It’s a stereotype as old as time that men don’t understand what women really want. One of the problems in modern relationships is we inherited the template for what they should look like from our parents.
Therefore much of our language, beliefs, and behaviours are rooted in the past.
What women wanted in their relationships 30 years ago is not the same as what they want today.
With gender equality and women’s lib, the role of women has changed hugely during this time. However many relationships continue to use the same relationship blueprint from this other age.
Unchallenged and without the evolution that women have experienced, men have some catching up to do. Many relationships are in a standoff as a result.
But what do women want?
Why is it some relationships are failing, some are surviving, and others are thriving?
To many men it might seem that women can be demanding, never satisfied and often finding fault.
However, their needs are quite simple in many ways. Once you understand them better it will not only improve your relationship with them, but you’ll realise that these needs are not the sole desire of women.
Men and women are similar in so many ways, yet the dynamic between them is often defined by how we are different.
The binary description of men being like this, and women like that, obviously oversimplifies things.
However, it can be useful to look at the stereotypical man/woman dynamic to understand patterns of behaviour to give us insights into how to develop successful relationships.
That said here are 5 things that women want, that men aren’t ready to hear:
#1. Women want YOU
Growing up as a boy is tough. Since they were young, boys learnt to play the part of someone else. A version that was acceptable to their peers, and that allowed them to get through this difficult time unscathed.
This behaviour triggers the first of two key stages we go through in life. The first stage is where we explore and learn who we think we are, as we attempt to find and fit into our social group.
The second stage is where we unlearn all of this and realise who we really are.
It’s this man that women really want. That’s because this man is not worried about what others think of him. He’s brave, clear, focused, calm, centred and ultimately he knows who he is.
The characteristic women often cite as being most important in a man, is confidence.
What they mean is a man who is brave enough to be himself. Someone who is real, genuine and true. He’s not looking for acceptance, or praise and is comfortable in who he is.
We can overcomplicate things sometimes. Women want you to be you.
The problem is men have spent so long learning to be someone else. They attempt to fit into the life of what is expected of them and forget who they really are.
True confidence is looking inward, seeing who you are, and liking what you see.
#2. Women want your emotional safety
Fifty years ago women wanted men to provide and protect. Provide financially for the family, and protect them from physical harm.
If men built their sense of identity around this today then they are going to struggle.
That’s because what women want from men has evolved in the same way they have evolved. My partner earns more than I do for example, so if I define myself as being the financial provider, then I’m in trouble.
How and what I provide for her, needs to evolve.
The strength women want men to provide is not just physical strength but emotional strength.
Similarly, the safety women want men to provide is not just physical safety but emotional safety.
Let me explain.
Women want men to have the emotional capacity and intelligence to make them feel safe. This feeling of safety involves them being comfortable expressing who they are without judgement.
The more men can develop the capacity to hold emotions and the vocabulary to communicate them, the more they can share their emotions with others.
If men don’t understand their own emotions they will be ignorant of hers.
The more you can connect to and acknowledge your feelings the more you can connect to and acknowledge hers.
Expressing emotions allows you to connect more fully to others. This gives the safety and therefore the permission for women to do the same.
Men often feel overwhelmed by certain feelings, and then check out emotionally in order to survive. This is learnt behaviour and can be changed once you become aware of it.
Noticing habits we adopt to numb our feelings, and then cutting these out, helps us to stay present to our emotions and others too.
This authenticity helps give women the emotional safety they want.
#3. Women want your praise
Women grow with praise. They love your praise and to know the effect they have on you.
They glow when you speak heartfully and truthfully about how you see and feel them. How you acknowledge, recognise and appreciate them for who they are.
A simple mistake that men make in relationships is treating women as if they were them.
Men typically don’t need praise as much as women because men grow more with challenge. Tell me how I can improve something and I’ll be eternally grateful.
Women are not like this. Give them some fantastic constructive feedback on their next lasagne, and you’ll see what I mean.
Women don’t know what you’re thinking, so you need to tell them. Men will often say:
“But she knows how much I care for and love her”
No, she doesn’t, if you don’t tell her.
What is it she does that you love?
Is it her laugh, her smile, the way she moves her body?
The way she pushes her hair out of her eyes?
Make a practice out of it. Find one thing every day that truly takes your breath away, and tell her.
If you want a challenge then can you find the beauty in her criticism? Can you love and accept it as part of the woman she is.
“I love it when you challenge me”
“I love it when you help me to be a better man”
Can you find the part of yourself that truly believes this, and praise this part of her.
Praise her for the woman she is, not the woman you want her to be.
#4. Women want your presence
You’ll often hear that women love a man that can listen. This isn’t the full story though. Women don’t want a man that is silent and nods occasionally.
They want a man who is deeply present to her feelings. Someone who can listen to her beyond the words she speaks.
There’s nothing more powerful you can give someone than your full presence.
Men can lose their presence as they go into fix mode.
Men give what they value, and men value solutions. It’s because once a solution has been applied men can rest, the job done, ready for the next challenge.
Women aren’t like this though, as they value feelings and not the resolution of them.
Men listen as long as they think they can offer a tangible solution to the problem.
Men want to offer value. Value they can see and hear. But this kind of value is one dimensional and driven by the ego.
Once this value is not possible or desired men check out again as they are frustrated that there’s nothing further they can offer. They feel impotent.
There is a clear difference in values which is where the problems arise.
You can’t value something you don’t connect to or understand. If you aren’t connected to your feelings then being deeply present to a woman’s will be meaningless.
Empathising and validating feelings is what women want. Help them to know what they feel makes sense.
They want to feel that you understand and acknowledge their emotions. They want to know that what they’re feeling makes sense, and don’t want to be made to feel wrong.
Women don’t want your solutions, they want your presence.
#5. Women want your passion
What are you passionate about? What do you love?
I love being around passionate people; it’s infectious. It almost doesn’t matter what the passion is because it’s the place you come from when you connect to your passion that’s important.
I remember a story about a man that sold mowers. He was the number one salesman in the company by a huge distance. The new management team wanted to meet him to understand why.
When they met him they quickly realised his secret. He LOVED mowers. I know it’s hard to believe but he was obsessed with them and couldn’t stop talking about them. His customers loved him, they loved his passion and it translated into his sales.
People love your passion as much as you love what you’re passionate about.
Think of someone you’ve been attracted to in your life, especially someone you were surprised you were attracted to. Chances are it’s because they were in their element, doing what they love, speaking from their heart.
Women want to feel your passion because in that moment they feel the real you. They feel your love, your heart and your power.
I hope this post was helpful. What are your experiences of what women want? Let me know in the comments and please share this post with a friend if you enjoyed it. For regular content like this just fill in the box below.
To your success