Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 10.30.38 AMThe 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!

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  • Me

    sooo…. when are we gonna start teaching dudes the value of being in a relationship where both partners are capable of taking over the world? you know for as much as i hear dudes talk about how everything they do is based on logic and reasoning, they have some of the dumbest reactions to the things women do, say, are, make, achieve, etc. if your woman’s success makes you resentful that sounds like you were planning on standing still for the rest of your life in which case even if she humbled herself to the point of self-denial, it would be inevitable that she would outgrow your petty behind because humans are not made to stand still forever (unless you’re dating low lying fruit, then you have nothing to worry about). but if you as a human being have goals for yourself that you are actively working on, it shouldn’t matter that your woman got to her goals before you got to yours or that her goals paid off more than yours or whatever else b/c when you’re together, success is supposed to be community property. your woman gets a raise, your household gets a raise. your woman wins the lotto, your household wins the lotto. resenting a woman’s success is like resenting a back massage after carrying boxes all day. both of you contribute to making your household as great as it can be so how is it logical to resent her chipping in extra when she can? it only benefits you because either she lightens your load or she multiplies your bounty by being successful. i swear some dudes would rather live like peasants & blame the world for their misery than to ever tuck in their egos & do what makes the most sense for all parties involved. then those same men want to turn around and claim women act on emotions. how emotional do you have to be to be jealous of the person YOU chose to date? dingbats.

  • GeekMommaRants

    This situation can become very dangerous if a partner can see a woman as leaving the relationship by becoming financially independent. This can be just as bad as leaving the relationship.

  • SagiLove

    I’ve just recently dealt with this in my own relationship where I landed a competitive internship out of state for the majority of the Summer and my significant other’s response was “Oh thats good. Where is it?” When he found out that it was far enough to warrant a plane ticket and at a prestigious University his tone quickly became even more negative and harsh. He even went so far as to ask me “Why are you even going to begin with? What’s the point? I guess we won’t spend any time together.” Knowing that this was something major to my career.
    Glad to know that I wasn’t over reacting to his actions!

    • MyTwoCents

      Congratulations, SagiLove! Don’t let your SO’s negative comments sway you from enjoying your new opportunity. Everyone who really cares about you wants you to succeed and enjoy your achievements. Perhaps once your SO gets over his jealousy, he can support you. If not, you may have to let him go. If so, at least you won’t have to suffer the resentment many women face for abandoning their dreams to make their un-supportive mates comfortable.

  • tigerthelion

    In a relationships where a man’s worth and his identity is tied to him being the head, breadwinner, provider, protector, etc. It’d be impossible to not expect some negative reaction when his identity is threatened. Hypergamy is what establishes this dynamics and that’s not gonna change for both men and women.