The question popped into my mind while driving: Do I have to lose me to be with you?
Apparently I do, according to the fine folks over at the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology who recently published a study conducted by Kate Ratliff and Shigehiro Oishi. It turns out that our men want us to be successful as long as we’re not more successful than they are. Huffington Post has summed it all up beautifully in their article, Men Feel Threatened By Successful Girlfriends, Confirming What We Hoped Wasn’t True.
Well, Hell’s bells, I didn’t need the study results to tell me that. I’ve known it for years.
For example, in one of my past homes, the kitchen was old. Like Grandma old. So I decided to paint the cabinets white, change out the hardware, and add a bit of decorative trim as espoused by so many of the home improvement shows at the time. At the same time, Husband #1 and I painted the walls, put down some easy self-stick tiles, and bought a new stove. The kitchen looked 1000% better than when we started. I’m not saying we were up there with Mike Holmes-type workmanship, but I did my best to paint those cabinets with minimal brush strokes.
All was calm in our world until our Christmas party.
One of our more boisterous co-workers commented on our kitchen re-do, to which Husband #1 indicated he didn’t paint the cabinets. The co-worker blasted out in a humorous way, “She did those? Who wears the pants in this family?!?” And that’s when it came to the surface that my successes, especially in male-type projects, were upsetting to Husband #1. It’s not that he wanted to do any home-improvement projects of his own…it’s just that I wasn’t supposed to be better than him, if he ever chose to do a project.
Go ahead, bask in your own private victory. You’ve managed to snag a driven, capable woman. We call that success.
Bravo… and yet are we trying to undo centuries of evolution with regards to the male ego and competitiveness?