One key difference I’ve observed between men and women is that women seem to be much more aware of what they want and need in a relationship…and aren’t afraid to express it. Men, for various reasons, aren’t always so in tune with what they really need in order to feel loved and fulfilled in a relationship, and the ones who are aware will seldom come right out and say it.
It makes sense from an intellectual standpoint. From an early age women learn to cultivate close, intimate relationships and they learn what makes them feel cared for and understood. Male friendships don’t usually have the same depth and level of closeness, so men typically enter the realm of emotional awareness later in life, usually when they form relationships with women.
A guy generally won’t ask for what he needs because a lot of the time, he doesn’t even know what it is. But then when you give it to him, it feels amazing. He feels appreciated and loved, and he comes to love you even more.
And with that, here are the top five things guys secretly love and want from you, but will seldom ask for.
No man will ever come right out and tell you he likes it when you compliment him because it’s a weird thing to ask for, and also not very “manly,” if you will. But just because he doesn’t ask, doesn’t mean he doesn’t crave.
Men also feel insecure about their physical appearance, and they don’t get nearly as much validation as we do. Think about it, when a guy posts a picture on Facebook or goes out with friends he doesn’t have a loyal band of cheerleaders commenting on how great he looks. When it comes to his physical appearance, you’re really his only source of compliments, so load him up! Tell him you think that shirt is sexy on him, that you can tell he’s been working out hard at the gym, that a certain color makes his eyes look even more striking, that his hair looks sexy pushed back … you get the point!
2. When you ask for his advice
You know how amazing it feels when your man cherishes and adores you and showers you with love? Well he gets the same feeling when you ask for his advice. Men have an overwhelming need to feel useful, to feel like they have something of value to offer. This is true in all areas of his life and especially so in relationships. He wants to feel like he is adding to your life in a meaningful way, and you can help him feel this way by soliciting his advice and opinions.
When I get relationship questions from readers I love sharing them with my husband just to get his take and insights. Usually I already know the answer to the problem (I’ve been doing this for quite a while now!) but I still love sharing it with him and getting his feedback. And he absolutely lights up when given the chance to offer his input.
Men in general are very solution-oriented and thrive when there is something to be solved. That’s why a man will typically try to solve your problems when you talk to him about something that’s upsetting you, something most women get frustrated by because all we really want in those moments is emotional support, and men don’t realize that giving said support is more of a solution to the problem than actually solving the problem! (And if your guy does this, try not to get angry at him, just kindly tell him you appreciate his advice, but right now you just want his emotional support.)
3. When you desire him
You don’t always need to wait for him to initiate physical affection. Men love feeling like they’re irresistible—like you are turned on by him and can’t get enough—so flirt with him, seduce him, initiate physical intimacy. A huge turn-on for a man is seeing how turned on his woman is by him!
MORE: How to Turn a Man On
4. When you tell him what you want in a way that makes him feel good
Men want to make the woman they are with happy; this is actually one of the biggest driving forces for a man in a relationship. In fact, if a man doesn’t think he can make a particular woman happy, he most likely won’t want to continue a relationship with her. And men appreciate it when you tell them how to make you happy as long as it’s done in the right way. The right way does not include nagging, guilting, lecturing, or shaming. It entails lovingly telling him what you like and what you want in a way that makes him feel good. Framing something as, “I really love it when you …” rather than “Why don’t you ever …” is a good place to start.
When you lecture a man or come down on him for what he’s doing wrong, he feels like a failure. He also feels like a little kid being scolded by mommy for misbehaving. When you tell him what you want in a way that makes him feel good, he feels good about doing it and good about himself because he knows how to make you happy.
One of the greatest feelings to a man in a relationship is feeling like he has a woman in his corner, someone who believes in him no matter what and sees him for the great man he is and the amazing man he could be. There is comfort in knowing that you will be there for him even if he fails, especially since failure is the hardest thing for men to deal with. When you support him and believe in him, and it comes from a true and genuine place, he feels on top of the world, like he can do anything. Most women don’t realize the enormous impact our approval has on men; in fact, I would say your guy is starving for your approval. When you’re proud of him, it is a huge driving force. Conversely, when you’re disappointed in him, it’s crippling and makes him feel like a worthless loser.
All the five things listed actually fall under the umbrella of the number one thing all men want but will never tell you and that is … appreciation.
Appreciation is probably the biggest motivator for a man and it’s something most are starved for. In order to keep your relationship happy and fulfilling, it’s crucial to express appreciation for all the things he does, both big and small. As I mentioned, men are starved for your approval and they need to feel like winners. When you express genuine appreciation, you’re killing two birds with one stone and giving him the greatest gift you can give. The worst thing you can do is to expect certain things from him or act entitled.
Appreciation isn’t just about what he does for you, it’s about appreciating who he is. Show appreciation for his good qualities, his values, his ambitions, his life choices. Find those things you love about him and show him you appreciate them. Don’t assume he just knows, because he doesn’t. This is probably the most powerful and transformative relationship skill that you can ever master.
Got something else to add? Share it in comments!
– Sabrina Alexis