As I matchmaker, I talk to men all day long about what they look for in women they consider to be long-term relationship material. Turns out, most guys want much more than just big boobs or a Kardashian-esque butt. What they’re looking for might just surprise you.
A woman who’s passionate While women sometimes tell me the exact dollar amount they’d like for their partner to earn, men are usually more concerned with passion. They want to know that the woman they’re meeting is passionate about her job even if that means she makes a fraction of his salary.
A woman who can support herself That being said, few men I talk to really want to bear the burden of completely supporting a household on their own. Some do say they’d be open to supporting their wives once they have kids, but while they’re dating, most men don’t want to have to worry about their partner’s financial situation and they definitely don’t want to feel like a sugar daddy.
A dynamic woman Women tend to be attracted to stability but men crave range. When it comes to attention spans, guys are generally on the shorter side of the spectrum and need constant stimulation. My work as a matchmaker has certainly confirmed this. “Dynamic” is one of the words most often used by men to describe their dream woman. What they mean is that they want a woman who loves her job but also has plenty of interests outside of work, a curious mind, and a diversity of life experiences. Basically, men want to feel there’s always going to be something undiscovered and worth exploring in their partner. Women should take note because mystery is actually a key component of a successful relationship.
A support system Like women, what men ultimately want in a long-term partnership is someone they can rely on. Many men, especially wealthy men, have experienced fair-weather partners. Now they’re looking for someone they can lean on when times get hard. Men are expected to be strong all the time, but that’s just not a realistic expectation. Lots of men I speak with feel awkward admitting this, either because it seems cliche or because they don’t want to admit weakness, but that doesn’t change the fact that this seems to be a universal desire in love.
A woman who’s fit and healthy There’s no question that men tend to place a high value on appearance. While plenty of them feel uncomfortable defining what they find attractive, nearly all say they want a fit, healthy woman who takes care of herself. Sometimes, this is a euphemism for skinny, but most of the times what they mean is someone who’s committed to self-care, health, and becoming the best version of herself.
A challenge Contrary to popular belief, men actually don’t like everything to be easy for them. Most men (and women!) tell me they want someone who’s going to challenge them. This could be everything from witty banter to calling them out on their crap to dragging them to a museum. On that note, men also don’t want a woman who gives them everything they want—that means a woman who holds out on sex until there’s commitment and is able to voice her needs early on is perceived as incredibly desirable.
Someone who contributes positively to society Again, men aren’t usually that obsessive about what their partner does for work, but they do often express an attraction to careers that provide nourishment for the community. Careers men regularly tell me they attracted to include nursing, teaching, social work, NGO work, and anything in the social impact space. Obviously, most of these careers aren’t bringing home six figures. My hypothesis for why men tend to be attracted to these careers is because they show the nurturing side of women that men are so drawn to.
Confidence Something I hear all the time from men is, “I don’t care what she looks like or what her body type is as long as she carries herself with confidence.” In this regard, men and women tend to be in agreement. Both men and women will usually find the more confident date to be the sexier of the bunch, regardless of whether they meet society’s conventional beauty standards.
A world traveler Something that surprised me when I started matchmaking was how many of my clients say that travel is their #1 passion. Both my male and female clients tell me they want someone who has traveled the world extensively. Why? They argue that travel helps you to develop greater awareness, maturity, and intellectual curiosity—and they definitely aren’t wrong. In fact, I can usually perceive a difference in perspective between people who have spent a lot of time abroad versus those who haven’t, and I often don’t set them up with each other.
Someone to grow with I’m not going to lie, I speak to plenty of narcissistic men who think they’re God’s gift to women, but most men are willing to admit to me that they aren’t perfect. A good man will not only admit this but express a desire to be better. While it’s never a woman’s responsibility to make her partner a better person, both men and women I speak to tell me they want someone who will hold them accountable for growth and personal development. At the end of the day, emotionally mature people want someone to grow with, not a yes person.
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