The other day, I was enjoying a glorious Sunday brunch with a group of girlfriends.
Fueled by bottomless mimosas, one of my girlfriends confessed something that happened to her earlier in the week: She was labeled something no self-respecting woman ever wants to be labeled.
She was labeled a “gold digger” by a guy friend for explaining she wanted to be in a relationship with a successful man. As they discussed what she was looking for in a man, career success was one of her top qualifications. He flipped out; how could she be so shallow? She was mortified.
A little background on my friend: She is one of the top executives at a PR firm, has a fabulous apartment that looks like it was decorated by Joanna Gaines and earns a healthy paycheck each month. She is financially secure all on her own, so why does she feel vilified for expressing that she wants a man who is in a similar position?
I couldn't help but wonder (a la @CarrieBradshaw), why do women feel ashamed to say we are looking for a man who is successful?
I am a professional matchmaker based in Beverly Hills, and I work with some of the most successful women in the world. My clients are the ultimate girl bosses succeeding in every area of their lives, but when it comes to dating, they are not quite as successful, which is where I come in.
Nearly every day I encounter gorgeous, hopeful young women attempting to make sense of their last interactions with the guys they are dating. They are frustrated and confused at the immature behavior their male counterparts display over and over again. They end things with one guy, and the next is even worse.
Women are puzzled when the actor/model/bartender whom they are dating does not seem to want to have the DTR (Define The Relationship) talk. The woman who is dating a man within the Silicon Beach start-up circle has this issue, as does the “it's complicated” girlfriend of the law clerk who is taking the bar this May.
Through my years in the dating profession, I have learned if a man has yet to find a satisfying career, he has trouble even beginning thinking about a serious relationship. Casual sex, yes. A Tinder meet-up? Sure. But a meaningful, long-term relationship? Maybe in a few years.
Men are creatures who live their lives in a compartmentalized fashion. Think of a man as an unfinished house. The foundation has been built, and he is working on building the first floor.
Yes, he has thought about the upstairs and mapped out the six bedrooms, lounge and office (we are in Beverly Hills, darling), but he cannot and will not get started on the upstairs until he has finished the downstairs.
Maybe he will go up there to have a beer or tinker around a bit, but even if he begins to build up and decorate the upstairs rooms, he will eventually have to go back downstairs and finish what he started.
When entering a relationship, it is vital to understand where a man is within his career path. I am not encouraging you to discriminate against men with lower incomes, I am just saying that, whatever their profession may be, in whatever industry or income bracket, in order for a man to fully immerse himself in his relationship with you, he needs to feel satisfied and like he is succeeding within his career.
Success is relative to the career he chooses. If a man is not yet at the top of his field, he needs to feel as though he is working toward that goal and that it is in sight before entering a happy, healthy relationship.
I cringe when I hear men label women as “gold diggers” or say women only date them for a meal ticket.
While yes, there is a segment of the female population who is using men for their money (#sugarbabies), the overwhelming majority of women are genuinely looking for love, and just want to date a man who can afford whatever activity he has selected for her date -- be it taking her out to dinner without making an awkward comment about the check, or going to a museum and making sure that he pre-ordered the tickets.
It is less about dating the guy who is driving the Lamborghini down Rodeo, it is more about dating the guy who has his life together. Success is a man living within his means; if he knows it is not in his budget for the month to spend $400 on a lavish dinner, he will take the initiative to set up a cute picnic under the stars with a bottle of wine, or arrange another date that works within his budget.
Of course, some men are consummate bachelors and will forever revel in an unfinished upstairs, but most men are excited to enjoy the chapter in their lives where they can begin to start a family with the woman they love. The trick is to meet men at this chapter.
As the unsuspecting relationship expert Steve Harvey preaches in "Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man," so much of a man's pride and emotional stability comes from his career.
Stability and confidence prove to be an extremely strong foundation to build a successful relationship. Our culture has told him from an early age he will provide for his future family as the bread winner, and if he utilizes his resources and works hard, eventually he will be able to live the lifestyle he desires.
Boys are taught early on their most important duty is to support their families. Women also, of course, have an urge and desire to have fabulous careers, follow their dreams and support their families, but many men (and women for that matter) do not rely on the support of their future partner. They want to make it happen themselves.
One of the perks of being a matchmaker is my clients are at the point in their lives where they are ready, so I have learned that career stability is one of the greatest predictors of them being in this stage.
They have focused on their careers and have put their love lives on the back burner until they have felt content within their careers. Now, they are enjoying the fruits of their labor and are ready to share them with someone whom they can cherish with attention.
They are ready to begin constructing their fabulous upstairs with one of the best contractors in the business (if I may say so myself).
So am I advising all of you lovely ladies reading this to drop your studly, early 20-something associate and date his boss? No. But, I am challenging you to take a look at the men you are viewing as potential contenders for your heart and use a bit of discernment when it comes to choosing where to invest your emotions.
DISCLAIMER: I know many happy couples who were far from their ideal careers, and they have thrived in happy relationships. They have enjoyed growing together within their careers and general life-paths.
This article in no way discounts your relationship or makes it any less wonderful than it is. If anything, it is a testament to you, your love, hard work and tenacity in consistently developing your relationship to make sure that you are both satisfied and growing at a healthy pace together and apart.