For a woman, a sense of emotional safety is paramount to the success of a relationship. Feeling safe with her partner is crucial to her well-being, and it serves as the foundation of the relationship.
And just as important, she needs to feel safe with you in order for her to be able to meet your needs.
If your actions undermine her sense of safety, she may not consciously realize that she feels unsafe, but unconsciously she will. And over time, the lack of safety will cause her to lose respect, admiration, and sexual desire for you. As those things are highly important to men in relationships, once they are lost, the relationship will crumble.
Therefore, ensuring she feels safe with you is important for both of you.
These are the 14 things she needs from you to feel safe.
She needs to know that you are a man of your word and that your solid character permeates all aspects of your life. She needs to be sure you will always do the right thing even if you know you could do the wrong thing and not get caught.
If you can justify white lies and harmless omissions, what else will you try to justify? If you cheat on your taxes, what else will you cheat on? If you’re constantly slipping into gray areas because you don’t think it’s a big deal, how does she know where (or even if) you will draw the line?
A good woman wants a good man. For her to feel safe with you, she needs to trust you will always respect her and treat her well. She needs to believe that you will never betray her in any way.
Bottom line: be a man of honor. You should never give her any reason to doubt your commitment, honesty, or loyalty, and this means being a man of integrity. Always.
In the age of feminism, this can sometimes be confusing for men. And though there are some women who do not want the man to lead, the majority of complaints I hear from women about their husbands boil down to a lack of male leadership. Women become exhausted if they are doing the majority of the leading, but women often take the lead because the man is either not stepping up, or the woman doesn’t trust him to lead.
In order for her to want you to lead, she needs to trust in your integrity and also feel that you have a mission, drive, and purpose. She’s not going to want you to drive the car if she thinks you don’t know where you’re going or how to get there.
It’s important to note that leading does not mean controlling, as it is important that women contribute, have input, and feel heard. But simply put, she will feel safe if she knows you will take charge and be the man when she needs you to be.
Your Actions Match Your Words
If you do what you say you will do, she will feel safe knowing she can depend and rely on you. This is key in establishing trust and helping her to feel secure in the relationship.
But if you say one thing and do another, or make promises you don’t keep, she won’t trust you. She will feel uneasy and begin to doubt your feelings for her. She will know deep down that you are someone who she cannot depend or rely on. This will create major cracks in the foundation of the relationship.
You Make Her a Priority
An emotionally mature woman knows that she cannot always be your number one priority. Life is filled with various responsibilities, and expecting to always be at the very top of your partner’s list is not reasonable. However, she needs to be a priority.
People make time for the things they value. If you make time for her, she will feel valued. If she feels that you value her, she will trust that you will protect her, and she will feel safe. But if you constantly put her at the bottom of your list and do not make time for her, she will not feel valued, she will not trust that you will protect her, and she will feel unsafe.
You Act Like A Partner
Do your actions show her that you are in this together? Are you there for her when she’s had a bad day or is going through a challenging time? If she’s been getting slammed at work or was up all night with the baby, do you take charge of dinner and cleanup? Or do you see the exhaustion written all over her, but you lay on the couch and watch TV because those are “her” duties, not yours?
If it’s the latter, she will know at an unconscious level that you do not have her back. She will receive the message that you see her only as a function and do not care about her as a person. She will resent the ways you are using her, and your relationship will unravel.
However, if you are supporting her through all of life’s challenges, big and small, she will receive the message that you care about her happiness and well-being. She will feel safe knowing that if she falls, you will catch her.
You Prioritize Her Physical and Mental Health
Another way to show that you care about her is to encourage her to take care of herself, both physically and emotionally. Women, especially mothers, tend to put themselves last on their priority list. Modern day culture has shifted to focus on how much a woman can achieve, and we fail to value what a woman can bring to her relationships by just being her radiant self. A woman needs to care for and nourish herself in order to be the best version of herself.
If a woman is depleted, she can’t be the same partner and mother she is capable of being if she was well nourished. If you routinely offer to take over childcare responsibilities (if needed) to help her find time, and you encourage her to exercise or take baths or see friends, or whatever it is that fills her up and brings her joy, she will feel safe knowing that you have her best interests at heart.
You Support Her Goals and Dreams
Although your goals and dreams should be aligned, you are two different people, and therefore your individual goals and dreams will be different. Women’s dreams are often placed on the back burner, especially after kids enter the picture. After kids, she may have even forgotten that at one point she had her own dreams.
She may have big dreams or small dreams or both. Maybe she wants to go back to school or run a marathon or take horseback riding lessons or sell her crafts on Etsy.
If you support her in the pursuit of her goals and dreams, and you are excited for her as she goes after them, she will feel that her happiness matters to you, and knowing that will make her feel safe. And even better, a woman who is filled up by her passions is a woman who radiates light and is a joy to be around. And the happier she is, the better your relationship will be.
You Accept Her
Although there may be things related to the relationship that you would like her to change, you should never try to change the core of who she is. She has her own interests, opinions, friends, quirks, and flaws. She is her own separate person, not an extension if you, and she needs to feel accepted as her separate self.
A woman wants to be her true self around you. She wants to be able to let down her guard and be playful and silly. She wants to feel relaxed around you. She wants to express her needs, wishes, and desires to you. She wants to live her life without you criticizing, judging, or comparing her. In order to feel safe with you, she needs to know that you have feelings for her because of who she is, not who you think she should be.
If you criticize her, judge her, or compare her to other women, you are creating an environment where she does not feel safe to be herself. A woman who cannot be herself without fearing your disapproval will not feel safe with you.
You Regulate and Take Responsibility for Your Emotions
A man’s rage can be terrifying to a woman. Women’s brains are much more attuned to perceived threats, emotions, and facial expressions. Even if we know you would never physically hurt us, if you are aggressively expressing anger towards us, our primal instincts kick in and cause us to feel threatened and extremely unsafe.
There will be times when your partner does things that range from minor annoyances to more significant grievances, and most likely this will cause you to feel irritation and anger. An emotionally healthy person can manage these types of emotions. They are able to express emotions without becoming reactive. They know that even though their partner may have done something they didn’t like, they are still responsible for their reactions and behaviors.
A woman does not want to feel like she is walking on eggshells around you. She doesn’t want to live in fear of your emotional outbursts. She doesn’t want to worry that you will walk through the door and angrily blow up at her about something. A man who weaponizes his anger like this will cause anxiety and destroy safety for his partner.
If you want her to feel safe, don’t have a short fuse. Express your emotions in a way that does not frighten her or cause her to feel anxious. She will feel safe knowing that she has no reason to fear you when you are upset with her.
You Fight Fair
All couples have disagreements, but as with the item above, fighting dirty will cause anxiety and destroy safety for a woman. If she knows that when you argue, you are going to put her down and tear her apart, how could she ever feel completely safe with you? It’s impossible.
Toxic fighting is poison to a relationship. There is zero safety in a relationship when you know your partner is willing to hurt you for the sake of winning the fight.
Emotionally healthy people attack the problem, not each other. When a woman knows that you will still be kind and respectful during an argument, she will feel very safe with you.
You Communicate and Listen
Everyone wants to be heard, but communication is especially important to a woman. It’s the main way that we connect. If you make time to connect with her through communication, and you make it clear that you value her input, it shows her that you care.
An emotionally healthy woman will not expect constant communication and immediate responses to texts. But she will find it meaningful to know that you are thinking about her when you are not with her. And when you are with her, or speaking with her on the phone, she will also find it meaningful if you give her your full attention and you are truly listening to her.
If when she talks to you, you seem disengaged, or you are distracted by your phone or the TV, she will feel neglected. Even worse, if you dismiss and invalidate what she is saying to you, she will feel very hurt and believe that she does not matter to you. If she believes she does not matter to you, she will not feel safe with you.
A woman who feels heard is a woman who feels safe.
You Can Hold Space for Her Emotions
While you should not accept the behavior of an emotionally reactive woman who is expressing emotions in an unhealthy manner, many men are uncomfortable with a woman’s healthy expression of emotion.
The main way a woman processes her emotions is by expressing them. Her emotional self is significant to the core of who she is. If you become uncomfortable when she expresses her emotions, and you try to shut her down, she will receive the message that you think something is wrong with her at her core.
A woman needs to know that you can hold space for her healthy expression of emotions, even if you disagree with or don’t fully understand them. A man will not feel safe to a woman if he shuts her down when she is expressing emotion. And since emotional safety is tied to sexual safety, for a woman to be sexually open with a man, she needs to feel that she can be emotionally open with him. Attempts to shut down a woman’s emotions will result in the shut down of both her emotional and sexual self.
If you want to keep her wild, you need to hold her when she’s raw.
You Respect Her Boundaries and Privacy
Boundaries are emotional and physical, and they exist to keep us safe. They protect our time, energy, space, and possessions. A woman with strong boundaries is a woman who values, respects, and loves herself.
If you are constantly pushing up against or disregarding her boundaries or her privacy, you are telling her that you do not value or respect her, and you do not care about her safety and well-being. You are telling her that not only can she NOT rely on you to protect her, but even worse, you are trying to get your own needs met by thwarting her attempts to protect herself.
Be considerate of her privacy and boundaries. Don’t read her journal. Don’t disregard her “no”. Don’t make jokes at her expense if she has told you she doesn’t like it. Don’t behave in ways that she considers to be disrespectful. Don’t try to control the way she spends her time.
If you respect the ways she keeps herself safe, you are telling her that you are safe for her.
You Hold Firm to Your Own Boundaries
A man without boundaries is a huge turn off to a woman. A woman will not respect a man who she can control or who lacks integrity. And if she doesn’t respect you, she will not feel safe with you.
She doesn’t want to be leaning against a sapling that she can push over. She wants an oak tree.
It’s important to note that I am talking about boundaries, not healthy compromise. As with a woman’s boundaries, a man’s boundaries exist to protect his time, energy, space, and possessions. However, boundaries are not an excuse to be selfish, neglectful, or avoid responsibilities.
A guy who has boundaries is hot. A guy who is selfish is not.
Be considerate of her needs and feelings and be willing to compromise. But hold firm to the boundaries that you have created for the protection of yourself and your integrity. If you prioritize your own safety, she’ll feel confident that you will also prioritize her safety.
A woman who feels safe within a relationship will feel calm and secure. She will be willing and able to meet your needs. The relationship will have some ups and downs, but it will be steady, not volatile.
When safety is missing in a relationship, a woman will feel that something is off. She may not be able to identify what it is consciously, but she will feel uneasy and unsteady. She will most likely act out in maladaptive ways in an attempt to regain a sense of safety. Her well-being will suffer, she will not be able to meet your needs, and the relationship is likely to be tumultuous and riddled with conflict.
If you cannot provide a woman with what she needs to feel safe, you will lose her. You will either destroy her or she will leave.
Either way, she’ll be gone.
Previously Published on medium
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