Men are often reluctant to talk about their needs in intimate relationships.
Whether social conditioning or an inability to communicate our needs are to blame, men (who tend to be the less communicative partners in intimate relationships) are prone to silently suffering when their emotional needs aren’t being met by their partners.
Whether you are a man or a woman reading this article, this will give you greater clarity into yourself/partner and what your/their needs are in your intimate relationship.
Let’s put an end to the needless fighting due to miscommunication, the unnecessary sex-less nights, and the verbal shut-downs.
Read through these tips and I promise you’ll never see your relationship through the same lens again.
Here are seven things men want in a relationship.
1. Praise And Approval
Men have infamously tender egos.
We like frequent reassurance about ourselves, our career paths, our efficacy as partners, our sexual prowess, and our attractiveness (among other things).
I have countless male clients telling me every month that their partners rarely let them know what they like about them.
While it may be true that men need relatively less frequent verbal praise than their female counterparts, this isn’t the kind of gesture that requires keeping score. Why not just have more of a good thing?
So ladies, let your praise loose. Tell your man exactly what you find attractive about him. Let him know what physical features of his are your favourites.
Tell him how attractive you find it when he says something a certain way, when he accomplishes something, or when he takes you on a date. Your praise won’t make him cocky; it will help him feel loved.
And (bonus) the more you praise his positives, the more you will see them.
Men feel respect as love.
If he feels like you disapprove of him, his career, or the things that he believes to be integral to who he is as a person, he will have a hard time trusting and loving you.
The thought process behind that being “If she doesn’t respect who I am at my core, then how can she really want what is best for me?”
Being respectful to your man is not always what you think. Author Laura Doyle suggests that reheating his dinner or picking up his dry cleaning may be considerate but not respectful – “sure, it’s nice to do those things. But it’s not respect, which is like oxygen to men.”
Why is this not a sign of respect and appreciation? You may view it as being helpful, but if you rolled your eyes or contradicted what he said while trying to do something nice for him, then you were really questioning his competence.
“To give him the respect he wants, demonstrate that you have faith in his capabilities,” states Laura.
If a man’s partner doesn’t respect his path or mission in life, then he will find it very difficult to feel anything other than an anxious need to distance himself from her.
3. A Sense Of Sexual Connection
Men and women both connect through sex and communication, but generally, women connect better through verbal communication and men connect better through sex.
Does this mean that men need to have sex with their intimate partners every day in order to feel connected? Not at all.
Men, more often than not, connect through indicators of sexuality just as much as they do through sex.
Allow me to explain…
Often, a man will initiate sex just to make sure that you are still sexually available to him. So, to my man-loving readers out there, if he reaches across the bed for you, even showing the willingness to embrace him, to kiss him deeply, and to engage him could be enough to make him feel loved (not that the follow through isn’t enjoyable).
This lack of awareness around women needing to connect through words and men needing to connect through sex can sometimes turn into an unfortunate and rapid downward spiral. She doesn’t feel like opening sexually until she feels connected to him, but he finds it difficult to communicate with her because they haven’t been physical with each other in days.
Talk with your partner and ask what specifically helps them feel the most loved so you can avoid these unintentional standoffs.
4. Emotional Intimacy
From a very young age, men are taught to avoid appearing weak at all costs. Perceived “weakness” includes things like complaining, divulging fears or concerns, and expressing self-doubt or worry.
A man’s partner is his safe space to fall. He can expose the cracks in his armour and allow his partner to help him heal.
Just as women need to slowly open up sexually within a relationship, men open up over time emotionally.
He needs to make sure that when he first cries in front of you, you won’t be repelled or handle it poorly. If you push him away or are unable to be nurturing when he needs it the most, he will no longer trust you with his emotions. He will remove himself somewhat from the relationship.
In this instance, both partners lose- he goes on silently suffering and believing that he is flawed in his imperfection, and she is held at arm’s length emotionally.
Author Deborah Tannen has written brilliantly on the masculine and feminine divide between independence and intimacy (masculine being primarily drawn towards independence and the feminine toward intimacy).
Within all of my relationships and the vast majority of my clients, I consistently see that it is the feminine-associated female partner that wants more time spent together and the masculine-associated male partner wanting more time apart. There is no perfect balance to be found here. This will always be a balancing act of closeness and separateness.
But rest assured, suffocating a man (either by failing to allow him free time or with overly jealous behaviour) is the fastest way to end a relationship. Men need breathing room in a relationship. We need time for our hobbies, time with our friends, and time to toil away on our projects to feel fulfilled.
Traditionally, when women (or the feminine associated partner) needed to solve a problem, they would go further into the tribe – connecting with close friends and family and discussing their issues. Conversely, when men have a problem to solve, they would leave the tribe to be alone with their thoughts.
So let him roam. Let him breathe. Leave him to his own devices. A man will be that much happier for you to receive him when he returns, knowing that you trust both him and the strength of your bond enough to let him have his space.
6. Physical Touch
Men need frequent non-sexual touch as well as a sense of sexual connection.
If a man’s partner comes up behind him and touches his neck and hair in a loving way while he sits absorbed in a task, he could feel just as loved as if they had just had penetrative sex (even more so, depending on his mood).
This touch is interpreted as physical love- the message of which registering as “I love you, and I want you to feel happy all the time. Know that I’m always here for you and I care for you deeply.”
Men and women are both attracted to certainty in a relationship. The more a man feels like his partner is in it for the long haul, the more ready and able he is to be able to open up to her (assuming he is equally invested in her).
But security goes deeper than just the fact that you won’t leave him. The security that he feels ties back in to several of these points. He feels secure in knowing that you approve of him and where he is in his career. He feels secure and loved when you touch him non-sexually throughout the day.
He feels secure when he is allowed to have his guys’ nights away from you and you don’t feel the need to call or text him every half hour to check in.
And he feels secure with a partner who takes steps to love him in the way that he most needs.
How To Give Him What He Needs
So how do you stack up in your relationship?
If you are a man reading this, do you feel like all of your needs are being met? Could you ask for your partner to do something differently? (Maybe send her this article?) If you are someone who is in a relationship with a man and you are reading this, how could you love him more fully? Which of these can you incorporate more of into your relationship?
If you’re looking for more articles on how to build a great relationship that’s emotionally mature, we have plenty of options for you here at The Good Men Project. We have articles on other topics that explore physical intimacy, long-term relationships, true love, and more. Keep the good times going and check out our relationships category for articles that will help you feel fulfilled in your love life.
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Jordan Gray is the relationship coach for entrepreneurs. This post originally appeared at JordanGrayConsulting.com
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7 can be boiled down to 3: a man wants to be needed, to feel free, and to remain himself.
We can also settle for an illusion of the 2 latter, as long as we are don’t realize that we are being deceived.
It is not quite true that men communicate better through sex; for us, it is rather the way of self-affirmation. Besides, for M and W, ‘sex’ has totally different meaning.
Physical touch – also not for everybody. Learn your partner!
Beautiful article . I was going thriugh rationship difficulty after reading this i understood my mistake n all thnx to u sir.
From one Coach to another, this is excellent! I’m going to share it on my business page!
Why women have have sex with partners don’t nt to been abused nkt in mood in to it and better communication but not and lots reasons why no sex will never be fixed seemed . Man should honor his women not tools objects here sex not everything also women holdl not eel peer presure forced controlled habe have sex at all its all its a choice decision not just for women men to both have to want to as respect for women feeling her needs when think men need docks chopped off because. I’ve een abused raped traumas and man… Read more »
Women should not habe to have sex only when they want sex ready both them and if don’t want it then respect that men because if abought sex more then ur women’s feelings self and there body respect in relationship then your being controlling forcive peerpresuring no women should feel obligated to have sex with a man wether they want sex connection or not not just say do it with no excuses wether u in pain don’t Wang to do it or if stressed sick I’ll tired or even scared and of sex also dad died especially I men obey… Read more »
Hi, I agree on what you wrote. Is it possible to have a man change his mind if the his partner only found out that she is lacking of when the man has already given up the relationship?
I agree but I think I’m the man…
I totally agree to this.
I have been the trusting partner but everything changed when he started checking up on me everytime i go out with friends. He seems jealous fo almost everyone i knew and that’s the reason why I started checking on him too..at the back of my head i was thinking maybe he’s cheating on me or doing things behind my back that’s why he always accuse me of seeing someone else which is untrue. We’re on LDR and it really sucks, him being suspicious most of the time.
I was search around 20 minutes regarding this topic and now i got my niche content. I am definitely subscribe your blog for regular reading. keep it up thanks
I usually read everything posted here and this is one of the few times I have come across an article making assumptions about ‘men’ and ‘women’. I get it, men want certain things. But a better, more insightful analysis would make that distinction between the sense of entitlement and desire.a nd most of these seem to me like entitlement. Also it sounds rather didactic, which is because it doesn’t acknowledge diversity amongst ‘men’ andntells women to approach it in certain definite ways. I like how a lot of things are acknowledges here but like, people are more complex than this.… Read more »
I agree. The perspective is a bit generic based of male/female assumptions. People are way more complex and have individual needs. It’s best to seek to understand people individually to really know a person’s true needs.
Ya. I see great points but some things I don’t agree entirely on. But I do like the way he approached this topic!
I can see some good points in this article…..especially the part about men needing to be respected ib their careers….and needing space to process things. The latter I am terrible with…I hate going yo sleep on an argument and can’t leave things alone. Its my biggest weakness. .The physical intimacy part though. ….is where I’m having trouble. I have never particularly enjoyed sex to reach an OrGasm ….but if I’m in love that’s a bonus. I love sex…affection …and the daily gestures of affection you speak of…and I’m a woman. In fact I crave it more than anything else .… Read more »
No need of such vague explanations
Why aren’t blow jobs and a good meal on the list?
Having a connection is key… Life is way too short… and “HAPPINESS 24/7” should be the goal. Am I right? I am an entertainer and I see a lot of people struggle in their relationships. My job, is simply to make em’ smile and dig the cool music for a few hours and that’s it. But to create Happiness 24/7 is something entirely different; and that’s why I wanted to create an online community to review and discuss great relationship content here with others. Discover how you can indeed attract the right person and finally find that great relationship you’ve… Read more »
Hmm,this is a good one,but my partner of two months will be coming back from his base next month and he’s been talking about how deep he wanna go and I don’t want sex yet,have worked so hard for over two are now keeping myself from having sex and then I met this guy and he’s the kinda of man I have been pray in for,what do I do or say to make him understand that I want to wait till my wedding night without hurting his emotion?
Justake him understand about ur values…I’d he loves u…he will definitely understand
Thanx for this.im into a broken relationship.we are married wid two kids.we are separated nw over a year.he asked me to work things out together but we agreed not to live in one house.we started dating again.we met at d hotel and slept.seems like gf-bf.but i discovered he still have lots of flings so i decided to disconnect with him.he asked me to give him a year to settle everything but it seems like i find it unreasonable.if he wants to have us back,he has to end up all d relationships dat he had.recently i found out he hasnt change.he… Read more »
Hi samlia, i agree that you also had a fair share of whats going on in your relationship( that’s normal) but its not fair to blame yourself for being jealous and nagging wife…he gave reasons for you to become one.as a couple , you talk things out not find outside relationships. Both should honor the vows. If he wants a family then he should cut all ties at once not with in a year (it sounds like you’re a rebound).if he cheated once then he deserve a second chance but if he had committed the same mistake then I suggest… Read more »
I once read an article (written by a man) that a man will do everything and exert effort in your rerelationship if he really wants you. You may be at fault before, but that’s no excuse for his behavior now. He should cut ties with his flings if he really wanted to be with your family. You should talk about this once and for all and don’t let yourself be a ‘rebound’. I know someone who left his ‘flings’ the instant he wanted to be with his family and found out that his wife would still accept him. Now he… Read more »
I thought I’d echo someone’s comment about how a man exposing his feelings can backfire against him. I’ve been told I’m sensitive, but I’ve also been told I’m passionate. Can’t these be one and the same? I can just as easily put my fist through a wall as I can write a poem. Is that sensitivity, or me being in touch with my feelings too much?
Michael, being in touch with your feelings is awesome and it’d be great if more men were the same way! You just need to know how much of it should be shared with your lady. Think of it this way: It’s great when a woman tells you she loves you for the first time and it’s great if she continues to tell you periodically but what if she was telling you every couple of hours or every hour or every minute? I know I’m getting a bit extreme, but the point is, at some point, too much of a good… Read more »
I think i agree with what Alex says. Purity is important and men do like that in women but its about respect for yourself and your body. Until recently i was a believer that sex and intimacy go hand in hand until i met an amazing man that has shown me otherwise and i feel closer and more intimate with him then i have any of my previous boyfriends or sexual partners. I am not religious although i think Alex you may be after your comment on committing a sin. Love and loving someone through sex is not a sin… Read more »
Hi I have been dating someone for around two months , is love to apply this article but he doesn’t want to be I. A relationship that’s what he said , we do a lot of things that couples Do so that make me be confused , he said he can’t see a future together ( let’s say 2-3 years) I really
Like him and I think we have so much in common , another issue or maybe it isn’t is that he never had a girlfriend before , he is 25 years old
I couldn’t finish to post , I really like this man is there anything I can do to get closer to each other ?
It sounds like he was direct and clear that he’s not looking for a relationship. And if you’re his first girlfriend then he has no experience and most people want at least a handful of experiences before the settle on one person. I don’t know where you’re both at now and if you’re still together.
Actually. The fallacy of most of this is that mens perceptions are no longer from the ancient base of Nature. Men are now programed by TV, media, religion and socual structure….
your studies are faulty first because you do not show how a man is naturally. Only after being a product of the system. Most of these things you have writen can easily be argued by … Men may want these things, but it doest not mean they know how to live them when they get them….
nor can they know how to accept them…
Alex, thank you for your comments. Your parents raised a wonderful son who is going to make some woman a very blessed woman someday if you haven’t already. Take care and stay sweet. You are loved.
@Alex, thank you for showing how endlessly dumb religion is
@Jennifer, there are 7 billion people, of course this won’t fit perfectly on everyone. “A rule is defined by its exceptions”. Whitout putting numbers on this, basically you are sayibg if just 1% diverts, its totally wrong. about time t
you learn about probability, and that generalizing does not mean all or nothing, but that a pattern is spottet.
I really hate these unniversals. I am female, involved with a guy and much of the above is the exact opposite for us. He has to feel connected to want to have sex and I need sex to feel connected. People sre much more diverse ( and interesting) than these one size fits all articles.
You’re in the minority and in the rare exception. People don’t speak about the exceptions, they speak in generalities of what it tends to be.
I concur to this and I say I am on the right track. In return, I still have him as good as new.
My response to Item #3: If a man really loves a woman, he will wait for her. Not only that, he will wait with her, because he has the same value and will focus on guarding her purity as well as his own. Purity never ruins loving relationships. If the relationship is based on lust, purity will end it. But if the relationship is based on love, purity will save it. To men: Just because he is your girlfriend doesn’t give you a license to own her body. A woman’s body is not like a car to be test-driven. Her… Read more »
Sigh… Alex, it would be more honest if you would preface your well meaning comments with “in the christian cult”.
*sigh*… It would be more honest if you don’t call it a cult… Rude.
Alex, I like what you say about the female body and respect and patience and all that. I think a lot of younger women who have self-esteem issues will have sex in the hope (thought) that it will bond them to the man – make them fall in love with them. This is a generalisation, of course. i’m not saying all younger women are like that, and there will be older women who feel this way. I also think that long-term relationships DO require patience, self-control and some sacrifice (to a point – even small things like not watching a… Read more »
Hi Alex, what nationality are you? Are you single?