What Do Women Look for in a Man?

by Harsh Kushwah

what do women want in a man

People have spent centuries trying to decipher exactly what women look for in a man.

A large wallet and a fast car, right?

Of course, everyone is unique in their desires. But are there some basics that hold for every woman?

As the founder of menPsyche who is attempting to improve the lives of modern men, it occurred to me some men may not have given much thought to the psyche of women. What are they looking for, well, in us?

Here are my fundamentals to consider if you wonder what some women look for from us guys.

1. Respect

I once read a mathematical paper on ‘Love Dynamics’ and all it showed was – Chaos!

Well, maybe because the equation was about a poet in love with another woman while another woman was looking for his love.

That’s a recipe for disaster.

Of all the qualities I have heard the women in my life talk about the ‘ideal guy’, Respect is at the top of the list (yes – above ‘love’).

Lying is a form of disrespect. You might think you are protecting your partner (or yourself) but respect starts with honesty at its base.

It’s a foundational requirement for any relationship.

what do women look for in a man

How do you feel at work or home when someone lies or is disrespectful?

Respecting someone means you see and appreciate them for who they are. You also recognise their autonomy.

I mean, it’s not just women who want to be seen for who they are!

IMPORTANT NOTE – Respect not just her (and others!) but yourself. It may be challenging to see others in the right light if you do not respect yourself first. Set your boundaries and show up as yourself as much as possible.

A woman can always see through your frustration, fears and feebleness.

She can sense that flutter in your voice if you want to speak up, she can feel the care in your words if you can’t properly show and she knows when you are telling a lie.

All human beings, above almost anything else, deserve love, compassion and respect.

The maternal instinct of a woman can make her overlook your many shortcomings, but lack of respect is something that she won’t handle, at all.

She can’t (and shouldn’t) forget the disrespect from her partner. 

She can forgive you – but it will be on her terms. (Movie Recommendation – Lantana, 2001. A wife processes hurt and accepts her husband back after a betrayal, only when she feels ready. The forgiveness took some time, but it laid the foundation for a new phase of their relationship. Stars Geoffrey Rush, Anthony LaPalgia, Kerry Armstrong, Barbara Hershey, Rachel Blake). 

2. Understanding

Women are mentally wired differently from men.

Men and women process emotions differently. 

I have always found being misunderstood a distressing state to be in.

And so it is with women, that it is hard to really like a guy who does not see her or care to understand who she is.

woman looks for understanding

Understanding in a relationship context might look like this:

  • An appreciation for emotional responses to situations
  • Helping someone with a gender-related health issue (ie. periods, pregnancy)
  • Picking up the slack when your partner is under stress
  • Accepting differences ie. food choices, hobbies, needs etc
  • Learning about their life to understand their behavioural patterns
  • Observing what they enjoy (and what they don’t)
  • Making life ‘easier’ for someone

Many men I have met don’t know a lot about women’s mental and physical needs or issues.

For example, the effect of hormones on women’s mental and physical well-being.

Periods, pregnancy, menopause etc. – You can learn about them – they are important and impact women greatly throughout their lives.

A woman wants her man to know about her psyche too.

What and how she thinks. It’s very sexy (apparently). But you have to be genuine – don’t just pretend to care.

Apart from showing you understand her, it could spare you a lot of headaches and heartbreaks.

Even if you can’t do all of this, just attempt to understand her. 

She will always appreciate a “listening” ear over a guy who dismisses her needs or shows no interest in understanding.

3. Self-Care – Look After Yourself

2 what do women look for in a man,what do women want in a man

I hesitantly venture into the territory of ‘Man Baby’ here. 

A highly unattractive form of man that repels many women (although some unfortunately try to care for these types).

If a man can’t take care of himself, a woman might end up as his “mother”. 

A woman wants her man to take care of himself and her too.

Men have long been known to neglect their health. Out-dated notions about masculinity (as well as hustle culture and modern life obligations) cause guys to forget about themselves.

But the effect is that you might burden your partner’s load.

Take responsibility for your health and well-being. 

Here are some examples:

  • Start a hobby
  • Book annual medical checks
  • Prioritise your nutrition and fitness
  • Take time to groom and maintain your looks
  • Take part in stress minimisation activities
  • Work on any behavioural or emotional issues

It is not selfish to care for yourself. You are responsible for your health.

A secure, confident woman will admire a man who doesn’t blame others for his health or life situation.

She will (almost) always value a healthy happy guy.

4. Breaks – Give Her Space

A woman needs her breaks.

It doesn’t matter how much she loves you and cares about you, she needs to charge her mental “batteries”.

woman needs her space

A woman wants to spend some time taking care of her mental well-being and physical health.

So a woman looks for a guy who ‘gets it’. She’s not complaining and nagging – she’s exhausted!!

Here’s what NOT to do:

  • Disturb her when she is out with her friends
  • Incessantly call her if she is out having a pedi (that’s a pedicure guys – you know, the feet?)
  • Wake her up if you can’t find socks in the morning

I once read a tip on Quora – What’s the best gift for a mother on Mother’s Day?

Answer – Take the kids outside the house and let the mother rest!

No need to celebrate. 

No need to memorialise.

Just give her a break.

I heard a great explanation from a podcaster who said:

Sometimes I can handle 80, you handle 20.

Sometimes I can handle 20, you handle 80.

Sometimes I can handle 5, please handle 95 and the kids.

The women I know crave men who understand this.

5. Pay Attention to Her

You might have heard that the road to man’s heart is through his stomach.

Well, I have a different take on women:

what do women look for in a man

When she is talking, Listen.

A woman wants your “attention” when she is talking.

It goes back to the first point – Respect.

Even if you don’t understand what she is saying, or intending to say, try to make an effort.

It’s such an underrated skill to attract women.

Communication is not taught to most of us – we pick it up as we move along in life.

In general, if someone is not listening to you, you may infer they are uninterested in you.

So, a man who exhibits the ability to listen, and a genuineness to know about you (and care about you) will, in my books, be far ahead of the crowd.

Now, it’s not always your fault if you can’t soak in her words. Men do process conversations differently, and then there’s the timing (not in the middle of a football game).

But you can always talk to her and mention that you want to listen but can you do it at a better time (when your brain is working?).

6. Make her feel ‘Special’

what do women want in a man

Here is something to consider about women – they seek a man who “wants” them not just “needs” them.

How do you show someone you want them? Make them feel it.

Not many people make you feel special. Maybe a teacher, or a parent, or a friend – but it’s not that common to experience that feeling that your uniqueness has been spotted and someone wants to make you feel good.

This one is kinda easy to achieve:

  • Remember basics – special dates, anniversaries, milestones (birthdays!)
  • Plan family vacations
  • Organise events or special occasions – i.e. date nights, recognition for career achievement, plan a function for her parents, or your kids etc
  • Buy gifts (yes, this is valued throughout your relationship, not just at the start)
  • Find a unique way to acknowledge something special to her (i.e. a trip to a new art exhibition, buying a book she has been waiting for, bringing her favourite flower in-season etc)

Making someone feel special may also be listening to them and remembering what they said!

7. Confidence & Courage

what do women want in a man

Some guys I have encountered make the mistake of confusing confidence with arrogance.

Confidence is not ‘loud’. It is not brash or overt.

You can be confident in your thoughts. Or your character, or choices in life.

Perhaps you are confident with your fitness or appearance.

Or just exude a ‘quiet’ self-assurance.

It’s not the ‘bad boys’ many women are attracted to – it’s the confident guy, who goes through life knowing what he wants and knowing he is part of a society. It’s not all about him.

It takes courage too to show up in the world as you are – not as a comic hero or a movie character, but just yourself.

Men are routinely told what it means to be a man. They are told what to think, how to look and what to be in life.

Having the confidence and courage to stand up for yourself, means you will probably have the ability to stick up for others in your life.

And it is NOT vain to take pride in your appearance. Have confidence to be your best version.

Final Thoughts

I know many of you believe ‘good guys’ finish last. 

You see a certain type of guy having apparent success with women.

But are you sure their lives are sorted? Are they really ‘getting women’, or are they boasting a lot and you never see their ‘failures’?

Unless you ask the women, you don’t really know the quality of the relationships these guys are ‘enjoying.’

The way to attract a like-minded quality woman is to be a quality man.

Sure, it’s not as easy as it sounds, but it’s better to be on the journey of self-improvement and having a better life, than to wait for women to see some invisible qualities you may possess.

As I say, ‘Let your existence be the example.’

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