Online Dating: How Do Men Interpret “Independent Woman”? (Video)

At a recent event in Boston I was a member of a men’s panel, amid an audience of over 30 women. One of the questions that came up was regarding online dating profiles and how it comes across to the opposite gender.

One woman revealed the first words of her profile read “Independent woman” and asked how that may come across. Here are my thoughts on the subject.

It’s important to realize that depending on the type of person we would like to attract, how we choose to present ourselves has to be consistent with the message we are actually trying to get across – often times we may put something into the world that could be misinterpreted by our target audience.

How do you think this terminology would translate in the online dating realm? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!


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29 thoughts on “Online Dating: How Do Men Interpret “Independent Woman”? (Video)

  1. I think it indicates a trait which is valued by a modern man. A woman who (hopefully) thinks on her own, who looks at the facts from all sides and makes up her own mind. I also see it as the mark of a woman who has come to grips with who she is, strengths and weaknesses, and can stand on her own. I think it is a trait which which every man, who is appreciative of the strengths of the opposite sex, should admire and value.

  2. For my part, most often I see it as a woman saying she’s of independent means financially. This may be because I very seldom see that term used when a woman states she is looking for a man who is ambitious, successful and generous. In my experience when a woman on a dating site puts those words into her description of the man she’s looking for, that means she wants a man who will pay her way, provide expensive gifts, and is dedicated to becoming very wealthy and sharing that wealth and lifestyle with her. So an independent woman is one who has her own financial house in order and isn’t looking for someone to take care of her.

  3. Great work. When I hear the phrase “independent woman,” I think of one that can take her of herself and is sure of herself. She makes her own money and has developed many skills. Of course she can’t do *everything* by herself just as no one can, but she doesn’t feel empty if she’s not attached. She may desire to have a man in her life, but she can be a happy and functional person without one for any given time being as well. She doesn’t have to always be on the lookout for someone is she is single and can enjoy life until someone comes along. I think this is what many women mean when they say, “I don’t need a man,” as well, but I tend to not use it because it sounds a little aggressive.

  4. “Allowing a woman to still have her independence and strength” maybe this is why women feel the need to state their independence, online or otherwise?

    When it comes down to it, I reckon it’s a persons understanding of independence; I think too often, both men and women included, blur that line between independence and equality.

    I would think, if a statement on a dating site should read ‘Independent woman’ it would suggest financial stability and self reliance, wanting to share her life with someone, rather than suggesting she need someone or not.

    Women shouldn’t be afraid to make such a statement online or otherwise, if the first assumption is a negative association then maybe this woman isn’t necessarily looking for this “men be men” archetype. I think if a woman feels the need to state her independence in the realm of online dating, then perhaps she is searching for a someone who can be independent too; to think independently free from that societal pressure/influence.

  5. George, Kevin, Ashley …. right on, well said.

    I’m not sure what Terry meant by using the word “Allowing” … I’m not sure how you “allow” someone to do something without your being in control of that person, this sounds counter-intuitive to being in a healthy relationship.

  6. Richard, I agree with you entirely…I think you may have misinterpreted my comment as I was quoting that from Jame’s in the video. I felt as a man, James’s statement could be an example of why women may feel the need to state their independence. I have young ladies in my family who need to understand that they don’t need to be allowed, by a man or otherwise to showcase their independence and strength.

  7. Hola Regina,  mira este blog al que yo estoy suscrita. Es super bueno y me gusta porque analiza las relaciones de pareja desde el punto de vista masculino y guia  a las mujeres en el “dating life” como es ahora. No como nos toco a nosotros.  tu te suscribes y recibes por e mail lo que este hombre escribe. A mi me gusta mucho!! es mas tomo nota para tener en cuenta especialmente lo que no debo aceptar en una relacion. 

    espero te sirva,  Patricia


  8. I have dated dozens of “independent” women. In my experience they want everything their way. They’re usually looking for a doormat to complete their cosy little world; his primary role will be as a sperm-donor. I see that word on a woman’s profile nowadays and I’ve learned my lesson, so I click away…

  9. I agree with a lot of other commenters here that being an “independent woman” means a woman is financially & emotionally stable on her own & isn’t look for a man to take care of or provide for her so much as to be a true PARTNER in her life. That is how I view my husband (as a partner) & how he views me, & I think it works quite well. However, I think James made some good points in his video; I do think a lot of people would read “independent woman” on an online dating website & think of some rather negative “hyper-feminist” things which is really very unfortunate. James is right when he says men want to feel needed; so do women. But I think a healthy man or woman wants that need to be more of a DESIRE (both emotional & sexual) rather than “I need you to take care of me b/c I’m a child & can’t pay my own bills, do my own laundry, etc.” That is not to say we can’t help our partners with these things of course. I just mean these things should arise only because your need for that person is out of DESIRE for each other & thus you WANT to help each other with the daily toils of life. Hope that makes sense.

  10. I would hope a man seeing “Independent woman” as part of my description of myself would understand that
    —I have the means to successfully meet my own needs and the needs of those who may be dependent on me and am meeting those needs now;

    —I have prepared for my future needs;

    —I am engaging in online dating because I recognize the value of relationships and how they can enrich my life in terms of companionship, closeness, intimacy or even love.

  11. I chase independent women all the time. My ex was one, and appreciated the ‘putting her coat on’ and ‘holding the door for her’ at the same time being financially independent.

    When I see Independent Woman right out in front, sometimes reading further I get the impression of ‘I aint need no man’…which in that case why are you on a dating site if you ‘dont need no man’?? Baffles me sometimes.

    But for the most part I see them as someone who wants a partner to be able to grow with them, knows what they want in life and goes for it. A man who has no issues with a ‘girls night out’ and trusts his lady and does nt need to blow up the phone with “where r u’s”

  12. Well if I were a man I would think that if she is stressing independence she does not need me. And most people want to feel needed and valued. That statement would be a red flag for me indicating that this person is not very wise when it comes to human nature and perhaps not easy to get along with in the long run. Z

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  14. Love this comment .. “how we choose to present ourselves has to be consistent with the message we are actually trying to get across – often times we may put something into the world that could be misinterpreted by our target audience”

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