Are You Intimidating Men, Or Is Something Else Going On?

May 1, 2024
▪ 20 mins read

If you've decided that the core issue with your dating life is that men are intimidated by you, this blog is for you. 

As a dating coach with over 15 years experience, 2 published books on relationships and regular contributions to international media, I have a problem with most "catch all" explanations for your dating life. Whether that’s "all the good guys are taken," "dating apps have ruined dating," or "I intimidate men" — they’re all too much of an easy scapegoat for what might be a more complicated issue.

If you allow, "why are men intimidated by me," to become the narrative for your dating life, then you might be turning a blind eye to the real issues at hand, and getting no further towards what you actually want: A successful dating life, and a happy relationship. So let’s get to the bottom of this. 

In this blog you'll get my expert opinion on:

  • Whether “why are men intimidated by me?” is the right question to ask yourself about your love life, and what you should ask instead 
  • 3 scenarios where he’s genuinely intimidated by you
  • 3 signs you’re getting “I intimidate men” mixed up with “he’s not attracted to me”  
  • 8 action steps you can take if you’ve been asking yourself, “why are men intimidated by me?”

Is “Why are men intimidated by me?” the right question to ask yourself? 

Let’s be really honest here: sometimes saying, "I intimidate men," can feel good! If you intimidate men then it’s not that there’s a problem for you to fix, it’s a bigger picture problem with dating generally. That means if you’re not getting results in your dating life, it’s not that you need to do anything differently, it’s that the system is broken, and his inability to "man up" is to blame.

Maybe you feel frustrated by the idea that you have to ‘play dumb’ to attract a man. Or you believe men will always prefer a hopeless damsel in distress, to the self assured woman that you are. Or maybe you feel like you’ve become so accomplished that it’s become a curse, and it’s near impossible to find guys who are "on your level."

If you’re constantly questioning, “why are men intimidated by me?”, then it will also be easy for you to see everything that is (or perhaps isn’t) happening in your dating life as a consequence of men being intimidated by you. 

Here’s some examples of what you might be thinking:

  • “I don’t want to downplay who I am just to attract a man, it’s not worth it” 
  • “I wish there were more guys on my level, it feels like there’s no one to date”
  • “I don’t want to ‘date down’ but I’m never meeting the kind of men I want” 
  • “At my stage of life, all the good guys are already in relationships”
  • “It’s frustrating that men will always choose a cute checkout girl over someone like me” 

If this is you, I want you to stop right here and do some serious introspection. What if your hypothesis that “I intimidate men” is wrong? Or simply not the full story? 

Oh, you want some of this, do you?... I don't think so.

You can’t change men, or the world of dating, but you can change how you interact with it. If there’s a 1% chance that your question “why are men intimidated by me?” is wide of the mark, then there could be huge potential for you to create change in your dating life that you’re not yet tapping into. 

Stop and ask yourself, “is it possible that I’m misunderstanding men?” or “could I be confusing a lack of interest for men being intimidated by me?” 

Now I’m being harsh here (and in the past I’ve probably had similar thoughts myself) but it’s purposeful, as my goal is to unstick you from this rigid interpretation of your dating life, and help you to actually meet the men you want.

3 scenarios where he’s genuinely intimidated by you

As a leading dating coach for men and women for the last 15 years, I bring an unbiased perspective to your dating life. Fundamentally I also want to get you results.

Before I walk you through a step-by-step action plan for what to do if you believe you are intimidating men, let’s examine 3 examples of when your belief, “why are men intimidated by me?” could be spot on. 

If he’s intimidated by you, he won’t approach you 

Particularly in a post-pandemic, post-metoo world you’d be right to think that men are more intimidated than ever before to approach women. Having coached thousands of men on how to meet women in real life, I can tell you now that even saying a simple “hello” can fill him with fear.

This isn’t because he’s not manly enough, or confident; it’s because he’s paid attention to recent social trends, and doesn’t want to do any behaviour that you could consider harassing. This means that whilst he’ll take ‘action at a distance’ and swipe right on your dating app profile, he will be unlikely to approach you at a bar, and even less likely to say hi to you at the gym. 

If you’ve been thinking, “why are men intimidated by me?” remember his intimidation at this stage isn’t caused by your intellect or success, it’s because he finds you physically attractive, but fears communicating that for fear he’ll be seen as “creepy” by you, or others. 

Later on, I’ll discuss in more detail how men prioritise what they’re looking for in a woman. 

If he’s insecure he may ‘mess up’ the early stages of your relationship

Men have many of the same wants, needs and fears as you do in the early stages of dating. If a man is actively looking for a relationship, and doesn’t find dating ‘easy’ (many men don’t) then just like you, he may feel pressure at the start of the relationship to make it work. 

This is particularly true if you are his physical type, are fun to be around and seem to like him. (Again, notice here how I’m deliberately not mentioning, “and you’ve got a PhD.”) Just like women, men may also at times let their insecurities ‘mess up’ the start of promising relationships. 

To you, he may come on a little strong, be overly eager to please, or want to move the relationship on more quickly than you’re comfortable with. This is another example of how a man being intimidated by a woman may interfere with his ability to build a relationship with her. 

However, notice that the source of this intimidation isn’t coming from your career or status. It’s much more likely to be driven by the man not feeling that he has plenty of choice with dating, and assuming that (as the woman) you have a queue of men who’d like to date you.

Ironically, whilst I believe you have a lot of choice, your personal experience may tell you exactly the opposite. You wouldn’t probably be questioning “why are men intimidated by me?” If you were currently tapping into your abundance with dating: Again, pin this thought! We’ll be coming back to it later! 

If his self esteem is low, he may sabotage your relationship

Over the course of your relationship you may experience many ups and downs together: Men and women don’t always experience these ups and down equally. For example, research suggests that men experience job loss more acutely than women. This may be because traditionally (and this is changing) women have been able to gain recognition through their husband’s work, or their contributions as a caregiver (though many would argue, nowhere near enough recognition!) 

A woman waiting for a man outside her office
As Mark approached, she went with her tried-and-tested Level 8 Jaw Clench

An issue in your relationship, such as a redundancy may mean that your partner becomes more withdrawn, emotionally inconsistent, or depressed. Whilst this isn’t exactly the same as your partner being intimidated by you; it’s an example how disparity of success within a relationship may negatively impact your partner’s self esteem, and in turn your relationship. 

However, this issue isn’t just a ‘man-thing’; everyone is capable of self sabotage. 

3 signs you’re getting “I intimidate men” mixed up with “he’s not attracted to me” 

So if you’re not in any of the above scenarios, I want you to open your mind to the possibility that “why are men intimidated by me?” could be getting in the way of you seeing clearly what’s not working in your dating life. 

To illustrate this, here are 3 examples of when you might think, “I intimidated him” when really what happened was that he just wasn’t that into you, or the idea of a relationship altogether (ouch!) 

You meet a great guy but he doesn’t prioritise you 

From my own single days, I remember just how long you can go without meeting a man you actually like. When you do meet that guy who is handsome, smart, fun and successful, you understandably can feel a surge of relief (wahoo not long now until you’re in a relationship!) and a desire to make that relationship work. You don’t want to strike out with him, and be sent right back to square one of being single. (Of course as a dating coach, I’d advise you that being single isn’t square one, but I do remember exactly how that feels.) 

The problem is, even though you’re putting your best effort into getting to know him (you’re making time for him, communicating clearly what you need, and being thoughtful) he’s not reciprocating. Sadly, after you give him a generous amount of your time, you slowly come to the realisation that this relationship is going nowhere. You feel frustrated and rack your brains as to what went wrong? You know you treated him really well, which means the only thing you can think of is, “I intimidated him”. 

When you see months later on social media that he proposed to a woman who doesn’t even seem to have a ‘real’ job it confirms your theory further. So what’s happening? Do men really not like successful women

Let’s look at this another way. It’s clear that him being a successful guy, is a big tick in a box for you: You don’t want to date a man who can’t match your economic clout, or lifestyle. However, it’s clear that this isn’t the same the other way around. He certainly didn’t give you any extra ‘points’ for being successful. 

This doesn’t mean he didn’t appreciate your brains or your success, but that they weren’t deciding factors in driving his desire to couple up with you. 

So whilst there may be a grain of truth in your question, “why are men intimidated by me?”, this isn’t the absolute truth. In fact, it’s kind of unfair on men to think that they all want some insipid damsel in distress.

However, here are some things that are true:

Now before we throw the book at men, think about it, isn’t it really the same for you? 

Yes, in theory, it would be great to meet an intelligent man, but when it comes down to it, day to day how you relate towards one another and how he makes you feel is more important.

The five stages of working with a dating coach
Click to learn more

It’s not so different for guys. They may have nothing against women who are CEOs, or went to Ivy League universities; but they may find other qualities more attractive, particularly when it comes to choosing a long term partner. The quality they may find most attractive is that the person they’re with creates a happy, loving relationship with them. Again, is it really that different for anyone? Don’t we all like to be with partners who help to make us feel good, happy and secure?  

Where this sucks as a woman is when we choose someone based on how great they seemed for us on paper, rather than paying more attention to the day to day quality of the relationship. If you did, you may give less priority to a guy, if he’s not prioritising you, no matter how appetising a catch he appears. 

You meet a great guy who breaks up with you, blaming your work  

At first glance this case study may scream “I intimidate men”, however dig deeper and something else entirely might be going on. Let’s start with the basics; he broke up with you, but you’re entirely to blame. If I was an umpire in your break-up I’d raise a red flag at that one! Break-ups are rarely one sided, and the fact he’s blamed your work shows a lack of accountability.

Did he try to express that he wanted more quality time with you? Or did he seriously jump the gun and label you a ‘workaholic’ or ‘you just never relax!’ In this case, it doesn’t sound to me like this man has been intimidated by your success (and if so, see you later!) Instead it sounds like he wanted out on your relationship, and rather than taking ownership for his decision, he blamed it on you. Nice! 

Whilst this kind of blame shifting is pretty low, and probably caught you blind sided; it’s not so much because you intimidate men, it’s because this man didn’t have the desire, or relationship tools, to build a relationship with you. 

You’re meeting men, but struggling to get past the first few dates 

Dating can be a grind and if you’re trapped in a cycle of never getting past the third date with a guy, you could be looking for a smoking gun as to why no one seems to choose you. Racking your brains you realise that on your second date with men your work comes up. Soon you find yourself forming a belief that’s the reason he didn’t want to see you again, and cursing “why are men intimidated by me?” 

In reality there’s a lot of reasons why men will give you mixed signals then suddenly ‘drop off’ even after what felt like a good date:

  • He wasn’t ever looking for a relationship, and after a few fun dates, he withdraws when he realises that’s exactly what you’re looking for. 
  • He was initially excited to get to know you, but a few dates in, is losing interest. 
  • He feels the relationship is moving fast, and he freaks out. 
  • He wanted to impress you, but a few dates in can’t keep up the act. 
  • He’s got something going on in another area of his life that’s taking his focus away from dating. 
  • He’s met someone else that he’s more excited about. 
  • He feels at this stage of dating he should feel more excited about you, if things are going to get serious.
  • He’s not sure he’s that attracted to you. 

I know a lot of these reasons aren’t ones you want to hear, but it’s better for you to have a balanced view of why a man might not want to keep seeing you. Also what should be top of your ‘list’ in a partner is that he’s willing to build the relationship with you, so if he falls at the first hurdle by being unreliable and inconsistent, you genuinely deserve better. 

8 action steps you can take if you’ve been asking yourself, “why are men intimidated by me?”

Step 1: Recognise that intimidating women form happy relationships everyday 

Hayley Quinn Poster saying Step 1 recognise that intimidating women form happy relationships everyday

If it really was the case that women who intimidate men have bad dating lives then surely Serena Williams, Amal Clooney and hey, even Margaret Thatcher (the UK’s first female prime minister) would never have got hitched. 

If they can meet someone, so can you. I know it absolutely sucks to feel rejected, but don’t let that feeling of rejection become narcissistic to protect your ego, "I intimidated men; they can’t handle someone as smart as me."

So every time you notice yourself (or others, because your friends love a good explanation of why you’re single) choose this as the 'reason’ mentally challenge the assumption that men are simply intimidated by you. At best, it doesn’t give the full story.  

Step 2: Avoid developing a negative mindset around men 

Hayley Quinn poster saying Step 2: Avoid developing a negative mindset around men

When you’ve had some disheartening experiences with men (haven’t we all?) it can be tempting to enter into a cycle of negative beliefs around men and dating altogether. If you’re thinking, “why are men intimidated by me?”, you might also be thinking, “why are men always attracted to weak women?” or “why are men so superficial?” 

Lumping all the men of the world together results in ‘man bashing’, where you develop a negative mindset around men. A lot of people will have bad dating experiences, men you meet won’t always get it ‘right’ when they’re trying to relate to you; however, most men are just human beings trying to do their best to connect, albeit sometimes in a way that you might not immediately recognise. By making a concerted effort to understand him better (trust me, he’s also trying to understand you) you will be able to connect with him more easily. 

If this mindset isn’t easy to get into, consider if a person had a very negative belief around wealthy people, “all wealthy people are such snobs!” What do you think the chances are of that person becoming wealthy themselves? When you hold a negative belief around men, it’s going to become an obstacle for you building good relationships with them. 

Step 3: Unapologetically create space in your life for him

Hayley Quinn poster saying Step 3: Unapologetically create space in your life for him

Provided you feel safe and comfortable with him, if he wants to buy you dinner, or help you move some boxes into your new apartment, or make a spreadsheet for you, let him do it. Look, we both know you can do these things for yourself, and on many counts you might prefer your way of doing things. 

However, being highly self-reliant isn’t always the right starting point for nurturing a relationship. Receiving help from him doesn’t make you a damsel in distress, or mean that for him to feel ‘good’ you have to make yourself ‘smaller.’ Instead gratefully accepting help, nurtures the bond between you. It allows him to add value to your life, which will increase his sense of connection to you. Men often demonstrate how they feel through actions. Every time he takes a positive action to connect with you, he’s also participating in building the relationship. 

Learn to enjoy connecting to him in this way, and shifting out of your “why are men intimidated by me?” mindset. 

Step 4: Show appreciation for what he brings to the table 

Hayley Quinn poster saying Step 4: Show appreciation for what he brings to the table

Allowing him to connect with you in this way, will also mean accepting (at least some of) his suggestions. If you’re a cosmopolitan, highly educated woman, you may flinch at the idea of playing beer pong with him, or know full well that the cocktail bar he’s suggested for a date isn’t the best one in the area. 

However, when the man you’re dating is relating to you in this way, he’s showing romantic intentions, and he’s probably trying his best. No one comes with a user manual, and he may not yet understand exactly what you like. Many men will be receptive to positive suggestions of how you can spend time together, “it’s such a sunny weekend I’d love to do something active!” Just be conscious to not take air out of his balloon by telling him how he could do things better. 

Instead help him to increase his motivation for building this relationship with you to show that you appreciate what he does bring to the table. 

Step 5: Maximise your approachability 

Hayley Quinn poster saying Step 5: Maximise your approachability

By ‘approachability’ I mean mastering your body language cues so that you can quickly tell which guys are interested in talking to you, and how to signal to the men you want to approach you. Many women I work with, begin their coaching journey with me convinced that men just aren’t attracted to them, or that they’re not the kind of woman who ever gets approached. 

Instead of getting stuck on the “I intimidate men” belief, and deciding men are too scared to approach you; learn how by consciously changing your non-verbal cues how you can help him to feel secure enough to approach you.

That might mean:

  • Maintaining better eye contact, no more looking at your feet when you’re attracted to someone! 
  • Smiling at him: Both in person and on your dating app pictures.
  • Moving closer to him so he doesn’t have to stride across a bar to say hello to you. 
  • Keeping your body language open, no more holding your coat or bag over your body. 

Side note: I love teaching women how to become more approachable and meet men in real life — so much so, that I designed an in-person training event called Secret Place (featured in The Independent) which is an absolute must for any woman who wants to learn to meet far more men! 

Step 6: Don’t jump the gun on who is ‘right’ for you

Hayley Quinn poster saying Step 6: Don’t jump the gun on who is ‘right’ for you

Part of your frustration at “why are men intimidated by me?” may be coming from building too high expectations, too soon around a man you like. As I mentioned earlier, if you really like your first impressions of a guy, you may find yourself developing tunnel vision around being in a relationship with him. You may then disregard information that contradicts with that outcome, such as him telling you that he’s not looking for a relationship right now. 

(It’s also easier than you think to not really hear that he’s not available, when he continues to message you everyday as if he were your boyfriend!!) 

Then when your relationship with him falls apart you may turn to the “I intimidate men” excuse to explain it away. I think it’s far more likely that you chose him too early on, and certainly before he’d chosen you.

Step 7: Show how multi-dimensional you are

Hayley Quinn poster saying Step 7: Show how multi-dimensional you are

When you go on a date with a guy you like, that experience is supposed to feel different to your normal social interactions. Many women I coach find themselves getting stuck in ‘networking mode’ regardless of who they’re interacting with. 

Whilst you may be socially confident, if how you speak on your dates is very similar to how you speak to people you’re networking with; he may not be able to appreciate the fullness of who you are. People have a tendency to pigeon hole others; and whilst it’s his responsibility to not take you at face value, it’s also your responsibility to highlight the multifaceted person that you are. 

Bottom line it won’t be your CV that draws him to you. He may love your sparky wit, be drawn to how you’re so go with the flow or become fascinated with your desire to one day live on a farm with chickens.. But he probably won’t become infatuated with you, if he fails to see all the different sides to your personality. 

Step 8: Understand you can have the best of both worlds!  

Hayley Quinn poster saying Step 8: Understand you can have the best of both worlds

There’s something very depressing about the idea that you need to change who you are, or water down all that you’ve achieved, to be attractive to a man. However, this idea that you have to minimise who you are (and under no circumstances intimidate him!) so he can feel more masculine isn’t quite accurate.

  •  You can be strikingly beautiful, yet approachable.
  •  You can be sharp as a tack, but deploy emotional intelligence.
  •  You can have your whole life organised, but still have space for him in it.

Relationships aren’t a competition. So you don’t have to turn into a damsel in distress to make a guy like you; but you should recognise that women who appear approachable will get approached more. That’s not to do with how you look, how much you earn or your IQ, it’s how you interact with him. 

So think collaboratively, not competitively, about relationships; and don’t fall into the trap of believing that your dating life (or lack thereof) is down to the fact you intimidate men.

Why Are Men Intimidated By Me? | FAQs

“What makes attractive people intimidating?” 

The vast majority of people will find the idea of approaching someone they’re attracted to intimidating. Socially we live in an era which has forgotten many of our in person social skills, so it may not feel culturally normal to just start chatting to someone. If you’re attracted to a person they’ll also feel more intimidating to talk to because you’ll assume they have plenty of ‘options’ - so why would they be interested in you? Likewise, if you’re really attracted to them the pain of rejection will feel more acute: You may feel like they’re ‘out of your league’ and become self conscious that other people have noticed you attempting to ‘punch above your weight’. People often associate positive personality qualities to people who are conventionally good looking. This may mean that alongside someone being physically your type, they may become even more intimidating as you assume they’re also smart, confident, and popular. 

“Why do guys run away when they find their perfect girl?” 

If a guy has run away from you, you can know for sure that he’s not your perfect man. So rather than try to find a reason for his behaviour, focus on his actions. If he’s not consistently making an effort to build a real world relationship with you, he’s not your guy. It’s only when you get stuck on the idea that this relationship with him was ‘the one’ that you may start to rationalise why it isn’t working, or how good it could have been had it worked. If a man runs away this is far more likely to be to do with his stage of life, and readiness for a relationship; than it is to do with how ‘perfect’ you are for him. 

“How do you tell if a guy is scared to like you?” 

Some people, not just men, are unable to move forwards with a relationship because they’re fearful of intimacy. However, it’s a romantic myth, that a man realises how perfect you are for one another, and then holds himself back from liking you, because he realises if he embarks on this relationship that you’re going to be ‘The One.’ Men can be prompted to want a relationship by their life goals, their life stage, or losing out on the opportunity for a relationship. It’s unlikely that he’s chosen to not move forward with a relationship with you because he’s ‘scared to like you.’ Either way, the tangible result is the same. If he’s not actively building a relationship with you, then there’s no relationship, no matter how great a match-up you felt it was on paper. 

“Is he scared of his feelings or not interested?” 

The idea that a man is so scared by the enormity of his feelings for you, that he walks away is largely a romantic myth. It’s not what you want to hear, but most of the time the man simply isn’t interested, or knows full well that he’s unable to offer you a relationship, so bails out at the first opportunity. Occasionally if a man really likes you, he may fear messing up his chance with you, and take some time to express his feelings for you, but it will always be clear that he’s interested. Put simply, a man that’s interested in you will jump at the chance to spend time together, a man who isn’t won’t.

Hayley Quinn Wingman Club left-facing wing icon
By clicking “Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyse site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. Privacy Policy.