15 Relationship Challenges of Most Professional Women
The greatest relationship challenges for professional women happen because they lose sight of the fact that what makes them successful in business will likely leave them unhappy, disappointed, and even rejected in romance and intimacy. Professional women make truly amazing romantic partners when they realize they don’t have to work as hard at love as they might have to in today’s corporate world.
The relationship challenges professional women face arise as a result of the mixed messages they receive about what is respectable and desirable. Too often the influential thinking subtly suggests that success, performance, and even emotional stoicism matter when it comes to romantic attraction. You will find the truth to be quite the opposite. As they start to study attraction dynamics and the source of lasting love, the majority of highly successful women discover that what they truly desire, is also what the men they find highly attractive also desire. (Please note here that if your attraction is for someone other than a man, simply substitute masculine being for man and feminine being for woman here.)
Let’s understand how these masculine-feminine dynamics truly work and why misunderstanding this contributes to so many of the relationship challenges professional women. The trick in today’s world is to create a space where masculine and feminine beings can together realize that their desires, although generally opposite, actually align perfectly for the deepest and most sustainable romantic partnerships.
We’ll start by exploring challenges with dating (and the impact how you dated might have on your current partnership). Then we’ll continue with relational and sexual dynamics and their inherent problems.
How the relationship might have started off wrong (aka Dating Challenges)
Relationship challenges in long term relationships often stem from the very earliest days and moments when the two first met. The dynamics and experiences of these initial connections set the energetic stage for what happens throughout the relationship. The good news is that even when these attraction dynamics start off out of sync, with attention and practice, they can be resolved in ways that reignite genuine lasting attraction.
With that being said, if you are presently seeking (or hoping for) a romantic partner, you’ll likely benefit from considering these challenges and how to shift them now, before you meet your next partner. You’ll be glad you did…
1) She tries to impress him and impressing him is not the way to his heart. While masculine men admire highly successful women. They can feel honor and deep respect for them. Yet, those aren’t the qualities he longs for in a woman who shares his life and his bed. That doesn’t mean a woman can’t be successful. Absolutely not. She just doesn’t want to lead with it in love. She, the feminine aspect, wants to be impressed, so she thinks a partner will want the same. Masculine men want to be awed… mesmerized much more than they want to be impressed. They are drawn to her light, her happiness, her ability to enjoy and to receive. These touch a man’s heart and draw him in. (If you think these qualities sound weak, you’re not alone. Yet, these expressions of the feminine carry huge power for you and him, if you’re willing to consider them.)
3) She represses her authentic feminine nature and feels frustrated that men don’t show up for her. Many strong independent women don’t realize how much their masculine partners or potential partners not only want to, but feel profoundly committed to, showing up for the women they date or love. Yes, that’s true. The masculine loves showing up for a woman. He wants more than anything to put a smile on her face. Her pleasure becomes his pleasure. Unfortunately, so many professional women have been deeply conditioned that receiving, opening, and feeling indicate inner weakness, and therefore undesirability. Therefore they shut down the very part of themselves that masculine men find so attractive, and sexy too. He can’t possibly show up for you if you don’t give him a chance, and most professional women rarely give men a real chance – although most would argue that they have given men plenty of chances. The truth is we can’t see what’s in our blindspots.
4) Her emotional intelligence gets stunted, yet she needs her emotions to be successful in love. We could spend an entire week talking about how our emotionality or lack thereof literally ignites relationship challenges for professional women in what could otherwise turn into incredible lasting partnerships. This holds especially true for professional women who feel they have to keep it all together and never shed a tear for fear of ridicule. Yet, the feminine pole in the masculine feminine attraction dynamic establishes and maintains the emotional space for the relationship. So, if she is out of touch with, or resists the power and force of, her own emotions, neither a budding connection nor a long term partnership can thrive. Emotions are the language of intimacy.
Additionally, too often because professional women feel they have to repress so many of their emotions just to survive, they can sometimes seek emotional sensitivity in their male partners. Yet this won’t work. It only serves to neutralize attraction in the end. Beyond that, because she constantly feels like she has to keep all she feels in and under control, all too often the dam breaks and her emotions come out in unconscious and even explosive ways. These seemingly out-of-the-blue upsets can stun their masculine partners and actually create more distance instead of the closeness a woman truly seeks when she finally lets herself feel. It is this very dynamic that brings about the judgements that women’s emotions are “too much”.
5) She doesn’t actually have time or space for love. Professional women, especially moms, and even more so, single moms, carry a lot of weight in their lives. Most of those incredibly busy women can’t see any other possibility beyond chronic busyness. For them, having a relationship and a masculine partner offers a glimmer of hope for a bit of relaxation, real joy, and real support, if their (new) partner would just have their back.
Yet, in her busyness, and its accompanying self-sufficiency, many professional women face relationship challenges, whether in one or seeking one, because they have no spare time on their calendar to actually open into real love. To make matters worse, because of their busy schedules, many of these women will try to plan romance. In dating, they want to know when a man is going to call them, so they can plan for it – removing the mystery and magic of romance. In marriages, too often they try to scrape together a few minutes at the end of the day for a conversation with their partner, and some feel lucky if they put sex on the to-do list and plan it. This level of busyness and exhaustion makes true romantic love nearly impossible to sustain. Masculine partners need a space to step into and most professional women don’t offer that gift – although many think they do.
The biggest relationship challenges of professional women
Now let’s explore the relationship challenges professional women face that become more predominant in a long term coupleship.
6) She over values independence. Modern conscious relationships no longer have a “need” or “dependence” factor in their formation. We know that women can stand on their own two feet and do not need a man to survive. Professional women tend to demonstrate this to the utmost degree. Yet, when a feminine woman gets to truly know herself, and has the courage to admit it, she realizes that union and connection matter most to her. To the contrary, she seeks relationship and partnership (unity and connection) through her strong independent woman persona. An inner battle often rages between wanting to stand independent, needing no one, and the other side of her that wants to be held, cuddled, cared for, and connected. Modern relationships based on authenticity thrive when professional women choose inter-dependence, or in other words, when they seek true partnership – which can’t exist without interdependence. Many women say they’re looking for their life partner, ideally they’d like a soul connection. Yet the words partner and connection imply that sense of unity. The strong independent woman persona does not allow for the unity they seek.
7) She typically resists surrender and thrives on control (except maybe sexually). No matter how much a professional woman might say she wants a man to show up for her and have her back, she rarely gives him a chance to do that. As much as a man, whether date or spouse, might want to contribute to her wellbeing, most of the time she will reply, “No. No. I’ve got it.” This keeps her in control, seemingly. At the same time, the strong independent, successful career woman rarely feels taken care of. Why? Because she likes, and is so used to having, so much control. One of the ways she keeps control is by planning things herself. If she takes the lead, there can be no disappointment or let down. She gets what she wants. Yet, in the end, most of the time she feels disappointed anyway because she had to make it happen – the man in her life didn’t do it first.
Simultaneously, while she unconsciously controls situations to protect herself from feeling hurt or disappointment, the strong woman also imagines that she’s creating a sense of safety for herself. She seeks safety through the independence we mentioned above and yet most of these same strong women would tell you, when they’re willing to be truly honest, that they would love to have a man look out for their safety. Unfortunately, as we look at the Masculine-Feminine Relationship Needs Model, we quickly see that when she has all the control, it remains impossible for him to contribute to her safety.
Professional women who want to overcome the relationship challenges they face, have to court the ideas of vulnerability and surrender if they want a man to contribute to their happiness, wellbeing, and safety. Please know, this invitation can feel intimidating, even threatening, yet those who have walked this conscious path of connection and divine union, realize that true safety and surrender go hand in hand.
8) She’s not great at receiving and too often (unknowingly) feels resentful as a result. The majority of the professional women who step onto the path of conscious relating with us quickly realize that they give much more than they receive. Their receiving muscles have weakened immensely. But why does not being a good receiver cause relationship challenges for professional women? Because the masculine men they’re attracted to want an opportunity to contribute and if she won’t allow that, he loses interest or turns away to other interests, leaving her wondering what happened to the great guy she first met. If she’s in a long term relationship or marriage, she’ll find herself resentful that he doesn’t do the very things she told him she didn’t need or want.
It’s not that she needs to receive or he needs to give, it’s simply what makes the masculine and feminine, respectively, most expressed and fulfilled – and hence attractive to each other. Too often, strong powerful women perceive receiving as a sign of weakness, helplessness, or incompetence. While receiving means none of these things, turning a habituated giver into a genuine receiver takes some time and intention, but rest assured the shift does happen and their lives, their hearts, and their bodies are much happier for it.
9) Her misplaced disappointment emasculates him. As we mentioned in several of the challenges above, professional women too often take charge, make the plans, and tell their masculine partners or potential partners how things should be done. At the same time, because she can frequently be on the verge of exhaustion or meltdown, she has little emotional capacity to gracefully handle the things that don’t go as planned or didn’t hit the imagined, but unexpressed, bullseye of what she wanted from the man in her life. It turns into what we might call the never-enough-syndrome for masculine men who love powerful feminine women.
These men try so hard. They give it their all, yet time and time again their girlfriends or wives let them know they didn’t get it right. The man gets no credit for what he attempted. He is judged for what he didn’t do and doesn’t understand why she can’t see how much he truly cares and loves her. For a while, he tries harder. He tries to learn her needs and desires and meet them. He tries to avoid anything that upsets her, but inevitably he fails and it’s still not enough. Very quickly, through her consistent emasculation, the once strong masculine man shifts into a more passive, “what-ever-you-say-dear” partner and they both lose interest.
10) She often chooses, or settles for, the wrong partner. As we see in our retreats and programs over and over again, most professional women believe they have predominant masculine energy. Simultaneously, the fact that these women usually seek masculine partners gives us an indicator that something isn’t quite right. Underneath, the vast majority of successful women, who truly want love and can’t find or sustain it, discover a deeply buried, yet truly natural and authentic feminine essence. It is her femininity that hungers for true masculine energy in a partner. Although even while she hungers for it, she shows up on her dates and in her relationships, leading with masculine energy. This in turn has her too often settling for the wrong man, a man who isn’t a true fit for her soul, her essence.
By nature, our intimate attraction rests on the laws of polarity. In other words, opposites attract and have a magnetic force that keeps them together. Masculine complements feminine. Feminine complements masculine. Said another way, masculine repels masculine and feminine repels feminine. Yet, too often because these strong capable women unknowingly live predominantly in their masculine persona, they long for the softness and peace they can’t access within themselves. They then settle for a partner who has that softness coupled with the ability to relax and go with the flow. Unfortunately, in response to his more feminine approach, her underlying feminine essence perpetuates the cycle of disappointment and emasculation.
11) She resists vulnerability. Vulnerability is where the love gets in and where the love immensely deepens. Too often vulnerability gets confused with helplessness or powerlessness, yet vulnerability is something quite different. Vulnerability rests at the heart of intimacy and hence, if you want true emotional intimacy as well as quality physical intimacy, you must have the capacity to be vulnerable. In well-bonded lasting relationships, both partners develop this capacity. However, vulnerability arises as an expression of the feminine and because of this fact, the predominantly feminine partner must lead the way into vulnerability and intimacy for the couple. The two together will deepen their bond through her lead.
It is a woman’s realness that brings about true vulnerability. It’s the place where she lets down her guard and allows her whole being to be seen. This is the place where, without denying her strength, she also allows her softness. Most successful women have been deeply conditioned to hide, even deny, the vulnerability, intimacy, and tenderness at the center of their hearts. This makes the journey of love challenging, to say the least. To be clear, vulnerability is not something you do, it’s something you feel. As one very successful woman said recently at one of our retreats, “I’ve intellectualized vulnerability. Feeling it is a whole other thing.”
12) She struggles to set boundaries. Most successful women at some level pride themselves on how much they can handle. Unfortunately her capacity to do it all, also means she regularly says “yes” to requests that, if she was truly honest with herself, she’d genuinely rather say “no” to. This inability to set boundaries frequently leaves her feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, and even taken advantage of. This struggle with boundaries is actually one of the most shocking of the relationship challenges professional women face. As we’ve seen above, many of her upsets, disappointments, and conflicts in romance arise due to an “over-dependence” on masculine energy, at the expense of her innate feminine essence. Yet, interestingly, an inability to set boundaries and say no comes from a lack of masculine energy.
We find, time and time again, in our work together that professional women run too much masculine energy and too little all at the same time. It’s critically important for her success in love that she spend time getting realigned with her true authentic nature – including the invisible, yet highly dynamic and impactful dance of masculine and feminine energies, within her, between her, and beyond her.
Sexual challenges for professional women
Let’s complete our exploration of the challenges professional women face in relationships with a brief look at some of the sexual challenges she may face.
13) Sex becomes a chore because she’s often exhausted (aka she feels unsupported). When a feminine woman feels she has to juggle to keep all the balls in her life in the air, her sexual libido can be one of the first things to go. When the female body is taxed through stress or overwork it has difficulty accessing its pleasure potential. Yet, in a long term relationship a feminine woman can still want her partner to have the sex he desires. Unfortunately, it too often leaves her in a dilemma of sacrificing herself or disappointing him. Typically neither person feels great, no matter the choice she makes.
14) She loses her feeling of desirability. This loss of feeling desirable can happen for a myriad of reasons including her body image. Her body may not look or feel the way it once did. It may be paying the price of her long hours of work and this can impact her self confidence. The focus and linearity demanded in many professional careers draws a woman’s attention away from her own sensuality and what brings her pleasure. The more disconnected she becomes from her own pleasure – in the bedroom or out – the less desire she has for intimate connection. When she’s not feeling sexy or desirable she may seek reassurance from her partner about attractiveness, yet no matter how much her date or partner may compliment her, she may not believe his words.
15) Her orgasms are often elusive. When masculine and feminine energies are out of balance within a woman, or between her and her partner, orgasms will often remain elusive, or for some women, non-existent. A woman’s access to her orgasmic energy has everything to do with her relationship to control and surrender. As we’ve discussed above, this inner battle between wanting control and wanting to relinquish control, wreaks havoc throughout the connection with a masculine partner. This challenge simply amplifies when it comes to sexuality and orgasms. While having an orgasm isn’t essential to a quality lasting partnership, they can be a source of connection, pleasure and even restoration for many women – something many professional women need. Even without orgasms, in a sustainable relationship, physical intimacy matters in all its forms.
The way to relationship success in and out of the bedroom
Reflecting on the list above, it can feel daunting or nearly impossible to have a successful relationship. Yet, while there are many examples above of the issues professional women have when it comes to intimacy and romance, the good news is that most of them are resolved by addressing a couple of common threads.
The most critical first thing a woman can do is to discover for herself whether her energy is authentically more predominantly masculine or feminine. (This test can tell you that.) Then once she knows her authentic sexual essence, she simply needs to come into alignment with that. This is not about learning how to “do” femininity. It’s a call to release the beliefs, consciousness, expectations, and past hurts that drove her into the overly masculine persona. When these habitual patterns fall away, her authentic feminine nature shines through and men start to take notice. This experience with men is so predictable when women actually learn how to do this.
The second most important thing for women who want great partnerships with amazing men to consider is strengthening their relationships with themselves. These women spend so much time tending to everyone else’s needs and the needs of their business or career that they lose sight of themselves and their own needs and desires. They lose sight of what makes them happy and radiant and this loss of self makes sustaining a relationship nearly impossible. Relationships don’t bring us peace, energy, happiness or love. We bring those things to a relationship. Then it can bloom into something breathtaking and heart stopping.
*At Ecstatic Intimacy, an all-inclusive website for singles and couples, we welcome all sexual orientation(s), gender(s) and relationship expressions. In this article we utilize the pronouns he/she/him/her.