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Dating: Is challenging good or bad?

One of the perplexing things I’ve noticed about some men is their propensity to be drawn to challenging women. They are attracted by the ambitious, smart, driven and opinionated type.  Once they are with her, it becomes apparent that she is a challenge for him.  At some point, all these qualities can become the problem in the context of a relationship. Conversely, the powerful, confident and successful man poses the same conundrum.

Do we really want to be with someone who challenges us?  I think we always hope that the person brings out the best in us, but that isn’t always the case. How do we know when being challenged by the person we are dating is a good thing or a bad thing?

Happy Monday!

By Wise Diva, Misadventures in Atlanta Dating Blog

201 comments Add your comment

COME ON NOW

March 7th, 2011
7:40 am

Good morning,
As with all things there has to be a happy medium. I like men who are ambitious, smart, driven and opinionated but it seems that I have the habit of picking the ones who are so “extra” with it that you can’t tell them anything. So of course that causes major conflict in the relationship because I begin to feel like you think you’re “better” than me…that you know more than I do. And when that happens I will throw up the 2 fingers and walk away.
Conversely, I’ve noticed that if a woman is ambitious, smart and opinionated that many men will classify her as a “b”. I think most men want women to be all those things, as long as they, the man, are more ambitious, smarter and more opinionated. Some of you guys may disagree but I think it happens subconsciously in a lot of cases. Let’s face it, if a man feels like he can’t upgrade the woman he’s with in some way, he’s not going to have a desire to be with her.
At the end of the day I think both men and women want someone to challenge them because no one wants a doormat. You don’t respect doormats. Yout want someone that can raise your level of intelligence and make you think. But there has to be a balance.

Biff

March 7th, 2011
7:44 am

Time and again you chicks get all confused about this stuff. Quit overanalyzing and push back from the buffet. What a guy wants is a hot, THIN chick with a sunny disposition, not some crazy, intense psycho.

Oh, and for you chicks with those huge butts who attract street thugs, well there you have it.

SlimNumeroUno

March 7th, 2011
8:33 am

Good morning,

I don’t see a little light banter type ‘challenge’ in a relationship. However, I should not be left feeling exhausted, depleted, drained from dealing with anyone’s crazy azz. I have enough stress & troubles in the other parts of my everyday life that I don’t need someone i’m dating to add to it. If anything, they should help alleviate some of that stress, be that shoulder I need to lean on, that ear I can vent to, those arms I look forward to having embrace me, that smile I came come home to (or to his place to) cheer me up after a bad day…etc.

MC Hammock

March 7th, 2011
8:36 am

There is nothing, I mean NOTHING sexier that a smart, confident woman. A woman that says and shows that she likes me, but isn’t going to wait around if I don’t call is the perfect woman for me. Women love a challenge, but hates it when he jumps in with both feet and becomes a doormat for her. She simply won’t respect him. Men love a confident, gorgeous woman that is a challenge, verses a clinger that just waits on him hand and foot. He doesn’t repect her. BOTH have to be confident without being overbearing and it’s a fine line. A challenge is welcomed.while someone that expects him/her to jump to every tune that they play and treat every piece of advice they give as the ONLY right way,is not.

Biff, I agree with the HOT part, but you can have all of the “skinny” girls. I like mine with curves. Not overweight, but a WOMAN. I gave up “girls” after I hit 25.The Ali McBeal types don’t do anything for me. I even think that the ladies in the Victoria’s Secret catalog and the women in the SI Swimsuit Issue look like they are anorexic. Angelina Jolie, while stunning in the face, is just TOO skinny. I like the fitness models that are toned and just women that have something to grab on to. Fat is one thing, but skinny is just as bad. Kim Kardashian pretty much has the A #1 most spectacular body, IMO. Put ‘em in a business suit with high heels, confident and a sharp IQ and you’ve got the perfect woman. But that’s just me…

Leggs

March 7th, 2011
9:00 am

Good morning.

Do we really want to be with someone who challenges us? YES, but not at every turn.

the easter bunny

March 7th, 2011
9:02 am

My son married a valdictorian. She is a driven, no nonsense person. I do not see the need for a woman to do the thinking in the family. She should handle the more mundane tasks around the household. I see driven women all the time on the tube, news journalists, like Lara Logan and anchors like Diane sawyer. I like the soft fluffy kind, after all, i am the easter bunny.
These kinds of women are into themselves and career. However, having said all of the above, I would be comfortable being a “houseman”, dusting, doing a few dishes, plopping in front of the tube while wifey is out dominating the world. When she got home I would have everything shipshape, and I could show her how much i love her for getting out there and doing her thing.
Which reminds me, my personal trainer is coming, she is the one that keeps my muscles limber so I can do the housework. She is an absolute wonder, and she leaves before the boss[wife] gets home.

DJ Sniper

March 7th, 2011
9:03 am

I agree with whoever mentioned the happy medium part. When I was single, I definitely wasn’t looking for some doormat that would wait on me hand and foot, but I also wasn’t attracted to women who intentionally made things difficult, thinking that would keep my interest. If I saw that I was doing all the calling, all the date planning, etc, then I would usually lose interest.

SlimNumeroUno

March 7th, 2011
9:05 am

Leggs – Your post made me feel a quote from The Color Purple….

“All my life I had to fight! I had to fight my daddy…I had to fight my uncles…I had to fight my brothers. A girl child ain’t safe in a family of men, but I ain’t never thought I’d have to fight in my own house!”

DreamsMaterialize "Free Me-Lo"

March 7th, 2011
9:18 am

Do we really want to be with someone who challenges us?
Sure do…just not all the time. If you have to challenge where I get gas even when the price is the same, then those are challenges I don’t need.

2longn2big

March 7th, 2011
9:20 am

I like a chalenge, but not if it’s Mount Everest. There is a limit to the “enjoyment” of a challenge. Just make it a happy medium without of the mind games, anxiety, psycho babble and everything will be fine. Bottom line, do we like and vibe with each other or not? It should be relaxed and progress, but on the flip side, someone that declares their love for you on the third date is a bit of a buzz kill. That goes the same for people that ask marriage questions before the month is out.

2longn2big

March 7th, 2011
9:21 am

I agree, if you “challeng”e me or question EVERY SINGLE decision or comment that I make, you’ll find yourself resting on a curb somewhere.

abc

March 7th, 2011
9:21 am

Men are not drawn to ambitious, smart, driven and opinionated. Men are drawn by pretty, charming, sensitive and nurturing.

Dan - Simply....Superior

March 7th, 2011
9:24 am

On topic:

Of course I want to be challenged, I need it. The intellectual exercise of debate is stimulating to me beyond belief. Where the “intellectual challenge” ends and consideration begins is a fine line that both sexes walk.

Yes, I want someone that can/will challenge my world view and expose me to a different thought process. I want someone to grow with in that fashion.

Like Leggs stated, what I don’t want is to fight for every inch in a relationship. Sometimes “you’re right” should just be the end of it (for both males and females).

That fine line of debate/argument/fight is a fuction of the “ego” and the “id”, and I’m learning that peace lies somewhere in the middle.

Leggs

March 7th, 2011
9:26 am

@SlimNU ~ I have now played that scene in my mind.

Gwinnett

March 7th, 2011
9:27 am

The only challange I like is the challange of unzipping her zipper if it gets stuck!

Dan - Simply....Superior

March 7th, 2011
9:28 am

@Come On

Men and women that can’t support their logic resort to juvenile character attacks. That a person doesn’t agree with me doesn’t make that person anything but disagreeable; however, when that person cannot support the logic behind their decision/conclusion – I tend to discount that conclusion anyway.

IDK...part 2

March 7th, 2011
9:36 am

hello.

challenges are good because from them you grow. i personally, want a man who positively challenges me and i him. we should always be growing in some way: be it learning one new thing a day. challenges are growth, just sometimes in disguise.

does that IDK guy still post on here?

COME ON NOW

March 7th, 2011
9:44 am

@ Dan

I hear what you’re saying and agree. I’m not speaking on being able to support a decision or conlusion. I’m speaking about someone who takes challenging to the extreme. Where they have to be right at every turn. Hence the word “extra”. I don’t deal with “extra” and if someone always has to be right and can’t just take me disagreeing with them every now and then and having my own opinion, please believe I’m going to tell you to kick rocks. I’m all about having healthy debates. That’s actually quite a turn on. But when it crosses over into you trying to dictate to me how I should think…Houston, we have a very serious problem.

M. (pronouced M dot)

March 7th, 2011
9:47 am

Good day.

I think having someone that challenges us and elevates our thinking is a good thing. I think the issue for guys is we dont want to deal with someone who is combatitive and disrespectful and tries to pass that off as being a challenge. Thats not a challenge at all just a headache!

Dan - Simply....Superior

March 7th, 2011
9:52 am

@Come On

I start at “extra”. For no other reason than to define the limits of/for discussion.

However, I can not tell you how to think, and someone that would try to is not debating, they are attempting to dictate; and I agree that it should be a “red flag”.

Though, I would like to ask: if I don’t begin with the presumption of being correct, how could I make any declarative statement in the first place?

AmazonRed™

March 7th, 2011
9:52 am

Morning all -

I can definitely be challenging, especially when it comes to accountability. Just be consistant and if you offer do something, do it. However, a lot of guys take issue when they are called to the carpet on it. Oh well.

abc

March 7th, 2011
9:53 am

You can get mental and intellectual challenge and stimulation from anyone. You don’t need to get it from your lover, especially in terms of debate, or supposed broadening of horizons, or whatever. I don’t consider that to be a lover’s function and purpose — it seems quite obvious, to me.

I think the notion that a man would be interested in ambitious, smart, driven and opinionated is all about a chick that’s like that, deluding herself into thinking that men are interested in those qualities because that sums up her experience.

kimmie

March 7th, 2011
9:55 am

Morning All!

I agree with those that say there must be a happy medium. Everything in moderation. I definitely like someone who elevates my thinking or can present a different, intelligent perspective on things. I especially get all that being with a man that’s an attorney. He can always show me a different side to things I never considered. We work well together. But I like that we are respectful of each other – we don’t belittle the other or discount the other’s opinion.

I have dated other men who thought they knew everything. I even had one that made me feel dumb. It was a hurtful feeling. I also dated one that felt he had to challenge every suggestion I made. He wanted to “keep me on my toes”. It was exhausting.

Dan - Simply....Superior

March 7th, 2011
9:56 am

@abc

You know d@#m well that the “anyone” statement is not true. Stop playing.

kimmie

March 7th, 2011
9:58 am

Amred – I (briefly) dated a guy who said he didn’t like to make definite plans with me because I expected him to follow thru! :shock:

i'm swiss™ ("FREE ME.LO")

March 7th, 2011
9:59 am

Dan — Maybe abc is including the intellectual challenge of figuring out how this moron made it out of the house by her/himself…. ;-) :lol:

Melania

March 7th, 2011
9:59 am

Any man who knows his woman has the potential for Greatness should challenge and nuture the energy behind it….and vice versa. Anything beyond that, is bs and game.

Have a great day! :)

AmazonRed™

March 7th, 2011
10:01 am

Amred – I (briefly) dated a guy who said he didn’t like to make definite plans with me because I expected him to follow thru!

*smh* They’re growing like cancer! :lol:

Dirk Diggler

March 7th, 2011
10:05 am

I like a woman that challenges me……….to to do it again.

MC Hammock

March 7th, 2011
10:11 am

I did date a woman that just questioned EVERYTHING and sometimes didn’t even have a reason to support her point of view. It was constant and after a few dates I finally got some backbone and told her “Honey, you are a beautiful woman, but there is nothing that you offer or COULD offer me that is worth having to endure this.” And that was that.

SexyCool

March 7th, 2011
10:11 am

By challenging, do you mean stimulating? I associate “challenging” with being difficult, confrontational. Now, “stimulating”…well, that is something altogether different. And even with that, you need a balance. Being over-stimulated is NOT healthy for the long term.

I like that TheDude stimulates me, but at the same time, I can totally relax around him as well.

abc

March 7th, 2011
10:13 am

I suppose I can’t get much intellectual stimulation, debate, opinion conflict, etc. from the guy at Jiffy Lube or the waitress at lunch, but I don’t generally get into it with those folks, either. So sure, perhaps ‘anyone’ is an overstatement.

Combative much, Dan? Sheesh.

Biff

March 7th, 2011
10:15 am

ABC has a point. Most of the chicks many of you consider ambitious, smart, driven, etc. are really just women trying to be men. It doesn’t work, sugar!

All of these so called smart women give up what they were naturally bred to do for a confusing path which causes them to be emotional and mental wrecks in any attempted personal relationship. Thay can be ok for a one nighter, though.

AmazonRed™

March 7th, 2011
10:16 am

COME ON NOW

March 7th, 2011
10:19 am

@ Biff

And just what are woment “naturally bred to do?”

Fion

March 7th, 2011
10:19 am

Challenge + Confrontation – No romance = Deal Breaker !

i'm swiss™ ("FREE ME.LO")

March 7th, 2011
10:20 am

SexyC — Exactly… There is a big difference between articulating intellectual/philosophical differences & just plain contrariness.

Dan - Simply....Superior

March 7th, 2011
10:22 am

@abc

No, I’m not. As you do, thankfully on many occassions, I attempted to challenge the underlying assumption in your post.

Not being “combative” in the least.

kimmie

March 7th, 2011
10:26 am

Amred & SCool – Do you know of a good spa over in our area, southside? One that gives good facials?

MC Hammock

March 7th, 2011
10:26 am

Fion is dead on the bullseye. You can debate and discuss issues peacefully, but if it’s all challenges and confrontaion, you will go the way of the Dodo bird. If I wanted all that, I would just date my boss. I’d like some relaxation, laughter and some good luvin. We can get serious and discuss politics in between.

Melania

March 7th, 2011
10:26 am

No matter what their lot is in life …0Like i said anything beyond that (good energy) is BS and Game…lol

SlimNumeroUno

March 7th, 2011
10:28 am

Does this tie into the same thing as “Why Men Marry Witches” but with a B…Hmmm? For instance, the chicks on that Bridezilla show are so outrageous in behavior, I couldn’t possibly see why a dude would want to marry them.

Wayne Brady

March 7th, 2011
10:29 am

I do see women that are constantly trying to prove how smart they are, how well rounded they are and god forbid if you don’t take their suggestions as those from The Commander in Chief. They think that if you don’t heed 100% of their advice that you are insulting them personally and take issue with it. To them all I say is “Buh bye”.

MC Hammock

March 7th, 2011
10:33 am

@Slim, some of those women on that Bridezilla show need the “Sean Connery” treatment. They haven’t ever heard the word NO, ain’t gonna take the word NO and just show their considerable backsides the whole time. Can’t imagine a man wanting to go through with marrying such a horse’s rear end after observing that behavior. Imagine what she will be like AFTER the wedding????

COME ON NOW

March 7th, 2011
10:34 am

@ Slim

I’ve ALWAYS wondered what man is going to put up with his girlfriend/fiancee talking to him like that. When I watch that show IMO the chick is “crazy” but I think dude is “crazier” because he’s just let his SO treat him like he’s a woman. There’s no way she respects him as a man. I’m not saying he should control the woman but geez, grow a pair. To me that’s the sign of a weak man who’s just given his reponsibility of being the head of the household to the woman.

SexyCool

March 7th, 2011
10:37 am

Slim / MCH – I’m totally convinced that those chicks on Bridezilla are encouraged to act out for the cameras. (What people do for the money….)

kimmie

March 7th, 2011
10:39 am

Slim – Speaking of Bridezilla’s, I saw an episode of Say Yes to the Dress on Friday. They had this woman on that had been stressing her college sweetheart about getting a ring & the wedding before he had even proposed. She said she told him exactly what kind of ring she “had to have” and everything. You could tell she was spoiled rotten.

At the end of the show they usually either show a clip of the women in the dress they chose at the wedding or give a little report. On her, they said about a month before the wedding, spoiled girl’s fiance called it off and they broke up! I guess he saw the handwriting on the wall!

Yes, it amazes me that those dudes on Bridezilla go thru with the weddings!

MC Hammock

March 7th, 2011
10:39 am

SexyCool, that’s a more digestible statement. NO WAY a person acts like that for REAL.

Randyt (aka "tired of this coolie work, need to get on a plane somewhere)

March 7th, 2011
10:39 am

Morning All

I haven’t read all of the comments so far but my preference is someting in the middle. I don’t want a clinging vine that can’t think for herself, nor do I want an “alpha dog” either. If a woman comes across with the “I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar…” superwoman type, I just don’t need that kind of stress in my life…not attractive to me. If a woman needs me to help her decide which chewing gum to buy, I dayum sure don’t need her.

I like a PARTNER, who walks beside me…not ahead of me and not behind me. Y’all can have my share of the the drama queen superwomen and the clinging vines.

czBrat

March 7th, 2011
10:42 am

HiYas!

luv that 9:00 Leggs. sweet n simple.
not much challenging our relationship at the moment. i’m in that very awkward state between at ease and bored.