Let’s face it. Female doctors often have a much harder time than other women when it comes to finding a great man to marry. Many men are not comfortable with having a wife who may make more money than them, or who doesn’t want to stay home, cook for them, and do their laundry. By the time you doctors have the time to date seriously, you are usually close to thirty, and some of you close to forty years old. This timing issue can also limit the pool of available men to date. Many men do not want to accommodate female doctors’ busy schedules, your overnight call, and the stresses of your job into their lifestyle. Many men feel insecure around you: you were smart enough to be at the very top of all your classes and determined enough to make it through brutal training.
But female doctors DESERVE to find love. You have challenged yourself, pushed the limits of your academic potential, and made an incredible difference in the lives of thousands of people with serious disease. You have the compassion to heal and the intelligence and skill to help the neediest people. The “ right men” will truly admire and respect your sacrifices and give you the encouragement you need to fulfill your career ambitions. They will be proud to have found you and will do whatever it takes to keep you happy. So how do you find these “right men”? Where are they, and why aren’t they coming your way? Here are the top dos and don’ts to help you find Mr. Right:
- Smile and Be Friendly: I have attended many medical meetings and pharmaceutical dinners. The good news about medical conferences is that many of them are male dominated (excellent ratio for you women!). Some of the meetings are so incredibly dull that men will daydream about women and sex. On a couple of occasions some of the male attendees will ask me about one of the single female doctors at the meeting: “Is she married? Is she dating? What is her deal?” The male doctor doing the asking is quite successful and very cute. I leave the two of them alone to connect, and I watch her body language. She is frigid. No eye contact. No smiles. She stands there like she would rather be somewhere else. He doesn’t get her number. Another great opportunity missed. The female doctor continues to ask if I know anyone at all with whom I could set her up. Ok girls: Men need a clue that you would be open to going out with them. Be expressive, smile a lot, and give out a sweet vibe. The dates will come. Pay attention to your body language. Don’t carry around a detached, surgical persona when talking to men.
- Date Men Who Want You More than You Want Them: This applies to all women; however, particularly to female doctors. You will get old. The boobs will sag. The deep wrinkles and jowls will come—sooner than you think. If you were always the one trying to catch the guy–when the going gets tough at work, with the kids, or your physical appearance starts to show the signs of age–he may bolt. He won’t want to try to make things work, because he didn’t have to try to get you in the first place. The happiest female doctors I know were pursued by their spouses, not the other way around. The fact that a man really worked hard to earn your love will permeate your relationship. He will continue to work hard to keep you happy.
- Be Genuine: Don’t pretend to be a party girl if you are truly a nerd. Know yourself. If you feel like you are “trying too hard” to keep a man–have to pretend to like his jokes, have to drink excessively even if you don’t like to, or have to go to the beach even if you hate swimming–this guy is not for you. When you pretend to be someone else, you will become exhausted trying to keep the interest of your man.
- Judge the Men You Date by their Mommy: Sorry if this is a bit controversial, but this is a very common factor that was missed when divorced couples analyze their failed relationships. Of course it is true that not all men are in love with their Mommies, and that many men want to marry the polar opposite of their moms. However, many men expect you to be just like their Mommy at home whether you like it or not. For most men, that’s all they grew up with and what they are familiar with. What did your date’s mom do when he was growing up? Was she a homemaker or a leader? Was she ambitious, did she sacrifice everything in her life for her husband, was she abused by her husband? Learning intimate details about the guy’s mom are critical. The famous pop singer, Chris Brown, was abused as a kid. He despised it. He also grew up with it. He became abusive to his own girlfriend even though he himself grew up loathing the horrible treatment he received. If a man grew up with Mommy staying at home all day and all night—he may not be able to handle your career as a doctor, and that can lead to major marital problems down the road.
- Listen to What He Has to Say: Female doctors have a lot of incredible stories to tell, a ton of life experiences, and are usually very intelligent women with a lot to say. Restrain yourself from dominating conversations with the men you date. You will learn so much more if you can sit back and listen to what men have to say. This will help prevent you from ending up with a guy with major issues you didn’t know about. “How come I didn’t know that he had an eating disorder or that his mom abused him as a child?” Men will often dodge topics when you ask them personal questions directly. However, if you give them the space to talk on a date without prompting, they are often less inhibited and reveal much more. If he really has nothing intelligent to say or changes the subject every time you touch on personal topics—run away fast!
- Don’t Dress Butch: The Millionaire Matchmaker, Patti Stanger, is right on when she says, “The Penis does the Picking.” Don’t fool yourself into thinking that a man is going to fall in love with your intelligence. That’s not the first thing men will notice when they see you. Men are visual creatures, and they constantly crave sex. If you think that with your butch shaved haircut, army boots, and baggy trousers, you are going to land a lot of dates with men, you are deluding yourself. The geekiest guys still think with their penises when it comes to asking you out. Don’t turn potential mates off because you think you are too cool or “professional” to dress sexy, feminine, and voluptuous.
- Don’t Treat Dating like a Hobby: You have spent your whole life climbing the ranks of academic and professional achievement. Now that you are a doctor, do not put dating on the sidelines. Go out with nearly everyone who asks you. I mean nearly everyone, and don’t be too proud to do that! Make time to go out every week. Put yourself out there. Get out of the house. Go online. Go to church or temple. Dates do not just arrive at your doorstep without taking serious effort. That means buying good shoes, getting your nails done, blowing out your hair, and going to boring events. Every time you go out, there is the potential to meet someone. A good physician friend of mine met her husband at a funeral service! You have already put in the effort to find the right career for yourself; now, you have to put in the same effort—if not more–to find the right man.
- Don’t Date “Players:” What is a “Player”? A player is a man who is always looking around the corner at the next pretty girl who comes by. He is charming, fun, good looking, and charismatic. He often makes you laugh, and always makes you feel excited. He knows all the restaurants in town, drives a beautiful sports car, and often comments about your appearance. He knows where all the hot clubs are. Sometimes when you call him, he doesn’t answer. Sometimes after you have been on a date with him, you don’t hear from him for more than two or three days. You have amazing chemistry together, but somehow your gut tells you that you aren’t 100% comfortable with this guy. There is something he is hiding from you. If you get this feeling, don’t waste your time. Almost all of these men will get married to women whom they can control. A player will continue to hide things and “charm away” the truth especially in ten years when his wife’s tight abs start developing flabby new rolls.
- Don’t Date “Workaholics:” These men are just as bad for you as the players. If a man is married to his work when you are dating, imagine what your life will be like when you actually commit to him for life. You will always be competing with his work. This will not only take a huge toll on your love life (when you can’t even find an hour a week to have dinner together), but it will also take a huge toll on your career. When are you going to see patients in the hospital, go to medical conferences, or present your research at a meeting? Are you going to have to stay home with the kids when your partner is working? Yes, you should date a man who respects the importance of hard work and sacrifice. But he must limit how many hours he puts in working, or you will have major marital problems down the road. Avoiding workaholics is especially important for female doctors since you need to put in a certain number of hours at work to keep up your skills and hang onto your jobs.
- Don’t Cross Men Off Your List Before Dating Them: At work or at social events, many of my female friends will ask me to fix them up. I will suggest three or four handsome, successful men at the party and then they will say, “I already know him.” What the heck does that mean? You don’t really know a man until you date him. Men who are the life of the party can often be boring on dates. The most timid guy at the party, may actually be your soulmate and make you laugh for hours on end. If a man in your social circle or professional group—whom you know already—asks you out, don’t cross him off the list. Dating one-on-one is very different than hanging out at parties and seeing each other across a room at a medical meeting every Friday. Many of these men have admired you for a long time and really want to get to know you better. Please give these connections a chance and don’t assume you “already know” that these guys are not Mr. Right.
I am very grateful to have found my “Mr. Right.” It wasn’t easy, and I made numerous mistakes along the way. Recently, I have met more and more female doctors looking for love. These women are some of the most gifted and compassionate ladies I know. I hope this article will leave you with a helpful tip or two to use on your quest for finding Mr. Right.
Dr. Iliana Levine