What Men Really Want from a Lover

 In Embracing our connection, Shifting cultural paradigm

What do guys really want? Male stereotypes might have you believe that joining our pals for binge watching NCAA basketball tourney games while consuming lots of cold beer and hot pizza fulfill our ultimate desire. However, we guys have deeper wants and needs to share with our female counterparts, wants and needs that often go unspoken. So in the interest of greater XX-XY harmony, here are ten things a lot of us guys really want from the women in our lives.

We want you to tell us what you want. Of course, sharing what you really want from us doesn’t that_was_a_good_oneguarantee you’ll get it. But it sure as hell increases the odds. Plus it eliminates the need for us to make dubious assumptions, take half-assed guesses or play mind reader. For starters maybe you could tell us how and when you prefer to be touched, how you want to be comforted when you’re feeling low and what really turns you on in bed.

When we’re grumpy, sullen or withdrawn, we want you to understand that it’s probably not about you. We guys have our ups and downs just like you do. Often we’re not even conscious of what’s going on. We just know something’s not quite right, and we tend to pull back. From your perspective, it may be easy to think we’re pissed at you or dissatisfied with the relationship, when frequently it’s just that we’re not at peace with ourselves, which brings us to . . .

We sometimes want time alone. Don’t take our desire for solitude personally. Occasionally we just want some down time to “be,” to consider our own wants and needs, to reconnect with who we really are so that we don’t become enmeshed with you, so that we can come back and offer you the best of who we are.

Just listen when we dream out loud. Sometimes we guys like to talk about our dreams. When we do so we are not asking for your approval, feedback, opinion on how realistic they are or strategies for achieving them. We’re merely having fun envisioning future possibilities that we may or may not intend to actually manifest.

If you’re pissed about something, put it out straight. If we do something you don’t like, we’d appreciate it if you’d share your displeasure then and there. It might not be very pleasant, but it’s a hell of lot better for us than being blindsided by pent up resentment that leaks out hours, days or even months after the original event occurred.

Be gentle with your language. Frequently teasing, clever banter and wisecracks directed toward us or toward the male sex in general are actually thinly disguised criticism and disapproval. This kind of behavior tears at the fabric of our connection, and when we’re on the receiving end, it hurts more than we’re typically willing to let on.

We like to be acknowledged. Let us know when we’ve done something for which you are grateful. A simple, sincere “thank you” can foster a stronger connection between us as well as increase our desire to replicate the action or way of being.

We want you to love us as we are. Guys are not here to live up to your expectations. We’re not projects or fixer-uppers. As the eminent philosopher Popeye the Sailor Man once said, “I yam what I yam and that’s all what I yam.” Having said that . . .

We want you to help us remember who we are when we forget. As members of the human race, we sometimes forget who we really are and what the hell we’re doing here. At times like these we yearn for you to nudge us in the right direction. We may resist at first, but when you compassionately remind us of our strengths, our personal power and the gifts we have to offer the world, we’ll ultimately be deeply grateful for your love and support.

Fully commit to the relationship. Yeah, we know. We’re supposed to be the ones with commitment issues. But when we’re assured that you’re in all the way, the space is opened for us to join you. And when that happens, there’s no more looking around for someone better, no more “should I stay or should I go,” no more exit strategies. We’re both on firm ground and can relax and enjoy it.

When all’s said and done, we’re not the indifferent, irascible bad boys, the technoholic geeks, or the politically correct metrosexuals we may sometimes appear to be. Whether intentionally or instinctively, we guys want to know it’s safe to be vulnerable, and we want to express our deep longing to love and be loved.

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This essay was posted originally at The Good Men Project. An earlier version titled “What guys really want” was published in the June 2007 edition of WNC Woman.

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