ANM was essentially built on one epiphany: women are desperate to understand men!
This site started out as a fashion and beauty blog, but quickly evolved once Eric and I saw the widespread, voracious demand for quality relationship content that focused on explaining male behavior.
And I fully get it because I was once the classic girl who was left confused time and time again by the way men behaved. I was perpetually trying to piece my broken heart back together and trying to understand where it all went wrong and what I missed and how I didn’t see it coming.
It’s exhausting and painful and has caused so many of us to become closed off and jaded. But men really aren’t that complicated (as the title of our first book so bluntly puts it!). Once you understand a few key things about male behavior, it all will make a whole lot go sense and then you will have the gift of clarity, and clarity is empowering!
MORE: 5 Things Every Woman Needs to Know About Men
Maybe you want to know what men want in a relationship, what they want in a girlfriend or wife, what makes men fall in love, or why they do the hurtful things they do. I understand that burning need to know. And while there are universals to explain male behavior, there are of course always exceptions. I just want to throw that out there because I know everyone knows someone who defies the norm.
But generally, there are universal differences between men and woman that can apply to most men and most women. And here they are:
How to Understand Men
Men Aren’t As Comfortable Navigating Emotional Waters
Here is something that a lot of women may know but not really think about or realize: Men enter the realm of emotions much later in life than women.
Think about the way young girls bond. They stay up until the wee hours of the night on the phone or at sleepover parties talking about their hopes, their fears, their crushes, and they don’t feel ashamed discussing their feelings or showing emotion. In fact, they’re encouraged to do so.
Boys bond over sports and video games and seldom cry to their guy friends when they’re having a rough time.Young boys don’t stay up late talking about their feelings, they play video games and rip on each other. Men don’t enter the realm of emotional disclosure until later in life when they start having relationships with women, so they are already starting out at a disadvantage and have years of catching up to do!
Men are also socialized not to show emotion from an early age. They are taught “boys don’t cry” and are shamed if they are too “sensitive” or show too much emotion, so they learn to just bury these things away. And undoing a default mode isn’t the easiest thing.
As a result, men aren’t as good at recognizing their emotions or processing them. This is why men will often shut down and withdraw when dealing with stress or difficulties. He doesn’t know how to deal with such things out in the world. Heavy emotions are only allowed out behind closed doors.
He also isn’t as able to pick up on your emotions, so it’s a mistake to drop hints and expect him to know what’s wrong and know how to fix it.
MORE: 5 Things Guys Secretly Want From You
Men Are Competitive and Need to Feel Like Winners
Men are naturally more competitive than women. This has an evolutionary basis, it’s called survival of the fittest. Back in the days before grocery stores, men had to outperform the competition or they would either starve or be eaten by a lion.
Times may have taken a turn for the more convenient, but the male competitive drive still remains.These days it manifests as guys taking competitive jobs, playing competitive sports, or just competing with each other to get the best girls.
Next, men need to feel like winners. This is everything to a man. He needs to feel like his efforts are translating into success, like he’s having a positive impact on the world. This will look different for every guy. For some guys, it will mean earning a prestigious position. For others, it might mean making a certain amount of money. For other guys, it might mean conquering some sort of difficult physical challenge, like running a marathon or climbing a mountain.
When it comes to relationships, he wants to feel like you chose him because he won you, not because you were desperate and wanted a boyfriend and any man with a pulse will do. He wants to feel like he snagged a woman who could have had any guy but chose him because he’s the best.
This does not mean you play games and make him chase you. This means you are a woman of high value. You know what you want and know you deserve the relationship you want and you aren’t afraid to walk away from a situation that isn’t what you want.
This is very different than a woman who sticks around even when a guy says he doesn’t want to be in a relationship with her because she thinks a non-relationship is better than no relationship.
If a guy senses that he will lose you unless he steps up, he will step up. No man is willingly going to risk losing a girl he likes to someone else. If he knows he needs to bring his A-game in order to keep you, he will.
MORE: What Men Want to Hear
Men Are Natural Problem Solvers
Here’s a situation every woman has been through. Something upsetting happened to you, you try to talk about it with your guy, and instead of showing compassion, he just gives you a solution and then doesn’t understand why you’re still upset.
This is a classic issue that comes up over and over again in relationships. Men don’t typically feel better just by airing out their feelings and getting sympathy. In fact, this will only make them feel worse. When a guy is dealing with something difficult, all he wants is a solution so he can eradicate the problem as quickly as possible. Like I said earlier, men are uncomfortable dealing with difficult emotions. So when difficult emotions arise, he wants to find the fastest route to getting rid of them.
Men don’t realize that just talking about a problem is what makes a woman feel better. Most men see talking about a problem as a waste of time. They don’t realize that it has therapeutic value to a woman, or that sometimes all she needs is a hug and a sympathetic ear in order to feel better.
How it usually plays out is you come to him because you’re upset, he doesn’t seem to have any compassion and instead offers you a solution, you get upset that he isn’t being more sensitive, he thinks you’re being irrational because he gave you the solution so what else is there to discuss? and you throw your hands up in frustration and deem him an insensitive jerk.
A much better strategy is to just tell him what it is you need from him. Tell him you just need some empathy and just need someone to vent to. Tell him that this is what will make you feel better, you just need some extra love, not a solution.
Men want to make their woman happy. And like I said, men want to feel like winners. The best gift you can give your man is clear instructions on what he can do to make you happy. This is really all he needs to be happy in a relationship!
MORE: How to Know if He Truly Loves You
Men Aren’t Trying to Hurt You
Just because men aren’t as comfortable dealing with emotions doesn’t mean they are insensitive jerks, They just operate on a different wavelength than most women, and that’s fine!
A lot of the time a man wasn’t intentionally trying to hurt you. He was actually trying to avoid hurting you, but sometimes the hurt is inevitable. A classic example is when a guy “ghosts” or disappears on you. Most of the time he isn’t trying to be cruel. In his mind, you both were on the same page and you knew it wasn’t going to work out. Or he is just so afraid of hurting you that he pushes off having the conversation. He did fully intend to call you to end the relationship, but he just can’t bear to hear the hurt in your voice so he pushes it off. Then enough time goes by and thinks you’ve probably moved on by now so it would be silly to have that conversation.
Now I’m not justifying the behavior. I’m just explaining what typically goes on in a man’s mind (and I’ve interviewed countless men on this topic!).
MORE: Exactly What Men Really Need From A Woman
Men Don’t Need a Perfect 10
Yes, men are visual creatures. Yes, looks often matter more to men than women. Yes, attraction is instant for a man, it’s either there or it isn’t. It doesn’t usually grow over time like it can for a woman.
But good looks will only get you so far. Looks may capture his eye, but charm and smarts and a good vibe are what capture his heart. Yes, it’s important to try and look your best. Dress to flatter your shape, exercise to look and feel good, use makeup to enhance your attributes, but don’t think you need to look like a cover girl to get a guy. Your vibe is much more powerful than mastering the heart of highlighting and contouring.
A good vibe means you are in a good mood most of the time. As a result, it feels good to be around you. You don’t get stuck in your head, worrying and obsessing over negative thoughts. You bring happiness and positivity into your interactions and radiate a warmth and a light that people are naturally drawn to.
MORE: What Men Wish Women Knew
Men Aren’t Anti-Commitment
One of the most widespread and prevailing stereotypes about men is that they’re terrified of commitment and monogamy. This isn’t true at all. Men aren’t afraid of relationships, they’re afraid of being in bad relationships. They’re afraid of losing themselves, of being sucked dry by a needy woman, of being trapped in a miserable situation. They’re also afraid of losing their freedom in some ways, but it’s not what you think. Freedom for a man is more of a psychological thing.
He doesn’t want to feel like he must act a certain way and do certain things or you will punish him and he’s going to have to deal with you being angry and upset for the next week. He wants to know the woman he is with will be OK with him sometimes taking some space to do things for himself. This is actually a healthy thing in a relationship.
When a woman is confident and independent, a man doesn’t feel any fear about committing himself to her. It’s only when a woman is needy and uses a man as an emotional crutch that he has reservations.
MORE: 4 Ways to Make Him Commit
Understanding Men in Relationships
What do men want from a relationship? Men are happy when a relationship is going well. As in no drama, no need to have heavy emotional discussions every five minutes about where things are going and where you stand. He just wants it to be smooth and for things to feel good. Above all, men want a happy woman. Men want a woman who is happy in her life and happy in the relationship.
MORE: 3 Things Women Need to Know About Men in Relationships
This doesn’t mean you need to be a Stepford robot with a smile perpetually plastered on your face. Of course, he’ll understand if you have bad days and bad moods. It’s about proportion. Are the bad days some of the time or all of the time? Does a bad mood sweep in every hour throughout the day, or is it an occasional occurrence?
When deciding whether to commit to a woman, men consider how it feels most of the time. Is it fun and easy and relaxed most of the time? Or is it dark and difficult most of the time? Are you enjoying each other most of the time, or do you fight most of the time?
The good news is you have full control over your mood and your happiness. You can keep the negativity away and choose to be happy.
Happiness is a choice, it isn’t something that just shows up at your door one day as a consolation prize for so many years of suffering. You have to pursue happiness and continue to actively maintain it. When you do this, then you become that rare one-of-a-kind woman men can’t resist. The is what makes people want to be around you and to be more like you. This is what changes your life for the better.
Be your best self and encourage him to be his. There is no greater feeling to a man than having the freedom to just be.
When you accept him for who he is and see the best in him, it naturally brings out the best in him and then he becomes the man of your dreams.
That’s really all you need to know about men and how to have an amazing, loving relationship with a man.
MORE: 3 Things Women Need to Know About Men In Relationships
I hope this article helped you better understand how men operate. But there are two more crucial things you need to know. At some point in a relationship, a man is going to ask himself: is this the woman I want to spend my life with? His answer will determine everything. Do you know what inspires a man to commit? Do you know what makes him see you as girlfriend or wife material? If not, you need to read this next: The #1 Things Men Desire in a Woman
Next, at some point, he will start to pull away and may lose interest. He’s not as responsive to you, he’s not as excited by you, and it feels like you’re losing him … do you know what to do in this situation? If not, you might make one of the major relationship-killing mistakes that many women unknowingly make. Read this now so you don’t fall into that trap: If He’s Pulling Away, Do This...
Take The Quiz: Is He Losing Interest?
Click here to take our quick (and shockingly accurate) “Is He Losing Interest” Quiz right now and find out if he’s really losing interest in you...
How to Understand Men:
- Men aren’t as comfortable navigating emotional waters.
- Men are competitive and need to feel like winners.
- Men are natural problem solvers.
- Men aren’t trying to hurt you.
- Men don’t need a perfect 10.
- Men aren’t anti-commitment.
- Men move toward what feels good.