Q: I have two degrees from Ivy League institutions, and I have an impressive job as a biophysicist that challenges me and fulfills me every day. My career is only continuing to grow, and I am now having a hard time finding a man who measures up to my level. Every time I tell a guy what I do or where I went to school, he gets intimidated and so I never land a second date. What can I do to make sure guys aren’t repelled by my smarts?
A: Congratulations on your career success! Personally, I don’t think that your smarts are a detraction or a repellent. Many men will find your intelligence to be a draw, and any man who doesn’t is not deserving of your Ivy League self. However, as an intelligent woman like you knows, there are certain rules that govern dating, and it sounds to me like you might be breaking a few of them on your quest for true love.
First, I think you have to take some of the focus off yourself. While it is normal to want to share information about yourself (and maybe even impress your date), it’s not a good idea to put the spotlight on yourself and your accomplishments alone. I am not saying that you should hide or downplay your amazing assets, but simply make sure that you are giving him a chance to shine as well. After all, you are there to get to know him too!
Second, give your date a chance to really get to know who you are apart from how much education you have and your remarkable career. Sure, you have tons of degrees and an impressive job, but that doesn’t necessarily say much about your interests outside your career. It doesn’t tell him that you love old musicals or Italian food, or that you are an amazing cook or a passionate lover. See what I mean? Think about what really defines you as a person, and then share that side of yourself with your date. Whether it’s a funny story about your childhood or a story about your love for volunteering, let the real you shine through.
Third, make sure that you are dating guys who are on track with your interests and intelligence. There might be more to life than book smarts, but since you are a very intelligent and driven person, you probably aren’t going to have much in common with a man who prefers car magazines to molecular science. And there’s nothing wrong with that — everyone has unique tastes and interests, and that’s what makes people so interesting! But, it can also lead to conflict and disappointment if you are trying to make yourself fit into a man’s life by shrinking your intelligence or downplaying your love of science.
Rather than go down that treacherous road, why not find a man who shares your love of science? You must be surrounded by smart, ambitious people at your job every day, or perhaps you are involved in an alumni program with your school. Either way, the opportunities to meet people who share your interests are endless. Good luck!
— Dr. Laura Berman