What Do Men Want In A Relationship?

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Women are always confused and mystified at why they can’t talk or understand their men.

“What Do Men Want In A Relationship?” is the universal question.  

One of the main barriers to a happy lasting relationship is that women treat men like women and men treat women like men.  

The 5 Love Languages has been a hugely popular relationship book.  What is great about it, is it brought to the forefront that people give and receive in different ways.

What is tragic about it, is that people have taken it so literally. 

They have jumped on the 5 ways the book covers and not expanded on it.  There are many ways our differences are expressed.  One of the big ones is through our gender differences.

Understanding Men

First, we need to understand our differences.  There is a big debate to be had, as to what determines our differences.  Are they biological or from our cultural experience?

For our purposes, we’re just going to look at the differences as an outgrowth of our history.  We have lived within a patriarchal system for Millenniums.  So everything we have learned or been exposed to, has come from someone raised within a Patriarchy.  So we need to understand what that looks like to the different genders.

In a patriarchy, men are the leaders.  There is a competition to be the Alpha.  And so a man’s place in the pecking order determines his access to resources.

So status is all-important.

As a boy grows up, he is taught he has to be a man.  Being a man means always being strong, knowing what to do and being in control.

He is taught to never show weakness.  Doubt is weakness.  Not knowing what to do is weakness.

When he graduates into the pack of men, all are jostling for their place.  Life is competitive.  A man has to prove his value through achievement and being able to access resources.

When he has proven himself able to provide, he will be attractive to women and their families who often arranged a marriage.  When and where multiple wives are allowed, it is only to the men who can provide for them all.  

The Providers get all the women.  The pretty boy who can’t hunt, fight or otherwise access resources stays lonely.

Men and Women’s Different Values in Relationships

Dr. Emerson Eggerichs published a controversial book called Love and Respect.  It is based on the insight that men primarily want respect and women primarily want love. 

I think the insight is golden, yet the way it was delivered and justified was a pure patriarchal male condescension.

The justification was that the Bible and Quran have quotes along those lines.  Given that they were written by men, it’s hardly surprising.

I can see why women have often reacted negatively to the book.  I haven’t read the book, but have read summaries and working from the gist of it, it is a sexist piece that suggests if a woman makes a man happy, he’ll love her more.

It is the old school version of all the Youtube dating videos that tell women they have to use tricks to be loved by men.

The problem is that, I think the insight is true and brilliant.  Yet the logic is pure male patriarchal bullshit.

What the critics have misunderstood is that it isn’t that women don’t want respect or that men don’t want love.  It’s just that through our culture we see relationships differently.  Let me share the way I see it.

The Experience Of Growing Up In A Patriarchal System

Patriarchy gives men access to all the overt power.  A man’s value is in how successful he can be.  His pathway to finding love is by being successful.

A woman for most of our history had no overt access to power.  Her access to power is through influencing her husband.  Her pathway to resources then is through her beauty and desirability so she can be picked by the most (valuable) powerful man.

As a result of this system, women find value and success through love.  There’s a deep sense of being unworthy when a woman feels unloved.

Men find love through success.  For a man, there’s a deep sense of unworthiness without respect.

Of course, these historic realities are no longer true today.  Women can be more successful than men.  They no longer need men and can be independent.  Yet running through our language and layers and layers of our operating system are these beliefs and values.

Male models have always been less well known and paid much less than female models because beauty isn’t as valued in men.

Of course, recently there has been a change as male strippers have become more popular.  Older women are interested in younger men.  And beauty alone interests women.  However, even today, in the main, powerful men are typically more attractive to women as a long term partner.

Men’s Model Of Relationships

For a man, his success means he can provide things and experiences.  This makes his woman happy.  She is happy because of him and values him.  He becomes her Hero and she loves him.

When he feels inadequate or disrespected he feels her love for him is misplaced and sooner or later she will see through him.

Why Men Don’t Talk

Almost every relationship suffers with poor communication.  

Women, in general, want to talk because traditionally they were vulnerable.  If they didn’t please their men or give him children or boys they could be discarded.  Most times and places, men could have affairs and discard their wives.  However, women that strayed were often killed.   So women want to feel reassured about the security of their place in their man’s affections and so his resources.   

I want to stress that even though this is no longer true, deep inside our language, stories and values of our culture, this has shaped all of our thinking.

Men, typically don’t want to talk about a relationship.  Their place depended on what they did.  They could talk about politics or about achieving something.  To talk about feelings would look weak.  Asking for reassurance or expressing doubt would have made them look weak and risk losing their place in the pecking order.  

For men, life is a constant competition.  All around are men smarter, richer and more competent than him.  He feels inadequate and as if his place as your Hero is under threat by others.  If he doesn’t feel he’s living up to other men, he feels ashamed.  Shame leads to silence.

Why Men Stonewall

It often looks to women that men are cold and unfeeling.  It looks like they just don’t react and so they mustn’t feel anything.  John Gottman’s research has shown that actually men’s physiological responses to conflict are much, much higher than women’s.  

Men are slower to return to a normal state after anger.  Stonewalling is actually a response to being overstimulated.  Often, without a way to relieve the pressure, for men it’s a choice between violence or shutting down.

Why Men Are Angry & Grumpy

Men are never allowed to show emotion.  It looks weak.  They’re not allowed to show fear or doubt.  The exception, though, is they are allowed to be angry and they are allowed to be grumpy.  Men are often angry in battle and so it’s an acceptable way to express their emotions.  Grumpiness is a way of showing displeasure with people of lower status and so that doesn’t lower a man’s status in their eyes.

Why Men Chase Sex

It looks weak to chase affection or reassurance for a man.  Sex is often not about sex for a man.  Sometimes, it’s about showing they are still desirable.  It can be about conquering and showing that you are attractive and so high status.

Men will sometimes lose interest in sex in a long term relationship for affairs or masturbation.  If it was about sex, they would sleep with their partner.  Instead, the interest is gone when they know they can and so they want to conquer new women to show they are still attractive.

Why Men Ghost

Often, the reason why men ghost or leave relationships has nothing to do with you.  It’s because they don’t feel worthy and would rather leave than have you see him as he sees himself and you leave him.

What Do Men Want In A relationship?

Men and women want the same thing from relationships.  They both want someone they can love, trust and respect who will love, trust and respect them.

Where men and women differ is that women are more direct.

Men see success and power as bringing them respect which they believe will be the gateway through which they will be loved.  

Men and women have been told different stories about relationships, but they both ultimately want to reach the same outcome.

Our work is to clear the obstacles and confusion that stops you and potential partners connecting.

Start Here


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