Today in news that's about as shocking as the fact that Miley Cyrus wants attention, research has shown that men in heterosexual couples feel threatened by their female partner's success. I don't want to imply that all heterosexual men are secretly harboring resentment against the achievements of their girlfriends or wives, but considering that highly successful women are still often treated like cute little anomalies, I can't say I'm very surprised.
Using couples at the University of Virginia, a study published in the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that "...men automatically interpret a partner's success as their own failure, even when they're not in direct competition," according to the study's lead author Kate Ratliff. Couples were asked to take a problem-solving test and then were told that their partners scored either in the top 12 or bottom percent of all university students. Apparently, men who thought that their partners scored in the top 12 percent had lower implicit self-esteem than men who thought their partners scored in the bottom 12 percent. Women's self esteem was not quite as affected by their partners' test scores, but they did slightly better when told their partners had also done well.
Now, this doesn't necessarily mean that your enlightened boyfriend who reps the fact that he was raised by a feminist single mom wishes you any ill in your endeavors. But the results from this study, and a subsequent one conducted using more than 600 people online, were clear that men felt subconsciously worse about themselves when their partner succeeded. Interestingly, it didn't matter whether the achievements by the female partner were social, intellectual, or directly correlated to the male partner's own successes or failures.