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Posted February 14, Reviewed by Lybi Ma. Each year, Match. But the Singles in America study came with particularly heavy fanfare from women's magazines. I still remember when this piece of research hit my desk, and I leaned forward a little bit in my chair to read its seemingly feminist ink.
After looking into the mating preferences of more than 5, men and women by way of survey, researcher and biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, Ph. Plenty of articles around the web followed, saying this was a win for women and men, toobut there I was in earlyreading those headlines with an eyebrow raised and an air of skepticism. I have also watched these same smart, independent women struggle in bad relationships or fly solo for extended periods of time, despite their best efforts to land a good guy. So, what did this mean? If 87 percent of men were actively looking to couple with them, why were they still single?
Plus, the ladies of my friend circle who were actually in healthy relationships did not exactly fit the description laid out by Fisher. Although they were super smart and attractive in their own right, the perpetually matched in my sphere did not fit a clear-cut profile, and I would not automatically group them into the same category as very career -oriented, put-together Amal. Clearly, they had some secret sauce of attractionbut what? There are no limits. So now I was confused by the research, the real-life relationships around me, and the response from men — gaps, gaps, gaps between all these pieces that seemingly did not fit together.
I finally did what any skeptical journalist would do: I kept my eyes open for more research. In latean intriguing new study emerged in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, which had further clues into all the holes I was seeing firsthand in this new theory of dating. The study proposes this: Men like more intelligent women in theory — when they imagine them as romantic partners, or when they have psychological distance from them.
However, when they actually have to interact with such a woman, I am a entertaining intelligent fit sensible woman interesting happens. In the study of men, researchers laid out several scenarios. Then they were told to imagine this woman as a romantic partner. Unsurprisingly, the guys more frequently desired the woman who outperformed them feminists. However, in the second round, men were given an intelligence test and then told that they were about to meet a woman who had bested them on the same exam.
Ah, yes. The mythic smart, successful, beautiful woman every guy supposedly wanted. WowI thought. I was a contributing writer for Yahoo Health at the time, and I immediately pitched an idea to my editor — which she cleared me to write. I began researching a story with this question at the center: Are men intimidated by a woman who is the full package?
I talked to many men. My research complicated the wisdom we were being fed about what men are looking for in a partner, who they date, and why they date them. Saying that men like smart women encompassed about 1 percent of the nuanced reality. And, eventually, my real life as a dater. I began finding connections in every new data set I encountered and on every date I ventured out on.
But as I got guys talking — really talking — they started to say some more revelatory things. I talked to my good friend Jack, a witty and self-aware year-old consultant. When I asked him what he was looking for in a lifelong partner, he said that, of course, he wanted a smart, independent, successful, beautiful woman yada yada. I went on a date with a handsome real estate broker a few years my senior, someone with the fearless facade of a man hardened to rejection and immune to the effects of deflected attention.
He acted entirely secure in himself — but off the cuff, when I casually brought up the question of whether he would be intimidated to date the quintessential accomplished woman, he was quite candid.
One of my girlfriends a lovely, brilliant-yet-soft-spoken entrepreneur once went on a first date with a guy who runs in our social sphere. He made her a sushi dinner, in fact, and they had five hours of great conversation before calling it a night. When I asked him to explain his reluctance to pursue her one night over a. The Love Gap, n. What lies in the Love Gap? Psychological distance. Past heartbreaks. Ancient gender roles. I could extrapolate for days — and I will, because we need to identify the Love Gap in our daily lives, so that we can understand and navigate it.
If we want to finally build fulfilling relationships with compatible partners, we need to grasp why we believe what we believe — and parse out why those beliefs are not always accurate. This entire modern landscape starts with you in all your awesomeness. End goal, n. Women who had their lives together — for the most part. But these women had substance, charm, and goals that they were actively reaching for.
In fact, many of these girls were my favorite people in the whole world! Women who always filled my life with fun and positive energy. And yet, I was still fielding sob-filled phone calls about men who were breaking their hearts. I listened to a lot of their stories — and then, to help me understand, I started talking to a lot of guys.
All rights reserved. Lora E. Park, Ariana F. Young, and Paul W. Jenna Birch Navigating the Love Gap. A new dating book examines ingrained gender roles in today's romantic landscape. References U. About the Author.
Read Next. Back Psychology Today. Back Find a Therapist. Back Get Help. Personality Passive Aggression Personality Shyness. Family Life Child Development Parenting. View Help Index. Do I Need Help? Back Magazine. July Who Is the True You? Back Today. Essential Re.I am a entertaining intelligent fit sensible woman
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