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Do Men Like Successful Women? The Brutally Honest Truth

May 27, 2024
▪ 11 mins read
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Time to be bluntly honest: Do men like successful women? As a successful woman myself, I honestly feel nothing but empathy for what it’s like to be crushing your career goals, and simultaneously being crushed by rejection by men you “gave a chance to”. 

However, that’s exactly why, as your dating coach, I’m going to totally level with you around the difficult topic of do men like successful women. With 15 years coaching women (and men, that’s helpful for a few insights) I’ll be telling you: 

  • Whether it’s true that men don’t care about how successful a woman is.
  • What’s a man’s algorithm for choosing a partner?
  • As a successful woman how you can use this to your advantage in your dating life.  

Why Are You Asking, “Do Men Like Successful Women?”  

Let me address the elephant in the room here: You wouldn’t be asking, “do men like successful women?” if you didn’t feel overlooked by men. Men who don’t seem to value what you bring to the table.

Maybe you feel slightly depressed by the idea that men will always seem to choose a hot, young, yoga teacher over a CEO. (Not that there’s anything wrong with being a yoga teacher.) Or frustrated at how superficial men seem. You may feel like your success, brains, and credentials don’t count for much unless you’re his “type.”*

A successful woman sitting on a Lamborghini
No gas, no sunscreen, no man. Hmmm.

(*Interestingly studies have shown that whilst men do indeed have a special place in their sexual fantasies for women of reproductive age, they will often seek to partner with a woman who is closer in age to themselves.

I get it. It can be tempting to chalk all your dating success, or lack of it, to “men don’t like successful women” however the solution is never this simple!! If you believe there’s nothing “wrong” with you, and nothing you can change; you’re going to have a long hard road to getting the results you want. Instead of blaming men for having “fragile egos” let’s learn how you can use being a successful woman to your advantage in dating. 

But before we look at that let’s dig into what men really want in a partner, and whether a successful woman is anywhere near the top 10 on a man’s list. 

So What DO Men Find Attractive?  

Now we know that for women, a man who is confident and successful is often at the top of their wish list. But do men feel the same? 

Well no, probably not. It’s not that men don’t like successful women, but that this quality is lower down their priority list. They’re unlikely to be explicitly looking for women who are successful. They may not be turned off by it, but it won’t be a reason why they’ll choose you as a partner. Instead he’s likely to give much higher priority to women who he is physically attracted to (well it is a romantic relationship, so we can’t really blame him for that), who are fun, loving, probably also ‘fun-loving’ and who like to share the same past times as he does. 

I get why that sucks. You might feel like your level of education and financial security should be a huge tick in his box (it’s certainly like that the other way around) but it just isn’t. 

This might be even more true for the successful man. Many times when I’ve been coaching women they stipulate that they want to date a man who is just as successful as they are. They don’t want to compromise their lifestyle, settle for someone who doesn’t excite them or “date down”.

On the flip side, a successful man will often be perfectly happy to “date down” and not see a woman being successful as a necessary requirement. This means that for successful men, their dating pool is very large because ‘being successful’ isn’t on his list, but for successful women they have the exact opposite problem that their dating pool feels very narrow because ‘being successful’ is on their list. 

As a successful woman this can drive you near insane as you can easily get psyched out by the odds of attracting an equally successful partner, when you have all those yoga teachers, and fashion models to fight off. Unsurprisingly this questions “do men like successful women” can gnaw away at your self confidence. You might feel the odds are stacked against you. 

Of course not all men, or indeed people, are the same. For each characteristic in this case “success” you will have a minority of men who value that quality and admire successful women, a minority who have negative associations with successful women (perhaps they want a #TradWife or think educating women generally was a mistake) and a lot of guys in the middle who honestly haven’t spent one moment considering whether they’d like a successful partner or not. 

His “Algorithm” For Dating 

So what is his algorithm for dating, if we can assume he may not be explicitly looking for a successful woman?

The first thing to point out is whether he wants a relationship or not, in the first place is largely down to his wider life circumstances. Is he at a time in his life where this is something he’s looking for? Or is he in his “sowing his wild oats” years (yes, I’ve always cringed at that expression too.) To my female clients I ask, “is his taxi light on, or is it off?” If it’s off it can often be a huge waste of your personal energy and resources trying to convince him to turn it on. 

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Secondly he’ll notice whether a woman is his usual type. Let’s not lambast men as superficial here, it’s a romantic relationship, and most men dream of having that with a  woman who they consider to be attractive. However, this isn’t the same as “men only like women who look like Instagram models”. You don’t have to be conventionally good looking to be attractive and someone’s type. 

After that he’ll probably see if he gets on with the woman. Is she fun to be around? Does the conversation flow? Do they share some hobbies and interests? Do they have a good sexual connection? Finally, are there any red flags? Does she want to rush into a relationship before he’s really had time to think about that? Are they on a somewhat compatible timeline for their relationship goals? Do his friends and family like her? If he’s looking to have children can he see her being a good mum? 

You’ll notice that whilst he’s considering the relationship he’s probably not considering, “am I attracted to a successful woman?” Again this doesn’t mean he wouldn’t see dating a smart and successful woman as a wonderful thing - but he’ll probably be more initially preoccupied with physical attraction, and how they connect as people. 

“Do Men Like Successful Women”: 7 Action Steps 

As a coach I’m obviously going to put this question back to you: Whether men like successful women or not, what can you as a successful woman do about it? Here’s my 7 point plan: 

1. Get into a “workable” mindset

Hayley Quinn poster saying get into a workable mindset

Don’t allow yourself to believe that men don’t like you because of your success.

I get it, if you’ve wanted a relationship for a long time, and it’s still not happening, you may be trying to “diagnose” a reason. Maybe the idea that men are intimidated by your success is also an empathetic rationale offered by your close friends? However, simplifying your dating life to the core belief, ‘men don’t like me because of my success' simply disempowers you. There are plenty of examples of successful women (shout out Amal Clooney) who are also a hit with men. Instead you could think, ‘sure maybe men don’t value success in exactly the same way I do, but there’s no reason I can’t have a great relationship.’

Simply put, if you can’t change it (and why would you want to be any less of who you are?) accept it, and work with it. 

2. Avoid “networking mode”

Hayley Quinn poster saying avoid networking mode

Now, you may not know this about me but I specialise in taking women out into the real world to learn how to meet and attract the men they want. With my cutting edge, real world coaching, I see time and time again how speaking to romantic prospects, like your colleagues, backfires. If you’re used to professional conversations, you might find it harder to flirt, or find yourself slipping into “networking mode” when you’re talking to men. 

If you don’t communicate with him in a way that’s recognisable as a romantic relationship it’s going to be hard for him to understand why you could be a match. You’ll know this is you if you always feel like you're carrying conversations, or are the person who is bringing all the personality to the table on your dates! You may have to learn how to swap out of work mode, and into “romantic mode” for your conversations with men. Without even realising it, your “business social” chat could have become your dominant form of communication, meaning you’re missing out on creating the kind of connection with him that switches him onto you as a romantic prospect. 

3. Don’t try to impress everyone 

Hayley Quinn poster saying don't try to impress everyone

All of us will come across people who don’t value what we uniquely have to offer. Who can’t see themselves in a relationship with us. If this happens to you, remember one man’s opinion is certainly not every man’s opinion. So if he’s not on board with who you are - let him go and find someone who is. 

(You can add this to the long list of things that are easier said than done: If you really like a guy, and have to let him go because he won’t commit, it’s a hard and emotionally challenging experience. If you’re used to succeeding, you may also fall into a trap here of trying to ‘win’ this relationship by trying harder, or proving yourself to him. I know from experience, this is a recipe for disaster.) 

4. Be open to change 

Hayley Quinn poster saying be open to change

Here’s the bad news, and the good news, all at once: You may need to change. Do men like successful women? Maybe. But do men like women who are harsh, confrontational, easily offended, or who he can never seem to do anything right with? No they don’t. The wonderful thing about who you are, who we all are, is that we can adapt and change. Perhaps you’ve developed a way of interacting with relationships based on previous hurt, or you’re so cut-to-the chase, you’re getting in the way of yourself. Chances are, if you’re not in the relationship you want, then the problem isn’t all coming from his side. I want you to be open to nurturing the side of your personality that’s intuitive, expressive, go with the flow, warm and affectionate. I know she’s in there, I know there’s probably a very good reason why she’s currently hiding away, but get her out there, and start to enjoy interacting with men again. (And if you don’t know how, get in touch!

5. Get out there! 

Hayley Quinn poster advising get out there

It’s easy to get psyched out with dating: Every blog or social media post you read spells doom for how no one wants to commit anymore. You’ve also read this blog which tells you that (based on your current requirements!) it’s going to be easier for a successful guy to find his dream woman, than it is for you to find your dream man. To this, I’m going to ask you to dig deep, put your big girl pants on, and not shy away from engaging with dating. If you can unlock your ability to meet men in real life, you will exponentially increase your dating opportunities… and you just need one good “hell yes” from a man to change your life. 

6. Allow him to feel needed 

Hayley Quinn poster advising allow him to feel needed

Men want to feel like “the man” in their relationships with you; feeling wanted and needed, is at the core of how he wants to relate to you. Even if he doesn’t financially provide for you, he will get a sense of self worth from helping you out, or providing a solution to something that’s challenging you. In order for him to connect to you in this way you don’t need to suddenly become helpless; however you do need to learn to accept his offers to help, and you have to appreciate him for what he does. If you constantly flat bat his requests to help you, or criticise how exactly he’s helping you, he won’t feel nourished by your relationship, and will lose attraction to you. 

7. Reassess what you’re looking for 

Hayley Quinn poster advising reassess what you're looking for

I know you may want a successful partner, and maybe the right man for you is financially successful; however please keep an open mind, that just like you’re not cookie cutter perfect for everyone, that your perfect guy may not come in exactly the packaging you imagined. A man can be confident, stable, ready for a relationship, and bring lots of value to the table; even if he doesn’t have much money (or as much money as you do) in the bank. You may actually find that the right relationship gives you the support and stability you need to reach your goals; and makes you wealthier in a more tangential way. Go into your dates with an open mind, focus on how he treats and prioritises you; and pencil a question mark next to “must be successful” on your wishlist in a partner. 

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In summary, whilst men may not actively seek out successful women, they also don’t often discriminate against them. 

Allow him to understand all the other qualities you bring to the table, interact with him as a woman (not as a co-worker) and cultivate the belief that there are many, many men who can give you the relationship that you want. 

Do Men Like Successful Women | FAQs

Are men turned off by successful women?

No man sees your job title, or your wealth, and runs for the hills. Nor are all men perennially attracted to ‘damsels in distress’. However, men want to relate to you in a way where they feel valued in the relationship. If you have no time to see him, reject his offers to help you out, or constantly feel like you “know better” this doesn’t leave a lot of breathing room for him to feel wanted as a man, and attracted to you. So it’s not being a successful woman in itself that’s the turn off, it’s some of the behaviours that may (or may not!) come alongside being successful. 

Do men like ambitious women?

Most personality traits, including being ambitious, have a positive and a negative aspect to them. A woman who is passionate about her life, and has a career she loves, is attractive. A woman who has no time to invest into a relationship, or belittles her male partner, is not. Instead of questioning whether a man likes, or dislikes, your success; consider how he may like, or not like, how you’re interacting with him. 

What do guys think of successful women? 

Plenty of men love successful women. Many men will feel like it’s a coup de grace to have got a partner who is smart, fun and established in her own right; provided she’s also physically attractive to him, and they are able to form a mutually rewarding relationship. You could see a woman being successful as the cherry on the cake to a man, however the actual cake is made up of his physical preferences, how much he enjoys the relationship, and whether they both want the same things. 

Hayley Quinn Wingman Club left-facing wing icon
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