The Great Credentials Mismatch – by Avi Woolf

How often have you heard a variation of the following complaint:

I’m so accomplished/educated/credentialed! Why do I have trouble finding guys?

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Women – religious women included – have been flooding the colleges and universities for decades now, overturning the traditional structure where it was almost entirely men who went to higher education. In many areas – especially in the humanities and social sciences – women outnumber men in earning degrees; I distinctly remember a strong gender imbalance in favor of women when I got my BA.

Yet these accomplishments, important though they are, often don’t translate into success in the dating world. Why is that?

Many – especially the women themselves – will claim that it’s because guys are intimidated by women who are smart and professionally successful, especially if they’re more so than the men they date. But as self-affirming as this answer is, it’s only part of the story. Yes, there are men who are intimidated, but I think they are in the minority.

The real reasons are as follows:

Mismatched Credentials

When we date you, we are interviewing you for the job of (hopefully) lifetime wife and mother to our children. Your professional credentials, titles and awards, while impressive, often tell us next to nothing about how you’ll fare in these roles. It’s the equivalent of a salesman interviewing for the job of a demolitions expert; these are two jobs which require two entirely different skill sets. The same is often the case here.

If you want to translate your accomplishments into greater dating success, you’ll need to find those aspects of your job or career that show you can be a good partner and emphasize them – we need to see it for ourselves. Whether it’s nurturing tendencies (education, nursing, therapy), good management (accounting) or otherwise, you can’t just assume we know you have those skills from your CV.

The Disposable Male

Another thing which is a serious turn-off is the attitude of many women in the professional world which can best be described as “strong and independent (of men).” Such an approach often bespeaks an arrogance and consequent belittling of men in general. Often such women will not even consider dating men who may be great husbands, fathers and providers, but don’t have the same, higher or “right” levels of education and social status.

Worse, though, it often sends out a signal which men interpret thusly:

In principle, I don’t need you. If need be, I can get pregnant in vitro; I can afford it. You are a disposable part of my life, not a necessary part of the family I want to build.

Here’s the thing: commitment-minded men are not interested in getting married to get divorced or constantly be on probation. We have no interest whatsoever in being a disposable accessory in your life. We want to be loved, needed and valued just as much as any woman does.

If you are truly so independent and don’t need a man, please admit this and let men and women who need each other find them. If you do need a man, then be honest and learn to openly value those traits and things in men which you need.

For those of you concerned that I’m against women being more independent than they were in the past, I’ll just say that of course there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a career or passion outside of having a family. The two can even enrich each other in various ways. But how you come across in regards to your professional success can hamstring you when dating the opposite sex.

NEXT: The Other “List”

Avi WoolfAbout Avi
Avi Woolf is a 31 year old content editor and budding tech writer with Modern Orthodox attitudes and a libertarian streak. He’s dated for eight years looking for a girl with whom to brave life and have a family. Likes chess, hates phoniness.

Deena’s note
April 1, 2014 is Habitza’s upcoming event: A Question and Discussion evening with myself, Dr. Pessy Krausz, a rabbi, a single guy and the audience. Read about it here and submit a question/scenario for discussion >>

3 thoughts on “The Great Credentials Mismatch – by Avi Woolf

  1. So, in your view, single women are principally judged on wifelihood and motherhood potential. Are men subject to equivalent scrutiny? Shouldn’t *their* accomplishments similarly undermine them in the eyes of single women? If not, why?

  2. “So, in your view, single women are principally judged on wifelihood and motherhood potential”

    Single women are judged *for the purpose of marriage* for their compatibility as a wife and mother, just as single women going up the corporate ladder are judged based on professional credentials and connection.

    “Are men subject to equivalent scrutiny?”

    Yes, not just by the women themselves but also her social/family circle. I’ve seen it happen, and it can be quite brutal.

    “Shouldn’t *their* accomplishments similarly undermine them in the eyes of single women? If not, why?”

    Men and women look for different things. Men look for a wife and mother to their children; professional credentials are a neutral variable – they can be good, bad or neither, but they are not necessary. A woman can be with or without a career and get married in either case.

    Women look not only for a provider but – and especially if they *are* the provider – also for stuff like social status, reliability. confidence and other factors. I don’t know many women who want to marry a depressed bum or someone with no career ambition. Ergo, men’s fitness as a partner is often bound up in their potential as earner/provider/social status of his job or position.

    Hope that clears things up.

  3. When I was back on the dating scene, after the break up of my first marriage, I had put into my selection criteria that I was looking for women with graduate-level degrees, as I am working on a PhD and wanted someone who understood it. The sites provided me with physicians, PhDs, and lawyers, as well as many women who had master’s degrees. Interestingly, I found that they did want someone with comparable credentials. Please don’t criticize this of them, as they have accomplished much, but these accomplishments are recognized less by those who haven’t “suffered” for them. However, that doesn’t give license to snobbery.

    I dated two women who wanted me to drop my program, into which I had invested time, effort and treasure, so that I’d be more available to them. Yet, it was plain on my profile that that’s what I’d been doing. Why did they think I would give it up for anyone? I’m sure they face the same, as well

    I married a woman I had met at shul, who is one of the most intelligent women I’ve ever met. No, she is not credentialed like this, but appreciates both the program that consumes much of my time and people who exhibit intelligence, as well as those who are nice.

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