From The Man’s Mind: Can Men Handle Strong, Confident Women?

When I started dating Anna, I introduced her to my best friend at the time. Anna is a very strong, self-sufficient woman who lets you know how she feels. She also
has a presence that commands your attention. The three of us went for coffee and chit-chatted for about a half-hour before Anna excused herself to the ladies room. My friend turned to me, looked me straight in the eye and asked, “Can you handle that, man?”

My initial reaction was to think “Handle what, exactly?” I wasn’t threatened at all by Anna’s confidence and feminine power. “Yeah, of course.” I told him, offended by the question. After nine years with Anna, and some time in the trenches as a dating professional, though, I understand why he said that. Many guys feel very threatened by a woman’s strength. And, truth be told, there was a phase where Anna was supporting us while I was trying to get my career off the ground and I did start to feel like ‘less of a man’ because she was carrying the load for us.

Dating a strong woman is not something every guy can handle. He has to be confident in himself as a person, and as a man. Men must feel capable of meeting a woman’s needs. Traditionally, we did that providing financial security and physical protection. More recently, as women have expressed themselves with more independence and toughness, men aren’t sure how or when they’re needed by their woman. He ends up feeling unsure of his value and significance in the relationship. Many women tell me their man’s emotional support is just as important as financial and physical contributions. Unfortunately, men are not used to identifying masculinity with giving emotional support.

One of the best things strong women can do is let their man know how they need them. A client of mine who earns far more than the man she’s dating had problems with him being withdrawn. I encouraged her to tell him the ways he does meet her needs. After she expressed how he made her feel emotionally safe and supported, their dynamic immediately improved. Now he’s way more open, communicative, and attentive around her. She says she feels closer to him than she ever has, and it’s because she was willing to admit the ways in which she needed him.

Every woman’s needs are different, but the key is to allow men to see where they could contribute to your life. Figure out what he can do well that you can’t do as well on your own, and let him shine. We men love to give. We love to feel like heroes. And we love the look on our woman’s face when we have done something that makes her happy.

So embrace your strength, and invite your man to take on some of the load. He’ll love it, and love you, all the more.