Ultimately, what women want is to stay. And men want them to stay. So, why are there so many breakups, even in relationships that appear blessed with love?
We once thought relationships and marriages should be honored, regardless of condition. It’s only recently that exceptions for abuse and violence were seen as worthy reasons for an exit.
But, life is different in 2017.
Tolerating a benign relationship has been shown to be more stressful than being in a high-stress union. Women have a multitude of needs, complicated lives, and a world of resources today. They don’t have to settle for a relationship which doesn’t serve them, in order to have financial security.
Through my role as a professional life coach, I hear the same two things women are looking for in their romantic relationships: connection and meaning. They are looking for relationships that enhance their lives, and partners who can create a meaningful connection on an ongoing basis.
As women’s lifespans lengthen, many women see their relationships playing out like chapters in a book. A relationship that serves a woman when she’s younger might NOT be the best for the family chapter of life, where she has children with a partner equally invested in the kids.
Later, kids grown, she often wants a relationship that focuses on HER, especially after some of the sacrifices she made during her career-growth chapter and her raising-a-family chapter.
No matter what chapter she might be creating at the moment, women look for certain traits in a man that make them want to stay.
Possessing or cultivating these traits gives a man a shot at being a woman’s lifelong partner. The kind of man with whom she re-calibrates the relationship, through many or all of the chapters of her life.
What Women Want In a Man That Will Make Them Want To Stay
1. Reliability – Doing what you say you will do.
There’s nothing that destroys a woman’s interest more than a vacant promise. It might involve something as simple as taking the garbage to the curb, or a romantic weekend away. In online dating, the man who says “let’s get together” and doesn’t make a date within a few more exchanges, is dropped – often with only one shot at that meeting.
Don’t dangle an idea without following up with action. It’s that simple.
To a woman, a man is as good as his word. It’s a sign of his ethics. Place your words carefully and then honor them.
2. Cleverness – Know how to entangle her.
A woman has six tracks to her mind. A man has ONE. It’s part of the beauty of life – those differences. Men have the undeniable ability to be focused and driven… as if they are still going out into the wild and hunting down food, or fighting the encroaching poachers from the next village.
A woman has a multi-faceted mind with a circular thinking pattern. That’s why she’s so cute when she’s sometimes forgetful. It’s not that she’s silly or stupid, she’s thinking along six tracks at once and miles ahead of you in all of them.
It’s one of the reasons it’s harder to get her to relax, to completely let go during sex, or let go of a grudge. There’s always a track of her mind that can hold onto something while the other tracks juggle work, kids, family responsibilities, her best friend’s birthday, the supply list for the house, and that sexual position you promised to try.
What women want is a man who is clever and can distract her from the endless loop of thought. Someone to bring her back to her body and self, while appreciating her complicated nature, too.
3. Resourcefulness – Understand “date harder.”
When I first started dating after my divorce, I met a very sweet man for coffee who admitted, after about 10 minutes of chatting, “I just want to get this dating stuff over with. I was happy before. I just want someone there when I get home every day.
I admit I almost vomited all over him.
The very idea of “being home for someone” was repulsive. I could picture him sitting on his couch every single night and expecting his gal to be happy with that. B-O-R-I-N-G!
So, knowing he wasn’t a match for me, I fought my nausea and told him the truth:
“Here’s the thing. When you meet someone and fall in love, and perhaps even live together or marry, you better be prepared to date harder.”
I could tell, by his reaction, he thought I was nuts.
“You’ll never keep a woman,” I told him, “if you can’t entangle her. She has a more complicated mind than you and therefore, is more easily bored with the traditional male linear approach to life.”
His face fell. In a somewhat dulled and vacant voice, he said, “Maybe that’s what happened to my marriage”.
4. Boundaries – Knowing what’s important.
It is often said men make great boundaries and women make permeable ones. What women want are LEADERS. Watch the next time she says “no” to the millionth request from her mother, and see if she is uncomfortable doing so.
Show her what’s important in terms of time and attention. Leaving judgment and critical thinking at work, and making a connection to her is a gift. It’s also a demonstration of a strict boundary: This is important and worth of our time and attention; that is not.
5. ‘Intohersight’ – Ability to see her.
No matter where a woman is in her life, or her day, if a man can see her, he has magical abilities in her eyes. Life is often challenging, but witnessing is powerful. See her struggles, her growth, her effort, her humanity, her love.
6. Communication – Articulating what’s important.
No one likes to feel manipulated. It leads to resentment. Yet, most relationships develop unsaid themes and habits of communication which are ultimately destructive. Rather than get into another heavy discussion of her mother or your binge eating, avoidance becomes a major theme in life.
Have the acuity to resist this destructive trend.
Be content to not always get your way. At the same time, learn to see beneath her drama, so you know when to compromise. If you’re giving in all the time, you’re not being real. So, resist the urge to “yes dear” at her every suggestion. Stand up for what’s important to YOU.
The best communication is clear, honest, and on point. It recognizes that many issues don’t need to be solved perfectly, just understood.
7. Protectiveness – Ability to create safety.
No woman ever let herself be opened up and truly known by a man who didn’t make her feel safe. The protective instincts of a masculine energy are truly seductive. They can often be felt, without any words spoken. It gives a man allure.
This includes keeping her confidences, having her back, and honoring her decisions – even if you can’t see how they’ll work out yet. What women want is a man who can create an atmosphere of safety.
8. Self-Mastery – You manage you.
Don’t expect your woman, or anyone, to manage you. If you cannot handle your emotions, processing them to a positive result or release, your partner will slowly take that role. She’ll be a therapist, a coach, a mommy.
It’s the #1 reason women who were married over 20 years decide to opt out of future relationships. A recent study said having a husband adds 7 hours of housework and unknown hours of “counseling” to a woman’s week. WHO needs it?
Yes, it’s dysfunctional. It makes grown men into babies. No woman is interested when her partner has devolved into a whiney toddler.
9. Confidence – Know who you are and what you bring to a relationship.
It actually is the sexiest thing, confidence. This doesn’t mean you have to know everything, but you know YOU, so you’ll always find a way to resolve any issue. Know your strengths and weaknesses and exploit the former, without necessarily hiding the latter.
10. Physicality – Reveling in masculine energy.
Masculine energy rules the domain of the physical. It’s one of the most attractive things about men – the way they inhabit their bodies, as if it’s their right.
Strength is just part of this. Yes, it’s nice to have the firewood chopped, heavy objects moved, the flat tire changed, etc. But physicality rules affection, warmth, and sexual connection, too. These things all flow from this unyielding, insisting male physical presence, which has been known to make women swoon.
Swooning is a good thing.
Being there, truly being present in a woman’s life, is transforming for both partners. It’s the fulfilling glue of a relationship. It also doesn’t simply appear, it needs to be actively created.
What women want is really to stay – so give them reason to.