What’s the most important quality women should look for in a male romantic partner that will give her—and them as a couple—the best possible chance at building great love?
I’m sure the first thing that will jump to mind is probably something pretty obvious, like a man who’s honest. Trustworthy. Funny. Loyal. Kind. Ambitious. All that kind of generic shit that, of course, we all look for and want in a partner!
While all those are clearly positive attributes and definitely great qualities to look for in a partner, there is one specific quality that I have come to determine to be the most important quality that can help a man create a framework for high-quality romantic relationships.
That one underlying quality that sets these men apart from the rest of the pack is none other than…
I believe whole-heartedly that if a woman were to look for one specific quality in a man that would give her the best possible framework and arena to build great, satisfying love with a man…it would be with a man who is self-aware.
Let me explain.
I believe men can, more or less, fall into one of three categories. Now, this shit isn’t researched and studied through a proper social experiment with a hypothesis and all that geeky bullshit…and is clearly a generalization…but I swear by this.
Man Category 1: The Ignorant
Ignorant men are men who you would consider to be the complete opposite of self-aware.
They’re those guys who you see drunk at the bar stumbling around like complete idiots with complete disregard for the idea of “personal space”. They’re the guys catcalling women on the streets like complete buffoons. They’re the ones who will continue to persist, persist, and persist to try and chase women who have made it blatantly clear that they’re not interested.
Ignorant men are the men who possess that primal, ignorant monkey brain. We evolved from primates millions of years ago. But somehow, these ignorant men missed the fucking evolution memo and stayed a little too ape-like.
Ignorant men are the type of men who don’t exactly know who they truly are or have ever cared to know who they are. Hell, they’ve probably never even had a single introspective thought in their lives.
For these men, trying to communicate how they’re feeling is like a Caucasian baby trying to speak Chinese. Ignorant men go through life on auto-pilot. They’re out to lunch. They just want to eat, drink, fuck, and work a cushy job with a ballin’ salary.
They dream of marrying a super hot trophy wife with big breasts, pouty lips, and a small dog who she carts around in her purse. They’re the guys who talk too loud in the restaurant. They’ve annoyed every single person in every single line they’ve ever stood in.
They’re a human parasite to the socially aware. Old people see these men running loose in public and just pray to God that they can just fucking die already so they can be freed from their annoyance. They also could be relatively simple-minded, which is cool if you like to date dudes that make it feel like you’re dating a brick wall.
Ignorant men usually end up coupling with the basic bitch type. As a couple, all they want to do is pose shirtless on the beach in Cancun at some lame all-inclusive resort with a couple of Coronas in hand and a flood of the most generic hashtags attached to their Instagram upload.
The kind of couple that has very surface-type relationships where they don’t really talk about the “deep shit”. Probably because neither person really has a lot of deep shit to say, which makes sense since neither one is particularly introspective.
If a smart woman wants a deeply satisfying emotional connection with a man…
If she wants a man with whom she can talk about the deep shit in life with…
If she wants to continue improving herself and expects the man she’s with to do the same…
If she wants a man who likes to talk about his feelings…
If she wants a man who even has feelings (at least that he’s aware of)…
Better yet, if she wants a man who can decipher his feelings and actually communicate them without her having to play emotional dentist and rip out his emotions like she’s ripping out deep molars…
Then she should not date or marry the ignorant man who walks through life as if it were some cheap arcade game.
But if she does marry or date the ignorant man, she can’t complain that he doesn’t communicate. If he didn’t communicate in the beginning, he probably won’t be communicating five years into the relationship. So she can’t try to change this man. We must love and choose people as they are. Romantic partners are not personal pet projects for change and transformation.
If a smart, self-aware, independent woman finds herself with an ignorant man, he will frustrate her endlessly because she wants him to see and understand all these things about herself and their relationship and what she dreams of and/or expects from a romantic partner.
And he won’t get it.
He won’t see it.
Not because he’s an asshole, but because he doesn’t have the same emotional depth and intelligence that she does, and so, he doesn’t need what she needs in order to be happy within a relationship.
He does not think about things as deeply as she does. He does not look at things from the same perspective that she does. If she has a rich emotional interior life, then in order to be as satisfied and happy as possible in a relationship, she probably needs to find a guy who has a rich emotional interior life, as well.
The ignorant man does not do complex. It’s not in his DNA. It’s not his fault.
The ignorant man is a dead-end disaster to a smart, emotional, self-aware woman because she will spend the entire relationship trying to change or get more out of a man who does not have the capacity to give her as much as she wants and needs from a partner.
If women want a simple relationship, a simple love, a man who doesn’t overthink things, a man who comes relatively free of complications—she should date or marry an ignorant man.
He will give her the basic, social media-pleasing relationship prototype that will give her just enough likes so she can sleep at night.
Man Category 2: The Proud
Now the proud man is the man who is introspective and aware enough to decipher how he feels, but he doesn’t know how to articulate it. He has the emotions but not the skills to effectively communicate them. Oftentimes, it’s because he’s too proud.
Even if he knows he’s in the wrong. He’s bull-headed to the point that he will argue his point right into the ground, just so that he can be right. He will never admit when he’s wrong. He’ll hardly ever just come clean and say he’s sorry. He might even have a hard time saying that all important, “I love you”.
Proud men are usually strong alpha male personality-types who are aware, but have been brought up being told that being vulnerable and showing emotion is a sign of weakness. They eventually learned to suppress their emotions…to keep everything bottled up on the inside.
This emotional habit carried over into adulthood. To the point that they may even struggle with true intimacy. They have a hard time really letting someone in because in order to remain strong, they had to build a fortress around their deepest feelings.
The problem with pride in relationships is that it prevents intimacy. That’s because an act of mutual surrender is necessary to foster deep love and intimacy. Without surrendering fully, you keep your heart at arm’s length. This means your potential to give and receive is limited because of your own inability to connect to yourself.
Our potential depth for intimacy in romantic relationships is proportional to our ability to align and connect to our truest selves first.
Thus, a woman’s relationship with a proud man is emotionally challenging because he has too many safeguards on who he really is, so that you’re not able to truly connect and cultivate deep intimacy on the level that will satisfy you.
If he’s too proud to fully address himself, then he’ll be too proud to ever claim or take ownership of his contribution to issues in a relationship. Additionally, he won’t like you to challenge him either. He will be more fixed in his perception of self—if he ever does try to change and improve, it will only be to try and please his woman or get her off his back.
He wouldn’t ever try to change for himself. That’s because asking himself the hard questions puts everything he knows in jeopardy. And the process of even having to confront those kinds of questions probes the type of answers that he’s not comfortable dealing with.
The proud man is likely old-fashioned in what his perception of “being a man” is. To him, a man is the rock and he provides, which of course is a great way to be, but not at the expense of being someone who can’t ever surrender control and let someone in.
Relationships are about shifting control. They’re about learning when to be in control and when to surrender control so that the other person can lead. A proud man has trouble surrendering control because it goes against what he constitutes as “being a man”. Too much need for control is an inherent flaw. A cover-up for deep, intrinsic emotional fear and weakness.
Generally, a proud man leads to relationships that are quite traditional. That’s because his perception of “being a man” is well-suited for women who like to play a more submissive and traditional role. A certain amount of pride is a good thing. But when it gets to the point that it’s completely void of vulnerability and humility…you run into problems.
Women want a man who can admit to them when he’s wrong. A man who has the wherewithal and relational integrity to take ownership for his contribution to things in the relationship. They want a man who is actively striving to grow and improve who he is. They want a man who has the courage to uncover his weak spots and reveal his truest self to them. Because only then, can we begin to scratch at the surface of real, authentic intimacy.
Man Category 3: The Self-Aware
Now, the type of man who will give women the best chance to build great, satisfying love is a man who is self-aware. A man who is introspective enough to understand and decipher his emotions, as well as emotionally savvy enough to communicate them to her.
This man—like all men—is flawed. He is not stagnant. He is constantly in motion. Constantly questioning and improving himself. He’s an over-thinker but that’s because he just wants to better understand things. The better he understands things, the better he can show up for himself and others.
Men are not typically emotionally intelligent, but self-aware men are the top tier of men in this department. They have adept perception to sense how others feel. They’re empathetic and are tapped into their own—and others’—emotions. So his intentions will always be in the right place.
Still, when he makes mistakes and falls short of the man he’s trying to be, he will exclude class and grace in his defeat. He will not scoff at criticism. He will accept it. Listen. Take it. Use it. And be humble in his moments of weakness.
He is unafraid to be vulnerable. The self-aware man defines “being a man” by his ability to surrender and be vulnerable. The self-aware man is confident exposing his emotions because he has deep, inner, emotional strength.
His emotional trials and tribulations in life have helped build this strength and endurance. Yet, he’s an open book. His rich life experience, his mistakes, his failures—they have all helped him learn to dive deep into himself to learn, grow, and improve himself.
He’s an emotional warrior. But a warrior with enough humility to know when to surrender. When to put down his sword. Drop his shield. And bow to his majesty.
He will care more about being in love than being right. When he hurts his woman and lets them down, he will be the first to admit it to her and claim ownership for his wrongdoing.
He will commit to being better. So women can commit to being better for him because every day this man commits himself to being better than the man he saw in the mirror the day before.
A self-aware man will listen to women. He will take interest in their hearts. Their souls. He will let them take the lead and take control. He wants to see them succeed.
A woman’s success and power will not intimidate this man, but actually turn him on. A woman’s strength is something he will support and nourish. When his woman succeeds, he will happily stand in the back of that room, out of the spotlight, clapping and grinning widely, while the world celebrates just how special he always knew she was. With this man, a woman will have the space and support to let her feminine freak flag fly!
While a self-aware man will not be the perfect partner, one thing women can count on is that he will meet them halfway. He will get in the ring with them and fight for their relationship. Because he knows that love is not easy and it’s rare and worth fighting for.
He will let his guard down. He will show women his heart. He will reveal his soul. He will let the woman he loves all the way in. He will give them more love than they’ve ever been given. And he will receive their love with open arms.
He will crawl down into the trenches with his woman when she’s struggling. He’ll get his nails dirty. He’ll wipe the dirt from her eyes. Tell her he loves her. And hold her. And tell her everything is going to be okay as long as they’re down in here together.
He will fall down on the floor with her when she needs him to. Whatever it fucking takes. He will sit cross-legged next to her like she just had a bad dream about monsters at a slumber party and let her talk his ear off until she feels better.
But most importantly, he will grow with her. He will work at their relationship. He will keep trying. He will keep showing up. That’s because he understands that love and relationships are like muscles, in order to function they must be exercised and worked on regularly.
A self-aware man will be his woman’s teammate. Her equal partner. Her confidante. Her shoulder to cry on. Her one true alliance.
So, while no man is perfect. While no man will be able to give a woman the perfect relationship. I do know for sure that a self-aware man will able to promise his woman a relationship that will forever be a “work in progress”.
And when it comes to love, that’s all we can ask for. A partner who will show up and continue to show up every day, because they love us and know that what we have is worth showing up for.
I may not be a lot of things in this life, but I am a self-aware and emotionally intelligent man. It’s probably what I’m most grateful for. It’s what has given me the gift to write about the things like what you’re reading right now.
I grew up in a household where we were free to express our emotions. In fact, we were encouraged to express our emotions.
I was raised by my mother. An assertive, ferociously strong woman with a rich emotional core. It’s through her example and influence that I learned what it meant to be a man. It’s because of her that I learned strong men are the ones who are secure enough to reveal their souls and strong enough to open their hearts.
Remember…the potential degree of happiness we can feel within a relationship is directly proportional to the amount of courage we have to allow ourselves to lose control, let go, and let love in.
What’s your take on what you just read? Comment below or write a response and submit to us your own point of view or reaction here at the red box, below, which links to our submissions portal.
If you believe in the work we are doing here at The Good Men Project, please join us as a Premium Member, today.
All Premium Members get to view The Good Men Project with NO ADS.
A $50 annual membership gives you an all-access pass. You can be a part of every call, group, class, and community.
A $25 annual membership gives you access to one class, one Social Interest group, and our online communities.
A $12 annual membership gives you access to our Friday calls with the publisher, our online community.
Register New Account
Need more info? A complete list of benefits is here.
Photo credit: Getty Images