This question has been one that most men spend their lives trying and mostly unsuccessful to figure out. What do women want? Books and movies have been made about it; men have spent fortunes in pursuit of it; reputations have been staked upon and lost in the timeless search for the answer.
It’s not always easy to parse out what the person sitting across from you wants in a relationship. Sure, you could always ask the woman you’re dating what she wants (and in fact, you should), but let’s be honest: That’s easier said than done.
While there have been theories that illicit relationships offer a window like no other into the mysteries of female desire. Perhaps this is because, in the context of marriage and committed relationships, women are still accustomed to doing things according to cultural norms and expectations — whether due to pressure, obligation, or simply as part of a trade-off.
It is believed that women in marriage or relationships tell us less about what they want than about what they value. In their affairs, however, we get a penetrating glimpse into their free will. Far be it to justify infidelity, however, research has shown that the truth often hides in places that are less comfortable.
Away from this theory, if you ask a woman what she wants – or what women want in general – she’ll respond with a variety of possible answers.
“What women want is a good guy to take care of them,” she may tell you.
“What women want is a confident man who makes them feel good,” she might say.
“What women want is to feel loved and free,” she could offer.
While all of these are accurate, to a certain degree they only scratch the surface of what women want. Women want a lot more than what those statements might imply; in fact, give a woman a man who meets every requirement she says she wants, and it is guaranteed that in two to four years, she’ll have grown increasingly bored and unsatisfied with him.
To understand the answer to that question, first, let’s try to get an idea of how women function in and view relationships.
HOW WOMEN VIEW RELATIONSHIPS
This is really a controversial statement to make and might cause an uproar with feminists, but women in relationships are followers. What that means is that they provide the support role, and they also look to the individual in the leadership role (the man) to provide answers, guidance, decision-making, and fairness. They also rely on him to make them happy and content, since as followers relying on someone else to make the main decisions that affect their lives, their ability to have their needs met, and happiness fostered and upheld, is to a large extent dependent upon his actions.
Most western women will not outrightly agree that men are leaders in relationships and women are followers. Most of them will tell you that a relationship is a partnership between equals because Western society has tended for so many years to view relationships this way. A study of the Western society before about 1960 or so – and if you look at any other society on this planet right now, today – shows that the belief is completely different.
Men and women are different. Men and women play different roles in relationships, just like they play different roles pretty much everywhere else. The societies that understand these differences, accepted them, and embraced them tend to have far lower divorce rates and more effective and satisfying long-term partnerships between couples. References to this are the Indians, Chinese, and Koreans, and so on.
The chief point of our discussion here on gender roles in relationships, though, is that it’s a man’s responsibility to give his woman what she needs. Any man who does not believe that, or decides to shirk his responsibility to his woman because he doesn’t think he should have to do anything other than whatever it is he wants to do, is probably not going to hold onto his girl for all that long.
In order to give a woman what she wants, a man’s got to have some idea of what women want in the first place.
And most men don’t have a clue.
FRIENDS, LOVERS, AND PROVIDERS
Few women will not admit to it to anyone but their closest and most trusted friends; because of society’s bias against sexually liberated women (even in today’s politically correct environment, where we are all supposedly “equal”), a woman who admits enjoying flings, hook-ups, and casual sex is often branded a “slut” and looked down upon. Other women will attack her, claiming that they, of course, would never engage in such activities; men will be dismissive toward her, valuing her only for physical enjoyment and not as relationship material. It’s in most women’s interests to be very guarded about their sexuality, even in our “liberated” day and age, and it’s easy to see why.
The fact is that all but the most sexually repressed women enjoy casual sex with men who fall into the lover category, and most women have three primary categories that they fit men they want to keep in their lives into. Those categories consist of:
Friends are the men women feel contribute to their lives, but they have no romantic or sexual interest in. Women have a great knack for holding onto men who make their lives better; maybe those men help them at work, or give them rides in their cars, or buy them food or gifts, or give them good conversation. It’s rare for women to intentionally lead these men on; oftentimes, men in the “friends” zone are thinking that if they are nice enough to women, they’ll get a relationship or physical intimacy eventually, but the women these men are spending time with usually are really, honestly viewing them as “just friends” and are oblivious to any ulterior motives of the men they slot into the “friends” zone.
Lovers are the men women feel sexual and romantically attracted to but see no long-term potential with, whether that’s because they live too far apart (if one of them is on holiday when they meet, for instance) or because the man in question is attached (he has a girlfriend or wife), or because he has some other strike against him (he’s unemployed, not intelligent or educated enough, etc.). Because they see no long term potential in him but feel attraction for him, women give themselves permission to engage in quick intimacy, seeing no need to prolong gratification since there’s no reason to try and rope him into a relationship.
Providers are the men women feel attracted to and see long-term potential with, as well. Even if a woman finds a man incredibly sexually attractive, she’ll often control herself and put the brakes on if she also thinks he’s a strong candidate for becoming a future boyfriend or husband. Most women know, whether through instinct or experience, that men value women more highly whom it takes them a greater amount of time and effort to become intimate with – so they make these men wait, in the hopes of achieving some level of commitment and increasing their desirability to these men as relationship material.
Women want all of these men in their lives. For almost any woman, if she could find one man who met all the requirements of a friend, a lover, and a provider, he’d be her dream guy. He’d be Mr. Right.
By understanding what women look for in friends, lovers, and providers, though, we can begin to close in on what women want, exactly; the qualities, traits, and attributes women select for, and how important they are.
So a breakdown of each category:
Thoughtful, supportive, and considerate
Accepting and non-judgmental
Uplifting and encouraging
Exciting and stimulating
Physically and romantically aggressive and affectionate
Dominant and sexy
Charming and witty
Fun, different, refreshing; a break from the ordinary
Providers are a combination of the qualities of Friends and Lovers – although most of those qualities are demonstrated to a lesser degree in Providers than they are in Friends and Lovers. Providers also are:
Stable, secure, and reliable
High status / financially successful / resourceful
The big secret that most men never seem to realize is this: being just one of those types of guys isn’t enough.
That’s right – it’s not enough to just be a woman’s friend. Or a lover. Or a provider.
Women eventually get bored with the friends and providers and long for the excitement of a lover. But once they’ve had a lover for a while, they begin to long for the comfort of a friend, or the security and stability of a provider. There is this constant shifting of desires toward the thing they do not have – and the shifting never stops.
No matter how amazing a man is, his woman will never be 100% happy. But that doesn’t mean a woman can’t be 99% happy. Because if we know that women aren’t happy with a guy who falls into just one of those categories above, we also know something else by deduction. We know they want a guy who’s more than just fitting the mold.
In other words, what women want – what they really want – is everything in all three of those lists above. Women want the traits possessed by friends, lovers, and providers. And one other thing. Once women get an amazing guy, they need to be reminded of it – they need to be shaken out of acclimation and prevented from taking their amazing man for granted.
BECOMING WHAT WOMEN WANT
Becoming what women want is no easy task. Most men target one category and establish themselves in it – they become good at making friends with women, for instance, or get good at being the sexy guy that women want to have a fling with, or become the guy who competes for women on traditional dates and romantic excursions, but for a man to really give a woman what she wants, he’s got to do more than be just one of the men from those categories.
He’s got to do his best to be all of them, and he’s got to make sure his woman doesn’t forget that he is all of them. Which means she should ideally see women flirting with him occasionally, and they will have to fight and make up occasionally.
So what do women want? Women want; plainly and simply, a friend, lover, and provider all in one. One man, with all of those characteristics. Every woman’s dream man, and this man must challenge her, win her friends and family over to his side, and create a “bubble” of “us vs. the world”, create a feeling that the two of them are close and inseparable and working together through thick and thin, all the while always knowing – and keeping her aware, in the back of her head.
If a man wants a healthy relationship over the long-term with a woman, however, he must seek to combine the three paths and offer everything offered with each, and he must always remember to include growth, change, and challenge in the relationship to keep things fresh and keep his woman engaged in it. People resist routine with all their might; and the more passionate the woman, the more passionately she will resist sameness and familiarity and seek out novelty.
So… What do women want? They want a man who has become what they want and need.