Monday, May 18, 2009 Guest Post - He’s Not Intimidated, He Just Doesn’t Like You.

[Editor's Note: I hate running Guest Posts without permission, but that's exactly what I'm doing today. Jam Donaldson is perhaps best known as the creator of the website HotGhettoMess, and BET's spinoff show We Got To Do Better. Her blog Conversate Is Not A Word is a personal favorite of mine, so when I saw this post that more or less echoed a sentiment I agree with, from a female perspective, I had to run it. I only know Jam in passing, but I did ask for permission, she just didn't respond. So I'm asking for forgiveness instead. Jam, check your email. AverageNation™, let the sparks fly. This one's a doozy.]

Ok people I just have to say it. For a long time I was willing to give women the benefit of the doubt, but no longer. As I enter the realm of my thirties being single and anxious about just where my life is going, I know there are jillions of similarly-situated women who feel the same way. I think most women who reach their thirties and are still single go thru a range of emotions almost daily. Sometimes we feel very liberated and independent, relishing a life full of opportunities unhampered by domestic obligations. Other days we are full of fear wondering if we will ever find a mate and enjoy the benefits of companionship.

Will we find someone to experience the bigness of the world with? Will we find someone to grow old and fat with? Although we enjoy our freedom, we know there will come a day when sitting on the couch at home with a bottle of wine and a dog watching Tivo just wont do it. We wonder if we will end up dying alone only to be found after three days by a home care worker who doesn’t speak English. But enough about me.

That being said, I want to address a lie that many of us tell ourselves about why we may be alone at this stage of our lives. And though I focus on my fellow thirtiers, this really goes for all women.

Because the “single” designation is such a source of anxiety as you get older, we oft find the need to justify our status. We have these little reasons that we tell ourselves we’re alone to make us feel better. And its time for it to stop. If I hear one more woman say that men are intimidated by their success and/or independence I’m gonna scream. I call this the Intimidation Doctrine. Other than Iraq having WMD, this is one of the biggest lies of our time.

When a woman is attractive, educated, financially independent and generally successful and STILL single, many of us start to believe that our success is part of the problem. When relationships don’t work out, we automatically go into the “well, he’s just intimidated by my success” routine. And its time for us to get real with ourselves.

We have to stop making excuses for our failed relationships. Too often these excuses lay all the blame on someone else. As long as we believe that most men are intimidated by strong successful women, we fail to look at ourselves for the reasons we cannot maintain successful relationships. The Intimidation Doctrine keeps us looking outward for fault. It relinquishes us of all responsibility. And I think its holding us back.

I must admit, I have never been a follower of the Intimidation Doctrine because I KNOW I’m fucked up and have issues. (I know I can be selfish, spoiled, obnoxious and a total smart ass, but I’m working on it) However, I see too many of my fellow mature sisters relying on this theory and I think its destructive. We must start to consider what role we have in cultivating our personal relationships and stop placing the blame on everyone else but ourselves.

Maybe its not because you’re successful but perhaps because you wear your success on your sleeve, because you’re arrogant, because you are sure to let a man know in the first conversation that you don’t NEED him or anyone else.

Maybe its not because you’re successful, but perhaps because you are arrogant, a know-it-all, a snob or intolerant of others who have taken a different path in life.

Maybe its not because you’re successful, maybe you are a cold bitter bitch who believes the world owes you something. You have worked hard and made it on your own without the help of any man so you don’t want a man thinking he is doing you any favors by his presence and you let him know this as often as possible.

Maybe its not because you’re successful, maybe you have turned into a hardened, disenchanted, cynic who is annoyed that fat broke women with two kids can get a man easier than you. And your anger oozes from your pores.

Maybe its not because you are successful, but because your success is all you have. You wield it like a sword. You are always looking and waiting for the fight so you can show just how fly you are and how a man should be happy just to have someone like you. You feel you are the only prize in this relationship.

Maybe its not because you’re successful but because you are just tired. Tired of dating, tired of it not working out, tired of the game. Because you’re so tired, you go into potential relationships with little enthusiasm or excitement and you’re just a general drag.

Maybe its not because you are successful but because you are afraid. Afraid to open up, afraid to be vulnerable again, afraid to lay it all out there. You use your success as a shield that you hide behind because you are afraid of being hurt, afraid of change, afraid of letting someone else into your tightly-controlled life. You play the role of successful bad-ass because you are afraid of just being a woman. Sometimes its hard to switch from being the boss all day to being a partner, a friend. Understandable. But still your issue.

Maybe its not because you are successful but because you are closed. Closed to real love because of any combination of the reasons above.

Sometimes men aren’t intimidated by your success, but turned off by what your success has done to you. The type of person it has made you.

We can’t improve ourselves if we keep blaming our failures on others. When you look at your lack of luck in the romance department first look, inward. Listen to the feedback you’ve gotten, those things you ignored because you thought the guy was just jealous of your success and wanted to cut you down because you made him feel insecure. Just maybe he was telling the truth. Maybe he wasn’t intimidated at all. Maybe you are a mean, intolerable arrogant bitch of a woman. It could be that simple.

Now will you meet men who will be insecure with your accomplishments? Maybe. But far fewer than you make yourself believe. Stop relying on the Intimidation Doctrine to explain away your lack of love life. Start listening and start looking inward at what issues you may be bringing to the table, ways you could possibly be a better partner, lover or friend.

Open your heart and your mind to whoever may come your way. Focus on what you both are bringing to each other’s lives. Its not a competition. Try being the type of person you are looking for. Recognize and appreciate what others have to offer and know that if you are the best person you can be, you cant lose.

By no means am I saying settle for less. Keep your standards high, go after the type of life and partner you want. Just make sure your high standards apply to you too.

So let’s put away the Intimidation Doctrine. Much like “hating” its become a term we use to dismiss criticism by just placing the focus on someone else. And just like “hating” it results in us missing the opportunity to learn and improve our lives.

So next time things don’t work out, don’t go to ole reliable “he’s just intimidated by me,” and really examine your role in what went down. You may be surprised, maybe he wasn’t intimidated by you. Maybe he just doesn’t like you.

Now enough of that, I've got a bottle of wine to finish and a Golden Girls marathon is starting…

Peace people.

Question: Do "successful" Black women intimidate men, or merely annoy them to the point of abandonment?

More from Jam Donaldson [Conversate Is Not A Word]

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