The Male Ego and Dating - Is too much independence a turn off?

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    Sep 10, 2009 3:53 AM GMT
    I was watching TV this evening and I stopped on a telecast of a radio show here in Atlanta. The subject brought up an interesting point. Albeit, it was about men and women, for some reason in my mind, it applied to gay men as well and hinted at feelings I have had on the topic.

    The subject at hand was: A women who goes out and gets everything she wants (House, Cars, Jewelry, High Paying Job, Well Traveled, Well educated...etc) become less attractive to men, because it removes the man's ability to "upgrade" her life. There is nothing he can do to contribute to her life/lifestyle because of her outwardly expressed independence. In a sense saying, 'I don't need anyone'. Which is great! BUT...Obviously male ego is the driving factor in play here. Sex and the City ran a lengthy plot line on this very issue between Miranda and Steve.

    When you present yourself as being so Independent and accomplished does it really become a turn off for most men rather than a turn on? Does it really say I don't want or need anyone's help or contribution?

    I know for myself when I meet a man that talks about the home he owns and all the renovations he's done to it, or the lake house with a boat, the high end car(s) etc..... I immediately wonder where I could possibly fit into the equation of that man's life. Where can we build a life together if that man has all ready built one he likes for himself. It has been my experience that when a man reaches that level of independence, he will only accept you in the world he created and not the one you can create together from the ground up. I would much prefer a man that rents has a decent job and a pretty stable life. That is something workable and leaves plenty of room to achieve and build together.

    Maybe I am looking at this sideways, and alone in my thinking....but I think it is an interesting theory that I am curious to read others perspective on.

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    Sep 10, 2009 4:15 AM GMT
    I have avoided this problem in the gay world by sticking to guys who match me fairly closely in their income & resources, as well as personality. It's not that I made it a precondition, but it seemed most guys I was attracted to automatically fell into that category.

    I suppose if they were mega-rich I would have had some problems, but I've been "spared" that awful fate. LOL! Actually, one BF was a multi-millionaire, and it nearly bankrupted me. I refused to have him pay my way, and like most wealthy people I know, he was very stingy and wouldn't show me much consideration, anyway. But trying to keep up with his lavish lifestyle, and the dinners and private functions he attended, was ruinously expensive for me. I strongly advise against rich BFs, unless you're equally rich yourself.

    As for independence of personality, I like it. Not pure contrariness, which is a different thing altogether. Rather, a man with a strong character always attracts me. As my late partner told me, I'm best matched with someone who can stand up to me, otherwise I'll run roughshod all over him, without even realizing I'm doing it. I'm best paired with someone who can tell me to go to Hell when I need it, as I often do, and put me in my place. Weak sisters need not apply.
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    Sep 10, 2009 7:07 AM GMT
    I don't see it as a problem, I see it as a plus. I like men who are more educated, more successful than me - it gives me a thrill. I hate always being in control and usually if I date a guy around my age who's not stronger, smarter, has more experience or at least something that makes him more than me in some way, I just don't feel comfortable with him. I don't need someone who can't bring any knowledge or advancement in my life.
    I want someone who can sometimes be more than me, so that there is someone I can really rely on... how can you rely on a person whom you consider to be less than you? icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Sep 10, 2009 7:38 AM GMT
    I like independence in a guy because when you come together you know it's for real and, quite frankly, I think it's healthy but TOO much independence is definitely a turn off. You like to think there's a place for you in their life.
  • _gingin

    Posts: 116

    Sep 10, 2009 7:49 AM GMT
    i dont see it as a turn off-i feel expressed independence and relationships are two issues that are almost dichotomous.

    my expartner was older than me--he was financially stable, had a nice house, flashy car, well-paying job, he was physically beautiful and he seemed very, very set in his life and his goals. however, he also was very independent and very emotionally reserved.

    me? i was a student.

    after a couple of months, i found myself questioning my own worth. i felt my opinions didn't matter, and i was stuck to talking about issues of little importance. there wasnt any dialogue, it was a pingping monologue. there wasnt 'our life', there was only his life and i'm that very blue puzzle piece awkwardly placed in a sea of red.

    i believe it wasnt his conscious intention to have excluded me in that manner, in fact, he wasnt one to flaunt his success in my face. he was caring and thoughtful and i could have relied on him financially if i wanted to, but i was the idealist who wanted his time instead, and that was something he couldn't give me. perhaps it is the fact that we were both in very different stages of our lives and have different goals and needs.

    with that, i have to say relationships are intrinsically symbiotic. independence have to give.
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    Sep 10, 2009 7:59 AM GMT
    I was told this early on in my relationship with my current hubby. He said, maybe me being so independent drove people away.

    So I dialed it back a notch and became a helpless puppy caught in a well. It apparently worked.
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    Sep 10, 2009 12:45 PM GMT
    eh, I don't need a man and I don't want a man who is going to "need" me, I will want the guy in my life because I want him there, not some daft stupidity based on "need"
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    Sep 10, 2009 1:05 PM GMT
    GaFuzz. What I read from your comments is that you and the men in this TV program are seeking co-dependent relationships. Some people feel that it is not a relationship unless it is co-dependent. I'm finding this is very common.

    Also let's not confuse financial success with independence. Many financially successful people are emotionally dependent on people admiring their success. They feel somewhat worthless if they do not have this constant reinforcement.

    On the other side there are people who live modest lives but are extremely independent and really don't need a constant ego reinforcement. I was like this at the beginning of my career. I met someone who was very wealthy and 16 years my senior. He wanted to lavish me with gifts and take me out to fancy dinners. I was his trophy boy to show his friends. I had my doubts less than one month into the relationship but I stuck it out for six months simply because I wanted to work on being in a relationship.

    Then I become more experienced and wealthier. I had no desire to buy myself a trophy boy and apart from all the traveling, I have lived a fairly modest life. I am, however, at the point in life where I'm enjoying the fruits of my labor and would love to share what I have learned with someone. There are so many places in the US and Europe that I know well enough to feel right at home. I'm reminded, however, of three different relationships I had between 7 and 15 years ago. Each time we met because I stepped into his world and we had a great time getting to know each other. It doesn't take much to satisfy me. Good sex, outdoor activities, and cooking good meals is about all I need. But the moment I even suggested they explore some of my world they really freaked out. Perhaps they felt insecure that I enjoy life both in and out of a relationship. In all three cases I think they suffered, as many gay men I find do, from fear of abandonment. They all three initially expressed a fear they would fall for me and then I would dump them but in all three cases they ended it. I don't think they ever understood my own emotional vulnerability.

    There have been a few studies that show that co-dependency keeps people together. So if your primary goal in life is a long-term relationship then I have to agree that too much independence will make it nearly impossible.
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    Sep 10, 2009 1:08 PM GMT
    Isn't too much independance the same thing as too little codependance?
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    Sep 10, 2009 1:12 PM GMT
    mickeytopogigio saidI was told this early on in my relationship with my current hubby. He said, maybe me being so independent drove people away.

    So I dialed it back a notch and became a helpless puppy caught in a well. It apparently worked.



    It is interesting you say that -- This was a big part of the conversation on the show I was watching.

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    Sep 10, 2009 1:44 PM GMT
    GaFuzz saidI was watching TV this evening and I stopped on a telecast of a radio show here in Atlanta. The subject brought up an interesting point. Albeit, it was about men and women, for some reason in my mind, it applied to gay men as well and hinted at feelings I have had on the topic.

    The subject at hand was: A women who goes out and gets everything she wants (House, Cars, Jewelry, High Paying Job, Well Traveled, Well educated...etc) become less attractive to men, because it removes the man's ability to "upgrade" her life. There is nothing he can do to contribute to her life/lifestyle because of her outwardly expressed independence. In a sense saying, 'I don't need anyone'. Which is great! BUT...Obviously male ego is the driving factor in play here. Sex and the City ran a lengthy plot line on this very issue between Miranda and Steve.

    When you present yourself as being so Independent and accomplished does it really become a turn off for most men rather than a turn on? Does it really say I don't want or need anyone's help or contribution?

    I know for myself when I meet a man that talks about the home he owns and all the renovations he's done to it, or the lake house with a boat, the high end car(s) etc..... I immediately wonder where I could possibly fit into the equation of that man's life. Where can we build a life together if that man has all ready built one he likes for himself. It has been my experience that when a man reaches that level of independence, he will only accept you in the world he created and not the one you can create together from the ground up. I would much prefer a man that rents has a decent job and a pretty stable life. That is something workable and leaves plenty of room to achieve and build together.

    Maybe I am looking at this sideways, and alone in my thinking....but I think it is an interesting theory that I am curious to read others perspective on.



    No you are not. And that's why you tend to find such men with twinks or guys who are several decades younger.
    Such men are more malleable. Which must be inoder for such friendships to last
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    Sep 10, 2009 3:12 PM GMT


    There isn't a single person on this planet that doesn't have needs. There are lots that don't recognize they have needs. The state of complete total independence is a need, too, for some. That said, I think there's a wavery line between need and want and some get them confused with each other.

    As well, the need for absolute independence may be attractive until someone gets there and discovers they're completely alone.

    -Doug



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    Sep 10, 2009 3:40 PM GMT
    I've had it come up as an issue a handful of times both with dating and making friends. I have worked hard and achieved a certain level of financial success, and I have a nice place and a nice car.

    To lots of people, it's as simple as that. To others, it's a measuring stick by which to measure themselves. I have no interest in competing for who makes the most money or who has the most stuff when it comes to dating or friendships. Unless we're married, my finances are my business and your finances are yours. I am, unlike Red_Vespa's characterization (althought I don't consider myself "rich"), not stingy at all when it comes to my friends or my dates. If I have the means to do something for someone, I will do it gladly. Some people take that as an insult to their independence or their standing in life, which I interpret as insecurity.

    If you are lucky enough to find someone you want to be with, none of this should ultimately matter. If you are not comfortable with your own financial or emotional states, fix them. Gotta love yourself first.
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    Sep 10, 2009 3:43 PM GMT
    Independence and settled-down-ness are two different things.

    In order to build a relationship with another person one needs to have an open mind, i.e. try new things, be open to make changes to his current pattern. Someone who is too settled down can be one that resists change (that means they have stopped growing), and that makes it harder to build a new relationship.

    However, independence doesn't have to be that. A guy can be independent but still be open to change, if he sees a better way to fulfill his needs. Such a guy requires someone else who can complement him and be able to do some things better than him. Maybe a person who's more spontaneous, less controlled, good at entertaining, bring a finer taste level, etc. A young malleable boy who have nothing to offer other than youth and sex is not ideal, it may work for a few years but it doesn't last long term.
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    Sep 10, 2009 4:08 PM GMT


    Say good point , Badmikeyt.
    "If I have the means to do something for someone, I will do it gladly. Some people take that as an insult to their independence or their standing in life, which I interpret as insecurity."

    We watched an old flick on TCM last night called 'Now, Voyager' (good lord they smoked a lot. lol).
    In it was this line,
    "Don't you know to take is sometimes a way to give. The most beautiful way in the world if two people love each other"
    ...heheh, a bit soggy but noteworthy.


    -Doug
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    Sep 10, 2009 4:09 PM GMT
    It has been my experience that when a man is truly independent in a healthy way he takes responsibility and accountability of his actions and choices...his independence is about being able to make choices and stand accountable for them without blaming someone or something else while taking into account what others have shared... thoughts and ideas...but in the end he owns his choices. This doesn't mean that he doesn't consider others thoughts and needs...quite the contrary he knows the real value and considerateness that this entails. It comes from perhaps having been married and having children or from friendships, family or a created community that he has learned to consider his world beyond his immediate self.....therefore being less self absorbed or egocentric.

    When a man states he is fiercely independent I have found that this is usually a sign of issues with intimacy and an over active ego. Independency is being used as a cover for what really is a deep issue of fear.

    When a man is truly independent (which is a way of life of relating to oneself with integrity, inner peace and self love) that independence actually enhances life by encouraging openness, communication, intimacy and more...including great sex....and the reason is does this is because it isn't coming from fear or avoidance but passion for life and experience.
  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19133

    Sep 10, 2009 4:14 PM GMT
    Independence is one thing, while flaunting one's wealth or success quite another. In any relationship, one usually always makes more money or has achieved a greater level of career success than the other at any given time. The important thing is to find that middle ground so that one doesn't feel awkward, needy, or kept and the other doesn't feel taken advantage of or expected to be the provider.
  • bmw0

    Posts: 588

    Sep 10, 2009 4:16 PM GMT
    I happen to like self sufficient people. There is a limit to that though. When two of my friends were getting married the minister gave them some videos to watch about how to make a marriage last, kind of a pre marriage guide. The video explained a few different types of relationships. A H and M (imagine the letters are two stick people if you will and the line between the sides are their arms). The A type is where the people are completely dependent on one another. The video explained that in this type of relationship there will be disapointment with one person or the other typically causing its end. When people lean on eachother for everything one is bound to disapoint the other at some point causing disfuntion and ultimatly seeking someone else to lean on, or losing interest period. The H type is when you are connected, but so independent that your lives aren't very corrilated at all. Usually just married for the sake of being married, often no intamacy or true companionship. And the M type is where you are independent enought to stand tall, but relaxed enough that you can lean on the other person a little and walk comfortably side by side.

    The M type is the relationship i would like to find. I have had some success in my life, and i'm a pretty generous person with everyone. I would give my last penny to someone to help them out if i saw the need to. However, there are some who would like to take advantage of my generosity, and i'm not comfortable with that. I used to be the type that liked to pay for dinner and so on all the time, and have learned that i don't need to do that. When someone offers to pay, i let them so as not to make them feel useless. If i have learned one super important thing from my years of dating, its that compromise and courtesy will go a long way.
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    Sep 10, 2009 4:38 PM GMT
    bmw0 you are quite correct there is co-depency and independency...neither one works well to truly allow full expression of a healthy relationship.
    It's the inter-depency that allows this....the development and expression of two people sharing a journey together
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    Sep 10, 2009 4:38 PM GMT
    badmikeyt said If you are lucky enough to find someone you want to be with, none of this should ultimately matter. If you are not comfortable with your own financial or emotional states, fix them. Gotta love yourself first.

    Or, in other words, Love Conquers All?
    But quite often it doesn't. If there's too wide a gap between where you are in life it fatally stresses the other aspects of the partnership. The most unhappy relationship I ever had was with a trust-fund baby at a point when I was still getting established in my own career. He was handsome, bright, charming and creative, but he had no responsibilities in life and hence no understanding of those who did. I had the daily grind, he had the freedom to indulge every whim. Of course by comparison my financial and emotional states seemed lacking and in the end the only way to fix them was to get out of the relationship.
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    Sep 11, 2009 1:44 AM GMT
    Awesome thoughtful comments guys! This is certainly an interesting topic.
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    Sep 11, 2009 2:12 AM GMT
    I think your "thinking" is absolutely correct for you. It may be for many men. For others, they may think differently.

    I for one would LOVE an independent man. That is not to say that all independent men are guys I'd fall for.

    The display of material worth is just that -- display. It is that underlying ability to accomplish that is the value.

    From time to time I have the opportunity to sit with someone who has a great idea but no ability to bring it to pass. If they deserve help (and sometimes that help is not monetary), they know what my correct answer to the questions: "Have you ever been broke? "How did you move past that?"

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    Sep 11, 2009 4:34 AM GMT
    I'm not sure if it has to do so much with independence as much as it has to do with resilience. How tough you are? And i'm not talking about in the physical sense. It's about how determined are you to get where you want to go and achieve the dreams you want? I also theorize that it has to do with complimenting one another which has been touched upon by several of you.

    I do understand the notion that being too independant is a double edged sword because it implies that it leaves no room for anyone to come into your life, provide inspiration and help you grow and flourish even more. I think it's all about complimenting one another.
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    Sep 11, 2009 2:42 PM GMT

    I AM A ROCK





    A winters day
    In a deep and dark december;
    I am alone,
    Gazing from my window to the streets below
    On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.
    I am a rock,
    I am an island.
    Ive built walls,
    A fortress deep and mighty,
    That none may penetrate.
    I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain.
    Its laughter and its loving I disdain.
    I am a rock,
    I am an island.

    Dont talk of love,
    But Ive heard the words before;
    Its sleeping in my memory.
    I wont disturb the slumber of feelings that have died.
    If I never loved I never would have cried.
    I am a rock,
    I am an island.

    I have my books
    And my poetry to protect me;
    I am shielded in my armor,
    Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
    I touch no one and no one touches me.
    I am a rock,
    I am an island.

    And a rock feels no pain;
    And an island never cries.
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    Sep 11, 2009 3:47 PM GMT
    TexDef07 said
    badmikeyt said If you are lucky enough to find someone you want to be with, none of this should ultimately matter. If you are not comfortable with your own financial or emotional states, fix them. Gotta love yourself first.

    Or, in other words, Love Conquers All?
    But quite often it doesn't. If there's too wide a gap between where you are in life it fatally stresses the other aspects of the partnership. The most unhappy relationship I ever had was with a trust-fund baby at a point when I was still getting established in my own career. He was handsome, bright, charming and creative, but he had no responsibilities in life and hence no understanding of those who did. I had the daily grind, he had the freedom to indulge every whim. Of course by comparison my financial and emotional states seemed lacking and in the end the only way to fix them was to get out of the relationship.


    The difference, Tex, is that a trust fund baby hasn't had to work to earn what he has in the way of material things/money. I have worked very hard for mine. I choose to share it because I know that I have had opportunities that others have not, and that I had the generous support of my parents and/or my employers to pay for tuition, to provide access to education and professional advancement, etc. It would be wildly selfish to say that anything I've achieved has been solely due to my own initiative and drive - I've had help, and sharing is a way of paying it back.

    At the end of the day, I can take none of it with me. Better to enjoy sharing things with others - especially others who know me well enough to know that I didn't just happen into anything by chance, but worked hard for it - than to selfishly keep it all to myself.

    But there is a HUGE difference, I think, in people who have earned vs. people who have just been given.