A few years back I found myself on an online dating site. I know, crazy, right? I mean, I’m paralysed from the neck down… What was I thinking? Luckily for me my story had a fairytale ending.
I learnt a lot about men during that period but probably the most poignant was….Not all men are dogs.
In fact, very few are. Shamefully, I’d allowed my past hurts and disappointments to destroy trust and I’d unconsciously put all men in the same box.
The truth is that men are just as vulnerable to being hurt. As I heard story after story from heartbroken men behind their computer screens, I came to the conclusion that some women can be blatantly mean and nasty. Many take the men in their lives for granted and treat them terribly.
Men have similar needs and desires to any woman.
So exactly what is it that men want from their lady in a relationship?
Isn’t that what we all want? It doesn’t mean you have to be like, “Yes sir. No sir. Three bags full sir.”
Mutual respect for one another is probably the most important factor in any relationship. Respect is defined differently by each of us. For me, respect is about choosing to accept your man, flaws and all, and still feeling appreciation for his uniqueness, talents and insights. It’s about making him feel worthy. Love is wonderful but respect is the glue that cultivates deeply connected and lasting relationships.
Be aware of being overcritical. Nobody is perfect. See him as your equal and don’t try to mother him. He’s not a little boy.
Sex is important, but intimacy extends beyond genitals. Being an athlete in bed has nothing whatsoever to do with the quality of a committed relationship. Relationships based purely on the physical will eventually crumble because no human is guaranteed a life without encountering health issues, financial problems, family troubles, spiritual or philosophical differences, social dilemmas or disability.
Men probably need a sense of sexual connection a little bit more than women, but it can be from something as simple as physical touch and affection. Let go of what you think sex is supposed to be and consider what it can be. Kissing, cuddling, talking and fantasising are not compromises. These “alternatives” have more erotic potential than you think.
Be yourself and let things happen naturally. Allow your relaxed and fun side to shine through. Men love confidence and when you can let things roll off your back. Attraction is not all about looks. It’s also about the attitude you have. A positive attitude is attractive while a negative attitude can be a huge turnoff.
Ladies put your arms around your man and squeeze him tight even if it’s for no other reason than simply because you can.
Emotional intimacy is a combination of personality, passion for life, intelligence, opinions, sense of humour and shared interests. Any relationship without a meaningful spiritual and emotional connection will not survive any of life’s curved balls.
Silent treatment does not work. Trust me. It might sound like a cliche, but communication is the key. Communication also involves listening. It’s not just about talking. Some women want to talk things through endlessly and men don’t respond well to that.
Typically South African men have been brought up in a “Cowboys don’t cry” society. Bottling emotion up inside can turn us into a pressure cooker ready to explode which isn’t good for anyone. Men don’t often show their feelings easily but he does need a few people he can open up to. Give your man a safe place to fall. Be his best friend and allow him to talk, share his emotions and, most importantly, cry.
Men have infamously tender egos. Society places a lot of pressure on them to provide for their families and in this economic climate that’s not always easy. So a pat on the back from his lady will encourage him to continue to give his best to his family in every way he can.
Remember to keep him in the loop and involve him in plans that you are making with family and friends. Being able to communicate and compromise is the mark of a mature relationship.
Giving your man space doesn’t mean that he needs to go to a pub with the boys every night but he does need time to relax. Maybe he needs to play sport, go into his man cave or stay in bed with a book or skop-skiet-en-donner movie for a couple of hours a week.
Men tend to think in a more compartmentalised way than women. They have the unique ability to switch off. So if you ask your man what he’s thinking and he answers, “Nothing.” Then let him be for a while. Don’t nag.
Love with abandonment, generosity and kindness. Never take love for granted.
I’d love to hear from you. What do you think men need from women and their relationships?