When a Guy Says He Wants a Strong Woman, Don’t Buy His Bullsh*t

When a guy says he wants a strong woman, he might believe that he does, but don’t buy it.

In the famous Cool Girl monologue, Gillian Flynn, the author of “Gone Girl,” explained what guys mean when they say they like “strong women:”

“How do you know you’re not Cool Girl? Because he says things like: ‘I like strong women.’ If he says that to you, he will at some point fuck someone else. Because ‘I like strong women’ is code for ‘I hate strong women.’”

At the time the movie was out, I was barely 20.

That insecure, wide-eyed me did genuinely think that the Cool Girl, though fictional, was the ultimate goal, and being a Cool Girl would equate to having a happy relationship with a guy, as opposed to being a Strong Woman.

But, now, after many hard-learned lessons and a long transformation journey, I think the Cool Girl monologue was only scratching the surface.

The problem with Cool Girl isn’t that men think the Cool Girl actually exists or that Cool Girl and Strong Woman are pitted against each other to be chosen by men — the problem is that being neither of these types will get you a quality, long-lasting relationship you want.

In other words, comparing Cool Girl vs. Strong Woman is missing the point.

See, the guy who wants the Cool Girl or says he wants a Strong Woman doesn’t respect either of these types.

But who cares what he respects because he isn’t one you should build a relationship with anyway.


This guy doesn’t want a woman.

He wants an object with female genitals, an extension of himself, a one-dimensional character that is molded around him and his life, instead of a real person with feelings, thoughts, and desires that might have nothing to do with him.

When a guy says he wants a strong woman, no — he doesn’t necessarily mean “fuck strong women,” quoted Amy in “Gone Girl.” He might genuinely believe it’s what he needs — it’s just that his definition of “strong” is horseshit.

In his mind, being a strong woman is conveniently synonymous with being independent and having a life of her own — all the good stuff, but it’s also the perfect cop-out for him not to have to meet a woman’s emotional needs and face his dead soul inside.

He might genuinely believe that a strong woman is what he needs — it’s just that his definition of “strong” is horseshit.

When a guy says out loud he wants a strong woman, he doesn’t mean a woman who stands up for herself, embraces her vulnerability, and persists in the face of hardship. You’d think, if he meets such a woman, he would immediately fall in love with her and treat her like a queen. Oh no, don’t be so naive.

He doesn’t admire or respect her strength — I mean, how could he do that when he doesn’t even know what “strong” means?

No. Her strength becomes a challenge to him.

Once he sees a sign of fire in her, he would make it impossible for her to light up. He would get his claws into her and push her boundaries until she sinks to his level and becomes a shell of herself. That’s when he would tell her, “I thought you were different.”

She would eventually realise that she only has two options: being with him or loving herself. She can’t win with him. Nobody wins because he’s a loser.

When a guy tells you that he wants a strong woman, chances are that it’s a projection of his insecurities — he’s weak and emotionally stunted. One day he will drag you down with him then use you to elevate himself. Don’t let him do that.

A well-adjusted adult doesn’t need to declare that they want a strong man or woman because they know that a human being is multi-dimensional and “strong” and “emotional” aren’t mutually exclusive. They’re not afraid of attachment in relationships and being there for someone else’s weak moments.

When a guy says he wants a strong woman, take it as a cue to grab your bag and head right out the door. He can spend his life chasing the Cool Girl or looking for his Strong Woman — it shall not be your business.

Your business is to be yourself, whatever that means to you, and find a relationship that works for you — if that’s what you want.

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© Ellen Nguyen

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