her love life. Here are a few reasons why highly accomplished women have a hard time finding and keeping love.
She is used to Taking Charge
At work, she is never shy of taking charge to get a job done. Unfortunately, a woman who takes charge is emasculating for men. I am not espousing that women should feign helplessness to be more attractive to men but quite the opposite. It is not the that you are not capable of taking care of yourself, rather, its more about allowing a man to take care of you to make him feel good, worthy, and strong. Allowing a man to show chivalry with simple acts like opening the door, walking on the side of path closer to traffic, and lending his coat to her not only makes you feel cared for but let’s him feel manly for providing protection and consideration. In love and courtship, there is a constant exchange of bids - bids for affection, bids for worthiness, bids for sex, bids for understanding, bids for forgiveness. A chivalrous gesture by a man is his bid to demonstrate his worthiness. What you may mindlessly do as an act of independence may be in fact rejecting his bid to prove himself worthy and eventually drive him away.
Also, there are three stages to all relationships – falling in love, power struggle, and mature love. During the “falling in love” phase, the body is flooded with love hormones to ensure physical bonding to ensure continuation of the species. Once the attachment is somewhat established the second phase “power struggle” stage kicks in. This is where many couple fail to deepen their relationship and give up on the relationship. Women who are used to routinely taking charge like to win and be in the right. Would you rather be right or harmonious?
It takes more confidence and inner strength to be yielding than leading.
She is Independent and have yet to Appreciate and Acquire the Virtue of Interdependence
Successful women are financially independent and highly self-sufficient and this enables her more freedom to walk away when things don’t go her way. She is used to taking on her share and more, which allows her to be in control of your life. Giving up independence to move towards interdependence is uncomfortable for her because this makes her feel like she is losing control. Layer this with past hurts and defense mechanisms, this makes a perfect cocktail for continued “sovereignty” and control at the price of solitude and loneliness. Truth is she hides behind independence her fear of becoming vulnerable.
Letting go of control, taking a chance and becoming vulnerable is exactly what is needed to nurture an intimate relationship.
She is Goal-Oriented
Being goal oriented, she is likely to be action and solution oriented. This often leads to living in a state of constant urgency. Her to-do list is always on her mind. She often can’t fall asleep because your mind is going a million miles a minute. Healthy relationships require presence and presence requires a state of being not doing. Goal oriented type-A personality types have a hard time even understanding the concept of being as their lives are full of do, do, do!
Another aspect of the goal-oriented problem solver is that you are probably doing this to your romantic partner, constantly “shoulding” on him by offering him solutions to challenges he may be facing. Yes, the pun is intentional! Men do not want their partners to solve their problems if they ever bring it up at all.
A man wants to appear strong and capable of solving their own problems especially in the eyes of the woman whom they love.
She is Highly Mental and Analytical
A person with a highly intelligent and analytical mind have most likely over-developed their mental capacities. However, femininity and sensuality are embodied. I meet many professional women who are so completely disconnected from their body that they are incapable of feeling sensual pleasure. Many women I have met and worked with cannot have an orgasm with their partners. Needless to say this makes intimacy challenging.
No man wants to feel that they can not give their lover pleasure. A man’s ego would feel more fulfilled being able to truly pleasure his partner than pleasuring himself, which we all know does not take much.
The other downfall of high intelligence is that she mistakenly believes knowing something is sufficient. She can read and understand detailed instructions on how to swim, she can even imagine herself doing the motions, yet without the direct experience of her body immersed in water she will never learn how to swim.
Knowing and mentally understanding something and being able to embody and live that knowledge are two completely different things. Knowing that compassion and vulnerability are important for an intimate relationship and then having the courage and resolve to practice are not the same.
One Tibetan lama had told me a story about the relationship between practice and knowledge. In Tibet, they rub butter on leather to keep it soft and supple. The act of rubbing butter is likened to daily practice, while the butter is knowledge. If the butter is left in the leather satchel for some time both harden and become completely unusable. Like the butter in the hardened leather satchel, your brain becomes rigid and arrogant. Mistaking knowledge for wisdom gained through practice, she becomes a intolerable know-it-all.
She is Highly Disciplined with Rigid Routines
Discipline and routines have allowed her to pack as much as she does in a day. In fact, when she is not able to stick to your routine like hitting the gym 3 to 5 times a week after 40+ hour work week, she feels guilty and lazy. But this kind of rigidity does not allow for spontaneity, serendipity and surprise. How much room can she allow for chance and flow?
Combined with her to-do list and perfectionist standards, there is no room for a relationship. Of course, many will deny this but I have noticed that many of clients held the subconscious belief that they can’t have success and love and if this is what they believe, this will indeed be their reality.
She Thrives on Challenge and Addicted to the Rush
She thrives on and is addicted to winning a challenge and perhaps unbeknownst herself constantly seeks challenges even in relationships. She is attracted to that one brooding unavailable guy despite a bevy of adoring suitors around her. Secretly, she likes the challenge to see if she can be the one that changes him. This leads to a string of short to medium term relationships that blow up, when she finally realizes she cannot change him or win him over. She is also often addicted to the drama of the chase, passion, and even fights (and the make-up sex of course!)
Now this paints a pretty grim picture of romance for the type-A motivated professional woman, but there is a silver lining. Because she is so motivated to grow and evolve she does not make excuses or hesitate when she perceives a problem and she responds very quickly to guidance. The only true obstacle for her is becoming aware that her old patterns are not serving her and that she needs to find an alternative path and have the humility to reach out for help.