Attraction Killer 3 – Competitive Women

I was sitting around a table with some associates once after a conference, chatting about nothing much when the subject of frivolous purchases came up.  I commented that I had yet to invest in the ubiquitous MP3 player, as the CD player in my car worked fine and I couldn’t justify the expenditure.  A woman I knew sitting across the table from me casually said, “Why don’t you have mine?  I hardly use it anyway.”  I was taken aback by her offhand generosity, and tried to protest that I could hardly accept such a lavish gift from a casual acquaintance.  She leaned toward me and stared me in the eye.  “I’m a single professional who regularly speaks on the conference circuit.  I’m pulling in over $150,000,” she said.  “How much do you make?”  I stammered that my income was considerably less, and she leaned back again, her case closed.  “So take the damn iPod.”

While I am still grateful for my friend’s generosity, the way in which she justified it gave me pause.  I am all for women being recognized for their accomplishments, and I know a number of women who are more capable than I am in so many fields.  I respect them immensely and think they deserve the recognition and remuneration they get, and probably more.  However, there are some in that position who feel they need to use their achievements as some kind of leverage and for us guys, it is a huge turn-off.

It is no secret that we men are competitive.  Call it a remnant of the hunter-gatherer instincts, or a survival tactic, but by and large men will try to outdo one another, or at least compare themselves with their peers in any and every field.  Maybe it is a redundant evolutionary urge, with our flash cars and golf handicaps echoing the plumage displays and hunting prowess of the animal kingdom.  Whatever the justification, we can’t help but want to outdo the other guy, and take our place on the top of the heap, however briefly and no matter how trivial the subject.  Showing off for the ladies is a dumb but almost unavoidable part of the process that most men engage in at some point, usually in their youth (although some never grow out of it).

But what happens if this alpha-male display of superiority, with its unspoken expectation of desirability, gets trumped by the very object of our attention, the woman we are trying to impress?  Suddenly the guy in question is shut down.  How does he prove his virility and masculinity to someone who outshines him in the ways he want to be measured?  He can’t, and so the conflicting feelings of desire for intimacy and defending his dignity make any emotional commitment very, very challenging.  Not many men will actually think in these terms, but essentially this is what is going on inside.  Us guys are used to competing with one another, but it is usually the male-display thing in one form or another.  To suddenly face the same situation with a woman confuses and frustrates us.

What we want to do is find someone we can support and provide for in some fashion, not arm-wrestle for who will wear the pants.  This does not mean that women should dumb themselves down and play the pathetic damsel-in-distress for the sake of their man’s ego.  That would be a disservice to them both.  But it does mean that the ladies need to consider how they are letting their man feel he is providing something they cannot in the relationship.  If she earns more than him it clearly isn’t money; maybe it is physical security.  If she is a black-belt and he barely tops ninety pounds then maybe it’s business savvy.  Whatever the combination, the key is to seek to recognize how you compliment one another.  It no more makes you weaker to acknowledge that he is the best one to manage the finances than it diminishes him to know that you are the better one to maintain the family vehicles.  As long as he feels somehow needed, he will want to stick around to be your knight in shining armor in that way.  But if he can’t seem to offer anything that you don’t already have covered, he probably won’t bother.  So girls; strive to excel, but don’t try to compete with him all the time, because there are already plenty of guys around doing that.  Instead look for the ways you complement one another and make sure he knows about them.


Dan Kelly,


Paul’s Thoughts

Excellent points Dan.  I have met many women who just absolutely love to compete.  That’s great, I don’t have a problem with competitive women until it comes to dating. In life men are constantly on their toes trying to compete.  Whether its for:

* a better job

* higher salary

* competing against other businesses

* competing in sports

* competing against every man around them, to be the alpha male

That is just to name a few, I could create a list a mile long on the types of things men are competing for.  This means that men are in a constant state of competition 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is only one time when men no longer have to compete, that is when he is with a woman he is dating.  When he is with you, he can actually let his guard down and relax. If you bring competition into that relationship, he won’t be able to truly feel comfortable around you.

I knew one married woman who worked with her husband as sales people for the same company.  Now its tough enough working with a spouse, but what made things worst for this couple is she would become angry if he ever out sold her.  When she had to take time off for a maternity leave, she could barely handle the fact that her time off meant he would be selling more then her.  She was so competitive she always had to beat at everything. Well she eventually did just that.  She beat her husband right out the door.  There was no place in his life where he could relax, everything became a competition and when he couldn’t handle it anymore he left.

Listen having a little competition between you and your partner can be fun when it comes to a game of pool or tennis.  When the competition turns into a demonstration of who is the better person, perhaps you need to ask yourself “Why do I need to know that I’m better then partner?” Remember relationships are about two people having different strengths, by being in this relationship you are stronger together.  It is not about showing them that you are the stronger person.


Paul Wright

2 thoughts on “Attraction Killer 3 – Competitive Women

  1. LC
    August 17, 2011 at 8:09 am

    I find this article interesting. I had the same thing happen to me. I was dating a guy who lost his job. Since I knew he had a 16 year old daughter to feed, and I had some contacts in his industry, I asked if he wanted me to send his resume to these people. He said yes, and they offered him a job. I was very sick with pneumonia during Thanksgiving, and he was kind enough to bring me food because I was too sick to get out of bed. He made an offhand remark about always wanting a BlueRay DVD player when he saw mine. I offered it to him because I literally never used it, and I had actually won it playing Black Jack, so it was really a re-gift. I was just trying to be kind and reciprocal, and I didn’t think that giving someone something I’d never paid for would be intimidating. He then stood me up twice, knocked up another woman, and moved to Missouri with her about 3 weeks later. I feel like men get competitive with women even if we’re not throwing it in their face on purpose. The fact that I’m an engineer freaks them out, and they all run off saying something like “you deserve better.” In this economy, anyone can lose their job at a moment’s notice, so it’s pretty dumb to either like or not like someone based upon their income. I’ve noticed also that a woman cannot be subservient or low enough for a lot of men. I tried so hard to be a good wife by baking bread, rushing home to make dinner every night for a man who worked the same hours as me, cleaning, trying to be pretty & taking care of myself, doing my best to support him in his work and be his friend, being available sexually, but being good at all of these things just served to make him like me less. He used to pick fights with me, and when I’d cry, after a while he’d tell me that he was just jealous of me b/c I was better at my job than he was at my age (we were in the same industry). He remarried a school teacher. I could never understand why he couldn’t be proud of my achievements like I was proud of his. Women really like to feel useful, helpful, and needed; I feel like a lot of men take this as being competitive. We just want our man to be happy, and we are thinking in a “do unto other as you’d have done to you” mindset. I have learned the hard way not to give too much info. about my job or to help a man.

  2. Dan Kelly
    September 30, 2011 at 12:59 am

    I’m sorry to hear about your experiences, LC. You are right; some guys will accept nothing less than the servile i’m-not-worthy approach from a woman. However, that is because their own insecurities prevent them from valuing those girls the way they deserve. You are better off without someone like that. I say be true to yourself, and take pride in being good at what you do – especially in such a male-dominated field. I get the feeling you can do this with the graciousness and sensitivity that any decent guy would appreciate and i don’t think it should be a barrier to having a really satisfying relationship. It’s not about making yourself less; it’s about valuing each other for your individual and unique strengths rather than competing over them.

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