What Do Women Want in a Man?


Yes Dear?

It goes without saying that we men have cornered the market on stupidity. Have I gotten your attention now? If you are a follower of my blog you may be wondering why I am following my latest series on the Divorce Life-Cycle with a series on what women want from men. You might find me even wondering the same thing. Ah…hidden issues…nah. Maybe a deep and true desire to put the work into productive and loving relationships in my own life. Yeah…I like that better.

What I do know is that the question posed today is not unique nor earth shattering. In fact, slews of journalists, scientists, and yes the blogging community are and have been looking at this issue in a very extensive manner. What you will read will be from evolutionary psychologists, hippies, and academics from all over the globe. You will find comparisons to chimps, movies by Mel Gibson, and acts of theater like the poster above from the U.K. As individuals and societies we are fascinated with what women want, how to obtain their glance, and how to secure it for relationship purposes. And, you know what? I am fascinated too! I, though want to take a different approach.

I want to talk about these needs, the bogus and hypocritical, and the sensible ones that men should know about. I am a tad tired of men who throw their hands up and say, “Women” in an exasperated fashion.

Is it all about women’s needs? No. It is absolutely about the needs of both genders. The problem is that males have spent an eternity sending inappropriate and hurtful messages and our actions haven’t been a whole lot better. My challenge to all of the Normal Males out there is to help me define what we think women want, what we think is fair, and how we are going to be a part of the solution taking our needs and personal development first.

Why this approach you might ask? Because the young boys in our communities are provided very little, if any, direction on how to treat females and themselves in a productive and mutually fulfilling manner. What we have, to-date, promoted is carnal knowledge and “tricks” to obtain women for sexual prowess. We have been under the assumption that we need to prove something to women and then they will choose us.

In Need of a New Marketing Campaign?

What we have to prove remains debatable, but we sure can’t be docked for not trying to figure the puzzle out. Some men work on their bodies. Some work on their checkbooks and the image they can buy with an inflated bank account. You name it…men have tried it. Some of us have chosen academics to prove it is the brain and not the brawn that women want…and many haven’t even given it a thought, choosing to be unique while they wait for the doorbell to their mothers house to ring.

There will be men reading this that will attack me wanting to know why I am taking this approach. They will say it has nothing to do with women and I will say….“You’re Right!”

It absolutely is about how we conceptualize ourselves, what WE want to accomplish with our time here, and not about proving something to another human being because our mental health shouldn’t be tied to the opinions and directives of others. That sounds wonderful and it also sounds like a passionate undergraduate student who thinks they can and will create world peace. Until we better understand our fascination with mimicking the Peacock, we will struggle mightily to see that the pursuit of understanding ourselves with adequate reflection, insight, and collaboration is the real quest…not the end result.

Posturing These Days?

We have seen how focusing on the end result or prize has worked out…like a train wreck! So…what to do and how to approach the question of what women want…hmmm.

I think that the prudent thing to do would be to look at this issue as a negotiation between you and yourself, you and the opposite gender, and you and society. I think it best to avoid the academic jargon…to leave behind our ever impressive resumes, and talk about this issue in a real-world manner…How does it impact me and what do I want to do about it…and do I really care? These are all fair questions that we have to ask ourselves because some men couldn’t care less what women want others desperately do.

So, with all of my protective caveats out of the way maybe I should start by sharing my personal thoughts and experiences. If I look back at my experience of this question I have to go back to when I was a boy and more specifically a 1st Grader in Troy Michigan. I was best friends with a boy who was from Peru, a great soccer player, and very different from the average white boy fashioning a bright polo shirt with upright collar. No..he was unique…he had an accent…and was athletic. That is right he was the competition and I was glad he was my friend. I figured, “Cute and desirable by affiliation.” That is me of course ;)  With these fundamentals in mind…me and my friend set out to protect the females in our class from bullies and the Bart Simpson’s of our grade and thus the playground became our testing ground.

You see many young girls had been given the message that men were their protectors from commercials, cartoons, movies, and some even from their families so we were set-up perfectly. Or so we thought. We quickly learned that the most popular girls actually liked some of the boyish blundering by our classmates and we soon became relegated to a role…a position…which was of value to the girls I might add…just not the value we were hoping for. It became my first lesson in assuming one thing and being whisked away in another direction. As I grew older I tried various approaches that were not of my temperament or personality and failed miserably…I think that is precisely what Middle School is for. I tried to be the cool guy, the tough guy, the “ahh that doesn’t bother me” guy…and I found that I knew less and less about my self as I went down a path for the acceptance of females.

Please don’t feel bad for me or think I am the only one…fore fear not my experience was Normal even if emotionally painful. I, like so many males, was alone in my pursuits and worse yet very much alone when I failed. I didn’t have an audience around me that could console my personal shame and embarrassment when I looked more like a failure than a rock star.

What are we doing wrong?

Like most Normal Males I was never taught to ask for feedback, to desire feedback, or even how to take feedback from my peers let alone girls. We, males, are a lot like a scared cat always making sure that our heads are on a swivel because we fear that if not for us who will protect us. A lonely position I assure you and one that struggles to see the light of day for many well-intentioned and loving men.

There are legions of good men and boys who want to break the stereotypes for their own health first and for successful relationships later. We are tired of the old viewpoints and attitudes and we struggle greatly when observing young males making similar mistakes. We want to help. We need to help and we have no earthly idea how to collaborate. Normal Males realize the beauty in healthy companionship and too wonder why they struggled so mightily to figure it out.

So…in an effort to be thoughtful and mindful of the question at-hand…I propose that we start with something I have already referenced above…Feedback.

I suggest that we look at Feedback as the first variable in examining what women want. Guys…if we can’t tackle the issue of Feedback we have no business pining for women and relationships in the first place. If we can discuss the importance of and our experiences with Feedback then we can begin to look at hardcore elements that support both genders in a relationship.

So…share with me your thoughts on the importance of Feedback, for both genders, and we will then begin to build a framework of substance…one that promotes women AND men with the younger generations in mind.

Dr. Rod
Rod Berger, PsyD The Normal Male

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16 Comments

Filed under Family, Fathers, Good Men, head of household, Males, Marriage, men, Mothers, Relationships, women

16 responses to “What Do Women Want in a Man?

  1. I’m a woman. I’m 50. I only just now found the right man. It’s tough finding the right partner for either gender. One thing I’ve learned is you need to keep an open mind. The right person can be ANYONE and ANYWHERE. If you have preconceived ideas of what they have to look like, or do for a living, or where they live, etc., you are short-changing yourself out of quite possibly meeting the best thing that’s ever happened to you…KEEP AN OPEN MIND, LADIES!!!

    • Hi Trish!
      Thank you for your comments to my post and question at-large. I greatly appreciate your call to women to keep an open mind. If you were to name the Top 10 things you would want in and from a man what would they be?
      I think men need to be reminded of what insightful and loving women really want…maybe then we, men, can put them into practice for our relationships and for the young men modeling our every move. Would love to hear your thoughts! Thanks,
      Dr. Rod

      • 1. Honest
        2. Trustworthy
        3. Smart
        4. Loving
        5. Kind
        6. Caring/Thoughtful
        7. Funny
        8. Imaginative
        9. Fun
        10. Passionate/Positive Attitude

        Those are my top 10

  2. P.S. By the way, I want someone who truly honors me and loves me for who I am – same thing you as a man wants. I _finally_ found that…he’s a dear dear man who I adore….

  3. Hey Doc Rod, I thought I’d stop by and see what was going on at the normal male and we have posts on a similar topic today. Your post is a little more thoughtful and sincere than mine. I enjoyed yours. Mine is an animated video of me giving my son a talk about the birds and the bees.

    http://www.improvisingfatherhood.com/post/370713962/birds-and-bees

  4. Pingback: What Do Women Want in a Man? Part 2 « The Normal Male by Dr. Rod

  5. maryd72

    we all want what we know we are capable of giving in a relationship….and it is a 50/50 so to speak…but at the same time…that 50/50 as i feel should be effortless for the most part. two people meant to be together will compliment each other in many ways almost automatically..there will never be anything as the perfect relationship possible…because that is something that just isn’t, but some could come pretty darn close. we all go through the motions of thinking we are in love, or could be in love….but that is not saying…i am in love. i fall in love with my husband all the time over and over again…because of who he is and what he offers as a man..not just sexually, but as a friend, a husband, a dad, a buddy, a partner in crime, a fishing buddy, a camping partner..a bowling partner, a dinner/movie date, a cooking partner etc…i could really go on and on…we are a team, wether it is just him and i or the 2 of us and our 4 children. he is aware of who he is as a man and aware of women and what they are worth..he tells me often, that i make him proud to be his wife. you want someone whom you know when you get a certain look, they know what the look is for…you can speak to each other with your eyes…or a certain smile or even just a word…corky little things that couples have between them..the trick is to keep that flow going..for me it is not hard…i was a single mom before my husband came into my life…i cried myself to sleep many a night for my girls, myself, my life…i had plenty of time to figure who i was and what i wanted..but it was not just for me, it was for my girls as well…for the most part i was content with the fact that i was in that moment a single mom and went day to day knowing what i had to do for my girls and myself. i was not looking for a relationship..though i did cry for that some nights as well…but that was not at the top of my priority list..my husband came into my life..totally as my prince charming…he swept me off my feet and honestly i dont think i have come completely down since then. he knows me, my ins and outs, what makes me tick..when to leave me be, what to say or not to say..when to leave the room, when to stay, he makes me smile, laugh and cry and be angry…but through it all..no matter the situation…we are both right there by each others side…after a disagreement…i will say..i love you and he will say..no you don’t…or we look at each other and laugh because we know what is important to us as individuals but also as a couple and a team….we share our hopes and dreams all the time…no matter how big or small…he loves me unconditionally…he accepts my dorkyness…my weird sense of humor and that is one thing he has always had in check. when others look at me with a raised eyebrow…he knows exactly what i mean…or what my body language or eyes are saying to one that may make them think a certain way about me…he always knows the truth..sometimes i try to put people off about me…but he always knows…i love that the most about him…he has never been intimidated by me or what i may or may not do….actually it irritates me sometimes that he knows me so well and what my next move will be…to him, i am predictable..because he has watched and paid attention to me and how i deal or dont deal with things….he is my best friend..we share everything, i cant imagine my life without him…it would literally be losing a part of me….we are the couple where when we are not working or doing our own things here and there..we are together….most of the time..where you see one..you will see the other…he makes me melt to this day….he does dishes, he cooks, he cleans, he grocery shops with me!!, he reads, he plays video games, he has his poker nights and pool playing nights he works 40+ hours a week, he supports me 100% no matter what i want to do or not do…because he is aware of my individual as well as me, his wife. i am working part-time and doing online classes part-time…therefore..mom is home in time enough to have dinner ready for the family and his on his plate hot when he comes in the door..i am aware of how hard he works..during the week..he comes home, has dinner with us, takes a shower and relaxes…the wood is brought in and his laundry is done, and his coffee is ready to go in the a.m….i do these things for him..because i want to..and i know he appriciates it…i get alot of -thank you babes- from him..and when he is here and i am not..he does the same for me…we flip and flop that way and we work together perfectly…i got lucky in not looking and finding the love of my life, he is the one i will be sitting on the front porch with when i am 70 saying -remember when-

    • Hi Maryd72!
      Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments! I am so happy for you and your family. You sound like the Normal I am talking about…not a fantasy, but rather a collection of real emotions and practices to boot. I look forward to future exchanges with you as I work to better understand and communicate the experience of being a man and the impact on the women and children in our lives. Thanks again!
      Dr. Rod

    • Mary, I was a single Mom for years and years too, in face raised my kids all the way alone. I didn’t meet my ‘Mr. Right’ until NOW at age 50 and boy I know what you mean about it not being hard to keep the spark going because it will never be old to be in love after you’ve been alone so long. I will NEVER take things for granted…I tried NOT looking (didn’t work), I tried looking (didn’t work), and I got to the point I was giving up, but tried one more time, reached out one more time, and I found him…Luck? Fate? I don’t know but I feel blessed…

  6. Pingback: What Women AND Men Want! « The Normal Male by Dr. Rod

  7. Adam

    I think you desire honestly and perhaps bluntness, so here’s some from me again: Your article raises interesting questions in a lengthy manner but neglects to make much of a point or address the issue in a substantial way. I can’t help but compare your style and substance to the articles on Art of Manliness, and the difference is like night and day.

    If you’re in the information-gathering stage–which strikes me as a bit odd, considering your apparent credentials–perhaps you should put this kind of request-for-comments in a different place. It’s not what I am interested in. It seems like you’re wanting to start a big project from scratch, when, in my opinion, there’s really no need to reinvent the wheel.

    Do you understand what I mean?

    • Hi Adam,
      I find it interesting that you are “not” interested yet take the time to provide commentary on my style and approach. Where I have put my request for comments is appropriate due to the public forum with which it resides. Including my readers in the discussion is important to me. I am not sure what your experience is with others who are credentialed, but we all have different approaches. Just because someone has a doctorate doesn’t mean their writing has to be inaccessible. The growth of our society demands that we question and question often…reinventing the wheel? If you are implying that I am trying to reinvent The Art of Manliness you are mistaken…the “project”-you are mistaken. I am asking questions in, hopefully, a informative and entertaining fashion to provoke thought and discussion…So, I want to thank you for doing both and I welcome your rebuttal. If you write a blog I would be more than interested in reading your thoughts as well. We can all learn from each other regardless of the style/approach.
      Dr. Rod

      • Adam

        Hi Dr. Rod,

        Well, it seems like your posts lack much content, though there are many words. No offense intended. If all you’re doing is asking questions for random people on the Internet to answer with their own unvalidated, personally irrelevant opinions, then I think I will unsubscribe. I just don’t see much usefulness in that. I could go to any forum on the Internet and post similar questions for much larger audiences to answer.

        What I would be interested in is something more like AoM: well-thought-out articles with viewpoints the author strongly believes in intended to make a difference in people’s lives, with a readership who is free to expound upon the articles in the comments.

        The bottom line is, so far, you just aren’t saying much to me. But hey, it’s your blog; as long as you’re happy with it, that’s really all that matters. I just thought some honest, constructive criticism might be helpful.

  8. Janey

    Re: Adam’s comments: Some blogs are public meditations and explorations where people share their reflections (or what Adam strangely calls ‘unvalidated, personally irrelevant opinions’ – as if people must communicate only in scientifically verifiable ways….).

    Interesting blog (while totally different from AoM). All good. The more discussion and reflection on what it means to be a man, the better!

    • Hi Janey!
      Thank you for your response and honesty. I, like you, want to increase the amount of time/words committed to understand males. I appreciate your time and thank you again!
      Dr. Rod

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