What Men Really Want in a Match
Unlike the Spice Girls, men are not going to sing you a laundry list of what they want. And for better or for worse, there’s as many “tips” about the way to a man’s heart as there are “diet” plans—and they often have just as much evidence supporting their claims (which is to say none) as those food fads. The good news is, with our professional dating advice, you won’t need Mel-Gibson-style mind-reading abilities to see inside a man’s head and heart. Some of it may even sound familiar, but keep in mind it may not mean what you’ve previously assumed.
Men want to take off the mask
What this means: there’s a lot of pressure in the everyday world for men to constantly be “the most alpha male” in the room, the strongest, or the least emotional. But men also have sensitive sides and nerdy sides and meat-and-potatoes sides. Men (just like women) want a partner who is a safe haven from the social pressures of the world. Someone they can be 100% themselves around without fear of judgment or fear of disappointing.
How to do it: Be the person he can go to for no drama, and for relaxation. Don’t expect him to be on his best behavior so he can “deserve” you. Let him be himself, without judgment, and let activities and conversations naturally flow from there.
What this doesn’t mean: You don’t have to fake an interest in all his passions, men don’t want a robot girlfriend with no personality of her own. And you don’t have to gloss over, ignore, or excuse bad behavior. If he really has habits that you can’t condone, then he isn’t the match for you, but if it’s just something you don’t get or like yourself, maybe realize you probably have habits he doesn’t like or understand either!
Men want to be comfortable
What this means: Men are naturally more susceptible to triggering the “fight or flight” instinct in response to stressors. It’s exhausting. One of the most simple, and real, male desires is to be comfortable.
How to do it: Be open to some consistency and routine, rather than expecting everything to be fireworks and Disneyland. Let Netflix and chill actually mean a nice Netflix night and pizza. Let some dates be more activity-based and fun than constant intense emotional connection and conversation. Relax if he doesn’t text right away. If we had a nickel for every time we heard a man describe his dream date as “easy-going,” we’d be hanging with Bill Gates.
What this doesn’t mean: Don’t go throwing on the sweats just yet! This doesn’t mean give up on romance and skipping straight to the “relationship-zone.” Find a balance between a little mystery, spontaneity, and some old-fashioned comfort. And this doesn’t mean you have to cater to his every whim to keep him comfortable. Again, no robot girlfriends here, please!
Men want to make you happy
What this means: Contrary to years of stereotyping, men like making women happy! And not just sexually. Maybe it’s an old-fashioned provider instinct, but they want to take care of you and prove their worth by making you happy. It’s wonderful really!
How to do it: When you want something in the relationship, be honest and direct. Men are not mind readers, and not sharing your desires makes it impossible for him to be your knight-in-shining armor. Sometimes, be vulnerable and let him help you handle something you’re struggling with, even if you could take care of it alone. And let him see when you’re happy! Everyone likes happy people, but it’s especially sweet when they know they’re a part of that happiness.
What this doesn’t mean: There’s a line between honest communication and controlling behaviors, so pay attention to how you communicate. And there’s another line between being vulnerable and being a needy partner and an emotional drain.
Men like being important to you
What this means: Men may have an ego, but it’s not always about being the smartest or the strongest. Sometimes, they just need a little help realizing you do, in fact, care for them.
How to do it: Make room for him in your life! No one likes to feel like a throw rug you bought because everyone else has one, but you don’t’ really want. Take time to tell him something specific you appreciate about him, it lets him know you’re paying attention and that he is something good in your life. Find little ways to let him be a hero.
What this doesn’t mean: “Wow, you’re soooo impressive!” See previous suggestion about fake robot girlfriends.
Men want someone who makes them a better version of themselves
What this means: Men are humans. They want a relationship that brings out the best in them, that makes their life more fulfilling and more full of joy.
How to do it: Listen to your date, let yourself discover what makes them incredible, and build on it. Share with your partner the good you see in them. Sometimes, a little support and love can help a person be brave enough to do what really matters to them in life.
What this doesn’t mean: Don’t go picking “project” men you can “fix.” Men want to feel empowered to be themselves even better than before, NOT to be what you want them to be.
When in doubt? Just remember, men are humans, too. We often want the same things from life and relationships, we just have different ways of pursuing them!