How to Love a Strong & Complicated Woman.

Via Jennifer S. White
on Sep 18, 2013
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Relephant: What Women Really Want from Men.

Call her a pampered-princess type—you’d be right.

She knows her worth and value and she demands that her lover does too. (Lesson one.) You know, let’s just cut to the chase and dive in.

How to love a strong and complicated woman.

First, be open.

Because she will probably want to pull the blankets up over her head from time-to-time; closing herself—and her thoughts—off from the world—and the world includes you.

She’ll want you to know how she feels, of course, but she won’t always feel up to telling you. This will make your relationship challenging for both of you, because open communication is necessary for two people to properly understand one another without, well, misunderstandings.

So please talk to her about your own feelings and thoughts—your sharing will encourage hers.

Also, don’t be afraid to ask her questions, but do try being gentle rather than probing. (She says thank you in advance.)

And let’s get this out into the open right away: Complicated women who pretend that they are not complicated are a challenge.

You have your work cut out for you.

Don’t get me wrong, there are uncomplicated women—just like there are men who will see this article’s words and find themselves written here for their lovers to read.

Because sharing the same sex doesn’t make us the same person.

On the other hand, any woman with close girlfriends will be able to tell you that women, very generally speaking mind you, have their own ways of communicating and, sometimes, even thinking—all I’m suggesting is that it’s okay to admit it.

No, I’m going a step further and saying that if we do admit this that all of our relationships—be it a friendship or romantic partnership—will be easier because—re-read the first statement above and repeat after me: open communication is necessary for two people to properly understand one another.

 Okay, so back to the self-declared-uncomplicated-yet-complicated woman.

I’m probably not the best authority in this arena, because I often put my eccentricities on display (obviously).

However, I will tell you this: let her go on pretending that she’s not complex—you will not change her mind. This is a realization that she must come to own her own (or another woman who is a close enough friend can point it out to her—not you).


Simple—reflect upon the moments when you’ve probably “accused” her of being difficult to understand; likely they’ve been those times when you were irritated, and your words and thoughts were not coming from a completely loving place.

So, ladies, consider being more forthright about your needs—with him and with yourself—and, gentlemen, keep in mind that your own sharing and approachable receptivity will help her to come out of her shell—even if it’s at seemingly tortoise-like speeds—but, in the meantime, practice patience with her. (Because she’s worth it.)

Additionally, part of the reason that she’s being so emotionally reserved is that, like many of us, she’s afraid of rejection, and this fear—however subconscious—leaves her with a fragile vulnerability.

Which brings me to…

 Give sincere compliments.

Everyone needs to be told—out loud—what’s great about them—everyone.

However, the complicated woman probably needs more compliments than your average bear, or lady as the case may be.

Yes, she’s strong (we’ll get to that later). Still, inside every grown and gorgeous woman is a little girl wanting love, affection and attention—and, honestly, if most people search themselves they, too, will find a child wanting to be shown love.

 If you can’t handle this, walk away now—and good luck finding any woman—or any lover—who doesn’t need the occasionally verbalized compliment.

Remember the sincere part, though.

You certainly don’t want to hand out so many compliments that they become expected or, worse, canned and phony.

Still, there are most likely two reasons why a woman would ask you, for example, how she looks in something: one, she genuinely wants to know how she looks, in which case you should be honest and not let her leave the house in something hideous—proceed with caution here—or, two, she’s fishing for compliments because you rarely give them to her unless she asks—99.9% of the time, the latter is the reason.

Moving on.

Let’s shift over the strong aspect of your lady love.

Strength, like many personal attributes, is subjective. I define a woman with strength as someone who knows what she wants, who isn’t afraid to go after it and who has her own independent mind and life.

In short, if I were you, I wouldn’t glance in any other woman’s direction but hers because you’ll find that she’s fun, fiery and full of excitement since she knows herself thoroughly and can’t wait to discover more with you.

So how do you love a woman like this?

You must be strong too (see aforementioned description)—and the reason for this isn’t complicated like she is.

A strong woman wants a partner—an equal, someone to challenge her when necessary and who is steady enough to lean into—without getting bulldozed—when life gets hard.

She might act like she always wants to get her way—she might even think she does—but, in reality, she doesn’t want to romance—or be romanced by—a push-over.

This doesn’t mean that she doesn’t want you to be sensitive, to always consider her viewpoint and to compromise, but it does mean that she wants you to stand up for yourself when you need to—because she wants to love and respect you enough in return that she, too, has to be sensitive, to always consider your viewpoint and to compromise.

Again, a strong woman is looking for a partner to hold her hand and walk with her through life—not walk her through life, pulling her hand and being controlling—and, likewise, she doesn’t want to waste her time always guiding you either.

Okay, back to complicated.

Actually, you know what? I think I can save us both a lot of time here; I don’t think there is such a thing as a complicated woman. No, come to think of it, a self-defined complicated woman will give you the least amount of trouble—and be the least difficult to figure out—because she’s already trying to figure herself out—and then she’s trying to express her revelations to you so that you can fully know her.

And that’s the thing about complicated people: all they’re looking for is someone who gets them—really gets them.

Aren’t we all complicated in our own ways? Isn’t complicated just semantics? Don’t we all have internal idiosyncrasies?

I mean, isn’t it the sum of these individual quirks that make people special, unique and worth getting to know—and then love?

So if you clicked on this article my speculation is this: you either consider yourself a strong and complicated woman, you love one, or you want to love one.

And here’s another thought: you’re already going in the right direction. Because all love has its intricacies and its delicate balances between two hearts and two minds—and it’s not easy for two people to work as one.

It’s not easy, but love is worth it. And she is worth it—you are worth it. Yet, all love depends upon learning and sharing and growing together if it doesn’t want to grow apart. So stay curious.

Be open—and remember that having love inside of you that you want to give readily is, itself, a huge contributing factor towards a relationship’s success and strength. And we’re all strong in our own ways—strength really is subjectively defined.

We all have our own personally distinguishable strengths—and love is simply finding another person who recognizes them and wants to help you make them even stronger.

Because people might be complicated, but I’m not entirely sure that love has to be.

Then again, I guess that love will always be complex—as long as strong, inquisitive, impassioned people are involved.

Relephant bonus:

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Ed: Bryonie Wise


About Jennifer S. White

Jennifer S. White is a voracious reader, obsessive writer, passionate yoga instructor and drinker of hoppy ales. She’s also a devoted mama and wife (a stay-at-home yogi). She considers herself to be one of the funniest people who ever lived and she’s also an identical twin. In addition to her work on elephant journal, Jennifer has over 40 articles published on the wellness website MindBodyGreen and her yoga-themed column Your Personal Yogi ran in the newspaper Toledo Free Press. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in geology, absolutely no degrees in anything related to literature, and she currently owns a wheel of cheese. If you want to learn more about Jennifer, make sure to check out her writing, as she’s finally put her tendencies to over-think and over-share to good use. Jennifer is the author of The Best Day of Your Life, available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. She's also as excited as a five year old to announce the release of her second book, The Art of Parenting: Love Letters from a Mother, available on Amazon.


37 Responses to “How to Love a Strong & Complicated Woman.”

  1. joanne says:

    Thank you for your article, an amazing read. Kind regards x

  2. Amber says:

    Love this! So true.

  3. Natasha says:

    Will have to share this lovely read!

  4. Amber says:

    Sounds like a confused woman, not a complicated one. Doesn't really know what she wants. and doesn't seem worth it.

  5. Tamara says:

    Love this article! Now only to find a man who understands it.

  6. Jenna B. Wiser says:

    Nice article Bryonie!! Sounds like you think you have women all figured out. We’ll see. 😉 Remember, some fillies are just trying to find the right stallion to fully experience life with. Stay curious!!

  7. Kate says:

    i don't mean to be cruel, but this article appears to be a ramblings of a somewhat confused individual." Pampered princess type" maybe complicated, but not in any way that suggests strength .. So you ( as in your typical Princess type strong and complicated woman ) profess to know what you want, but asking for it may leave you in a state of 'fragile vulnerability'…hmmm, A strong woman ' knows herself thoroughly ' yet can't necessarily ask for her needs to be met, instead she wants you to know now she feels but won't always be up to telling you'. Crikey, this is published in a journal that is about mindfulness? To even utter a phrase like 'knows herself thoroughly' reveals how little the author knows about herself, for who of us knows themselves thoroughly?

  8. Muks says:

    A strong woman, or any strong person for that matter, is a straightforward communicator, not sitting in a shell. Strength is not just based on wants and independent opinions, but on accepting and showing feelings and vulnerability. The person described in this article is not a very confident woman to me.

  9. "I mean, isn’t it the sum of these individual quirks that make people special, unique and worth getting to know—and then love?"

    That's it exactly. That's the whole point. I wouldn't want to be with anyone romantically, and have a tougher time having close friendships with people who *aren't* a little complicated, that is to say, those who don't dig beneath the surface of things and who aren't a little quirky.

  10. Melina says:

    I don't know why I feel like defending to this comment. Perhaps because I know I am a complicated woman? I think there is strength in admitting as a woman it is about that we do make things complicated by being this way from time to time – finding it hard to express our feelings but wanting others to know what we feel. I am sure not only woman but men are guilty. I think there is strength in owning that this is something that can happen or what we can do at times. And hats off to those woman who have worked themselves out on a higher level that don't ever do this anymore. Perhaps 'thoroughly' wasn't the best of terms as it contradicted the point of not always maybe knowing what she needs or to ask for them. Yet I found that it is the fact they are wanting to know more, wanting to throroughly get to know themselves to come back open communication. The contradictions are in fact what is 'complicated'. I personally am very vulnerable in saying how hard I can be on myself knowing I am 'complicated' in all of my contradictions but my own self growth path is to grow and learn to become more into my strength of knowing without the complication. If that makes sense. To constantly give open communication, express my needs etc. And then we slip, and we are human,and the childish games can happen. You have some great points though but I felt the need to share my half. Many thanks for your thoughts however as it gave me a chance to question myself and have mindfullness. And a big thanks to the author. I don't believe this article shows how little you know about yourself in fact I found it light hearted and refreshing.

  11. Guest Commenter says:

    What women should realize is, for every one woman who has this extensive list of needs, there's another equally nice and beautiful woman who does NOT require all these things.

    Which do you think a smart, secure, confident man would choose?

  12. Melanie Love says:

    wonderful article!! very enjoyable and brilliant read <3 🙂 love and blessings <3 know thy self <3

  13. Esteban says:

    I see articles like this all the time, telling men how to win, keep, or love "complicated" (difficult) women. Yet I never see articles teaching women how to be "better women". The articles geared toward women generally teach various methods of subterfuge for women to "get what they want from men". There are many reasons why so few men in this generation will ever consider marriage. It is because women have become more self centered, egoists, and seek to extract various resources from men without giving anything of value in return. Why would any man bother? Because you're a special princess and you "deserve it"? K.

  14. Danielle says:

    I agree with the first commenter. I can appreciate the comment of the author describing what some women may be like but the characteristics and situations described are not ones that exemplify mindfulness. I also think it is a bit stereotypical and that these are in many cases that society has told us are”confusing or complicated” when many times situations that women are reacting to are justified and mindful, they are just labeled as confusing. On the other hand there are women who are genuinely confusing and complicated though the article describes a confused woman not a complicated woman. A complicated woman can be mindful or unmindful, the woman above sounds like a woman who doesn’t know what she wants or how to communicate that, whereas one strong point of women is that we are naturally communicators ( watched an interesting ted talks describing this).

  15. dagi says:

    A cat, maybe? A man who is not willing to put up with some requirements isn’t worth my love, that’s for sure.

  16. Amber says:

    Haha so true dagi 🙂

  17. Jazmín says:

    Thank you for this reminder.

  18. Katan says:

    The best part of this article is the title. There was a lot of stream of consciousness writing in the first part, some gems in the bit on strength, but then more fluff!

  19. catherine says:

    I love your article.
    I can relate though.
    I hope there will be this guy who can appreciate and knows how to love such personality like mine.

  20. jenniferswhite says:

    Here's just one of *many* articles that I've written to women, love a woman.

  21. jenniferswhite says:

    Yep, stream of consciousness is actually a writing style.

  22. ‘Maya’ an illusion. The best bit about this piece is that it truly testifies to the categorical fact that thinking we are or can always be strong is an illusion. The frustrating part for the person on the outside trying to love the woman or man who is trying to keep their walls up, is what makes it or them seem so complicated. It’s just an illusion and everyone is all things and all walls can be broken down if you really want him or her enough.

  23. BOB says:


  24. Torsten says:

    That was a long article – does it really have to be that complicated ? 🙂
    My take-away is this:
    "all love depends upon learning and sharing and growing together if it doesn’t want to grow apart. So stay curious.

    Be open—and remember that having love inside of you that you want to give readily is, itself, a huge contributing factor towards a relationship’s success and strength"

    Am I the first guy to get this far?

  25. RickT says:

    A SCW has her own insecurities just like the rest of us. I think she hides them more behind her strength and complicatedness. Where I think us men make the mistakes in loving them is loving them with grace. At least that's where i made my mistake. We tend to think deep inside her there is no tenderness, but I have to believe there is. It just takes time to get to it.

  26. ny santiago says:

    hi kate,.!!

  27. syd says:

    I love u Ang

  28. Gropopoll says:

    Hello, I have just sent that message to Jennifer on FB: "Hello, I decided to follow you after having read your article on "complicated women", I have feelings for a woman on FB whom I haven't yet met. To me, it isn't that much that she is complicated, she is a diagnosed autist, between high and low, I think I have autism myself but it's far from certain, I must do more tests. What bothers me a little is the different background we have. I don't know how to handle her on FB, she says she first wants ti see it happens well via FB but so far, we have had many disputes and arguments, more in her view than mine. My main worry is how can I let her know I am often trying to d-dramatise things, taking things more lightly without that she be offended. She says she don't know humour or smile but I don't fully believe that and when I say I thought lots of autists have a nice, particular sense of humour like mine, she says it is a cliché, a stéreotype. She has it very difficult apparently to open to others, she is shy and all in reality she says but the messages she sends me are often unjust, cruel, she accuses me of things I am and never would be, I want show men aren't all the same but it is far from easy.

  29. Ginnyfllwer says:

    Nice thank you lol

  30. Gaudy says:

    Great article, loved it!!!

  31. projectam2015 says:

    WOW right on the head! Definitely mention you 2mrw on IG…. This post is ME…. SMH… HONESTLY ME! Thank you

  32. Ella says:


    I think that this is a great way of explaining how women are perceived from the male perspective. Or from the perspective of the person dating or attempting to date or marry a woman. Women can be very complicated. I think reflective of two people who have different ideas about life. One who is more open about where they’re at and the other person who is not ready to share or doesn’t know how to share what they feel. I think complex is rooted inside of a woman who does not necessarily knowing herself well enough to express every detail within. Having the difficulty of expression is resulting in what is perceived to be confused or complex. Overall, just wanted to thank you for shedding some light on a few issues that I’m having with my wife and helping me see that is not necessarily a bad thing that she is different.

  33. Melina says:

    "because she’s already trying to figure herself out—and then she’s trying to express her revelations to you so that you can fully know her."

  34. Victor says:

    Interesting read. My take is that a woman who sees herself as complicated in the way described here owes it to herself, her friends/family, and any romantic partner, to work on herself and reflect on what she really wants and needs. There is a presumption – supported by this article – that others should be asked to do the difficult work of figuring you out because they “love” you. This is a fatal flaw in the way we view relationships. IMO the trend in our culture is for women (and men) to outsource the heavy lifting of self-reflection and self-discovery to our partners with the expectation that “If they loved me they would understand me”. This is simply cowardly. A strong person knows who they are and is able convey that knowledge to others who can then make the decision as to whether they wish to be with that person. Our culture promotes the notion that intimate relationships will cure all your ills and place far too much burden on such relationships. With such a burden placed upon relationships is it any surprise that they so often fail. We need to teach men and women to be self-reliant and. only once they know who they are (and can convey that openly) do they have any business being with another person.

  35. lorithecook says:

    How can I send this article to my boyfriend without all the ads and video? Thank you.

  36. Kathy says:

    I loved this article because a good portion of it relates to my life. I think you are a great writer. I liked how you were able to explain about the times when women like me like to hide under the blanket at times. I’ve got a lot on my plate some days but I feel like I just want to be held and/or told everything will be okay.

  37. Jon says:

    I just dated a woman like this, and have a hard time getting over it because she "was falling in love with me", but at the same time, this girl would never say thank when I went out of my way to do things for her. Would respond to me with a "sweating-straight-face" emoticon when I told her she seemed emotionally distant. And towards the end of the relationship, gave her lots of expensive gifts and stuff because I really wanted it to work. She never said thank you for anything. She definitely thought she was some kind of princess. The bottom line in the relationship was that I was willing to do anything for this girl, and she definitely wouldn't "give an inch" for me. Agreed: someone write an article teaching women how to be better women, please, even though none of them will read it.