Tell Me About It: Nice men find my success and wealth intimidating

I feel like a man-repeller, despite being an attractive, interesting, fun person

Illustration: Thinkstock

Illustration: Thinkstock

Tue, May 6, 2014, 01:00

Q I like men, work with men, and, when I’m out socially, I find them easy to talk to. My problem isn’t meeting men, it’s finding one with the self-confidence to not be threatened by me. I feel like a man-repeller, despite being an attractive, interesting, fun person (or so my friends say) in my 30s who likes to think of herself as a catch. I earn more than most of the men I meet, I have a beautiful house and a nice car and can afford to travel. My problem is that nice men seem to find this intimidating.

A Successful women can be a turn-off for many men. While independence, confidence, fearlessness, assertiveness and self-sufficiency are all fabulous qualities, you may come on a little strong at first. Some men will love this – or should.

My immediate instinct is to advise you to go for younger men in their 20s, who are far more relaxed around gender roles than their older brothers.

Another approach would be to park your career persona and practise feminine wiles in social situations. You probably have a work-mask that is hard to peel away, especially if it has been a while since you have felt free to be vulnerable.

“I regularly see very attractive, successful women who struggle with their relationships,” says Elizabeth Sullivan, a relationship coach. “Many successful women have learned to avoid being open or showing any vulnerability at work. This can make them seem very distant to men, who are programmed to fall in love with women who show vulnerability. If you’re always waiting for the other person to show love or trust first, it can become a battle, and nobody shows any emotion and nothing ever happens.”

It sounds like you have been side-stepped so many times that you are now worried even before you meet a man that he will think you’re too tough. This could make you inclined to protect yourself, appearing even more unattainable.

“Successful women often turn off their warmth, their sparkle, as a way of avoiding inappropriate attention at work. This then becomes their normal manner and they forget to switch their warmer side back on at the end of the day – their fun, playful, relaxed, sparkling side. Men like women who are warm – they will return warmth if you radiate it out,” says Sullivan.

Sullivan also believes that men need to be needed. “When a new man comes into your life, or shows any interest, do you let him do little things for you or do you brush him away with a curt, ‘It’s okay, I can do that’? Men have traditionally been the hunters and providers.

“They like to add to your life. Feeling needed taps into that subconscious, primitive part of a man’s brain. It makes him feel like a man, it makes him feel happy, and, very importantly, it increases his attraction to you.

“This isn’t about playing a game and being someone you’re not. If you’re fake, men will sense that and you’ll feel like you’re letting yourself down. ”

Maybe there’s something he likes to do – cooking, perhaps, or helping in the garden. I know it sounds manipulative when put like that, but when you get to know someone, you will discover they have talents and skills that can add to your life in ways that you can be genuinely grateful for. Everybody likes to feel appreciated.

Whatever you do, try to avoid giving the impression that you’re a woman on a mission to find a man, even though you are.

“You should also avoid having a defined set of expectations or a time frame; no man wants to feel he’s on a schedule. The more relaxed you are dating, the more attractive you are to men,” says Sullivan.

If you find yourself interviewing a potential partner and practically asking for his CV, you’ll seem like a desperate employer.

Also, choose date activities that aren’t about flashing the cash, since he may not be able to afford your lifestyle. You can treat him to a holiday when you’ve got to know him better.

Email your questions to tellmeaboutit@irishtimes.com or contact Kate on Twitter, @kateholmquist. We regret that personal correspondence cannot be entered into

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