10 Signs He’s Intimidated By Your Strength, Intelligence, And Independence

Singleness can be brutal when you’re a strong and independent woman. You’ve got your own life and your own stuff going on, but all the success in the world doesn’t fill the void you might have for a romantic partner in your life. You know that you’re a total boss and everyone around you knows that too but for some reason, you struggle to find someone who seems to fit into your life. It’s not you, it’s them. Here are a few signs that will help you determine if the guy you thought you liked is just simply intimidated by your intelligence, strength, and general badass-ness.

  1. He constantly tries to impress. If the guy you’ve just started dating seems to be going above and beyond to impress you, it could just mean that he really likes you but it could also be a sign that he’s intimidated by your intelligence and strength. If you’re successful and independent, it might make him insecure that he can’t woo you in a way that will really impress you.
  2. He can’t be chill around you. If your new guy is constantly nervous around you and just can’t keep his cool, again, it could be because he really likes you and is afraid of doing or saying the wrong thing around you. However, it could also be because he’s intimidated by your intelligence and power. If he feels like your confidence, success, and intelligence make you impossible to impress, he’s going to be nervous around you, second-guessing his every move.
  3. He puts you on an unrealistic pedestal. Men that are intimidated by powerful and strong women tend to put them on a pedestal and think of them as perfect. It might be fun at first having a boyfriend that treats you like royalty. However, pretty soon, you might find that he’s holding you to a standard that’s very difficult to live up to.
  4. He doesn’t like talking about his career or yours. If you have a very prosperous career and are extremely successful, it might be difficult for your guy to talk work and careers with you. He might feel insecure if he doesn’t have as respected of a position in his own job. This could also be the case if he feels like he needs to compete with you to become more successful than you are. A lot of men have a superiority complex, especially when it comes to women. This leads them to feel the need to always be more successful. Even if his intentions are good, this could pose a lot of problems for your relationship in the future.
  5. The subject of money is touchy for him. If you’re a successful woman who is completely independent financially, your guy could be really sensitive if you ever start talking about money. Many men have complexes about earnings and feel the need to be the ones making more money in their relationships. We know that this is a completely antiquated concept. True, equal partnerships don’t keep score of who’s making more money and who is more successful.
  6. He gives over-the-top gifts. If your guy always goes overboard when it comes to gift-giving, it might be because he feels intimidated by how amazing you are and feels the need to constantly prove his love. Men that are insecure may always feel as if their relationships are in jeopardy, so they feel the need to constantly overcompensate.
  7. He gets extremely jealous. Jealousy is a huge indicator that a guy is intimidated by you. If he thinks that you’re out of his league, he’s going to get very jealous if he hears that you’re talking to or spending time with anyone else. A little jealousy is normal in most relationships, but if it’s taken to extreme levels, it can become a serious problem.
  8. He attempts to control you. Controlling behavior is also a common red flag when a guy is intimidated by your power. He knows that you’re smart, strong, and independent so he might try to control your every move in a way to ease his own mind. When men aren’t the ones providing for women, they can often feel as if there’s nothing keeping them there. When you truly love someone, you’re with them regardless of if they can take care of you or not.
  9. He discourages you from leveling up. If a man is intimidated by your success and intelligence, he isn’t going to want to see you move up in life and succeed even more. Every level that you excel to in your professional life is going to be a level that he feels the need to meet you at or exceed so that he can be the one with all the power. This is a very toxic trait for a partner to have. The right man for you will be your biggest supporter and cheer you on, always hoping that you’ll succeed and celebrate your wins.
  10. He tries to squelch your confidence. A classic move of a man who is intimidated by your intelligence and everything that you are is to try and break down your confidence any way he can. Similar to a schoolyard bully, if they make you feel inadequate or inferior in any way they can, it becomes easier to assert more power over you and the dominant one. This is such a dangerous and toxic behavior and you should never tolerate this in a partner under any circumstance. If your partner is constantly trying to break you down and make you feel bad about yourself or any of your successes in life, you need to drop them immediately. You deserve someone who will not only celebrate your victories with you but will encourage and push you to always be improving yourself.
  11. He tries to one-up you. It’s pretty clear that he’s intimidated by your intelligence and strength when he’s always trying to do one better than you on everything you mention. If you graduated from college with honors, he has two degrees and is thinking of getting a Ph.D. If you got a $500 bonus for doing such great work on a project, he got $1,000 and a promotion. No matter what you do, he always has to do that much better (even if it’s total BS and didn’t actually happen, as is often the case).
  12. He talks down your accomplishments. This is a classic sign that a guy is insecure and extremely intimidated by you. Not only does he not encourage you to go for bigger and better things, he also talks down anything you actually have achieved by either acting totally nonchalant or outright saying that it’s no big deal/nothing special. This is incredibly disheartening, especially coming from someone who’s supposed to be your biggest supporter.
  13. He won’t make eye contact. Your intelligence, success, and strength are well-known and likely talked about a lot by your colleagues, friends, and family. A guy who’s intimidated by those things will be unable to make eye contact with you when you’re around. He keeps his gaze averted, looking anywhere but at you. This is likely because he’s well aware that he’s not on your level and hopes you don’t realize that.
  14. He never asks for your help. Guys are stubborn as hell when it comes to asking for help when they don’t know something, but if he’s intimidated by your intelligence, this will be doubly true. You could be the top expert in your field when it comes to a problem he’s having but his arrogance just won’t let him ask you to help him out. It’s like admitting that you’re smarter, and that’s unlikely to happen.
  15. He asks pointless questions to belittle you. This is a weird one but I bet you it’s happened to you on more than one occasion if you think about it. Ever had a guy ask you where you went to school, not because he cares but because he wants to make you feel inferior for not having graduated from an Ivy League university? How about asking if you “know how to have fun” because you’re focused on your career goals? He’s trying to insult you by insinuating that you’re some square just because you’re a high achiever. Don’t put up with this.
Shelby is a journalist and fiction writer raised in the South but built for the big city. She's a book nerd (well, an overall nerd, honestly) and coffee addict and obsessed with all things leather and lacy.

She has a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication and Media Studies from Sam Houston State University and worked for her university newspaper, The Houstonian, as well as serving as a producer and part-time entertainment anchor for Cable 7 Huntsville. You can follow her on Twitter @shelby777.