Ladies, your problem with men is not that you are smart and successful. Men love that, dating experts agree.
But the chances are good that the same qualities that made you successful may also be undermining your relationships. Why? Every quality can be looked at in two ways -- positively and negatively, said Evan Marc Katz, a Los Angeles author and dating coach.
What you see as direct, he may see as tactless. What you see as smart, he may see as opinionated. And, when you reach for the check thinking that you're being generous, he might see it as being aggressive and, well, masculine, which isn't exactly a turn-on.
"Because successful women are in the male-brained world all day, they have to practically sit on their hands not to pay the check," said April Beyer, founder of Beyer & Co., a relationship counseling firm. "They have so much masculine energy that they have to remind themselves that they are the girl."
Men and women see money differently, said Terri Orbuch, a family therapist better known as Detroit's "Love Doctor." To men, money is tied to ego and success. As a result, saying that you earn as much as he does and can pay just as easily as he can, may come off more as an insult than an offer, she said.
What men want is a woman who is thoughtful, nurturing and appreciative, Katz added. They don't want an evening out to feel like a competition, with their date rattling through their resume as if she was on a job interview. It's great to talk about what you do and whether you like it. But talking about how much you earn and how you were the youngest partner/director/boss at your firm is going to sound more like one-upmanship rather than sharing.
Save the male energy for the board room, Beyer added. On a date, relax and enjoy the pampering you get by acting feminine. Ask your date about his life. Don't be so anxious to share your stories that you forget to listen.
Women prefer it when a man earns more than she does, Katz added. But men really don't care -- unless you make it an issue.
"We are not going out with you for your money," he said. "We are going out with you for your warmth and kindness."
That said there's a difference between being feminine and being a gold digger. You shouldn't demand to be wined and dined and you should be sensitive to your partner's needs -- economic and otherwise. That includes recognizing that he could be broke, said Katz. Long before you man starts to feel used, you should find graceful ways to economically participate in your dating life, Katz said. "To say, 'hey, I want to cook the next one at my place' or 'the next one's on me,' are appreciated gestures."
If you realize you're making a fortune and he's scraping by, don't just watch him struggle, he added. Talk about it.
"It's not emasculating to say, 'Fred I know you want to pay for me and if you made $200,000 a year, you would. Since I do, it's my pleasure. There are so many other things you do for me. I'm happy to get this."
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