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What Men Want in a Relationship

My friend Andy asked me the other day (she’s a girl), “Hey Ryan, what do men want in a relationship?” Well, I was really excited that she asked me that question… The reality is that most men want a very simple and secure relationship. They want a partner who can commit to them. And be open. They don’t want what a lot of movies and TV shows portray (like someone who is overly beautiful and flaunts it).

In the old days, men were simple creatures who only asked for love, loyalty, and physical affection, and we were happy to oblige! But times have changed, ladies; the modern era has given birth to a sea of different personas, each with a distinct set of expectations. Men are complicated too!

Being in a healthy and fruitful relationship can be difficult if you don’t know what kind of man you’re dating. But don’t worry; we’ve compiled a list of the different types of men you might encounter and what they long for in a relationship.

Expert advice: If men are extremely lonely—do you think that means they want the woman who is revealing herself to the public? The woman who doesn’t have good internal values? No… They want someone they can trust, rely on, and who will be there through thick and thin.

What men want in relationships: The reality is that ALL men want wives and long-term relationships.
What men want in a relationship: The reality is that ALL men want wives and long-term relationships.

Types Of Men And What They Want

—What men want in a relationship

In this modern age of redefined gender roles, you might be surprised that men come in various unfamiliar personalities. We can’t group all men in the same category and claim to understand how they function. That’s why we’ve broken them down into distinct characteristics and analyzed their traits to give you an accurate guide.

See also: Negative personality traits

The Traditional Man

Traditional men are the most in tune with the conventional male personality. These men are usually extroverted, outgoing, and capable of fixing a broken sink. They often look for a nurturing woman with a wifey personality and are often family oriented.

Expert advice: Men buy, women shop. This term is one that describes what the modern dating pool looks like. Gone are the days when “men are cheaters.” It’s just true… They want long-term relationships, and their loneliness is at an all-time high.

What He Wants

A traditional man doesn’t expect you to contribute much to the relationship. He often wants to be the chaser and is happy when he genuinely impresses you with his feats. Make him feel like the hero; he will offer you the world.

Be as feminine and caring as possible; he’ll treasure it and open up to you more. He won’t say it, but he wants you to nurture him and tell him how happy you are to be with him. Most of all, he wants to feel dependable and loves it when you need him. It can be for small things like opening a jar or helping you carry something, as long as he feels like a strong protector.

Pamper him with physical affection; we’re talking lots of hugs, kisses, snuggles, and steamy lovemaking. Comfort him after a tiring day by giving him a back massage; he will greatly appreciate it. The traditional man is often controlling and comes with a set of rules. Try to be agreeable and acknowledge that he calls the shots.

Give him lots of praise for his efforts, and always handle his emotional and physical needs. You have to slip into the traditional feminine role if you want to keep this one. Extend the same kindness and care to his family, and he will never leave your side.

What He Doesn’t Want

  • Loud, outspoken, or confrontational women.
  • Uncontrolled extroverted behavior; going to clubs and being wild is a big no-no.
  • Women who view traditional roles as misogynistic.
  • Women who love making men feel jealous.

See also: Female narcissist traits

What men want in relationships: They want support, commitment, and understanding.
What men want in a relationship: They want support, commitment, and understanding.

The Career Man

Like the traditional man, this one is a provider and loves taking care of you financially. He is very confident and knows he has much to bring to the table.

In return, he wants you to be agreeable, supportive, caring, and understanding. He’s looking for a cheerleader who can be available at a moment’s notice.

Expert advice: As much as we try to deter away from it in society—men DO WANT “wife material” women. They may be attracted (temporarily) to those who are not that. But they WILL NOT invest in that long-term. Men, like women, ARE, in fact, looking for long-term suitors (or wives).

What He Wants

The career man spends most of his time at work and expects you to be okay with it. Business meetings will always come before date nights, even if it’s your anniversary. Overall, he is a performer who needs to prove himself to the world.

While some men might bear your tantrums and outbursts, the career man won’t have the patience. He values your sensible nature more than your emotional spark. He measures love not by grand romantic gestures or tear-jerking sentiments but by your ability to see the bigger picture. So put your feelings aside, and help him focus so he can achieve your collective goals.

Don’t be shocked when he treats the relationship like a job; that’s the same thing a career-oriented woman would do. He has a purpose in life and wants you both to climb the social ladder. Support him, help him improve, and always make things convenient so he can excel at his work. Do your part well, and he will return the favor tenfold.

What He Doesn’t Want

  • Clingy, needy and attention-seeking behavior.
  • Emotionally immature women.
  • Women who expect constant romance.
  • Egotistical women who always want to be put first.

See also: Turns offs

The Artist

Not all men are strong-willed leaders who prefer calling the shots. Some are subtle in their approach and are more in tune with their emotional side.

The artist is typically more spirited than other men, equating love with passion. He is pretty romantic and is prone to make touchy gestures to communicate his feelings to you. He loves physical affection but is more attracted to mental and emotional stimulation.

What He Wants

Every artist needs a muse from whom he can draw inspiration. He longs for a deep and meaningful connection beyond the usual date nights and great sex. He is a sensitive soul who wants to be understood the same way he understands you.

The artist values kindness above everything and is often drawn to powerful intellects with humble personalities. He is always impressed by new perspectives; engage his mind, and you will have his heart forever.

He is attracted to witty, collected, and humble women with strong artistic inclinations. And he will always be interested to hear your thoughts on his favorite films, books, music, and artworks. Give him an unexplored opinion to ponder, and he will be fascinated with you.

Nurture his mind the same way you care for his body. Be his sounding board when he needs one, and inspire him to achieve his dreams. Give him the validation he desires, and it will boost his confidence. As a result, you’ll have a devoted partner who delivers intense passion and love. 

What He Doesn’t Want

  • Practical and emotionally unavailable women.
  • Shallow, unimaginative, or materialistic women.

See also: Signs he likes you but is playing it cool

They want families, plain and simple!
What men want in a relationship: They want families, plain and simple!

The Eccentric Man

While the artistic man is often closed-off and sensitive, the eccentric man is the opposite. He is adventurous, extroverted, pompous, and usually the center of attention. He loves parties and social gatherings and often instigates the wildest behavior from those around him.

The eccentric man is vocal about what he wants and is never shy to unload his deepest desires and kinks. He expects a partner in crime who won’t judge him and will play along with his shenanigans while keeping him in control when needed. Put on your mommy pants; you’ll need them!

What He Wants

This type of man is often more playful than serious and has a childlike persona which adds to his charm. He is always excited to show you something new and expects you to reciprocate. He wants you to be his buddy, girlfriend, and mommy at the same time.

Making you laugh is one of his essential needs; he will do everything to get that reaction. Go along with his pranks with a childlike mindset, and you should be fine. Never say no to his mad adventures, especially when he insists you be a part of them. Stand up for him when his friends crack a joke; you’re a team, after all.

Don’t be put off by outlandish requests in the bedroom; we’re talking lots of non-vanilla activities! Dressing up for sex is common, but you might have to go into cosplay mode for this one.

He might bury his sensitivity under layers of humor, but he is often emotionally dependent on you. So give him lots of snuggles; make him feel cherished, wanted, and protected.

Give him freedom; let him go out and get drunk with his buddies. Be there to receive him when he gets home and embrace him to sleep. Treat him like your baby without making him feel like one.

What He Doesn’t Want

  • Strict and controlling women.
  • Women who are dismissive of or are intimidated by his behavior.
  • Women with no sense of humor.

See also: Compliments for men

The Widower

Besides its original meaning, the term also categorizes someone who has been cheated on or was badly dumped by an ex. Don’t date this type of man unless you want a serious partner.

The widower might seem fine but holds a string of cynical emotions. You probably won’t notice it if he has a stoic exterior; until you do something wrong, and it all blasts out.

Be thoughtful with this one, as he is often filled with suspicion and insecurity. He will likely distance himself and go into self-preservation mode at the earliest sign of trouble.

What He Wants

The widower may be very introverted, depending on how bad his past relationship was. Chances are he is brokenhearted and is dating after a long time, which might make him nervous or anxious. A little understanding and gentleness go a long way with this type of man.

Always be honest with him no matter what; no white lies! He would rather hear the harsh truth than a comforting lie. He might not be very confident initially, so allow him to grow and be relaxed with you. The key is to gain his trust and maintain it.

Ever heard of the Pygmalion effect? Here’s the gist; the more you love and care for him, the more confident and secure he will feel. But he has to KNOW that you truly love him.

Loyalty is the foundation for this relationship, so you might want to distance yourself from that one mischievous male friend. Even though you’re not cheating, the insecurity can be enough to drive him away.

The widower genuinely wants to please you; knowing he matters to you means EVERYTHING to him. Don’t make him compete for your attention or win you over from other men. Jealousy is not a good fit for him.

What He Doesn’t Want

  • Women who are prone to flirting with others.
  • Women who prefer being independent.
  • Insensitive and argumentative women.

Common Things Men Want You To Do

—What men want in a relationship

Every man wants to be loved and respected. But some aspects of a healthy relationship might not be as obvious. Here are some of them:

Voice Your Needs

Contrary to popular belief, men can’t read minds! If you want him to do something, just say it. Don’t wait for him to figure it out, especially when you’re upset with him.

Change Yourself

If you don’t have an issue asking men to change for you, be prepared to do the same for them. Every relationship needs mutual respect, which means you must be willing to become a new person if needed.

Respect Him In Front Of His Friends

Don’t be that girlfriend who makes his man the butt of all jokes; you’re supposed to be his better half! Don’t share embarrassing details, especially not in front of his friends.

It’s okay if you guys joke around privately, but remember to keep a united front in public.

Don’t Tell Him What To Think

It’s okay to have different opinions; respect his views instead of forcing him to accept your ideologies.

For example, we’re very quick to accuse men of misogyny when it isn’t the case most of the time. Have an open discussion and be strong enough to keep an open mind. Our ability to understand each other is one of the most important aspects of being human.

Learn About His Interests

Take an interest in his hobbies no matter how boring you find them. It might be something dull, like collecting vintage posters or trading baseball cards. Whatever it is, try your best to support and participate in it.

Keep Things Spicy In Bed

Merely having basic sex is not enough. Offer your man something special so he doesn’t look for it elsewhere. Fulfill his sexual fantasies, and he will have no interest in cheating.

Conclusion—What Do Men Want in a Relationship

It’s easy to let go of your happiness and needs when you’re a people pleaser. Always remember that your thoughts, opinions, and feelings matter too!

Our guide is supposed to help you navigate a relationship you want to preserve and grow. Although we encourage you to follow our tips, we advise you not to abandon your dignity in this pursuit. Try to maintain a healthy balance between pleasing your man and maintaining your own needs.

Fact checked:
Board reviewed by Marianne Tomlinson, LCSW (Couples and Family Therapy). Content is rigorously reviewed by a team of qualified and experienced fact checkers. Learn more.

About the author

Ryan Sanderson (LCSW) Ryan is a game and relationship enthusiast who enjoys all things quizzes, games, fun, love, relationships, and family. He's a licensed social worker and helps families, couples, and children in need. He's spoken about love and relationships on Salon.com, Forbes, and Mirror, to name a few.

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