Simi Valley Family Magazine          Fall 2000

What Men Want From Women -- The Basics

Karen McQuade, M.S.

"What do men want?" women often wonder. Although most men do think a lot about sex, and it is very important to them, they do value other things in a relationship, too. Ladies, it's simpler than you might think:

  1. A man wants a woman who is glad that he is in her life. A man wants to feel welcome in the life of the woman he's involved with. He wants a woman who enjoys his company. He does not want to be continually criticized or corrected. He'd like to feel he pleases her. If you can't be happy with him as he is now, ask yourself why that is. Men do not want to be your home improvement project. 

  2. Men want to be valued for their contributions. Men are more action-based than word-based. A man wants to hear that the woman in his life appreciates what he does.  He wants his contributions to be thought of as valuable to her and to the family as a whole.  Make it a habit to express your appreciation frequently for what he does.

  3. Men want their efforts at change to be recognized.  Men get very discouraged when they change their behavior and hear angry words like, "Now, why can't you do that all the time?"  Men would prefer, "Thank you, honey, I really appreciate that."  A man wants to know his efforts to change his behavior and to please his partner make a difference in their relationship and that she feels good about him and their relationship when he does change. 

  4. Men want women who understand women's words are powerful. Women are verbally adept, and can easily hurt others by what they say. We often see men as tough, but actually men are easily hurt by words.  Men want relationships with women who are conscious of the effect their words can have on others. They want caring women who take responsibility for the words and tone they use. Watch your words, and don't be cruel.

  5. Men want an activity companion. Men are doers, not talkers. To men, meaningful interaction is often what they do with others. So men want women who will spend time doing things with them and enjoy it. Men find that meaningful and satisfying, even if the two of you don't talk much. Learn to appreciate just being together sometimes. Talking isn't everything.

  6. Men usually like their conversations brief and orderly. Men prefer that you tell them one thing at a time in a relatively orderly fashion, write down long lists of things you want done, and get to the point before they get lost or lose interest. Women usually are very verbal and don't always talk concisely or in a particular order, which is fine when talking with most women, but is very confusing and frustrating to most men. Remember, men are not chatty, so don't ramble too much. Condense, and get to the point. Save most of the conversational strolls into the recesses of your soul for your female friends.

  7. Men want a woman who has a life.  A healthy man is attracted by a woman who has a life to share with him, not by a woman who wants him to be her life. Most men get anxious around a woman who expects that merely having him will solve all her problems. To be a woman's sole source of fulfillment and happiness is too heavy a burden for any man. Relationships require that you have a strong sense of self and varied interests in life.

  8. Men want peace. Men want their relationships with women to be a nurturing, peaceful, and loving refuge from the world. Men do not want a contentious home or relationship. They want women who are not easily offended or easily upset, or impossible to please. They want positive, caring interactions to be the norm. Constant anger, discontent, and unhappiness drive men away. If you tend to be negative, discontent, or irritable, seek professional help in overcoming those tendencies. These tendencies do not work well in a relationship.

  9. Men want women to know that women's emotions can be overwhelming to men.  Men do not even want to talk at length about their own feelings or to examine them in great detail. They find women stressful who love to have frequent, long conversations about feelings and the state of their relationship. Although some talk of feelings and the state of the relationship is necessary, frequent, intense conversations like this will cause men get overloaded and shut down emotionally. If you want a companion and not a zombie, let it be a seasoning, not a main dish.

  10. Men do not want to be controlled or engulfed.  Most men fear losing themselves in relationship. In healthy relationships people discuss important issues, what they are doing, and how it affects the other. Spouses also keep each other informed of their schedules. However, men do not want to feel their wives or girlfriends grant them permission to do things. Healthy men do not mind working out mutual solutions to problems, but men panic and resist if they feel a woman is trying to control their every move. A man can love a woman and still need time away from her. A man needs to feel his own separateness to be in relationship in order to be emotionally intimate with a woman. Respect his separateness and his differences. Be his companion and partner, not his boss or his Siamese twin.

If you can be the woman I've described, or can work toward being that woman, healthy men will be very happy with you.

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