We all know what we THINK men want.
They want someone who’s young and gorgeous and thinks the sun shines out of their you-know-what.
Just look at the profiles that get the most action on online dating sites…
If you’re fun and light-hearted, and you’re cute when you giggle, and you make him feel like a man, you’re in.
But is that REALLY true?
There’s another side to men…
A side you don’t often see.
In my work with couples, I see men at their most vulnerable. I see them when their hearts are on the line.
What I see goes to the heart of what men TRULY crave in intimate relationships.
And it’s not what you think…
#1. He wants to know he won’t get hurt.
We can sometimes think that we’re the only ones who get hurt in relationships.
Men don’t care. They don’t feel heartbreak. They just go out and get drunk and find a new girlfriend.
There’s some evidence for that. A 2015 study found that women may experience slightly more pain after a breakup than men do, but the difference is negligible.
The most important thing the study revealed was a curious difference in how men and women process a breakup.
Women tend to talk about it, grieve, process it with their friends, and then move on.
Men, on the other hand, just move on. They skip the processing. That means they carry the pain with them for longer—a LOT longer.
As one guy put it:
What do women do when their heart is broken? They talk about it! But men are more likely to keep it to themselves and suffer.”
Chances are, every man you date will have had his heart broken at least once. He may not talk about it. He may never admit it.
But there’s always going to be that question in the back of his mind:
Will you hurt him, too?
It’s a serious question. Because we do hurt each other. And sometimes we do it without even realizing it.
#2. He wants to know you like him.
Of course you like him, right? But I don’t mean like that.
I mean as a person.
Sometimes men feel—and I’m generalizing here—that women only pretend to like them when, in actual fact, the minute he’s not there, all the women get together and talk trash about their boyfriends.
Men overhear the way some women talk about their partners. They can’t help but wonder if their girlfriend is doing the same thing.
Guys are vulnerable. It doesn’t feel loving when they’re made fun of.
When a woman talks about how all guys are this or all guys are that, her partner can’t help but feel she’s talking about him. And it doesn’t feel good.
#3. He wants to be taken care of.
Yes, men want to be taken care of, too! I think we ALL want to be taken care of.
But here’s the secret:
He wants to feel taken care of in a way that makes him feel like a king, not like a little boy.
As women, we often default into mothering mode. We want to make sure he eats right, goes to the doctor, picks up his room, and looks after himself.
But that doesn’t feel like nurturing to him. It feels more like control.
When you think about taking care of your man, think about how you’d like him to take care of you.
You don’t need someone to take care of your physical needs. What you want someone who cares about your emotional needs. You want him to listen to you, to be there when you need someone to lean on.
That’s what your guy wants, too. He wants to know you’re there for him. He wants to know you have his back.
#4. He wants to be understood.
The average guy doesn’t spend a lot of time psychoanalyzing people.
When guys get together and talk to each other, they tend to stick to safe subjects rather than opening their hearts and sharing their fears and vulnerabilities.
Thanks to men’s groups, that’s slowly changing.
But for many guys, the only place that’s genuinely safe for him to let down his guard and say how he truly feels is in his relationship.
It’s hard for us women to imagine just how valuable that is for a man.
We have girlfriends who create those safe spaces for us.
But your guy may not have anyone but you that he can really talk to.
So make your relationship a safe space for difficult conversations. Practice skills like empathetic listening and emotional validation. Learn to hold space even if you don’t like what he’s saying.
#5. He wants to be unconditionally loved.
I couldn’t sign off without including this one.
It’s not surprising, but it needs to be in here.
Men want to be loved for who they are, not what they bring to a relationship.
They don’t want to be told that they’d better live up to their girlfriend’s high standards, or they’re out.
Unconditionally loving all of a man—not just the parts you like—is hard, but you can’t build a lifetime together on conditional love.
For more tips on how to give a man what he secretly craves, grab your free copy of this report!