Successful Women Make Insecure, Sad Men Feel Insecure and Sad

Illustration for article titled Successful Women Make Insecure, Sad Men Feel Insecure and Sad

Are you a successful woman? Well, your man is probably somewhere in the house crying about that.

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This "tough economy" has left more men than women unemployed and bros aren't taking it so well. In a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, women felt better about their relationship when their significant other was out there killing it. On the other hand, when their wives and girlfriends are slaying it, men "subconsciously felt worse about themselves when they thought about a time when their female partner thrived in a situation in which they had failed."

So maybe all those plot lines about women having to make themselves small enough to find love with a small-minded man is actually based in fact? I'm talking to you Think Like a Man.

“But this research found evidence that men automatically interpret a partner’s success as their own failure, even when they’re not in direct competition.”

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Yes, yes it does. But don't let that stop you! For every sulky, insecure Berger from Sex and the City, there's got to be a hot Julian from Something's Gotta Give just waiting to say, "How wonderful is it that I'm not threatened by your success?" He's out there ladies, and hopefully you can meet him between emails and that morning conference call.

Image via Ollyy/Shutterstock.

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DISCUSSION

arischwartz
Ari Schwartz: Dark Lord of the Snark

I think it's shitty to blame men for feeling this way, frankly. We have been largely raised from birth to believe that we should provide. Whether that is "true" or not is a different story, but this is a constant message. You know how we all shake our heads at the social messages about beauty for women? This is not dissimilar: men are in no small part measured by how much they can provide for their families.

It's not fair. It's not even right. I'm not defending this status quo. But to sit here and mock men who feel insecurity in an increasingly shitty and impossible economy is just not necessary.

I'll be honest: no matter how hard I try, a small part of me feels less successful because my wife will make 2 to 3 times what I make in her lifetime. Nothing I do can change that, and I don't let it get in the way, but there is that little tiny part of me that keeps clawing at my psyche about it. And no, I don't feel like she's the party at fault here. I applaud and love her success. But no matter how hard I stifle that little voice, it never truly goes away.

So yeah, not every guy who feels uncomfortable is some insecure sad man. Some of us are successful in our own rights. But we spent our ENTIRE lives being raised with a message, and now that message is being upended.

It doesn't help that MANY people will judge guys in relationships poorly for not providing as much financially. I've seen this more than once, mind you. I've even been told that my contributions, financially, aren't even important. I've had people ask why such a successful woman is okay with my income. I'm in a pretty rarefied income class myself (hi Fizzwazoo, come and have your fun), and yet I'm still deficient for not making more than my wife.

Again: I don't damn anyone for their successes, but I do have some sympathy for men (as a man myself) in a somewhat topsy-turvy period of history. Maybe in the future the message will change. But in the meantime, remember that we're socially punishing men for things they can't even necessarily control.