Here’s the scenario: You’re out with the gals and one of them is smack dab in the middle of a dating crisis. One of your friends offers the group what she thinks is stellar advice on men and you’re left thinking, “Jeez, is that really what men want?”
So many of us grow up being told lies about what men want in a relationship or in a wife. These lies are so rampant that women search for advice based on these lies. How do I make him think I don’t like him so he wants me? How do I act more “chill” like his friend so he enjoys hanging out with me? How do I pretend I’m not mad at him when I feel so angry inside?
The truth is that most men are a lot more emotionally deft and capable of intimacy than we give them credit for. Most times, we let society’s lies create fear in us, and this fear gets in the way of us being ourselves around men and communicating our needs.
We’re left feeling despaired about love and forced to assume men are enigmas.
Here are 5 lies you’ve been told about what men really want:
1. Men want a woman who’s one of the guys
Maybe this was true in high school and college. Those are the years when you can hang with the guys in big groups, make out with a few male friends, and act as if love and commitment are silly. That’s when a friends-with-benefits situation can work and everyone can experiment with relationships as they grow up.
But you aren’t in school anymore and grown, masculine, mature men want feminine women. They want to feel like they have to be on their best behavior to impress a date. Men fall in love when they feel that a certain woman pushes them to be a better man, and the best way to do this is to be a classy, elegant, confident lady who doesn’t accept “hang out buddies with perks” as a substitute for a real relationship.
2. Men don’t like emotional women
We’ve all heard how men shut down when a woman gets emotional. Most of us have been referred to as irrational and even crazy. However, men don’t hate emotional women; they just hate when a woman can’t communicate her feelings in a safe, simple, direct way.
What men want is to feel like they can hear you, understand what comes out of your mouth, and then help you to feel better. When a man can soothe a woman’s feelings, he feels on top of the world. But when he feels overwhelmed by tears and screaming, he feels like a failure and withdraws.
3. Men love a mysterious woman
This is one of the biggest misinterpretations of the dating world. Men don’t want to be left wondering who you really are and what you’re actually doing when you elusively say you’re “just busy.”
Don’t make a man feel unsafe with you. Keeping a man interested by keeping him feeling uncertain is not going to lead to love. Men want to be caught up in the mystery of their femininity. Men love how foreign we can seem: all those beauty products, empathy, softness, ease in expressing vulnerability, and luscious sensuality. The feminine mystique is the kind of mystery a man loves.
4. Men don’t appreciate smart, funny women
There is a time and a place for certain types of jokes. If your jokes are more spiteful and raunchy than endearing and goofy, maybe you need to step back and take a better look at yourself. What men want is to feel emotionally safe with a woman and have a good time with her. If your sense of humor puts him on the defensive, then he’s not going to appreciate your humor.
5. Men only want what they can’t have
This goes along with the lie that men love mystery. A mature, commitment-friendly man who is looking for a wife and wants a family isn’t interested in chasing your skirt. He wants to know you more. Men who only want what they can’t have are unaccountable boys.
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What men want is to feel like the women they date have worth. And that starts with your self-worth. If you respect yourself and you politely and kindly demand only his best behavior, a great man will scramble to please you and will work hard to take you off the market. She doesn’t have to play games.
Kristina Marchant is a writer and author with a BA in psychology and a relationship coach who advises women on men and healthy relationship skills.