“I want to marry an ambitious man.” I’ve heard this hundreds of times from women who are telling me what they are looking for in a match. But what they mean, and the standard to which they hold their matchmaker, is that they are looking for a man who has a lot of money. I have even had women tell what specific income levels that they require, justifying this request by claiming they are themselves successful, and the man they end up with should be too. No, these aren’t golddiggers or money-grubbers, they are strong, supposedly independent women who just feel like paycheck symmetry is something they are due.
In many ways, I can relate. I have an MBA. I went to an Ivy League school. I’m ambitious. But let’s get one thing straight – money and ambition are not the same thing. Just because a man has money doesn’t mean that he is ambitious. We’ve all dated the rich bro who never worked a day in his life, living off his trust fund and running to mommy every time he doesn’t get his way in the relationship. And we’ve also all dated the nice guy – the one who is great in bed and takes care of you when you are sick, but you just can’t be sure you won’t be paying his utility bills at the end of the month.
Women seem to push themselves to find the best combination of the two – the richest guy they can find who is also decently kind. But is compromising on the spectrum of kind and spoiled, rich and poor just the worst of both worlds?
I argue that you should focus on the men with ambition – real ambition. Perhaps his true passion in life truly is investment banking — and there’s nothing wrong with that. But in reality, few men are investment bankers because they love the work. It’s sort of the obvious choice. On the other hand, men who have off-kilter passions – the ones who take up beekeeping or are trying to solve the water crisis in Flint – those are the ones who are truly ambitious. Their goals in life are not tied to money, they are tied to passions and ideals. I am not arguing that men who focus on unique pursuits are inherently better than those with traditionally financially-sound professions, but their ambition should not be overlooked and discarded.
As a matchmaker, I’ve met all types of men. Some stick out to me right away as amazing potential husbands – they are thoughtful enough to buy my coffee during our match meeting (instead of the other way around) and make me laugh like crazy regaling me with dating horror stories. They write me thank you notes and follow up promptly. I have to tell you, those men are rarely bankers or corporate lawyers or venture capitalists. It’s tough to see so many good guys get overlooked.
One of the coolest parts about being a strong, independent woman is that you aren’t reliant on a man for money. It’s what we’ve worked so hard for, right? It’s actually a luxury that we don’t have to compromise between the rich guy and the nice guy. We can pick the best guy and not have to worry whether he’ll support us financially, because we can support ourselves. We can pick the guy who supports us emotionally, and that’s the real metric for success. So date the man who is opening his own bookstore. The up-and-coming artist or the middle school teacher. Date the man who is the best guy for you, who adores you and respects you for what you’ve accomplished, because trust me, he’s awesome. He’s better than those successful jerks who took you to Nobu. You’ll thank me. And besides, you never know, maybe that beekeeper will be a millionaire one day. After all, people who follow their passion are more likely to succeed.
by Kate Edwards
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