What Men Want In A Relationship (But Are Afraid To Ask For)

What Men Want In A Relationship (But Are Afraid To Ask For)

Men aren’t known for speaking up about their needs and desires.

One thing my husband has learned in nearly seven years of marriage is that it’s beneficial to walk me through what he wants in our relationship. This lesson would’ve saved us so many arguments in our dating years. However, he’s not alone. Whether men don’t want to come off too emotional or they’re afraid their request will make a woman run, there are some things the male species is wary of putting out on the table. Meanwhile, for us ladies, when we understand what makes men tick, we can approach them with more straightforward conversations that won’t waste anyone’s time. Here are a few things men want in a relationship (but are afraid to ask for).

1. A listening ear

Women are often the species associated with “the gift of gab.” My husband often jokes about me, my mom, and my sister: “Somehow, between going to bed and waking up, y’all have new content to discuss. Nothing happened while you were asleep, so what’s there to talk about?” However, there are situations when men need someone they can talk to, whether they need advice, a person to vent to, or simply a listening ear. They experience life’s highs and lows too and often need a fresh perspective from someone they can trust.

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2. Someone who won’t use information as ammunition

If a guy talks to you about the deep stuff, don’t use this information as ammunition for later. If he’s venting frustrations about his mother, it’s disrespectful and super tacky to use those same complaints to hurl insults at her when you get a chance to take a mother-in-law jab. If he’s explaining where he feels insecure, don’t use that against him when you two are in a disagreement.

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3. Someone who won’t nag

In our first couple of years of marriage, I was an awful—awful—nagger. If I wanted him to do something, I was relentless in reminding him. Whether I needed him to remember to finish the new baseboards in the guest bedroom or wanted him to know how much I didn’t want to attend a certain family function, I was constantly in his ear. (How annoying is that?!) As Psychology Today notes, no one wants to have someone on their case 24/7!

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4. Someone who respects their family

You don’t have to like his family, but so long as they haven’t crossed any boundaries with you, respect them. It’s a common courtesy that gives people dignity, but it’s especially important to extend this consideration when talking about our significant other’s family. (Pro tip: the more compassionate and forbearing you are with his family, the easier it is for him to be compassionate and forbearing with your family.)

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5. “Me” time

There are days when I need time to myself. Though that’s much harder as a mama, my husband will take our son for a few hours so I can get out of the house, go to my favorite coffee shop, and get some writing done. Just as I get my “me” time, it’s only fair that my husband gets his. While men and women are different, both are human and need personal time to reflect, refresh, and recharge.

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6. Someone who gets their need for physical intimacy

In most romantic relationships, the guy is more sexually driven. However, the best way to ensure that boundaries for the guy and the girl are respected is for both parties to feel comfortable having open and honest conversations. This allows both parties to establish where they are with the sexual aspect of the relationship. Just as girls want this level of comfortability to set firm lines, the good guys do too.

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7. Someone who honors their love language

Just because a sweet handwritten note is what makes you feel all mushy and loved doesn’t mean that’s the way the man in your life best feels loved. Most guys don’t want to talk about their “love language,” but they have an innate desire to be loved in a way that specifically addresses their needs.

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8. The opportunity to protect and provide

Call it archaic, old-fashioned, whatever you’d like, but most men want to be the protector. It’s a biological strength and stamina they are equipped to use as a means to defend the people they love. Of course, some men abuse this gift—and this abuse should never be tolerated. But when a guy has the selfless desire to use his physical ability to protect and provide, let him honor you in that way.

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9. Financial respect

I’ll be real honest with you—I know so many women who don’t want a guy to open the door for them… but he better open up his wallet. Ladies, let’s pick a side here. Just as we want to be respected for our hard work, our paychecks, and how we choose to spend our money, let’s divvy that same respect to the men in our lives.

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10. Time with their friends

men drinking alcohol at the pub

You enjoy your Galentine’s Day dinners, trips to the nail salon, and all those last-minute movie binges with your friends. So why can’t the guy in your life enjoy the same freedoms with his friends? Of course, there’s something to be said for ensuring priorities are in order, but if they are, don’t berate him for wanting to golf one pretty Saturday afternoon. Don’t hate on him for shooting pool for a friend’s birthday. Let him enjoy his friends like you do yours.

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11. Freedom to lead

Just as men have a biological desire to protect and provide, they often have the same instinct for leadership. They want to lead their families well, and when this is of importance to a guy, it’s crucial that you let him lead. This doesn’t mean he should be jealous, dogmatic, and controlling… there’s a huge difference. But give the gentleman in your life a chance to make big decisions and steer your relationship in an honoring, loving direction.

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12. The space to be angry

Us ladies can get mad. We can be petty. We can throw tantrums. But the second a man does this, we want to scream that he’s immature. But here’s the thing: men and women alike should understand that anger is a natural emotion. Anger isn’t the enemy. The issue arises when you don’t handle the anger properly. When a guy has a righteous reason to be furious about something, let him feel angry.

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13. Freedom from physical abuse

“Oh, I’ve definitely slapped my husband.” “Uh, yeah. I’ve hit my fiancé.” I’ve heard these things from women more times than I can count. If we’re the ones beating up on guys, quite literally, it’s kind of tough for us to say that men are always the abusers. While men might not say it, they really want freedom from physical abuse. If they don’t dish it out to you, you owe it to them to keep your hands off. (If they do dish it out, walk away. You deserve better.)

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14. Not to be rushed/pressured

Handsome young man standing and posing in the streets of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Cold facts: if a guy wants to, he will. If he wants to ask you to marry him, he will. Don’t rush or pressure him into something if he’s not ready. Just as you don’t like to be rushed when you’re getting ready for date night or when you aren’t comfortable pulling the trigger on a college or career, don’t make him feel like he has to make big decisions just because you’re driving him crazy.

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15. The benefit of the doubt

Happy male person face home portrait. Blue eyes looking at camera close up. Joyful bristle surfer man long hair. Smiling shy guy. Kind casual people. Young adult hippie inside house. Hipster hairstyle

If a man hasn’t done anything to break your trust, you owe him the benefit of the doubt. He might not want to come out and say this because he hopes you just take him for his word. But believe him if he’s believable. If you want him to honor and respect who you say you are and who you show yourself to be, give him the same grace.

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Peyton Garland is a boy mama and Tennessee farmer who loves sharing her heart on OCD, postpartum life, and hope in the messy places.