When I went to college, my parents told me to focus on my schoolwork — and on getting married. “You will be surrounded by the smartest men you may ever meet,” they said, “and remember, the good ones go young.”
I believed them. I analyzed all my potential dates as possible husbands. I even had a poster in my dorm room that read, “You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince.” I’m amazed that anyone was willing to kiss me under that ridiculous poster.
I got married at 24. By 25, I was divorced. For years, I felt like I was wearing a scarlet letter “D.” I was worried — that no one would want to date me, that I wouldn’t have children, that I would end up alone. It wasn’t until a decade later that I understood who I was and what I needed in a relationship. That’s when I found the right life partner: my husband, Dave.
Women are told far too often that they need to subordinate who they are in order to find and “get” good men. Here’s better advice: Think hard about what you need in a partner. Being clear about what you want — whether it’s children or a career or both — is not going to keep you from dating.
It’s going to keep you from dating the wrong person. Look for someone who will support your deepest ambitions and desires, and know that you can support theirs.
We can also encourage enlightened behavior at work. Companies and individuals perform better when men and women support one another. We can thank the guy who, when a woman is interrupted, says, “I want to hear what she has to say.” We can reward men who help us achieve our goals by helping them achieve theirs.
In the April issue of Cosmo Careers, we spotlight the men who are leaning in, helping out at home, or supporting women in the workplace. You’ll hear from men who are creating groups for stay-at-home dads. You’ll learn about companies that are implementing flexibility programs. You’ll even hear from a Lean In Circle of some men you might recognize (and if you aren’t part of one already, we hope you’ll join at LeanIn.org/Circles, and bring your guy friends!).
Equality will only be achieved with the support of men: as partners, colleagues, dads, and advocates. So help us spread the word. Let’s celebrate the men who lean in, and let’s encourage others to join them.