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What Men Really Think About Successful, Independent Women

  • Cliff Young Contributing Writer
  • 2006 12 Jul
What Men Really Think About Successful, Independent Women

Have you and your friends ever looked at something, like a situation, an inanimate object, or a person and have come to totally different conclusions about it?  We all have.

I love how the human mind works – how fast it takes in data through the eyes, processes and compares it to personal desires and experiences in the mind, and formulates an instant impression.  I know men do this well, sometimes too well, especially when it comes to women (so I’m reminded by some of my female friends).

Many of them are “mature,” single, well established, have great jobs, own their own home, are very independent and are very happy.  They travel the world, they fix things around their homes and they serve in leadership roles in their church.  Maybe you know some women like this or possibly are one.  A question that I am often posed by them is this:  “What do Christian guys think of women like me?”  Knowing that this is a loaded question, I usually find some politically correct answer that seems to pacify them for the moment and move on.

I am now ready to come clean.

Not trying to speak for the entire single Christian male population, I’ve done some smaller-scale research and have come up with some non-scientific results in order to help women to better understand guys, as well as attempt to educate some men out there, if willing.

So, what do men think about successful, independent women?  I’ve broken it down into three major impressions with male personality types associated with each. 

DISCLAIMER:  This is NOT an exact science, and there are generalizations in each category.  There is no one specifically who I was thinking of while writing this.

Attraction and Admiration

Many men are actually attracted to and admire women who are independent, self-assured, and established, no matter what some of you may think.  There is respect for what they’ve been able to accomplish in their lives and who they are as people.  Some of these skills are obtained out of necessity, but nevertheless many men find these qualities quite attractive.

Men who are drawn to independent, successful women usually fit into either of two categories.  They are either themselves independent, self-assured, and established, or they are very dependent, unsure of themselves and basically “mama’s-boy” (looking for someone to take care of them). 

Men in the former group are more confident, know what they want and enjoy what they do.  They are usually ones who enjoy less “high maintenance” types of women and doing things for them out of desire rather than out of obligation or need.

Men in the latter group are those who may enjoy a stronger type of woman, who does not necessarily replace their mother, but are a satisfactory substitute or augment their mother in the relationship.  Men with no purpose or direction seem to be drawn to women like this in order to have a purpose. 

Women often enjoy the attention and company of these types of guys for awhile, being the center of a guy’s attention and being needed, but soon realize that they have nothing to bring to the relationship.  Some women oblige in order just to have a relationship. 


The most common reply from women as to why they are still single is that “men are intimidated” by them.  Many men can be intimidated by a woman who is capable of doing everything for herself.  Being with an independent woman can expose weaknesses or challenge a man’s abilities in the skills that she knows, thus injuring his ego.  They may look at women like this as threatening to their manhood and cause them to run.  It’s true (sorry guys).  Nobody wants to be shown up by others, and our society has made it a weakness for a guy to not be able to do something better than a woman.

One type of man in this category is usually not sure of himself and lacks the self-confidence.  Insecurity may play a big role which can often stem from upbringing.

A man who may seem to be intimidated by a stronger woman is in reality may just be “turned-off” due to a desire or preference for the “old fashioned” type of girl. Granted, the person that he meets may be that type of girl, but has just had to fend for herself over the years.

No Need Perceived

Some women give off the impression that they are so independent that they don’t need anyone else, especially a husband.  Many times this may not be the case, but a self-assured personality along with a settled lifestyle of having a home, career, and everything in order can make a man feel as if there’s no place for a man in her life.

Many men end up not pursuing women like this not out of intimidation, but rather out of perceived “ultra-independence” on the woman’s part.  According to many single males who I’ve talked with, some women puts out signals, consciously or unconsciously, that they aren’t interested in a relationship.  They are fine the way they are, and they don’t need a man in their life – no matter what they may say.

Many guys have told me how they were very interested in a girl, but she kept on emphasizing her independence and all that she was able to accomplish.  They were left thinking, “Where would I fit in?”

Lessons Learned

For Men:

  • Women want to be pursued, they want to be needed in a relationship and they want to be treated like a lady - chivalry is not gone or outdated (you may want to “Google” the term if you’re unsure of what it means; that would be a good start). 
  • This is the case for many women:  YOU have the task of living up to what their fathers are or were.  It might be a good idea to ask about their dads, meet them if possible and emulate (not fake) some of the traits. 
  • Vulnerability, honesty, transparency, communication are all traits that seem to be key to a successful relationship. 
  • Being friends with females is great, but most guy-girl friendships need to be clarified at some point.  I once heard somewhere that in every guy-girl non-dating relationship, one person or the other at some point wants the relationship to go further than just a friendship.  Think about it, if it’s not you, it’s probably them.

When I was a child, I remember visiting my pediatrician’s office and seeing a poster in his office.  It read, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.  When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.” 

I never gave it much thought, after all I was a child and as a child you can do just about anything.  But as a man, “I put childish ways behind me.”  Notice that this is a statement.

What I didn’t realize was that it came from 1 Corinthians 13:11.  There are a lot of guys still reasoning like a child.

For Women:

  • Guys want to be the “man” in the relationship (granted some don’t act like it, but in their defense many were never showed this in their home while growing up). 
  • Guys want to be (or at least feel) needed.
  • Guys want their significant other to admire and have confidence in them.  I know that some guys may not deserve it, warrant it, or know what to do with it, but it’s important to a male psyche.  If you get to a point where you can’t do it, ask yourself “why are you in the relationships at all?”
  • Guys need a break sometimes.  It’s not easy to balance what guys should be like in the world and then get a differing interpretation in church.
  • Be sensitive to what the guy is trying to do for you.  To some men, it’s not easy dealing with some women. 

Beware:  a potential relationship may be closer than it may appear.

Cliff Young is a contributing writer to "Sandlot Stories" (ARose Books).  An architect and former youth worker, he now works with Christian musicians and consults for a number of Christian ministries. Got feedback?  Send your comments and questions to