What Do Men REALLY Want From Women?

What Do Men REALLY Want From Women?

Have you ever dated a guy and thought things were going GREAT between you, only to have him suddenly start being flaky, or stop calling, or vanish all together?

In my work as a dating coach, this is the number one complaint I hear.

You’re seeing a great guy and you THINK you’re getting close, but then he suddenly pulls away and you have NO IDEA what happened.

I can tell you what happened – if you’re ready to turn your love life around forever…

You see, I have a unique perspective – I’ve not only dated hundreds of women (before I became happily married) but I’m a coach for both women and men. And I’ve had countless nice, decent, relationship-oriented guys tell me why it SEEMED like they really liked a woman but then bailed on her.

After one date, after three dates, after three months… Amazingly, the reasons are always the same – and they were the very same reasons I’d pulled away from many surprised, confused women myself…

Here’s one thing that all of my work with smart, strong, successful women has brought to my attention – front and center:

The more you have going for you, the less likely you are to settle for less.

It’s not easy being a smart woman.

The more you have going for you, the less likely you are to settle for less.

I don’t blame you. Having high standards means that dating can be a challenge, and that most men are going to fall short.

If you’re like most women I know, you’ve agonized over this – wondering whether you’re too picky, too demanding, or maybe even unrealistic.

On one hand, you want to be open to all possibilities, on the other, you know what makes you tick – and it sure isn’t settling.

I’m guessing you concluded that the thought of being with the wrong man is far worse than the thought of being alone. No one can argue with that.

Yet the answer still isn’t satisfying. Being alone isn’t quite the life you had in mind, which is why the question still nags at you.

What areas, if any, can you compromise on?

Join our conversation (253 Comments).
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Comments:

  1. 1
    Helen

    Evan, thanks for this. I had to laugh at its straightforwardness.
     
    But is every man really as straightforward as you are? I have a male friend who criticized his ex-girlfriend because her grammar wasn’t as good as his.  My husband has a male friend who broke up with his girlfriend because supposedly, she wasn’t up to his intellectual level.  I have another guy friend who has complained about not being able to have deep discussions with virtually every single girlfriend he has had.
     
    I think a lot of women reading your blog are concerned about more than just getting a 2nd date. They’re concerned about a long-term relationship.  And from the guys I’ve known, it seems that they care more about sexiness and lightness when it comes to deciding to have LTRs with women.
     

    1. 1.1
      See

      yes this is very much vice versa what u wrote  overall women are extremely difficult all they want is Looks which is 1 thing why not go for botb looks & personality etc and they don’t seem to see it guys are too but we’re more simpler then Women

    2. 1.2
      bongstar420

      Thats their problem. They are using sex to get things other than orgasms from men.

  2. 2
    Denise

    #1 Helen

    Good question Helen!  My intuition would tell me that either men are coming up with these ‘reasons’ because they seem pretty straightforward, easy to say.  AND/OR they can’t really articulate what it is about the woman that doesn’t sit right with them, but they know they don’t feel good consistently with her.

    I wonder how what these men say to the girls they are breaking up with:  “You have bad grammar, that’s why I’m breaking up with you”?  🙂

    1. 2.1
      EL

      Denise you hit the spot. I feel as though most guys cannot really articulate what it is they feel when it comes to women. The only thing they can gauge is whether or not it is positive or negative. But I feel that on some level, even though the attraction and lightness pretty much apply to all guys, we look for traits that match our tastes, so when it comes to factors such as intelligence we may have our own preferences.

    2. 2.2
      Ben

      What a load of crap, Men do value intelligence in a woman, more so than beauty alot of the time, if I cannot have a decent thought provoking discussion my my partner, then what is the use in being with her?
      Women are just obsessed with image and thinking that men only want sex, men can get sex easily, men cannot find a decent woman to stay with easily. 
      Reasons I have dumped some of my ex girlfriends  (these will overlap slightly)
      – Not intelligent and down right annoying as hell due to stupidity.
      – Obsessed with how they look to a point where I really couldn’t give a crap how they looked anymore, completely irrational.
      – Absolutely nothing in common at all, they did “woman things” all the damn time, yes they are women, but come on. When every aspect of their life revolves around being a “woman” and not just a “human” its taking the piss. This is not a sexist comment either, men really don’t want to be with a woman who is completely obsessed with everything womanly and nothing that he likes.
      – Always trying to please me, I dont want pleasing 24/7, it gets annoying when you force things on me, then assume its because you are ugly if I decline. Tone it down abit, woman can have woman time, men can have man time. You are not in a relationship to spend every waking hour glued together, if you need woman time, go out with some girlfriends, I dont care how this girl looks, how they said this, or did that.
      – I dont want you asking me if you are beautiful every hour, did something change in the past 10 minutes? How damn insecure are women these days, if you need reassurence every day we are together, then why are we together? Accept the fact I chose you and stop panicking about it.
      – One girl confused me alot, she was the most uncleanest person you could meet, until it was time to go out into the world, then she spent hours making out she was the most beautiful thing ever. How can you go from not cleaning up at home and sitting with rubbish around you and not washing the pots and leaving underwear on the floor to becoming a beauty queen when out.
      – And finally, emotions, women are too complex, they over think everything, this is not some intelligence factor, its just that women are that obsessed with emotions and how they feel that men have no chance of ever pleasing them. A normal women is like the equivalent of a bipolar man. When women get that men don’t understand this stuff, maybe both parties can co-exist. The man is not hurting your emotions or some random crap, he just doesn’t understand or notice this complex pattern you call “obvious”.

      1. 2.2.1
        amy

        Well Ben if I ever over think it is mostly to do with family, my caree, men and friendships which is due to making tough decisions as well as my way ot trying to protect myself from getting hurt again being rational and trying my best to keep to my boundries and in what I want.  I am messy. I am more interested in the mind but do like showing off at times and my mother is mad into fashion and so is my younger sister but I am not but am told men expect that and love that.  Most of my relationships have involved men having problems with expressing their emotions or else they wanna be loved to so much a degree that they are unhappy with themselves. Being female is not the only issue for me, despite me not always feeling female as I like toy cars, combats, mens clothes and love hanging out with musical men and men who are inteligent and can have a good time and like movies etc.

        1. JJ

          Now Karen actually learned something from Bens post Amy

      2. 2.2.2
        billie

        Hi ben:)
         

      3. 2.2.3
        Sam

        WoW Ben..Your reply sounds like the story of my life.. 

      4. 2.2.5
        Mars Larson

        I can see why Ben has had some problems with women. There’s a lot of anger in that post.

      5. 2.2.6
        Karen

        I like Ben’s post. I have never been able to engage with anyone unintelligent in
        A real relationship. I like that directness and for me it’s clarity of perspective.
        He is annoyed at stupidity, not angry at more secure women who have at least a
        clue. Women do have to learn that men don’t think the same thoughts in the same
        way as we do. Both I believe have to be sensitive to each other in this
        reality. We are all learning from listening to and observing ourselves
        and each other. I like men like Ben.

      6. 2.2.7
        twinkle

        ” I dont want you asking me if you are beautiful every hour, did something change in the past 10 minutes? ”
        ” When every aspect of their life revolves around being a “woman” and not just a “human” its taking the piss.”
        “A normal women is like the equivalent of a bipolar man.”

        Lol Ben that was hilarious, thanks for sharing.

      7. 2.2.8
        Lizzy

        Ben, I’m afraid you’re right. …And hilarious too! Over the years, 37 that is,  I’ve learned how your list is definitely true. Right now I’m caught up in a love situation with who might be the wrong man for me, but I’m determined to getting closer to him and working on a relationship that I certainly believe in.

        I’m giving him a chance after 2 years we’ve been just talking.   I love him with all my heart. I trust and believe in him. He seems to be the right man for me. I just hope and pray for things to work between us.

        Thank you for your comment, it was very useful to me 🙂

      8. 2.2.9
        yodit

        lol, wow you seem to have issues with woman altogether. Yes we can be very emotional,but you have to understand that is part of the science that makes us different then mean. In alot of cases where men Think, we Fee, We are Creatures of the Heart. And I do understand many of the complaints you have,like a girl taking to long to get ready & caring too much about how she looks (which I sadly fall victim too,lol). However, think a bout what we go through, from childhood to adulthood. Most of our mothers nagged & picked on our looks, if we weren’t looking “accordingly”, we grow into thinking that men care #1 about our looks, regardless. Also our worth is based highly on our looks, do you look like someone a man would want to show off, like a “trophy wife”, or even “trophy girlfriend”. Yes, these things may not matter to you, but think how many smart,wealthy, not so attractive women are married to hot men, can you think of any?

        1. Kale

          We care about looks because it tells us that you are trying to impress us guys. When a girl goes out of her way to take a half hour or so to make herself look good for a guy, it basically means you don’t want to lose us. Yes, men are harsh when it comes to looks but you don’t have to go all out. And even for a single girl to do that means she doesn’t want to be alone. If you are fun to be around, he won’t judge you as harshly as he would with a girl he just met. A very minuscule amount of the time do men care 100%on looks. This is just one opinion and you are always hot to someone. I hope I helped :3

      9. 2.2.10
        JustAThought

        Our potential relationships depend on two things: 1) how we feel about ourselves, 2) how we feel when we are with another. Everything else is part of what you might call our “attraction filter” that we create throughout our lives from a of our experiences.  Our minds rapidly process whether or not someone meets our criterial and we either move forward with a date or a relationship or we may end it when we determine we no longer feel goo about ourselves or the other.

        My question for you is, it must have been fairly clear in your first conversation or in a couple dates at most, that the person you were with lacked your preferred level of intelligence. So why enter s relationship you later needed to end?

        To avoid unintelligent, superficial, high maintenance women in your relationships, quite simply, opt out after the date or two it takes to assess the match to your own criteria and before you enter a relationship. You’ll save your frustration and hers no doubt! But perhaps you got distracted by Evan’s first point 😉

      10. 2.2.11
        Tissy

        Haha:D

      11. 2.2.12
        Kale

        I agree with Ben. Mainly because he is proving this article and giving it more depth. If that one girl is asking if she’s beautiful every 10 minutes, it’s not fun is it? Intelligent girls know what we want. It’s true for both genders, where it boils down to being good looking and fun to hang out with. So, thanks Ben!

      12. 2.2.13
        Christy

        This was good.

      13. 2.2.14
        Gem

        Bravo ben!

        Best comment ever read here! Definitely didn’t waste my time reading yours!

        Question!

        What About a man who says he loves you. Who proves that he do by making the future very crystal clear and great at providing support  but emotionally unavailable?

      14. 2.2.15
        Mary o brien

        Pity ye wouldnt have the manners to tell a woman ye dont want to see her again ye r nothing only cowards

      15. 2.2.16
        Mia

        Well, WHY did you make those women your girlfriendS if you’re a man of quality yourself in the first place?

    3. 2.3
      bongstar420

      Its easy to articulate…the relationship is the cost of sex and its too much

  3. 3
    Honey

    I don’t think that women are any different, actually.  It still boils down to attractiveness and how easy the person is to be around – women are just more prone to list out all the reasons they don’t think someone is attractive or all the individual habits a person has that prevent them from being easy to spend time with.  Perhaps women just need to focus on the bigger picture instead of the minutia of those two big categories, rather than using the minutia of one guy to rule out the next one.

    1. 3.1
      Mallika

      Yeah, I think so too. Though maybe there is a difference in how attractiveness is determined, and how quickly? ie I usually need to feel comfortable before I can feel attracted.
       

  4. 4
    Steve

    @Helen #1
     
    When I read Evan’s article my thought was “he stole my list!”.   The other things you mentioned I would put under item #2, the “do I have fun when I am with her?”.    I love to read and I love to talk.   If I can’t get engaged in an interesting conversation with a woman number 2 will not happen.   Getting back to Evan’s point, even if those women where more of a cognitive match for your friends, they still wouldn’t make it if they didn’t have the fun loving ATTITUDE Evan is referring to.    Workaholics,  going on a date to do a background check instead of having fun, complaining all of the time, etc.
     

  5. 5
    Steve

    Evan has a way of verbalizing things that otherwise nebulously float around in the heads of others.   One of his best nuggets is the statement that women mistake what they want from men to be what men want from women.
     
    I see this all over the place anytime a woman complains about not being able to get or hold a guy. ” – But I went to this school,  I hold this job,  I own this crap and I run marathons”.
     
    Resumes turn women on, they don’t do much for men.
     
    For some reason, probably narcissism, it doesn’t occur to these women that what they want isn’t what other people want.
     
    When I hear the phrase “strong successful woman”  I think of a woman who is a ball buster or a bore.   Someone who might have time to date once a month in between obligations.   Someone with a page boy haircut who lives in a business suit.   Bleh
     

    1. 5.1
      starthrower68

      Dear God, no, not the pageboy haircut. 😏

  6. 6
    Diana

    Perhaps I am feeling cynical today, but there are lots of attractive, fun to be with and easy to get along with women where guys still don’t stay around. I totally get what Evan’s saying, and I do think that men are exceedingly simplistic, especially when compared to women who often think far too much into things, but geesh. Guys sometimes don’t stay around for their own issues, too, but they don’t always recognize at the time what those issues are, or they lack the articulation to express them, or they fear expressing themselves, or they’ve been taught to hold back.
     
    Alright, let me have it. 🙂

  7. 7
    Karl R

    Helen said: (#1)
    “My husband has a male friend who broke up with his girlfriend because supposedly, she wasn’t up to his intellectual level.”

    I’ve dumped a woman after one date for that reason as well.

    But if you dig deeper, how I felt made a huge difference. The lady only discussed two topics for the entire date: how wonderful I was, and how much she loved Jesus. I spent most of that afternoon bored and frustrated. It was surprising how quickly I got tired of being told I was amazing.

    Helen said: (#1)
    “I think a lot of women reading your blog are concerned about more than just getting a 2nd date. They’re concerned about a long-term relationship.”

    This has everything to do with a long-term relationship. I’ll quickly dump a woman if she shows a tendency to nag, criticize, lose her temper, be jealous, etc. If she does that regularly, then being around her is less fun than being single. There’s no way that I would subject myself to long-term unpleasantness in that kind of relationship.

    Honey said: (#3)
    “It still boils down to attractiveness and how easy the person is to be around – women are just more prone to list out all the reasons they don’t think someone is attractive or all the individual habits a person has that prevent them from being easy to spend time with.”

    On a related note, I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of having traits that make me easy to get along with.

  8. 8
    Denise

    #6 Diana

    Well said and very true!

    There has to be an ability on both people’s part to ‘do a relationship’.

  9. 9
    Helen

    Bottom line: men and women are pretty much the same, and there is not much need for a false dichotomy.
     
    Why do I say this?  Because even if one were to assert that men only care about 1) sexiness and 2) fun and easygoing demeanors, these same men are conveniently categorizing EVERYTHING under the second.  They’re just less articulate about it, as Denise #2 and Honey #3 allude.
     
    Just from the two men who have commented here already (and this is in no way an indictment against you, Steve and Karl; just calling it as it is), women are a dealbreaker if they:
    1. Don’t read enough
    2. Don’t talk enough
    3. Aren’t a “cognitive match” for the man
    4. Don’t have a “fun loving attitude”
    5. Are supposed “narcissists” for thinking that a man might think the same way they do
    6. Are strong or successful
    7. Have a pageboy haircut
    8. Work a lot
    9. Wear business suits a lot
    10. Keep talking about how great the guy is
    11. Focus mostly on two topics of conversation
     
    And women are somehow supposed to be more picky than men?
    I conclude that men care a LOT more than just about two things, and that it’s not always as simplistic as it may seem.

    1. 9.1
      calı

      Helen, there ıs no arguement to ur poınts. Lets just face d truth, the socıety today does not encourage true love and affectıon. If a guy can go on a socıal medıa and be able to talk to zıllıon gırls at the same tıme,, common… How can love ever work dat way? These are great women wıth unıque personalıtıes dat all appealıng,, dat man wıll defınately be confused of choıce. Honestly, ı am done datıng.. I have decıded to Zıp up. There ıs no love ın d datıng world. All ı know ıs dat ıf a man/woman loves you,, he wıll do anythıng for u, whıch ıncludes to compromıse standards. (Dats love)

    2. 9.2
      BOB

      Dear Helen,

      I enjoyed your post.  I primarily agreed with the idea that there should be no dichotomy when considering what is truly important to the sexes as a whole.  The stereotypes depicted in the posts re-judge a person, categorizing them by gender, and are likely to deprive those seeking companionship from discovering the individual merits which make up a person.   Each person’s complexity is unique.  It will have both flaws and strengths, but one truth is inevitable, no one person will have all of the qualities on your wish list and you should not expect them to.  Like a car, your life-partner must have the basics and rest should be seen as nice options.  Having similar values, genuine respect for each other, purposeful lives, these are essentials.   But, compromises have to be made with regard to day to day living.  So, you didn’t get the moon roof.  Let it go.  Remember, if you can find someone in your life who makes you happy and will hold your hand through all that life throws at you and won’t let go, the fact that he’s bald should not keep you up at night.  Anyway…. Happy Hunting and Cupid make your butt his favorite target.   

    3. 9.3
      Butterduck

      Helen #9 et alia, I think the haircut is called a “bob.” Though that probably doesn’t make things better. 😉

  10. 10
    Goldie

    Helen, IMO your list still boils down to “not fun to be around”, with the addition that, the definition of “fun” is different for different people. For every guy who’d dump a woman for not reading enough, there’s another that’s terrified of women who read. etc etc.
     
    So, in essence, yeah, men and women aren’t as different, everyone is looking for sexy and fun, and everyone means something different by that. Big news, I know 😀
     
    Karl, if someone spent the entire first date telling me how much they loved Jesus, I’d leave through the nearest door or window, whichever’s closest 🙂 You have my sympathy 🙂

  11. 11
    Diana

    Excellent, Helen #9! Men just happen to umbrella everything in very simple terms, while women break down the details; in a nutshell, it’s often the very same message. I have noticed this huge communication difference between my two children. It tickles me!

  12. 12
    detha

    Diana #6. I can identify with everything you have written.

    I have been following Evan’s blog for a while now, and agree with most things he has written however, I think it is very difficult to remain happy or upbeat when the man you are dating isn’t exactly handling his side of the relationship very well.

  13. 13
    Ruby

    I would add that I think that having some common interests is also important (see Steve #4′, and the ability to have an engaging, stimulating conversation). Other dealbreakers re: Karl R would be someone who nags, criticizes. is quick to anger, displays religious fanaticism, or is jealous.

  14. 14
    Selena

    Thank you Helen for smashing down a common fallacy!

    I am so weary of people proclaiming “Men and women are just hard wired differently!” Nonsense. We are much more alike than we will ever be different – but perception is difficult to argue against. You however, did an excellent job. I bow to you. 🙂

  15. 15
    Michael17

    When it comes to whether I want to see a woman the 2nd time, Evan pretty much nailed it for me as a guy. That and she seems to be a good person. I don’t really have much of a list besides that. I mean, I could have a great time going out with a woman who tells me that she is still legally married during the first date (a deal-breaker for me), I will make a decision not to see her again, but it might be a head-over-emotions decision I’m sad to have to make. I mean, I can’t keep seeing her for that reason, but I still really liked her regardless.
     
    (This open-mindedness isn’t always a good thing. I spent 2010 meeting and dating a lot of women. I learned an awful lot, but I ended up putting in a lot of energy towards women who weren’t right for me. I’m making it a point this year to be a lot more selective, to screen better early on.)
     
    Getting back to Evan’s blog: Beyond that first or second date, it’s a little more complicated. Do I feel both challenged and supported by her (good), or do I feel smothered by her (bad). Do we get along as friends, and so we have similar views on the future?
     
    Anyway, as far as making reasons… We men feel terrible about women hurting in our name too. Especially because as we generally do the pursuing early on, we feel that we were the ones who led you to this position. And so we make up something that is hopefully easy for you to take. It’s hard to tell a woman that (say) you don’t want to keep seeing her because she made reference on the 4th date to you coming on vacation with her and her family next year. Or that she isn’t what you had in mind physically.

  16. 16
    Helen

    Thanks, Diana and Selena! Yes, I’ve observed that inter-individual differences are much more important than gender-specific differences. For example, who are these women Evan mentions who care about whether a man’s belt matches his shoes? I certainly don’t identify with them, as I neither notice nor care about men’s belts or shoes.
     
    Goldie, will you go on a date with me? I’ll start talking about Jesus, just for the fun of watching you try to exit the nearest window. 😀

  17. 17
    Denise

    Men and women are EQUAL but instinctively different.  We are primarily different in our reptilian brains, which is the part of the brain that we have no control over.  In our mammalian and higher brains, you’re right, we are very similar.  We have the same emotions, the same ability to commit or not commit or make decisions.

    I think Evan’s talking at higher, more universal level concepts.  Don’t you know women who say when they go on dates, but sorry, they want to know everything about  him on the first date, because “she doesn’t want to waste her time”?  Or women who say they didn’t date a man because he didn’t make X amount of money, etc.?  Or like Evan points out, has a list a mile long that ONE man is supposed to fulfil?  Or treats the man like an employee?  Or scolds him on the first date for what he orders?  Or women that are generally negative people and nothing is ever good enough, especially when they make a lot of money!  Just things off the top of my head that I know for a fact happen.

    The list of 10 things has more to do with personality and preferences.  One man’s turnoff for Jesus talk could be another man’s dream come true!  Although she STILL needs to make sure her man feels good being with  her.

  18. 18
    Selena

    I don’t know about you Denise, but I don’t spend much time with people who don’t have control over their reptilian brains. And as wise as it is for a woman to make sure her man feels good being with her (this is new info? really?), it isn’t any more important than a woman feeling good being with the man she’s with. BOTH genders evaluate. BOTH genders may have criteria unique to them that factors into their evaluation process. If you feel comfortable believing men and women are fundamentally different, that’s your perception, it’s not universal.

  19. 19
    Karl R

    Helen said: (#9)
    “women are a dealbreaker if they: […] Aren’t a ‘cognitive match’ for the man […] And women are somehow supposed to be more picky than men?”

    I’ve dumped a few women because they weren’t intelligent enough. I’ve continued to date others who clearly weren’t my intellectual equals. The difference between the two groups is whether the intelligence disparity frustrated me, or whether it prevented me from respecting the woman’s thoughts and opinions. If I find the woman interesting to talk to despite the disparity, and if I respect her opinions, there’s no problem.

    I also broke up with the most intelligent woman I ever dated. I had been dating her and another woman concurrently, and when it came time to make a decision between the two, I chose the one who was more fun to be with.

    And I would say that difference does make women more picky than men. On this blog I have seen women rationalize “if he doesn’t have a degree, then he probably isn’t as intelligent as me, and therefore we won’t work out in the long run, so I won’t date him in the first place.” Even though intelligence is one of my Big Three criteria, I’ll date a woman who is clearly less intelligent than me until I determine what impact that has on the relationship.

    Selena said: (#14)
    “Thank you Helen for smashing down a common fallacy!”

    She came up with a list of 11 “dealbreakers” (as she defined them) by combining comments from 4 different men (Steve’s comment (#4) about women not being a “cognitive match” referred to the men Helen (#1) mentioned.) Most women are able to come up with a longer list of distinct dealbreaksrs than that by themselves.

    Furthermore, Helen listed separately several items that probably aren’t considered dealbreakers by themselves. (I’ll bet Steve (#5) would date some women who have pageboy haircuts, or some women who wear business suits to work each day, even if he doesn’t find either particularly attractive.) I would date a woman who primarily focused on two topics of conversation on the first date, provided both those topics were interesting, and provided I got the impression that she was capable of discussing other topics in the future. And telling me that I’m wonderful usually isn’t a bad idea.

    The things I would actually list as dealbreakers are the things that make a relationship miserable: jealousy, criticism, temper, lack of trust, etc.

  20. 20
    Steve

    This thread is hilarious.  Thanks Karl & Helen.   Helen, you forgot one.  Compliance.   Now, go fetch me an organic, sustainable, cruelty free beer 🙂

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