You probably know a woman who has it all together professionally, but hasn't managed to create a satisfying romantic love life for herself. You may even be that woman yourself. It's not an uncommon scenario in this day and age to see smart, accomplished women without happy love lives. It was this observation, based on years of counseling women, which led. LeslieBeth Wish, a Florida-based psychologist and clinical social worker, to study this problem. Wish conducted carefully structured research on more than 1,000 women from all walks of life and discovered some definite trends in the love lives of modern females.

The surprising results led to two books: The Love Adventures of Almost Smart Cookie (Amazon) which features 52 self-help cartoon strips—each one based on a key finding of her research, and is accompanied by three love tips. Her latest, Smart Relationships (New Horizon Press), is the more in-depth self-help book.

Quality Health talked to Wish about the top roadblocks women create for themselves and what they can do to break through them to find satisfying relationships.

Romance Roadblock #1: Swearing off men.

Romance Roadblock #1: Swearing off men

Vowing to stay away from the male sex may seem like a safe choice for a woman who's been hurt, but it's the wrong choice. "There's hardly a woman on this planet who hasn't been hurt or disappointed in love, even if she's married," says Wish. "Dropping out of opportunities to love and be loved turns you into a pessimist about life in general." What's more, she says this negativity can lead to more social isolation, which makes you interpersonally rusty in reading men.

Also, many women feel that they've been disappointed by men because they're inherently unlovable. If this is you, Wish says to delve into your past and examine why you may feel that way—perhaps you were bullied in high school or did your parents make you feel unworthy. She also suggest "dating against type," especially if you have a history of being hurt by the guys you fall for. 

If you're out of the social loop, make an effort to interact with people of either gender for a needed lift. You have to be willing to get back in the ring

Romance Roadblock #2: Anxiety

Romance Roadblock #2: Anxiety

Wish, like many therapists, has seen a dramatic increase in the past few years of women seeking anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications for a variety of reasons, such as hormonal shifts, marital unhappiness, or worries about being economically self-sufficient. Such high anxiety levels in women can wreak havoc not only on their mental and physical health but also their romantic relationships.

Women already with partners might discover that their inability to manage anxiety poisons their interactions. Single women who are anxious about economic security may, as Wish says, "grab the last man standing." You risk making a bad choice because your anxiety blurs your ability to adequately assess a man. If you are frequently anxious or depressed, get brave enough to seek professional help—and don't take shortcuts as Cookie does in the cartoon above.

Romance Roadblock #3: Working 24/7

Romance Roadblock #3: Working 24/7

Women may work excessively for a variety of reasons, such as avoiding future dating mistakes or fearing financial dependence with someone else.

Women who make work their life put themselves into a very narrow box, cautions Wish. A woman may work so hard that she has no time to give to her current relationship, or she may only date successful men she meets through work. The appeal of some of these men may be their sense of authority and command in life. But beware: there can be a difference between these mens' private and work selves. That sense of authority might be hiding a man's authoritarian and controlling nature—qualities that may lead to relationship downfalls.

Wish urges professionally ambitious women to learn to read men better and to avoid overlooking good men who are not necessarily their professional equals but are their "emotional equals." In other words, men who will give them what they truly need.

LeslieBeth Wish, EDD, MSS, reviewed this article.




Dr. LeslieBeth Wish, nationally honored psychologist and licensed clinical social worker and author of Smart Relationships (New Horizon Press) and The Love Adventures of Almost Smart Cookie (CreateSpace).  To learn more, follow her on Twitter@LeslieBeth Wish and sign up on her website