Ever wondered what a man looks for the most in a relationship? Or to get a little specific, what is that one (most important) thing that a man wants in his partner without which the relationship starts to look unappealing to him?
We approached 14 relationship experts with this very question and we received some really insightful answers.
And here they are:
#1: Someone who makes him feel at home
The most important thing a man looks for in a woman is a specific feeling. It’s a feeling of ‘home’.
A man wants to feel ‘at home’ when he’s with the woman he loves. She’s his break from the world rather than her being someone adding to the chaos around him. A man wants a woman who allows him to be fully himself and who accepts him as he is.
A woman who has a strong sense of self and is confident enough in her being to support her man from afar or right on his arm. A man wants a woman who knows herself and loves herself deeply, completely and unconditionally because how she treats herself is what she’ll extend out to him.
Neediness repels people so it’s important for both halves of any couple to take full responsibility for their own well-being and understand how to supply their own needs individually first, so their relationship is not one of codependency but rather of fun and security.
A woman is not supposed to complete a man or vice versa, they are meant to enhance each other.
A man wants a woman who brings out his best qualities and best self in all areas of life and who does that simply by being her best self too!
The looks and the job and the clothes are all just cherries and sprinkles on top to what really matters to a man, and what matters the most is that feeling; that feeling of being home.
Be the strong, confident, independent woman who knows who she is and how to give as well as receive; treat him like a King while easily allowing him to treat you like a Queen and he will never want to leave ‘home’ again.
#2: Self confidence
I’ve been a dating and relationship coach for over 8 years, so I often end up speaking to both men and women on the subject of “what men really want”.
I have found that self-confidence is the most important thing a man wants in a woman. In fact, men consistently tell me it’s one of the sexiest traits a woman can have.
I continuously hear from my male clients that – when a self-confident woman walks into a room – their eyes are drawn to her and they consistently find her beautiful and appealing.
Here’s a guideline to gauge how high you score on the self-confidence scale (and where you might need to do some work).
A self-confident woman:
- Knows what she wants. She knows herself and what’s important to help her feel happy about her life.
- Asks for what she wants from a man in a clear way and includes enough information so the man can succeed in providing it.
- Has the confidence to ask a man for something and be comfortable receiving it.
- Thanks men when they help her.
- Treats herself kindly.
- Has friends, family, and activities that she’s passionate about.
- Feels comfortable in her own skin (no matter her shape, size, etc.)
- Knows she deserves people in her life who treat her as well as she treats herself.
Here’s what a self-confident woman doesn’t do:
- Talk down to a man.
- Fills her life so full there’s no room for a man to provide anything for her.
- Assume he can read her mind.
- Have no interests of her own (is waiting for a man to fill her life or encourage her to start doing something).
- Constantly need reassurance that she’s worthy.
- Point out things that are wrong with her (physically, emotionally, mentally, etc.).
You might be surprised to hear that feeling self-confident is often a learned behavior (not just a natural way to be). It’s something everyone can learn how to do. I know this because it’s something I taught myself and continue to teach my clients. So please let me know if there are one or more things on the list you’d like to feel more confident about.
#3: Quality of being mysterious
Men want you to always remain a little bit of a mystery to them.
My French friend Geraldine once told me how she thinks it’s weird that Americans describe their romantic partner as their “best friend”. The French don’t think like that – they have lovers and they have friends, but those are rarely the same thing. And I actually love that way of thinking.
Trying to find one person to fit multiple roles of romantic partner, best friend, co-provider, etc is really, really hard. So find someone who can fit just a select few of the most important roles, and have other people in your life (like your best girlfriend) to fit the other roles.
As a woman, I keep the mystery alive by continuing to have my own life outside of my relationship.
My boyfriend doesn’t know every place I go, or with whom, and the same can be said of me with him. We fully trust each other, so that’s not an issue, and it just gives us more to talk about at the end of the day. We get to catch each other up on our activities, thoughts, and interactions because we gave each other the space to create those things outside of the relationship.
Most men already think of women as mysterious, sometimes unpredictable creatures – and they love it.
Because while trust can be built and lives can be shared, there is a certain thrill for a man who hasn’t quite “figured out” his female partner. It keeps a small amount of intrigue and fascination present – often even decades into a relationship.
#4: A deep sense of connection
Many people assume that men only care that a woman is beautiful and sexy, but for the higher quality man it’s much deeper than that. He looks for a true connection with a woman such that the two of them feel like they’re each other’s best friend.
That is to say, they simply “get each” other at the personal level without trying to fit the proverbial square peg in a round hole.
Importantly, a man who’s confident and comfortable with his masculinity definitely appreciates a confident, empowered woman…yet he also LOVES when she honors the inestimable value of her feminine nature enough to ignite his masculinity with it.
Obviously, such a man who honors and respects a woman and her feminine nature will only enter into a long-term relationship with a woman who similarly adores men and expects the best from him rather than being bitter and suspect.
I’ve also concluded over the years that optimism and generosity are traits that lead to a fantastic relationship. Although people who have those traits are unfortunately often open to selfish manipulation at the hands of others, they always yearn to find someone who is like-minded.
#5: Warmth and affection
I think the most important thing a man wants in a woman is warmth.
Women – especially strong, successful women – tend to underestimate the importance of warmth and overestimate the importance of ‘hotness’, education and career achievement.
Being physically attractive, intelligent and independent is important, but not as important to most men as warmth. Men won’t tell you this. They probably don’t even realize it themselves. But you may have heard a man say he wants a woman who’s ‘nice’. What he means by nice is smiley, friendly, easygoing, kind, giving, affectionate… In other words, warm.
So, the next time you’re getting ready for a date or about to spend time with your boyfriend or husband, think less about your appearance or what’s going on in your professional life and more about how you can shower him with warmth – and then sit back and see how happy it makes him and how much he appreciates you for it.
#6: A witness, confidant and companion to share his life with
Men, much like women, go through changes in their lives and therefore, what they want expands, changes and evolves as they do.
What we want at 25 is not the same thing we want at 45.
Traits like trust and honesty become increasingly important after suffering the heartbreak of infidelity in past relationships.
Going through life’s successes and challenges helps men prioritize what’s really important in their lives based upon who they are now.
And so, I’m answering this question on behalf of the grown-ass men who have been through something in their lives, the men who have evolved and who are brave enough to dive deeper than the surface to discover what they really want to feel and have in their most important, most intimate relationship.
When I first thought about this question, “What’s the most important thing a man looks for in a woman?”, I thought to myself, they want truth.
They want to know who we really are. They don’t want the façade or the social self we share in groups.
They don’t want us to attempt to be who you think they want you to be. They want to know what keeps you up at night and they want to know what motivates you to get out of bed each morning. They want to know how you feel about them and they want to feel connected to you.
But I think what men want goes deeper than truth…
And it’s not enough in a relationship that you’re a good person…or a good mother…or even a good lover, although those things are wonderful qualities.
What men want is a Partner.
They want someone they can share their joys with and someone who will stand beside them as they face challenges. They want a woman that has their backs, someone who is consistently in their corner, but will also challenge them as well to reach for their full potential.
They want a woman that is confident enough to know who she is and what she has inside of the relationship, so they don’t let jealousy or insecurity or distrust get in the way of a good thing.
They want someone who will make them and their lives together a priority.
Strong, confident men want a partner who will walk beside them and give them the opportunity to be a witness, a confidant, and a companion to the life you create together.
#7: Someone who desires him and accepts him as he is
The most important thing a man looks for in a woman is her desire for him.
Every man wants to feel desired and feel like the woman they are seeing adores him and approves of him just as he is. We want our partners to be our biggest fan. We hate being a disappointment and sometimes even hide from confrontations because of that.
After 40 years of research on thousands of couples, Drs. John and Julie Gottman found that men want two things: more sex and less fighting. For men, sex is an expression of desire and one of the ways men emotionally connect, where as women need emotional connection to have sex.
We also hate fighting and often take responsibility for our partners feelings because we don’t want to be the source of our partners unhappiness. This is where men go way wrong and try to become ‘Mr. Fix it’ when they just need to listen and empathize. Ultimately, what we really want is to be truly admired by the woman we are seeing.
#8: An equal partner
An equal partner. Essentially that’s what we’re all looking for, man or woman.
Now equal doesn’t necessarily mean socioeconomic status, I’m talking equal in terms of self-esteem and levels of self-actualization.
Relationships are a mutual exchange of emotional support and we’re motivated to pursue them, because we desire that support and encouragement to become the best versions of ourselves. Therefore, we need someone who we can be completely vulnerable with.
We all need empathy, and closely matched levels of esteem is an indication that someone can fulfill our emotional needs, and it’s also an indication that we can fulfill theirs too. If levels of esteem aren’t closely matched, it becomes difficult to be vulnerable and open up emotionally, to seek that support when it’s needed.
So, ladies, my best advice is to work on building the most happy and healthy relationship with yourself first, because a man will need to see you, in order to feel safe and secure enough for you to truly see him.
#9: Someone who takes care of herself
The most important thing a man wants in woman is a woman who takes care of herself. And the science backs this up.
In a study of over 50 men conducted by psychologists Mehrabian and Blum, they tested the relative importance of physical features (e.g. body weight, body type and height) versus whether a woman takes care of herself (e.g. exercising, grooming and clothing). The result? By far, women who were motivated to take care of themselves (versus ones that were naturally beautiful but not as motivated) were deemed to be the most attractive.
You see, men are not stupid. They know things like beauty and looks fade over time. They know that when a woman has children it is difficult for her to keep her weight down. So when a man is assessing a woman, he’ll often look to see if the woman is someone who is likely to do her best to maintain her looks long-term …rather than allow them to deteriorate.
And we’re not talking about a woman who is into plastic surgery to maintain her looks here. The cues men look for to determine if a woman is likely to maintain her looks long-term are – Does she exercise? Does she eat well? Does she dress well? …And does she continue to do these things 2 or 3 years after she’s been dating the guy.
So while no one can do anything about the looks they were born with, women (and men as it happens too) can significantly increase their attractiveness simply by showing they are motivated about looking after themselves.
#10: Someone who makes him Feel appreciated and valued
When you ask a man what he wants most from a relationship, right at the top of his list is his desire to make his wife or girlfriend happy. He feels satisfied that he must be doing a good job if he sees her smiling. What a beautiful thing to know – that a man wants to make his partner happy!
Unfortunately, a lot of women don’t understand just how powerful this is. A lack of respect and appreciation for him can kill off a perfectly good relationship, while clear and constant expressions of respect and gratitude can inject passion instantaneously.
So how exactly do we show a man that he is making us happy? A big smile when you see him is a great start but you should also know that he needs you to be his biggest supporter.
Respect and appreciation are like oxygen to him: respect for him as a man, respect for what he does for work and the decisions he makes and appreciation for what he contributes to the relationship.
Imagine saying this to your husband or boyfriend:
“You are such a hard worker and I appreciate what you’re doing for our family.” or
“I know you’ll work it out. I trust your decision.” or simply,
“Thank you so much for doing that, I appreciate it!”
It’s inspiring, motivating and most of all, he will adore and cherish you for always being on his side.
On the other hand, criticism, nagging, complaining, disrespect and emasculation all douse his fire. You will find over time that he will start working later at the office, staying out on the golf course more often and seeking solace in his man cave for longer periods of time. Who wants to feel like they’re constantly in trouble and nothing they can do is right?
Once at a social gathering, I heard a friend snap at her husband, for all to hear, “You always have to play the big hero don’t you?”
I can’t remember exactly why she said it but what did she hope to gain from this? In just a few seconds she succeeded in embarrassing and belittling him in a blatant show of disrespect in front of everyone. Later on, she will be wondering why he is being distant, spending more time fishing on the weekends and why that loving feeling they used to share is gone.
Before you speak to your boyfriend or husband, think about the place it’s coming from. If it’s a criticism, hold your tongue. There is so much more to gain from speaking words of kindness, respect and appreciation.
#11: Structural support
The most important thing a man wants from a woman is STRUCTURAL SUPPORT for his vision for his life.
What that means is someone who creates an environment where his aspirations can be supported and quickly achieved.
This is not even really about directly helping out with what he is doing. It’s about truly KNOWING what he is doing, understanding why he is passionate about that thing, and being able to be his blind spot by bringing in creative energy to that thing.
- It’s about being the Chief Operating Officer for his life.
- It’s about being able to have a relationship with both him and his passion as opposed to wanting him without his passion.
- It’s about being able to help him add flesh to his ideas and helping make them an even better reality than he envisioned.
- It’s about doing things that not only say that you love HIM as a person, but that you love WHO he is trying to become.
- It’s about being his cheerleader and unofficial manager
Do that and he won’t let you go.
Ok, so how does that play out? Let’s say for example he is in a band. You may not know anything about music per se but structural support means being able to help him plan his tour dates and ensuring that the last gig of the night is close to the hotel his band is staying…or finding him a t-shirt made of a fabric that manages sweat well so he can still look presentable taking pictures with fans after his performance.
This is critical for men because men can be so focused on the end goal that they lose sight of the journey and the details that will make the end goal great.
This is critical for men because it’s how he gets to feel safe in life. Remember that men are not looking to women to provide, or to protect. But does that mean men don’t desire safety? No. It’s just a different kind of safety they need. It’s the safety of their dreams.
Knowing that they have the permission and support to go out there and try and that you get it; that you get their obstacles and struggles. That is the safety every man craves for in a relationship.
Most women don’t know this because it’s the one thing most men have to pretend they don’t need at the beginning of the relationship (or in order to GET a relationship). Most feel they have to pretend that they have it all together or they won’t find a woman so most women don’t realize this need exists.
#12: Someon who makes him feel desired, important and the only man in her life
On the surface, many men may appear to look for a woman that is “hot” and is dynamite in bed. This is largely due to the messages they have been bombarded with, no thanks to media. But if you dive under the surface of what men have been told to look for in a woman you find what every man really wants.
As humans we all have needs and at the basic level these are to feel like you are enough for your partner and that they won’t leave you. A man wants to feel desired, important, and that he is the only man for his partner.
A woman that can provide an ongoing reassurance for these deeper needs for him is what a man wants in a partner, whether he knows it or not. It is often times hard, however, for many men to push away the messages from media and porn in order take a deeper look at what his true needs actually are: to feel like enough and to feel important.
How does this play out in action? Imagine a scenario where a man reaches out for intimacy with his partner, which at first glance might seem like “he just wants sex”. Underneath the reach for his lady is a deeper want to feel desired by his partner, to feel like he is enough and that she needs him.
A woman that is confident in herself, and can see and acknowledge that his reach is a reach for reassurance that she needs him, is the most important thing a man looks for and needs in a woman.
#13: Someone who ignites his core masculine essence
Ok, this is going to sound overly simplistic….but hey, the truth often is. In my experience what a man really wants from his partner is to feel like a man!
He wants his core masculine essence to be ignited, while his partner shines in her all the glory of her feminine. This pairing of the masculine and feminine is what creates all the delicious chemistry, desire and polarity in relationships.
If he has a masculine core (85% of men), he gets his power from doing, accomplishing, setting and reaching goals, pursuing and providing. These natural ways of being for him are amplified by her relaxing into her feminine essence. The feminine gets her power from feeling, perception and connecting, receiving and nurturing acceptance.
In other words, what turns him on is doing things for her, and experiencing being successful in making her happy. And synergistically, what increases her attraction in him is accepting and appreciating what he provides, trusting he could be the one to make her happy.
This is easy in the beginning when he is pursuing, planning dates, taking her out, providing experiences where she feels utterly cared for and provided for, physically, mentally and emotionally. However when the courting energy fades and she starts planning the dates, taking care of him in the relationship, it is important that he still has opportunities to do for her.
Also the masculine grows from Challenge, so the best thing she can do for the relationship is to Ask. Ask for help, favours, support.
He doesn’t always know how to do or offer this, so asking gives him the roadmap to follow, the keys to the kingdom! It is a huge gift for both of you.
She gets her needs met and so does he. Also the feminine grows not from challenge, but instead from Praise & Support. So the more she knows how she wants to be supported, and what is supportive for her, the better she can be at asking for and appreciating it (positive reinforcement) when he does do it.
#14: A partner who he can rely on and grow together with
The most important thing that a man wants in a woman is something that he is usually unaware of.
Aside from all the preconditioned desires that men collectively hold regarding seeking a woman, there is a golden thread that runs deeply through most of us. That deeply embedded desire is for partnership.
The deeper pull is for a woman who is committed to being not just a companion – but a partner.
With that said, there are many important attributes under the umbrella of that title “partner”. The most important quality to consider when presenting oneself to the market of men as a partner is an earnest desire to work on oneself.
Working on yourself means taking responsibility for projecting your insecurities or anger onto your man. It means a dedication to being transparent and honest. It means having a commitment to communicating in the most constructive manner – expressing your feelings to your man without aggression.
Men subconsciously desire a woman who they can rely on and who will help them to become a better version of themselves. This doesn’t mean that you should look for a man to fix – a very common trap for women. Look for a man who is aware that he desires a partner and also brings the previously mentioned qualities to the table.
A good partner supports their counterpart but also understands that in order for the relationship to work, they must do their own internal work. A quality partner realizes that a romantic relationship is not just there to fulfill emotional and physical needs, but to evolve one another into better versions of themselves.
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