“Men don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses.”-Dorothy Parker
Do some women downplay their career success or ambition for the sake of their relationship? In some relationships, career competition can be a major point of tension. We haven’t taken a poll, but it seems that men may be more threatened by a driven women than the opposite. We decided to talk to some women who feel they have had to do this to save their relationships.
In the past few months we have been bombarded with studies telling us women are the richer sex, are going to make all the money in the next 25 years and that we don’t even need men anymore to have children or just be happy. Heck some women are marrying themselves! But are all these women going to be single because their career ambition will ruin their relationships?
According to the film world, yes. Sylvia Ann Hewlitt and Melinda Marshall wrote in the Harvard Business Review about the movie Black Swan. “Characters like Nina imply that ambition will cost a woman all her meaningful relationships; it will push her to the breaking point; it will twist her priorities, pervert her desires, and betray her dreams.”
Or look at Sex & the City. When Carrie started dating Jack Berger, they were absolutely perfect together until her book turned into a huge success as his career dwindled. It killed their relationship resulting in the legendary Post-it breakup, setting a new benchmark for note-written breakups everywhere.
But how do women feel in real life?
Nancy Butler told The Grindstone:
“As a single parent running my own business I was finally ready to get back into dating. My business was successful and I found myself in the newspaper, on local television or radio about once a month. Things were finally on their way to where I wanted them to be and now I could start to rebuild my personal life.
It was more difficult than I expected, not just for the usually reasons but also because my business was successful and I was well known in the community. I had a hard time figuring out what the problem was until a guy I had started to date said to me “I think we have a class problem. You area a successful business woman. I work with my hands and am sure you make a whole lot more than I do. This is not going to work out”. And then he left, never to be heard from again.
I decided what I needed was a man that was secure within himself and that was proud of what I have been able to do. He needed to be my advocate and not be intimidated by my success. Actually, after having no self esteem due to my failed marriage, this made me feel good knowing I was finally “someone”.”
Sheryl Warwick told The Grindstone:
“My husband is an airline Captain and his job has overshadowed my photography and I have hid my ambition for wanting to really crank up my small business. He often might get based in a new city and it’s hard to build a business on the move. I have always had to downplay what I really wanted which is a large private studio.
Just last month we found out that he will be going to Detroit. But he was excited for me that I wanted to do this and he will fly from Houston to Detroit every week to start work so that I can put 110% into my business here in Houston. It feels good to share what I really want after having to suppress my big goals. I sympathize with other women who might have to tone down what they want because of their significant other. But sharing might not be a bad idea; it was a good decision for me to open up.”