Whoever said that a woman can have it all is being very optimistic. Most women are pulled in a dozen different directions every day, and most of us would be thrilled to borrow the two extra arms of the Indian goddess Kali, to accomplish everything we need to get done, each day. Maybe we can have it all, but it takes a good deal of work and focused attention to pull it off.
If you’re a woman who’s ambitious, and you happen to be single and looking for love, it can be a challenge, trying to juggle your work aspirations with your desire for a relationship and a family. Fortunately, there are some things you can do that will make it easier to get what you’re looking for.
Being an ambitious woman is great. Women bring their own unique sensibility to the workplace. Whatever field of work you’ve chosen, your dedication to your career can often make it more difficult to find and maintain a healthy relationship,
If you’re in your thirties or forties and you’ve devoted years of work and study to building your career to a level of accomplishment you’re satisfied with, and if there are further challenges you’d like to take on, it can be daunting to imagine where you could fit in the search for love.
The best way I can see this happening for you is if you make it into a project in its own right. If you see finding a partner and starting a family as your next life goal, you’ll be able to approach it with the same creativity and determination that brought you to your present level of success.
It all starts with dating. You may not have the time or energy to involve yourself in a lot of different non-work activities, but I highly recommend doing at least one thing on a regular basis that will bring you into contact with the kinds of men you’d like to meet.
Athletic activities, dance classes, language classes and writing workshops are all examples of this kind of thing. Most importantly, you want to be in frequent contact with a large group of people over a lengthy period of time. This will lead to spontaneous conversations which eventually turn into dates.
At the same time, get on-line. Yes, I hear from people that it’s bad out there, with men dating multiple women at one time, breaking dates at the last minute or promising to call and then disappearing, but it’s the world we live in and we have to embrace it.
Make your on-line profile as specific as possible. Be clear about your achievements and aspirations, and without giving away your financial situation – you don’t want to attract freeloaders- let the men know that you’re looking for someone who’d be happy getting to know a successful, ambitious woman.
As an ambitious woman, you’re likely to attract three types of men: the ambivalent type who’s initially attracted to your ambition and success, but ultimately, it makes him uncomfortable; the house-husband type who’s happy to raise the children and let you be the major bread-winner, and the successful type who’s busy with his own career and looking for his other half of a power couple.
The first type is obviously not for you, and you’ll need to identify him as soon as possible and move on, because you’ll never be happy with a man who’s not fully supportive of your goals. With the other two types, you’ll have to decide which one you’d be happy with, and unless you’re okay with both of these, just stick to your guns.
There’s no point in working so hard to achieve your goals and then be unhappy in your relationship. You’re better off alone than in an unsatisfying or frustrating relationship, so just as you never settled for less than what you truly wanted in your career, never settle in love.
When you’re dating, be very focused. Keep your first date short and light, and look to answer two important questions: 1: Is there enough here to want to go for a second date? And 2: Is there anything here that makes me not want a second date?
If you feel like going for a second date, continue to keep it light, but you can start to share a bit more about yourselves, and as the dates proceed, you can gradually get to know each-other and determine if this person is a good fit for you.
As an ambitious woman, you’re used to feeling independent and empowered in your workplace, and your romantic partner is going to have to be comfortable with this. A confident man, successful in his own right, is often a good fit for a woman like you.
He doesn’t have to be successful in the same way as you are- he can be a highly regarded artist, musician, professor or scientist, for example- but you should feel like equals and no-one should be intimidated by the other person’s accomplishments.
In fact, the right man for an ambitious woman is the type who is inspired, impressed and excited by her achievements and her goals, and who has interests of his own to share with you. He should be supportive and encouraging and never make you feel guilty about the time and energy you spend at work.
Most importantly, don’t waste your time on someone who isn’t right. Pay close attention to the red flags and the signs that he’s not the one. In the same way as you’re ruthless in your career, you’ll need to be somewhat ruthless in your search for love, and if it’s not working for you, move on, sooner rather than later.
When you understand who you’re looking for, where to find him and how to go about getting to know him, you’re well on your way to meeting the man who’s just the right fit for an ambitious woman like you.
You can buy my latest books on creating successful relationships: “Women Decoded,” to help men understand what women want and how to choose the right woman, and “Back on the Market,” to help women successfully return to dating.
By Marcia Sirota, M.D.