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"Banks are full of beautiful successful women with dating issues"

It's Valentine's Day and if you haven't spent the equivalent of at least $175 on your chosen one, you're falling behind. But if you're a woman in investment banking, buying lavish gifts can be problematic. 

"Men will say they want a powerful woman who earns more than them, but the feedback that I hear from a lot of my female clients is that when they're in a dating situation, this isn't the case," says Lucy Puttergill, the former JPMorgan VP in delta one sales who left banking to travel the world and become a coach in 2020. Research has shown that men don't like women who earn more than them. "There's a big issue around women in banking and dating," Puttergill observes, "It's really difficult for them."

Puttergill, who is currently in Cape Town, works with a lot of female bankers. She says dating is their number one issue. "I cannot tell you how many beautiful hugely successful women there are in banking who feel like they've been sold a lie," she says. While many of her female clients are high achieving, high earners at work, they struggle to find partners who match them intellectually. "They feel that the only thing going right in their lives is their careers. They're in their mid-30s to 40s, they have a great job and a huge house and some want to have children, but their job takes up all of their time and there’s a sense of failure

Best comment picked by the author
Anyone this article is referring to, want to date me? 40 years old, former GS, ivy league, single dad to 7 and 8 year old beautiful daughters, live in a Scottsdale country club, good cook, clean the house, do the landscaping, handyman remodel my own stuff, scratch golfer, part time financial advisor, really want to be a full time stay at home Dad though.

Younger women in banking don't necessarily share this prognosis. One 20-something female analyst in NYC says young men in hedge funds find it "hot" when a woman is powerful and independent. "For a lot of men these days, this is the type they go for," she claims. However, she acknowledges that she recently split with a guy who was too demanding of her time: "They were in asset management and their hours were on the softer side."

Puttergill says older women in banking are often tempted to double down on their careers because of relationship problems. Single women put more and more energy into work and when they do date, they approach it with the same mentality and treat finding a partner as something to be "achieved." The work persona leaches into personal relationships: "When they meet someone, they end up pitching themselves." 

To overcome this, Puttergill helps her clients to feel comfortable acknowledging and presenting a fuller version of who they are. "A lot of people in banking have very low self-esteem," she says. "The achievement and validation that come from banking careers can hide a sense of personal inadequacy. A lot of people in banking have perfect lives and perfect personas, but underneath they feel very vulnerable. I work with people to help them take off the work mask and to see what's beheath."  

It's not simply about doing this in pursuit of a relationship, says Puttergill. "You need to reconnect with who you are beneath the high achiever identity. Make your life so full and expansive and enjoyable that meeting someone becomes the cherry on the cake rather than an achievement." 

This is the considered way of approaching dating issues. However, the female analyst in NYC is less apologetic about her approach. "I want someone accepting of my priorities" she says. "I need someone who will understand the person that I want to become, who can see that I have expertise that will allow me to be valued in the finance industry. To me that's happiness. I don't want to be at home with the kids."

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • Or
    Orren Boyle
    22 March 2023

    Some of the comments being derided as "sexist" are simply an expression of the lived experience of men. Studies have shown that many women want their partner to earn 1.5 times more than they do. Many women are also hung up on status. You may be a plumber with a successful business, but many women won't even look your way because you don't have an MBA and don't work for a "prestigious" company like they do. The referenced article about how men "feel anxious" when their partners start earning significantly more than they do, may have a lot to do with the fact that WOMEN tend to leave when they out earn their partners.

    I also would love to explore the statement that younger men "find it hot when a woman is powerful and independent". Maybe some men find that sexually attractive, but that doesn't mean they want to MARRY those women or have a long-term relationship with them.

    I tend to date career women myself. The key is that I don't ever want to feel like I'm COMPETING with my partner, nor do I want to come home to another "boss". I already have a boss. I don't need another one at home. I'm sure that some of you think you can "turn it off" when you come home, but you really can't. It takes a certain mindset to be an entrepreneur or a C-Level executive. You can't just turn it off when you walk in the front door. It's ingrained in who you are.

    Finally, there is the issue of having children. Women's fertility has an expiration date. It varies from woman to woman, but it's still there. It's far easier to bear to children in your 20s. You can try freezing your eggs until you meet that mythical partner who meets all your standards, but there's no guarantee that the frozen eggs will take root when you go for that expensive IVF treatment.

    I genuinely feel sorry for some of these women. They HAVE been sold a lie. It's going to be extremely difficult to resolve these issues in a manner that works for BOTH men and women because popular culture shows little to no inclination to address the needs and wants of men, especially younger men. This is why more and more men are deciding to not pursue relationships with women.

  • Jo
    John Wick
    15 March 2023

    A beautiful woman I once knew and liked but never told them because I knew they will get to the very top and didnt want to bother them but also feared the repercussions of making them feel uncomfortable if I were to tell them


  • 14
    27 February 2023

    I am a woman with a career spanning corporate years and years as an independent contractor and small business CEO and Owner. I have found dating difficult on both my schedule and the men's schedules. When schedules allow, a good dinner at my house is an opportunity to relax and be myself with someone who can forget about pocketbook needs. On the other hand, I have had men stay 15 minutes and leave due to my "shallowness" and cite reasons such as questions regarding why I would need a man if I have already taken care of myself. I find this rather offensive. I am not above going to "his" place for a date. What is wrong with I keep myself well? I do not need men who cannot cope with women's success.

  • ph
    25 February 2023

    There are some truly bizarre responses here. Full of grammar mistakes, hatred of women or men, and total disconnect from reality.

    I would suggest that banking is a bad way to meet a life partner. Every one in the IB and related worlds (the high paid ones we're talking about) competes with every other, no one can really be trusted, nothing there that's even slightly natural. You want that type of money, you're never going to find love. At least not the romantic type. Male or female, you'll sleep around, do expensive vacations if you can get away, spend your money as fast as you can, and do absolutely nothing for your community or religion or even your family. The closest you'll get to friends will be your doorman, or fancy drink meister, or perhaps the screener at your favorite fancy but not really good eatery.

  • JA
    22 February 2023

    Hi, I am a woman working in Finance - hot - but single- in my thirties... and Yes, I was sold a lye - when my young self thought to get a man (a real one / 100% testosterones / Alpha type) I had to not only being pretty but having a great carrier - so I thought my beauty was not enough I had to work and compete with man to be his equal to get his respect and by ricochet get his love...... Today I can tell it is the biggest mistake I have done in my life - I am anti-feminist by the way. Men are very easy going, they just want a good/ feminine woman who respects them, nothing more in reality.... Also, I do not trust that men equal female - as they are 2 different species. Men have a place that is higher than women in terms of responsibility. If I could - I would just spend my twenties being hot, feminine and find a good man instead of killing my time dealing with spreadsheets.   

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