Don’t Marry a Smart Woman?

The editor of Forbes is trying desperately to put his magazine out of business.  This rubbish belongs in Maxim, not Forbes.

Statistics show that couples are more likely to stay married if each person feels that the other doesn’t have many better options.  This is the most important factor in success of a long-term relationship, and if you’ve paid attention in your life, you can probably cite several confirming examples from your own experience.

Armed with this knowledge, you have two ways to approach a relationship.  One is to look for someone who is going to be financially and socially enslaved by your relationship and tightly control her opportunities in life.  As long as she can rationalize that, “no other woman would put up with his crap”, she’ll feel like YOU are lucky to have HER, too, and the relationship will work.  This isn’t even cro-magnon; it’s neanderthal.  The problem with this system is that it’s a race to the bottom bounded only by the collective personal insecurities of the participants.

The other approach is to make sure both participants have high self-esteem.  If you hook up with an insecure partner, you’re going to have to work 10x as hard to pretend to be a loser so that she feels you are lucky to have her.  You really don’t want that.  Marry a smart woman with high self-confidence instead. 

So, what is it that keeps a smart woman feeling like she is lucky to have you?  Just don’t act like a jealous and insecure idiot like the Forbes editor.  Most intelligent women have crossed paths with enough men like that, that they’re going to feel lucky to be with a guy who’s not.  And if you do act like the Forbes editor, she’ll have plenty of smart guys at the office letting her know that she has better options — you’re better off marrying the nanny and racing to the bottom.

6 Comments

  • Great blog! I’ve added a link to your blog on Blog of the Day under the category of Relationship. To view the feature of your blog, please visit http://blogoftheday.org/page/112083

  • Randy H. wrote:

    Intelligence doesn’t necessarily lead to self-confidence.

  • The link is here for those looking for the original article:

    http://www.forbes.com/home/2006/08/23/Marriage-Careers-Divorce_cx_mn_land.html

    I dunno, Noer’s arguments seem to make sense intuitively, and he backs them up with ‘statistics’.

    Of course, I am proof that relationships by statistics do not work. Heck, I’ve never even had a girlfriend. But, I’ve never had a girlfriend cheat on me or steal money either!

    The secret is to have high self-esteem. Nobody can appreciate me as much as I appreciate myself. And, nobody deserves me, but me.

    But seriously folks, men, women, and children have had to make big adjustments since the 1920′s, with the advent of women’s suffrage, women’s liberation, and birth control. Children have had to learn to cope with divorce, men have had to learn to cope with less control in a relationship, and women have had to learn to cope in a culture that reduces them to sex objects having no value after age 35. This is a pretty big change considering that European culture evolved for 2000 years organized in a model of feudalism and fidelity, such that men lorded over the family unit, and women had little choice but to support both children and husband.

    But, family organization isn’t the only change in this brave new world. We also live with the changes of modern democracy, modern medicine, modern agriculture, and the modern ability to destroy the planet with nuclear or biological weapons. It is nice to be human when things are changing, because no animal can adapt to change as fast as the human. On the whole, I’d rather be a single human than a married cockroach.

  • True — though self-confidence is different than self-esteem. Self-esteem leads to seeing the good in others; while self-confidence is more agnostic and can lead to contempt for others. Additionally, success in any field *can* be motivated by things other than self-esteem; but telling successful women that they are unolovable and not worth reproducing, is certainly an attack on her self-esteem which can only be explained by deceptive intent on the part of the person making the attacks (especially cloaked as it is in deceptive scientific terminology).

  • Sudarshan wrote:

    Is there a step by step procedure to acquire high self esteem? What are the distinguishing features of a person with high self esteem?

  • Sudarshan, this is almost the perfect question.

    Let’s roughly define “high self-esteem” as, someone who is optimistic and positive about his/her own ability to have a positive influence on the world; who has internal locus of control versus external (that is, doesn’t blame others or ‘luck” for failure, and doesn’t take failure personally but sees it as learning). And finally, someone who sees that this attitude reflects the intrinsic worth of all people.

    Now, how do you raise a child who has those characteristics? Next, how do you raise a child who recognizes that these characteristics have to be taught, and that it’s worth it to put in the time and effort teaching them to others?

    Cultivating the characteristics in oneself is not easy. Teaching them to someone else is not easy. And then, teaching others to teach them is not easy. Nobody is perfect at it; some of us are really bad at it, in fact (I for example cannot claim to have ever taught anyone else to have high self-esteem). Since everyone is different, and because human attitudes can change (unlike mathematical principles), teaching is a very 1:1 activity. And unless we can do it with the relationships closest to us, it’s probably unwise to be setting up “processes” or “systems” to automate the process anyway. So my best advice for “procedure” is:

    1) start with the definition above (or something like it)
    2) start with the person next to you, and figure out how to get there
    3) repeat

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