Men and women need different things in relationships, sometimes making it hard to recognize when your partner needs something else. Many assume their partner needs the same thing they do, but that’s often not the case.
Understanding the differences and recognizing what men need can help bridge the gap and strengthen your relationship. You’ll know what your man needs to ensure happiness and security within your relationship.
All men are different, but the things discussed below offer a general idea of what to expect. Your man might identify with some of them and not others, offering a good starting point for a discussion. Knowing what he needs can also help you understand his behavior when you react differently in the same situation.
NOTE: If you’d like to read about what women need from their partners besides sex, we cover that separately.
Why Women Don’t Always Understand What Men Need
Sometimes men are misunderstood because of social conditioning. Males are convinced they can’t (or shouldn’t) express their emotions, and women are taught to believe the opposite sex doesn’t have emotional needs. Neither of these things is true, however, causing miscommunication and barriers.
Men don’t openly discuss what they need as often as females do, so they won’t always say what’s on their minds. Other times, males get misunderstood because of a lack of communication. Rather than speaking up when they need something, men tend to stay silent until a needless fight occurs.
Women won’t always know that their partner is staying silent because they’re used to openly expressing themselves. She also won’t always know what he wants or needs because he doesn’t vocalize his feelings as she does. However, if this is the case in your relationship, you can use this article to understand what your man wants.
What Men Need from a Relationship
Understanding what men need can help strengthen your relationship. You’ll know how to meet your partner’s romantic needs and keep the spark alive.
1 – Respect
Men need respect from their partners, and expressions can come in many forms. He wants you to approve of his career, his beliefs or values, and who he is. Your approval shows respect by encouraging him to be himself and chase his dreams.
He’ll struggle to trust you and wonder if you want what’s best for him if he doesn’t feel respected. It can trigger him to feel anxious and like he must change his path or distance himself.
Respect also involves having confidence in your partner. It improves his self-worth as he knows he’s found someone who appreciates who he is.
2 – Honesty and Commitment
Honesty and commitment are essential for a man who wants a long-term relationship. They want mutual trust with their partner, requiring trustworthy behavior from both of you. Men don’t want their partners to hide things, even if the truth is hard to share.
Showing your commitment requires honesty and involves showing that you want to be with him. Express your feelings through words and actions, so there’s no mistaking your intentions.
3 – Open Communication
While men don’t always communicate as well as women, they still need open communication from their partners. They want you to express yourself clearly, so there’s no confusion about what you want or need. Not only does it allow the man to understand you, but it also makes them more likely to open up.
You and your partner will have different opinions and sometimes argue, but it’s still essential to be open about it. It’s the only way to resolve conflict and remedy misunderstandings.
4 – Acceptance and Admiration
Men want their partners to accept them for who they are and admire their efforts. They don’t want you to pressure them to change or strive for unrealistic standards. Your partner wants to know that you see his current achievements and efforts. Men need to know you support them, and your partner will likely respond well to hearing how much you love his ideas. Don’t assume he knows how you feel about him because he might begin to question it unless you speak up.
Thank him for doing things for you or handling issues with your home. Tell him that he makes you feel safe and secure, letting him know you want him around. These moments of admiration will encourage him to keep doing those things, benefiting you both.
Other things you can do or say to express your acceptance and admiration include the following:
- tell him what you find physically attractive about him
- detail how you like it when he does or says something specific
- praise his accomplishments
- thank him for taking you on a date
On the other hand, don’t compare him to others, become judgmental, or criticize him around others. You can offer constructive criticism or ideas in private, but it should never become a public conversation. When you discuss these things, consider following it up with reassurance so that he knows you still appreciate and admire him.
5 – Fun Times with Their Partner
Men sometimes need their space but also want fun times with their partners. Spending time with your partner doing fun activities is essential to meeting his emotional needs. It shows that you’re interested in who he is and values what’s important to him.
One of the best ways to have fun with your partner is to find ways to laugh together. It will help him unwind and relax as they can show their playful side. Learn to enjoy things your partner loves and find new hobbies to learn together. This quality time will remind him that you are his best friend and partner.
Consider planning one day each week to have uninterrupted time together. It helps you connect despite the time constraints of your daily responsibilities. Prioritizing fun time together is what your partner needs, and you’ll also love the memories and bonding opportunities.
You don’t have to spend money to have quality time. Many free or inexpensive options can be the perfect bonding experience. Some ideas include:
- do something that makes you laugh
- ask him to teach you about the hobbies he’s working on
- go on a picnic
- have a game night
- go for a walk in the park or take a hike
- find a free concert or event
- have a beach day
- go geocaching
- play a sport together
6 – Physical Affection
Studies show that men need a sense of physical connection just as much as women do in a romantic relationship. They need to feel deeply connected to their partner, and it doesn’t involve wanting sex. These males often want to hug, hold hands, or share deep kisses.
You can come up and hug your partner from behind or touch his neck and hair while he works on a task. Small gestures like these help him feel loved, strengthening your relationship and bond.
7 – Autonomy and Space
Men love spending time with their partners, but they also need autonomy. They often need to figure things out and act without discussion when solving problems. Once he figures it out, he’ll reengage and be a happier version of himself again.
You might notice that your man sometimes becomes withdrawn and focuses on one specific thing when stressed. On the other hand, women are often different in this approach, preferring communication and expressing emotions.
These differences sometimes confuse women, making them think their partner isn’t interested. However, it’s just how they process and work through problems. Giving them the space will show them that you understand who they are and how they function.
It’s often best not to pressure him to talk about it when he’s trying to solve the problem. Let him know you’re there, and then let him have his space to regroup. He’ll appreciate your trust and the bond you have that allows him to take his time without upsetting you.
Don’t try to change who he is. Don’t change his friends, hobbies, and interests, or relationships with family members. Forcing him to be like you or who you want him to be isn’t what a man needs from you. Giving him autonomy also involves letting him do things without you sometimes. He needs the freedom to engage in hobbies alone or spend time with friends.
Final Thoughts on Things Men Need from a Relationship
Men need different things than women in a romantic relationship. You can implement boundaries that respect your needs while allowing your man to maintain his needs.
If you’re a woman looking to strengthen your relationship, consider making some changes to help meet your man’s emotional needs. Men reading this, consider asking your partner to implement some of the strategies discussed here. Discussing these needs can deepen your bond and help you and your partner understand one another better.
Everyone and every relationship differ, making the discussion essential to nailing down which ones your partner needs. It’s not a process of blaming one another but a discussion of how to love one another in the way they need. Learning what men need can help improve your relationship and recognize the differences.