Berry says a few gestures by women can make a world of difference: Smile. Show passion for what you do. Indicate a willingness to break off chunks of time for a man. Most important, he says, men want a woman to show her soft side. “I think a lot of women fight for equality in their professional lives and assume that it’s a negative to allow yourself to be vulnerable when it comes to an emotional relationship. It’s not.”
Successful women say the challenge comes in finding a man they consider a truly equal partner, someone who contributes financially and emotionally. “In this recession, I’ve seen many men who see me just as a meal ticket,” a female senior level executive explains. “I hide my career and income from men on my dating profiles. It just makes me a target.”
Arguelles, the IT sales executive, admits she feels the same way and has become pickier. “I need someone on equal footing, someone with a steady income who is ambitious and strives for goals. Because I’m self sufficient, I don’t feel the need to settle.” This could be an increasing challenge because men disproportionately have suffered an income drop during the recession.
But it is not just dating that represents a challenge for high-achieving women. Married women say they struggle with romance too.
“I have clients who are powerful and successful women. Everything they touch turns to gold except their relationship,” says Gladys Diaz, owner of Heart’s Desire International. “Their businesses are booming and their marriages are falling apart.”
Just last week, Teana McDonald, a Fort Lauderdale business owner and businesswomen’s organization president , arrived home and found herself still in boss mode. She began shouting to-dos at her husband before he even had time to decompress after work.” The list was running in my head and I had to get it out,” she says. “I start spewing, ‘Did you pay the school? Did you take out the trash?’…Then, I realized I sounded like I was still at work.”
PUT DOWN IPHONE
Diaz says she coaches married women like McDonald to stop trying to manage their spouse like employees. She also encourages them to put down the iPhone and give their spouse more attention.
She acknowledges that’s not easy for hard-working businesswomen who return home exhausted to switch over to romantic mode. For that reason, a friend of mine insists men need to step it up, too: “There is more that guys can do to bring out the woman in us.” With women, small gifts like flowers and cards still hit a soft spot.
Ezratti says with relationships now based on shared passion rather than specialized roles, women and men may need to reprioritize romance
“Dating, marriage and romance are as much a job as being a good worker or boss. But it should be a fun job.”
Workplace columnist Cindy Krischer Goodman is CEO of BalanceGal, a provider of news and advice on how to balance work and life. Connect with her at email@example.com or worklifebalancingact.com.