The next time you get a feeling that your boo isn’t as happy about your achievements as he should be, it might not just be in your head.
According to recent study, you experiencing success can lead to a blow in your partner’s self-esteem — even if you’re not directly competing with each other. Not only that, but you success can also negatively affect the way your significant other views the future of the relationship as a whole.
So while we’re supposed to be the women behind the men, supporting and celebrating their every win and success, we can’t expect them to return the favor.
The study’s Co-Author, Kat Ratcliff of the University of Florida, said, “There is an idea that women are allowed to bask in the reflected glory of her male partner and to be the ‘woman behind the successful man,’ but the reverse is not true for men.”
Man, I’ve always heard that guys have very fragile egos, but this? Yeah, this sucks. It sucks to think that as a woman, we can’t fully rejoice in our successes without having to potentially worry about hurting our “him’s” feelings, or worse, worry about potentially scaring them off and ruining your relationship. That’s a lot to deal with. And it’s just something that we can add to the long list of things that just aren’t fair for women. Sigh.
In the study, if the women participants outperformed their male counterparts in socially and/or intellectually stimulating assignments, the men registered negative feelings and low self-esteem, and even went so far as to register negative feelings about the relationship in its entirety when their girlfriends and wives were successful. Ratliff and her co-author, University of Virginia researcher Shigehiro Oishi wrote, “So thinking of themselves as unsuccessful might trigger men’s fear that their partner will ultimately leave them,” Ratliff and Oishi wrote.
So what does this mean? Yet again, women take on the nurturing role and can feel as though they have to take a backseat to their significant other’s wins and successes. They feel that they have to downplay their happiness and excitement to defer to a man who might get his feelings hurt if he thinks that he doesn’t measure up — and maybe never will.
Here’s the thing, ladies. Being the nurturer is okay — but not at the expense of your own happiness. And some instances are more blatant (and less passive-aggressive) than others. At the end of the day though, a man who can’t celebrate your wins with you (and are at least as happy when you win, if not more) isn’t the man you want to be with long-term. And to be fair, your guy may not even realized that his lack of enthusiasm is noticeable, much less hurtful. So talk to him about it, and how it makes you feel. Make sure he knows that you want and expect him to cheer you on with the same passion and fervor that you show when he’s the one winning. If he loves you, he’ll work on it. Really work on it, not just say he’s going to. If he doesn’t acknowledge that he needs to do better, then maybe you should find someone who will. You deserve that!