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The Pitfalls of Being a Strong Woman

Mom of 2, Rosa has worked with non-profits to provide educational and health programs for local children, and improve the local workforce.

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A friend came across an article talking about how men aren't comfortable with ambitious women. He's a pretty forward-thinking guy who spent years looking for a lady actively pursuing her own ambitions. He's genuinely baffled by the news that other men aren't comfortable with strong, independent women. He asked me:

Who are these guys?

I'm afraid I had a bit of knee-jerk reaction and blurted out:

OMG!! Almost every man I've ever met!

"Why?" he asked. "I don't get it."

Why are some men afraid of strong women?

Good question. There are a lot of reasons. Let's look at some of the ones I've encountered throughout my life:

  • Insecurities;
  • Jealousy;
  • Being raised with specific expectations and views of women ...

And some guys are just plain jerks.

Personal Experience

Over the past 20+ years as an adult with dreams and goals, I've run into a staggering number of responses from men that warrant some mighty big WTF?? reactions. Some of these were from the important men in my life!


  • If I have an idea, it's not good enough until a man comes up with it. (I'm not alone and thank goodness the women on Obama's staff taught us how to deal with that!)
  • If I don't have an equal education, I'm not considered smart or even useful beyond a certain point.
  • If I want to learn more, I'm so "cute" which sometimes includes being patronizingly patted on the arm, back or head!
  • If I clearly and respectfully express my boundaries, I'm a b*tch.
  • If I don't respond to a pick-up or turn down a meet up, I'm a snob and anti-social.
  • If I go out to karaoke or dancing and don't want to hook up with some random dude, I'm a tease.
  • If I don't want sex, I'm an "Ice Queen".
  • If I do want sex, I'm a slut or "needy".
  • If I express my likes or dislikes, I'm bossy, picky, and can't be pleased.
  • If I make a certain amount of money, the men who don't make as much think I'm greedy, sleeping with someone, or outright try to derail my progress.
  • If I get groped or kissed without permission, I am told to be grateful that someone found me attractive.

Some men who say they want a woman who is equal or has goals, visualize that reality with a limitation for the woman. It's either because he doesn't see himself going very far (so she can't either) or because she "should" also be running the home, popping out babies, and raising them while meeting her goals (!?!).

From the Donkey's Mouth

Each of these statements were said by men who claimed they wanted an ambitious, independent women:


  • How did you ever get along without me?
  • What would you do without me to do this for you?
  • You’d never survive without me.

You may have noticed these statements invalid my ability to think or function. They presume I did not - and would not - do well on my own. Like having a penis in the home saves me from the incompetence they presume upon me.

Some men are afraid of women with ambition, strength, and skill because they don't know what they can offer her.

Not All Men

Not all men are jerks, obviously. A man of value knows his worth or value in a relationship unless they're the only strong and able adult. He knows that it's not just about opening jars and bringing in the big bucks. These men are refreshing and empowering. And desirable.

Men: Know Thy Worth

It's important for men to know that a woman values her man for other reasons. She may not need him in the traditional ways our society has trained them to be needed, but there are things a strong man can provide that will make her thrive, including:


  • His autonomy in the relationship;
  • Unconditional support;
  • Sincere encouragement;
  • Admiration ...

These things make him a priceless asset. A man she will love, adore, and depend on more than if he just opens the pickle jar or changes the oil in the car. If a strong woman doesn’t need you, it’s because you’re not giving what she needs.

"And a strong man doesn't see his S.O. as a servant," my friend piped in. "He sees them as a partner." He gets it. Now, he needs to explain it to the clueless men around him.

Want to know what strong women want in a relationship?

I highly recommend you read 7 Things a Strong Woman Needs in a Relationship.

Originally Published Jan 30, 2017

© 2021 Rosa Marchisella

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