Why Men Who Overidentify With Their Careers May Lack Relationship Success

Published : Wednesday, April 5, 2023, 11:11 am
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Work easily consumes one-third of a person’s time, and 70% of professionals report that their work defines their personal sense of purpose.(1) This is a win-win when it results in employee engagement, but some professionals become enmeshed with their careers, failing to enjoy a separate, balanced identity outside of work success. The result can be neglected or no relationships,(2) or, in extreme cases, health problems or substance abuse.(3) Patrick Ryan, Wingman For You Founder and dating coach for professional men, finds this often boils down to the difference between the two types of confidence. While social confidence means a person is comfortable in their own skin, epistemic confidence relies on external factors such as being knowledgeable or successful.(4)

Ryan explains, “My goal with each client is to help him forge a lasting romantic relationship with the woman of his dreams. Even though many of my clients are very successful professionally, our starting point is often building the social confidence that allows him to organically approach women in social settings and expand the conversation without putting pressure on outcomes.”

The skills and mindset that drive business success, such as detached rationality and self-interest, are often the opposite of those that create relational success.(5) However, individuals who are willing to see their relationship as an investment of time, communication, and attention can often translate business success into relationship success.(6) Businesses and relationships are about growth. They challenge, excite, and reward those who invest in and commit to them.

Ryan advises, “Similar to finding the right business idea, organization, or team, finding the right romantic partner is a process. It takes effort, skill, and self-knowledge. The more tools and understanding you have, the less likely you are to blow a great opportunity when it comes your way.”



[1]Morgan, Kate. “The Search for 'Meaning' at Work.” BBC Worklife, BBC, 7 Sept. 2022,

[2]Koretz, Janna. “What Happens When Your Career Becomes Your Whole Identity.” Harvard Business Review, 17 Nov. 2022,

[3]Ahmed, Anam. “The Effects of Work & Life Imbalance.” Work, 18 May 2020,

[4]Abdou, Anouare. “The 2 Types of Confidence, According to Science (and How to Harness Them).” Ladders, Ladders, 5 Aug. 2021,

[5]Johnson, Emma. “Can You Really Be Successful at Both Business and Relationships?” SUCCESS, 30 Nov. -1,

[6]Steyl, Louisa-Jane. “Start Treating Your Relationships like a Business and You'll Be Happier.” Bolde, 8 Apr. 2017,

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