Laurie offers advice to a letter writer who fears his chosen career is turning off potential partners.
Q. I’m a male nurse. I love my job, but I fear it’s preventing me from matching with a lot of women who might see the job as “not masculine.” Most of my guy friends work in more traditional jobs for men — finance, lawyers, that sort of thing. All of them seem to do better on dating apps than I do, despite the fact that I think I’m just as good looking. Not trying to sound conceited here, it’s just the situation, and I realize looks make a big difference when you’re using a dating app.
I really can’t think of any other reason girls wouldn’t be matching with me. I live in a competitive, expensive city and I’m not naive — career matters to girls here. Should I leave my job off my profile completely? My only concern with that is that I’ll match, she’ll find out what I do, and then she’ll bolt.
James, 31, NY, New York
Let’s start with a fact — fear over how your job will be perceived is a real thing for both sexes, as is job discrimination. In a May 2017 survey of Hinge Members, 16 percent of men and 35 percent of women said they “feared their job would turn off potential matches.” Interestingly, when asked if they had ever passed on someone because of their job, a whopping 80 percent of men and 54 percent of women replied, “yes.”
What does this mean for you? In my opinion, a little experimentation is in order.
When it comes to your profile, testing different strategies never hurts. If you believe it’s your job that is turning women off, you could test removing your job altogether, being more vague with the description (for example, “medical field”), or listing your true title.
80 percent of men and 54 percent of women report passing on a potential dating app connection because of their job.
When you test, here is what you’ll want to consider:
- Decide on your success benchmarks. Most people measure success in number of connections, but if you’re looking for a relationship, a real result means quality over quantity. No matter how you choose to measure success, make a decision before you start.
- Test for the same amount of time. Each option should be used for the same amount of time (for example, two weeks) so they are truly comparable.
- Don’t test more than three options. If you do, you’ll drive yourself crazy with possibilities and most likely find yourself splitting hairs.
- Only test one element of your profile. It’s easy to go on a testing binge — it can feel like you’re “hacking” something. But when you do this, you lose focus of the real purpose – meeting someone.
Before you change anything, I want to point out something you may not have considered. Right now, the idea your job is turning people off is something you believe – it’s not necessarily the truth.
You used the word “fear,” and I can hear that in your words. I hear that you’re afraid what you’re doing isn’t working – and that you’re afraid women in your city are rejecting you for who you are. It makes me wonder, are you experiencing other fears?
16 percent of men and 35 percent of women said they “feared their job would turn off potential matches.”
Feeling fear in dating is common. Most of my clients who struggle with their profile really have an underlying fear that’s holding them back. Because here’s the thing: when we’re afraid, we actually behave differently.
For example, if you’re afraid you’re not enough, you might constantly change your photos, profile, or settings. Or if you’re afraid of losing your independence in a relationship, you might tell yourself that you don’t have time for dating. If you’re afraid of being rejected, you might convince yourself that someone isn’t a good match for you before you even meet up.
We change these behaviors to protect ourselves — to keep ourselves secure. So before you change your behavior (and your profile), check in. Are you really thinking of leaving your job off your profile because you think it will produce different results, or is this behavior related to a fear?
I ask because if it’s a fear response, you could get a flood of messages tomorrow and it won’t change your feelings about your job. Or maybe it will – temporarily. In a few days or a few dates, you’ll be triggered by something else. Working through that fear is something I do with my private clients, and sometimes simply identifying the actual fear and when you’re triggered can help lessen your anxiety and understand yourself a bit more.
Laurie Davis Edwards is a relationship coach and the founder of eFlirt, a company that has helped thousands of people find love. She’s responsible for more than 100 marriages and her advice has been featured in more than 500 international media outlets, including the New York Times, Good Morning America, Elle, and the Wall Street Journal. Send questions to Laurie at firstname.lastname@example.org with her name in the subject line.