Gentleman, we think we know, but we have no idea.
It’s always a hot topic question: “What do men and women want?” From the male side, historically, it’s been more difficult to read women and truly know what they want.
The simple answer is that all women are unique so there is not a one-size-fits-all answer to this question. However, there are some general things that men think women really want.
Speaking solely from a male point of view, we believe that women want a man who is physically attractive, honest, loyal, committed, emotional (but not too emotional), intelligent, smart (yes there is a difference), funny, witty, protective, serious, organized—to sum it up, we believe women want us to have our sh*t together.
The list is long and I may have left a few off, but generally speaking, women have high hopes and expectations when it comes to committing to a man. Once we are committed to each other, women expect us to meet their needs. I’ll go a step further: most expect us to know what their needs are and meet them without having being told, which is a difficult task for us men to do. Many of us try, some of us succeed, some of us barely scrape by and many others fail miserably at giving a woman what she wants.
In a little over a one year period of time, I dated three girls.
One lasted about eight months. She was the most complex. She wanted complete openness and honesty. No topic was off limits. She wanted to be care-free, sexy and classy all at the same time. She did not care for labels or boundaries but she wanted monogamy. She wanted to be challenged and pushed, and she wanted to have a good verbal sparring match every now and then to prove we cared enough to advocate for our own needs. She wanted us to be equals in our partnership. She also wanted a partnership that focused on just the two of us without much involvement with our families, and she also wanted space for herself every now and then.
I felt okay with all she was expecting from me, considering our high level of chemistry and connection. She wanted all our actions and encounters to have purpose, including physical intimacy. A simple “see you tomorrow” peck on the lips was not her thing. When she kissed, she kissed with purpose.
This type of relationship I felt I related and connected the best with. I am most attracted to a complex woman. She fit the build for this perfectly. However, it ended, and with the end came more questions about what women truly want.
My next relationship was a little different.
This relationship was more about maintaining boundaries to give her space to do what she wanted to do. She also wanted to be immersed in my family life and for me to be immersed in hers. She did not like deep conversations, which tended to frustrate her. She did not like to text much or communicate often, unless we were in person. She wanted to have fun, but she was also happy with no plans and a lazy evening of watching television. She expected me to always be available to her, or to make myself available to her—I tried my best, and for the most part I succeeded. This was almost a complete 180 from my previous relationship.
I struggled to adapt, but I did have feelings for her. We did have a unique chemistry, which always intrigued me. This opened me up more and made more willing to try to appeal to her needs. However, like the first relationship, this one ended also. At the end of the day, we just did not have a strong enough compatibility together.
The last girl I dated in that stretch of time was also unique in her own way. This girl wanted surprise gifts of affection as frequently as possible. She wanted to always hold hands and she wanted me to be the “old school gentleman type”—opening doors for her and paying when we went out (not because she couldn’t afford it, she just wanted an old fashioned type man). She expected plans to be meticulous and to be executed flawlessly. Anything less was a disappointment to her.
Some elements were natural and easy for me to adapt to. I am an old soul, so opening doors, paying for dinners and activities or doing anything chivalrous is first nature to me. I had to make some adjustments in my lifestyle for this relationship to work, as we all must in every relationship, but once more, this one ended in failure.
During this time of dating, I felt like I was playing three different roles in an attempt to please three different women. I was true to myself and all three saw the real me, but I adjusted to help meet the needs of each of them when we were together. For the most part, my needs were met too.
Some might accuse me of not being authentic, but the truth is, during all three relationships, we had unique connections and bonds. None were the same. I am sure each girl I was with had to make certain lifestyle changes during our time together so we both could be happy. I admit to having moments of extreme happiness with all three women, so I feel justified in my actions and experiences with each woman. Each relationship ended on unique circumstances. One solace I take away from this is that there was never one repeated pattern that led to the breakup of each relationship.
However there was one recurrent question, since all three relationships ended for different reasons: “What do women want?”
All three of the women I dated in that span of time could not have been more different in their wants, needs and expectations. Since no two women or people are the same, I believe a woman wants a man who will put a smile on her face, go above and beyond and look for ways to meet her needs while getting his own needs met at the same time—without too many mistakes, and with a connection that is natural and not forced.
My answer is that they want an honest, attractive man who will be able to adjust and grow with them. Our chemistry should bring us closer together, making it easier for us to better understand a woman’s needs, desires and expectations. Finally, my experience during this part of my life taught me that woman value time. Timing of when we meet and connect with a woman is arguably just as important as any other factor of a successful relationship.
I can honestly say that had I connected with one of them at a different time in our lives, we may still be together today. Fate has a funny way of unfolding the events of love and the connection we make with others.
Women need to feel safe and secure in their relationship. Women need us men to understand the value of timing and appreciate the necessity of space when it is warranted. However, even if we still add all these up, a woman’s heart is still a mystery. It is a complex puzzle that we as men have to piece together for each individual woman.
Author: Adam Wilkinson
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